What is MAP?

The Manchester Access Programme (MAP) is The University of Manchester’s flagship widening participation scheme for local Year 12 students.

The aim of the programme is to help students, who meet specific academic and background criteria, achieve entry to The University of Manchester, or another research-intensive university, through the completion of a portfolio of work demonstrating specific knowledge and skills. 

Please note: applications for MAP 2020 have now closed. 

Overview of activities

To be successful, you will need to complete 100 MAP units. You receive MAP units by attending MAP activities on our campus and carrying out your MAP academic assignment.

Some MAP elements will be compulsory. For the others, you will be able to choose from a menu of activities to match your interests and the skills you want to develop.

All activities take place on campus, which means that you will become very familiar with our different University buildings. Many activities will involve the support of students who are currently studying here, giving you the opportunity to get a real insight into student life at Manchester.

Benefits of MAP

If students successfully complete the programme there are three main benefits.

  1. Students will receive advice and guidance for their UCAS application and personal statement. If they decide to apply to The University of Manchester, they'll also receive an early decision on their application.   
  2. All students who successfully complete MAP and start an undergraduate course at The University of Manchester will receive the Undergraduate Access Scholarship (currently £1000). Students from households where the income is below £25,000 per year will receive the award for each year of their study.
  3. MAP students are eligible to receive a reduced offer of up to two A-level grades (or equivalent, depending on the qualifications you study) below the standard entry offer, reflecting the work students undertake to complete the programme successfully.

By participating in the programme students will also:

  • Increase their skills in the following areas: research, academic writing, communication, presenting time management, independent learning and team working. These skills will ensure they are prepared for university and will support their current school and college studies.
  • Be prepared for the different types of teaching and learning at university.
  • Gain information about the different types of courses available and what it’s like to be a university student.

MAP programme timeline

October MAP talks take place
November Applications open
December Applications close
February Selection and Introduction Days
April Launch Event
April Meeting with Academic Tutor to discuss Academic Assignment
April-July Various workshops
July University Life Conferences
August Submit Academic Assignment
September-December Decision Manchester
December Celebration Event


There are a number of workshops you can participate in. Examples include Make Yourself a Success, Interview Skills, Research and Referencing Skills, Explore Humanities, Discover Days, Medicine and Dentistry Simulation Days, and Progress and Options 1-2-1. 

Academic Assignment

The academic assignment is 1,500 words on a topic of your choice and will help you develop the essential research and academic writing skills needed to be a successful university student. You will be supported in this work by a member of University staff or postgraduate researcher.

University Life Conference

A two-day event with the option of staying overnight in one of the University’s halls of residence. The conference will develop your communication, research, presentation and team working skills through the completion of an Enquiry-Based Learning group project. You will also get to enjoy the social side of university life! 

Decision Manchester

You will receive an early decision for your application to The University of Manchester, before you apply through UCAS. 

Is MAP an access to higher education course?

No. The Manchester Access Programme is a programme aimed at students in Year 12. If you are looking for an access to higher education course you will need to contact your local FE colleges who should be able to provide you with further information. The University of Manchester itself does not run any access to higher education courses.

If you are over 21 this information for mature students may be useful.

A year in the life of a MAP student


At lunchtime during my college timetable, there was a MAP talk taking place. I had already heard about MAP but I didn’t know much about what it involved. During the talk, I was really intrigued to hear that MAP would help students get into The University of Manchester by helping them with personal statements, offering workshops to help build the skills required to study at university, and awarding a possible 2-grade reduced offer. I was so motivated to apply that I filled the application form in this evening!


I was pleased to find out that I had been invited to a Selection and Introduction Day where I had to bring all of my personal documents, got to meet the MAP team and meet other students from Greater Manchester. It was fantastic to see the University campus for the first time. Getting to sit down in an actual lecture theatre was a new experience that made me think about what it would be like to attend university in the future.


I found out that I was officially a MAP student! There was a Launch Event to signal the start of MAP and I got to hear a number of talks from admissions tutors from particular subjects like Law and Medicine. There were also useful talks on Student Finance and choosing what and where to study. I found the talks particularly useful as it made the whole application process to The University of Manchester a lot clearer. I also felt reassured that I could afford to go to university. I also made some friends from MAP.


I had my first meeting with my Academic Tutor to discuss the Academic Assignment I was going to write. At first I felt really daunted by the Academic Assignment, but when I met with my Tutor, who was a PhD student, she was really helpful. We also had a ‘Research and Referencing’ workshop, which helped a lot with the assignment, and will put my ahead of the game when I start university. At the end of the meeting I was looking forward to writing my assignment – I have until the end of August to write 1,500 words on a topic that really interests me, and will meet up again with my Academic Tutor soon.


I attended the ‘Make Yourself a Success’ workshop this month. During this workshop, I learnt more about networking and communicating with confidence. These are two skills which I need to develop so that I get the most out of university and when I come to finding a job. It was also very useful to hear from the Student Ambassadors (students who currently study at the University) and their experiences of networking.

Other students who were completing MAP with me did other optional workshops. There were a lot to choose from, but some examples of things my friends took part in are: Explore Humanities Day, Interview Skills Workshop, Discover Days (where you can find out what it’s like to study certain subjects at university), and Personal Statement drop-in sessions.


The University Life Conferences took place and it was definitely the best event of MAP. The first day consisted of working in a group to come up with a presentation on a research topic. In-between our research time, there was also a student fair, where we got more information about what opportunities are available for students, like sport and volunteering.  After we had finished researching, students were given an option to stay overnight in the Halls of Residence. I jumped at the chance to experience what student accommodation was really like. There was also a BOP (and who can say no to a disco)?

On the second day, we finished our research and had to present it to our peers. I was really nervous at first but my group ambassador put me at ease with advice and guidance on how to confidently deliver information. There was also a T-shirt competition, where we had to design a t-shirt for our ambassador and then they had to parade the shirt around.


I went through Decision Manchester this month. It is a great opportunity to see if I would be made an offer by the University of Manchester before I actually send off my UCAS application.


I attended the optional Celebration Event to celebrate having successfully complete MAP. I had lots of fun – there was a certificate ceremony and we even got to wear graduation gowns and caps and have our photo taken. 

Scott's story


Are you a current MAP student?

If you are a current MAP student you can find resources, including presentations and workshop materials, on the MAP Blackboard site

Contact us

If you want to find out more about the Manchester Access Programme contact the team on +44 (0)161 306 6505 or email map@manchester.ac.uk