Eligibility criteria

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

2022 applications opening soon

Online applications will open in early November 2021.

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. 

The programme may not be for everyone, so there are a few things we ask everyone to check before applying, which we call our essential and priority criteria.

Essential criteria

You will need to meet all of the following (however, we are also making allowances for autumn GCSE examinations):

  • live 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 (such as A-levels or a BTEC);
  • be a Year 12 (lower sixth) student when you apply;
  • have at least five grades 9 to 6 at GCSE (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. *Please note, the ECDL is not a GCSE equivalent;
  • have attended a state secondary school that you did not need to pay for;
  • 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.

Medicine

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.

Dentistry

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 at Grade B 6. If it's a Dual Award Science or Core and Additional Science, the grade 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 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. Use our postcode checker to find out about your neighbourhood. 
  • receive, or are entitled to, discretionary learner payments/16–19 bursary/free school meals (FSM) at your current college;
  • received, or were entitled to, pupil premium or FSM at secondary school;
  • attended a high school where the average Key Stage 4 performance is lower than the national average, you can 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 a school of college where Key Stage 5 performance is lower than the national average, you can 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 the Access Manchester website to find out more.

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 receive, 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*:
    • **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.

 

Autumn GCSE exams

We will consider your application if you are taking GCSE exams in the autumn exam series if you receive your results by Thursday, 13 January 2022 for English Language and Maths, and by Thursday, 24 February 2022 for all other subjects.

If results are delayed beyond this point we may prioritise those applicants who already meet the essential criteria.

Autumn exams refer to GCSE examinations undertaken before the end of 2021 by students who are unhappy with their Teacher Assessed Grades. These are considered as a first attempt rather than a resit.

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. 

COVID-19 statement

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 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 (such as 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, 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, 12 December 2021. 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 2022.

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.