National Access Summer School

Students watching demonstration on summer school

The National Access Summer School (NASS) is a four day residential, designed to introduce Year 12 students from across England and Wales, to university life and higher education.

This programme is only available to students who live outside the Greater West Midlands region and are currently in Year 12. The next programme begins with a week long residential at the University from Sunday 16 – Wednesday 19 August 2020.

Applications for the National Access Summer School 2020 are now open until Friday 24 April 2020, 17:00.


About the National Access Summer School

Each student will experience first-hand what life studying and living at a research-led university is like by staying for four days and three nights in the University halls of residence and attending academic sessions in an area of their interest. During the evenings, students will be able to take part in social activities and will also have the opportunity to take a tour of the UK’s second city, Birmingham. Throughout the residential, there will be a team of current undergraduate student ambassadors on hand to support within a relevant academic stream to support and advice.

There are two broad academic streams that applicants can choose from and the academic stream must be related to current studies or relevant to the degree programme students wish to study. The academic streams will include some of the following areas, but these are all subject to availability of academic staff:

  • Humanities – Law, History, English, Philosophy, Theology etc.
  • Biological and Health Sciences – Physiotherapy, Medicine, Dentistry, Nursing, Biology, Biomedical Material Science, Chemistry etc. 
  • Engineering - Civil, Electronic, Electrical and Systems, Aerospace, Chemical, Materials Science, Nuclear.   

In addition to academic lectures and seminars there are contributions from external organisations.

Benefits of the National Access Summer School

Students who successfully complete the National Access Summer School and apply to the University of Birmingham will receive special consideration from admissions tutors. If their application is successful, they will receive two offers from the University of Birmingham, the standard offer and a Pathways to Birmingham offer. The Pathways to Birmingham offer is typically a reduction of up to two A level grades (e.g. BBB rather than AAB). 

As well as the Pathways to Birmingham offer, students will also be eligible for financial support.

Students who are successful in gaining a place on the National Access Summer School will benefit from the following:

  • Taster lectures from a range of academic disciplines
  • First-hand experience of living in university accomodation and socialising with like-minded students
  • Will benefit from impartial advice and guidance regarding their higher education decision-making
  • Support with their university applications
  • Support from current undergraduates via e-mentoring in Year 13

Eligibility criteria

The National Access Summer School is suitable for Year 12 students who have a strong commitment to study at the University of Birmingham and who are studying A Level, IB or a relevant BTEC course. Applications are open to students who meet the Pathways to Birmingham criteria - check to see if you are eligible.

Students applying to the National Access Summer School must have achieved the minimum academic requirements for their chosen university course at GCSE - please check the University of Birmingham course pages for more information. Medicine and Dentistry applicant have separate academic criteria which is available to view here.

Due to the competitive nature of this programme, applications will be selected based not only on the socio-economic criteria as listed for the Pathways to Birmingham programmes, but also on achieved grades at GCSE and predicted/target grades at post 16 level.

If you are a Realising Opportunities student hosted by a university other than Birmingham, you may apply for the summer school if your home postcode is in a POLAR4 Quintile 1 area

How much does it cost?

The costs of the National Access Summer School are completely covered by the University. This includes travel to and from the University (up to £35), accommodation, all meals during the residential element and all social activities.

How to apply

Applications are open until Friday 24 April 2020, 17:00. Complete the online application form now

Contact us

If you have any questions about the National Access Summer School please email or call us on 0121 414 7169.

 Watch our summer school video

Learn more about the National Access Summer School (previously known as the HEI programme)