Eligibility criteria

Find out what you need to join the Manchester Access Programme and if it's right for you.

Applications are closed

Unfortunately, we're unable to accept applications after the submission deadline. Programme places will be confirmed via email by March 2023.

Find out about our other access schemes.

The Manchester Access Programme (MAP) is the University’s scheme for helping local Year 12 students in Greater Manchester gain a place at the University (or other research-intensive universities) regardless of background or identity. 

We will support you in your application and help prepare you for life as a university student. 

To be eligible for the programme, we ask students to meet all of our essential criteria and any one of our priority criteria.

Below are the eligibility criteria for MAP 2023, which are subject to change for MAP 2024.

Essential criteria

You will need to meet all of the following:

  • live in Greater Manchester or study at a school or college in Greater Manchester;
  • attend a state, post-16 school or college, and are studying a two-year Level 3 qualification equivalent to three A-levels (such as A-levels or a BTEC);
  • be a Year 12 (lower sixth) student when you apply;
  • have at least five GCSEs at grade 6 or above (or equivalent, such as GNVQ, BTEC) when you apply. If this does not include English Language and Mathematics, you will need at least a grade 4 in these subjects;
  • attended state-maintained schools for the entirety of your education (ie you haven't paid for your education at any point);
  • neither parent nor carer has a university-level degree or equivalent in the UK or abroad. An application may be considered if a parent/carer is currently studying their first degree or graduated in the last ten years;
  • be a home registered student or expect to be a UK national or have 'settled status' (as per the government guidance) by the time you start a university degree. 

In addition to the essential criteria, you will also need to meet one of the priority criteria below.

If you are interested in the Medicine and Dentistry MAP strands, you will need to check the different GCSE and A-levels required.


If you would like to apply for the Medicine strand of MAP you will need to check you meet the additional GCSE and A-level requirements:

  • six GCSEs at a minimum of grade 7;
  • grade 6 or above in GCSE English Language, Mathematics, and two science subjects. If it's a Dual Award Science or Core and Additional Science, the minimum needed is 6,6;
  • Level 2 BTEC qualifications are acceptable (at distinction or above) in place of one GCSE;
  • you will need to be studying three A-levels including Chemistry or Biology/Human Biology, and one of either: Chemistry, Biology/Human Biology, Physics, Psychology, Mathematics, or Further Mathematics.


If you would like to apply for the Dentistry strand of MAP, you will need to meet the following GCSE and A-level requirements:

  • six GCSEs at a minimum of grade 7;
  • grade 6 in GCSE English Language and Mathematics, and two science subjects. If it's a Dual Award Science or Core and Additional Science, the minimum needed is 6,6; 
  • Level 2 BTEC qualifications are acceptable (at distinction) in place of one GCSE;
  • you will need to be taking three A-levels including Chemistry and Biology/Human Biology. 

Priority criteria

In addition to the essential criteria, you will need at least one of the following socio-economic or personal background priority criteria.

Socio-economic background

Socio-economic background refers to where you live, study and the financial support you may have received. 

We prioritise students who meet the following:

  • live in a neighbourhood that has a low progression rate to higher education or an area that has a high level of financial, social or economic deprivation. Check your postcode on our contextual admissions page
  • receive discretionary learner payments/16–19 bursary/free school meals (FSM) at your current college;
  • received pupil premium or FSM at secondary school;
  • attended a high school where the average Key Stage 4 performance is lower than the national average;
  • attend a school of college where Key Stage 5 performance is lower than the national average.

You can check your secondary school and current school or college key performance data for Key Stage 4/5 on our contextual admissions page.

Personal background

Personal background refers to your lived experience and identity.

We prioritise students who meet the following:

  • be a young carer (under the age of 18 and who helps look after someone in their family who is ill or disabled beyond what is reasonably expected);
  • be an estranged student (irreconcilably estranged from biological, adoptive or only living parents);
  • be a sanctuary seeker (such as an asylum seeker or refugee);
  • have a disability and in receipt of a personal independence payment or Disability Living Allowance;
  • identify as one of the following ethnic groups, currently underrepresented at The University of Manchester and within higher education, particularly within higher tariff universities*:
    • **Gypsy, Roma and Traveller;
    • Black African, Black African Caribbean, mixed-race Black African or mixed-race Black African Caribbean.
  • be care experienced. Care experienced refers to a young person who has been in Local Authority care (including but not limited to public care, foster care, semi-independent living or residential care homes) for any amount of time at any point in their lives. The University recognises that any time spent in care can have a significant impact on young people’s lives. Note: The University distinguishes between ‘care leavers’ and ‘care experienced’ students to allocate bursaries***.

*Higher tariff universities are the top third of English higher education providers when ranked by the average tariff score (the value given to students’ qualifications and grades) of UK domiciled undergraduate entrants.

**We use the Office for Student's definition for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller.

***Care experienced young people are a priority group for our widening participation programmes and have access to enhanced pastoral support while at University. They may be eligible for additional financial support based on their circumstances.

Care Leavers are defined by the University as students under the age of 25 who have been in public care for a minimum of three months since the age of 11 and are eligible to receive the Undergraduate Access Scholarship while studying at The University of Manchester, in addition to enhanced pastoral support.

National data shows that White students from disadvantaged backgrounds are particularly underrepresented within higher education and this is reflected at The University of Manchester.

We, therefore, encourage White students who meet at least one of our socio-economic priority criteria to apply.


Extenuating circumstances

If you have experienced difficult family or individual circumstances that may affect your performance in exams or the likelihood of you going to university, your application may still be considered on an individual basis even if you don't meet the essential criteria.

Types of circumstances could be:

  • if you live independently from your family;
  • if you are experiencing significant family issues;
  • if you have a disability/health condition that may have affected your education.

There may be other personal situations that are not listed above so please discuss extenuating circumstances with your MAP Link Coordinator (the teacher who coordinates MAP at your school or college).

Your MAP Link Coordinator can help you add these to your application form, including the dates you have been affected and how these may have impacted your education.


Unfortunately, we’re unable to consider the general disruption caused by the pandemic as personal extenuating circumstances. However, if you consider the impact of COVID-19 on your personal circumstances to be extreme, then we may be able to take this into consideration.

Please indicate on your application form if any of these circumstances apply to you, including the dates you have been affected and any impact on your academic achievement.

We’ll consider circumstances on a case-by-case basis.

Assessing applications

When we review your application, we will look at whether you meet the essential criteria first, including your performance in your GCSE and/or equivalent level qualifications and your post-16 Level 3 subject(s) of study.

We then look at the number of priority criteria you meet. You only need to meet one of the priority criteria.

However, if the number of students applying to the MAP strand is greater than the number of places available, then the number and nature of your priority criteria will be considered in the selection process.

Please be aware applications will close at 11.59pm on Sunday, 11 December 2022. Due to the volume of applications that we receive, we will only consider completed applications submitted before this deadline.

We will begin to contact applicants in February and March 2023.

Not eligible for MAP?

If you are not eligible for MAP, you can explore the Access Manchester website and discover the different access schemes on offer at The University of Manchester that you may be eligible for.