Access to Birmingham (A2B)


The Access to Birmingham (A2B) scheme is designed to help students from families and communities in the West Midlands who have little or no experience of higher education find out about what studying at university involves.

The University of Birmingham has a long history of welcoming students from a wide variety of social and cultural backgrounds. We were one of the first universities to set up a fair access scheme for local students in 2000 and are proud to be able to offer prospective applicants the support of our A2B scheme if they are studying at one of our partner institutions. 

Benefits of applying through our A2B scheme include:

  • An alternative offer up to three grades lower than standard
  • Practice interviews for particular courses where relevant
  • The chance of an A2B bursary worth £1,000 and an A2B scholarship worth £1,500 per year of study
  • The opportunity for students to make new friends before they start at a special induction event

Hear from our students

Students who choose Birmingham through our A2B scheme have enjoyed many successes both during their studies and after they graduate. You can hear the experiences of BNurs Nursing student Azeefa who gained her place through the A2B scheme in the video below. You can also meet Judah, who studied Social Policy and hear from Eiranpreet, who studied Artificial Intelligence and Computer Science and is now working for UBS Bank.



Previous A2B student

“Originally I didn’t think I was good enough to go to a Russell Group university, it’s odd to look back because I just got a first, so I clearly was good enough! Without the encouragement of the A2B programme I would never have applied to Birmingham. The summer essay meant that I was more confident writing in an academic style when I arrived, I knew my seminar leader personally and knew my way around campus. It seems trivial but it made me feel more like I belonged. All this put me in a good and confident position to excel socially, professionally and academically.”


Application criteria

To apply for Access to Birmingham, students must:

  • Currently attend a Pathways to Birmingham partner school and have attended a non-selective state school while completing their GCSEs

Students are also required to meet at least two of the following:

  • Home postcode is in an area with low levels of progression to higher education (normally we would expect Quintiles 1-3 as shown on the checker to indicate Pathways to Bimingham eligibility)
  • Be in the first generation of their immediate family to attend higher education
  • Have an annual household income that is below the national average (£42,875 or less before tax)
  • Have experienced significant extenuating circumstances that has had (or is having) a detrimental impact on academic attainment
  • Have a disability and be in receipt of a personal independence payment
  • Be a young carer
  • Be estranged from parents or guardians
  • Had experience of public care 

Our full eligibility criteria is available to view if you require any further information. 

We welcome applications from mature learners, if you would like to hear more about the experiences of mature learners studying at the University of Birmingham then please view our mature students film

Benefits of applying through A2B

A successful A2B applicant will receive two offers from the University of Birmingham, the standard one and an alternative A2B offer. The A2B offer is typically a reduction of up to two A level grades (eg BBB rather than AAB) or 40 UCAS tariff points.

If students pass the A2B module and get the grades needed for their A2B offer or above they will receive a bursary of £1,000 in their first year of study. There is also an A2B scholarship in addition to this (see below) if students pass A2B and achieve the standard entry grades for their course. 


Medicine and Dentistry applicants

For students entering the University via A2B the Medicine and Dentistry offer is as follows:


  • A level: grades ABB (including Chemistry and Biology)
  • International Baccalaureate: an overall score of 32 points (excluding core points) to include a minimum of 16 points at Higher Level (including Biology and Chemistry at grade 5), with no grade lower than 4
  • GCSEs: a minimum of seven GCSEs with a minimum of three at Grade A / 7 , including two As / 7s from English, Maths or Science and a minimum grade B / 5 in these three subjects


  • A level: minimum grades of ABB (including Chemistry and Biology with the A grade in either)
  • GCSEs: a minimum of two at Grade 7 / A and two at Grade 5 / B in the subjects of Chemistry, Biology, Maths and English Language (in any order). 

A2B Module

To be entitled to the A2B alternative offer grades, students must complete the A2B module which is designed to help students make the transition from school to university. The A2B module consists of three elements:

  • An online study support module to help with academic writing 
  • A preparation day which will help you understand what you need to do to pass the A2B module
  • An assignment specific to the course applied for, set and marked by university tutors, completed after summer exams

Applicants applying for Medicine, Dentistry, Social Work, Nursing and Physiotherapy will also be asked to attend an interview preparation session. 

A2B students will also be invited to an enhanced induction day before starting university to offer information, advice and guidance to prepare them for their important first term. 

A2B Scholarships and Bursary

A2B Scholarship - If students successfully complete the A2B Module getting at least 75% in the skills4uni test and get the exam results needed for their standard offer (rather than the alternative A2B offer), they will be eligible for a scholarship worth £1,500 for each successful year of study at the University. 

A2B Bursary (from 2017 entry) - if students successfully complete the A2B Module and achieve the exam results needed for their alternative A2B offer they will be eligible for the A2B Bursary worth £1,000. This is awarded in the first year of study only. It is possible to be awarded both the A2B Scholarship and Bursary in addition to any other bursary or scholarship.

For both of these and our Chamberlain Award, students and their parents need to give consent for the household income to be assessed as part of their student finance application. This is so that the Funding Graduation and Awards Office can access these details in order to make any of these financial awards. 

Lloyds Scholars Programme – You may also be interested in finding out more about the Lloyds Scholars Programme which provides a complete package of financial support, paid internships and the opportunity to develop employability skills. 

Frequently Asked Questions

You may have some questions about the Access to Birmingham programme, if you do please visit our helpful FAQ pages about the A2B applications and offers and the A2B modules.

If you cannot find the answer to your question contact the A2B team who will be happy to assits you with your query. Students should include their home postcode and their current school/college in the subject line of their email enquiry.

How to apply

We ask schools and colleges to complete the application form with students.  This form should be emailed to the A2B team in the same week as submitting the UCAS application. This is particularly important for Medicine and Dentistry applicants who will be invited for a mock interview before Christmas. Please note it is important to enter A2B in the Further Details section of the UCAS application form.

  • Access to HE student A2B applications will be considered until the closing UCAS deadline of 15 January. 
  • For all other applicants we recommend applying for A2B as soon as the UCAS application is ready so that we can consider all your circumstances at the same time.

A2B offers only apply when the student has made the University of Birmingham their firm choice. If an A2B application is not successful, the applicant could still be offered a place through the standard UCAS process at the University of Birmingham and/or at other higher education institutions. 

We will only accept application forms that have come from the school A2B Coordinator directly.