Eligibility criteria

An overview of the essential and priority criteria that students must meet in order to join the Manchester Access Programme (MAP).

If you are a student in Greater Manchester wishing to join the Manchester Access Programme (MAP), you must meet all of the essential criteria and at least one of the priority criteria outlined below at your point of application.

We're also making an allowance for autumn GCSE examinations and you can find out more details below.

If you have any further questions or need support with your application, please email map@manchester.ac.uk.

Essential criteria for MAP 2021

In order to be eligible to apply MAP you must meet all of the following criteria:

  • live in Greater Manchester or study at an institution in Greater Manchester;
  • attend a state-maintained post-16 institution and are studying a two-year Level 3 qualification (such as A-levels, a BTEC qualification and so on). Applicants need to be in Year 12 (lower sixth) at the point of application;
  • have achieved at least five grade A*–B (9–6) at GCSE (or equivalent, eg GNVQ, BTEC certificate) at the point of application; if this does not include English Language and Mathematics you must have achieved at least a grade C (4) in these subjects. Please note: the ECDL will not be considered as a GCSE equivalent;
  • have attended a state-maintained secondary school (ie you did not have to pay for your education);
  • come from a home where neither parent obtained a university level degree or equivalent in the UK or abroad. (If one or more parent is currently studying their first degree, or graduated from their first degree within the last ten years, an application may be considered);
  • be a home registered student or expect to be a UK national or have ‘settled status’ (as per the gov.uk guidance) by the time you would start a university degree.

Medicine and Dentistry

For these strands you must meet all of the essential criteria for MAP. There are additional GCSE and A-level requirements for the Medicine and Dentistry strands: 

Medicine

  • At least six GCSEs at a minimum of Grade A* (8) or A (7);
  • Grade B (6) or above in GCSE English Language and Mathematics and at least two science subjects are required at GCSE minimum grade B (6). If Dual Award Science or Core and Additional Science are offered, the minimum required is BB (6,6);
  • Level 2 BTEC qualifications are acceptable (at distinction grade or above) in lieu of one GCSE;
  • You also need to be taking three A-levels, including Chemistry or Biology/Human Biology; and one of the following subjects from Chemistry; Biology/Human Biology; Physics; Psychology; Mathematics or Further Mathematics.

Dentistry

  • At least six GCSEs at a minimum of Grade  A* (8) or A (7);
  • Grade B (6) or above in GCSE English Language and Mathematics and at least two science subjects are required at GCSE minimum grade B (6). If Dual Award Science or Core and Additional Science are offered, the minimum required is BB (6,6);
  • Level 2 BTEC qualifications are acceptable (at distinction grade or above) in lieu of one GCSE;
  • You also need to be taking three A-levels, including Chemistry and Biology/Human Biology.

Priority criteria

You must meet all the essential criteria, plus at least one of the following priority criteria:

Socio-economic background

  • live in a neighbourhood which has a low progression rate to higher education or an area which has a high level of financial, social or economic deprivation. This is defined by home postcode. If you would like to check whether a postcode is in a neighbourhood which has a low progression rate to higher education or an area which has a high level of financial, social or economic deprivation, then please enter your postcode in the checker;
  • be in receipt of, or entitled to, discretionary learner payments/16–19 bursary/free school meals (FSM) at your current college;
  • received, or was entitled to, pupil premium or free school meals (FSM) at secondary school;
  • attended a high school where the average Key Stage 4 performance is lower than the national average (Download our contextual data education indicators sheet to discover your school/college’s performance: ‘Y' in the Level 2 column means that a candidate from this school, studying at this level, meets the Key Stage 4 performance criteria for their secondary school.);
  • attend an institution where Key Stage 5 performance is lower than the national average (Download our contextual data education indicators sheet to discover your school/college’s performance: ‘Y' in the Level 3 column means that a candidate from this school, studying at this level, meets the Key Stage 5 performance criteria for their post-16 school/college).

Please visit Access Manchester to find out more.

Personal background

  • be a young carer (under the age of 18 and who helps look after someone in their family who is ill or disabled);
  • be an estranged student (irreconcilably estranged from biological, adoptive or only living parents);
  • be a sanctuary seeker (for example, an asylum seeker or refugee);
  • have a disability and be in receipt of, or are entitled to, 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 [i]: Gypsy, Roma and Traveller [ii], 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 for the purposes of allocating bursaries. [iii]

[i] 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.
[ii] We use the Office for Student's definition for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller
[iii] 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 personal 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.

Autumn GCSE exams

We will consider your application if you are taking GCSE exams in the autumn exam series and if you receive your results by Thursday, 11 February 2021. If results are delayed beyond this point we may prioritise those applicants who already meet the essential criteria.

Autumn exams refers to GCSE examinations undertaken before the end of 2020 by students who are unhappy with their Centre Assessed Grades. These are considered as a first attempt rather than a resit.

Centre Assessed Grades are grades awarded by the exam board based upon the school or college's assessment of a pupil's performance and must be provided on the application form.

You must indicate on your application form each subject for which you have registered for an autumn exam.

COVID-19 statement

Unfortunately, we’re unable to consider the general disruption caused by the pandemic as personal extenuating circumstances. This is recognising that all students across the country have been affected by this.

However, if you consider the impact of COVID-19 on your personal circumstances to be extreme, then we may be able to make an exception.

Circumstances we would consider extreme include the following:

  • you have experienced serious illness and spent a prolonged period in hospital as a result of COVID-19;
  • you have suffered a close family bereavement due to COVID-19;
  • you have significant caring responsibilities as a result of COVID-19 (eg caring for someone extremely clinically vulnerable/shielding);
  • it has created or exacerbated a very difficult or dangerous living situation;
  • it has created or exacerbated a mental health condition as diagnosed by a healthcare professional.

Please indicate on your application form if any of these circumstances apply to you and provide any further details as requested. We’ll consider circumstances on a case by case basis and as such, we may get in touch to ask for further information and evidence to support your application.

Extenuating circumstances

If you do not meet the prior attainment outlined above, but 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.

Circumstances that will be considered include, but are not limited to, students who live independently from their families, those experiencing significant family issues or those students who have a disability/health condition which may have affected their educational achievements.

Please discuss extenuating circumstances with your MAP Link Coordinator (the teacher who coordinates MAP at your school or college) and ensure that you indicate these on the application form.

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, as well as all of the essential criteria, to be considered for MAP. 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.

If you are confirmed for the next stage in the selection process you will need to provide evidence related to the information you submitted on your application form (for example, evidence of your free school meal entitlement).

Please be aware applications will close at 11.59pm on Sunday, 13 December 2020. 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 2021.

Not eligible for MAP?

If you're not eligible for MAP, explore Access Manchester and discover the different access schemes on offer at The University of Manchester. Check their eligibility criteria and see if you can apply.