Access to Birmingham (A2B)

The Access to Birmingham (A2B) programme supports applicants to the University of Birmingham, who have little or no experience of higher education, discover 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. 

What is involved in A2B?

To be entitled to the alternative offer, 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:

  • A Launch Day which will help you understand what you need to do to pass the A2B module
  • Skills4Uni, a online study support module, to help with academic writing 
  • 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 event before starting university to offer information, advice and guidance to prepare them for their important first term. 

Benefits of applying through A2B

A successful A2B applicant will receive two offers from the University of Birmingham, the standard offer and an alternative offer. The alternative offer is typically a reduction of up to two A level grades (e.g. BBB rather than AAB). For Medicine, the alternative offer is a reduction of up to three A level grades (e.g. ABB instead of A*AA).

As well as the alternative offer, students will also benefit from:

  • Continual support and guidance from an experienced and dedicated A2B team
  • Participation in the A2B Module which will prepare students for the transition to university study
  • Practice interviews for particular courses where relevant
  • The chance of a Pathways to Birmingham Bursary worth £1,000 and a Pathways to Birmingham Scholarship worth £1,500 per year of study
  • The opportunity for students to make new friends before they start at a special induction event
  • Continued support from the experienced and supportive A2B team

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


  • Has had experience of public care

Or meet at least two of the following:

  • Home postcode is in an area with low levels of progression to higher educationMeasured by POLAR3 or POLAR4 young participation quintile 1 or 2. Consideration will be given to applicants from underrepresented groups who live in a quintile 3 area. To check your postcode, visit the Office for Students postcode look-up
  • 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

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

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). 

For more information about studying Medicine at the University of Birmingham, read our recent graduate's stories who share how the A2B scheme has benefited them and their time at university.

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

If you attend Halesowen College, Swanshurst School or The University of Birmingham School, please apply via the A2B Online Portal here.

Please consider the following:

  • Early application is particularly important for Medicine and Dentistry applicants who will be invited for a mock interview before Christmas. 
  • 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. 

Hear from our A2B graduates

Students who choose the University of Birmingham through our A2B scheme have enjoyed many successes during their studies here and after they graduate. Hear more about their experiences.

Hong Kong 2018

This summer, 25 first year A2B students had the opportunity to visit Hong Kong. The trip was delivered by Study Abroad with support from DARO and Outreach, with the aim of increasing global mobility among students from widening participation backgrounds. The full cost of the trip was funded through the Alumni Impact Fund with contributions from Outreach, DARO and Study Abroad, with no expense to the students.

Whilst in Hong Kong, our A2B students undertook a weeklong leadership training delivered by Common Purpose in Hong Kong. University of Birmingham students attended alongside students from the universities of Nottingham and Hong Kong. During their free time, students had time to explore Hong Kong and all its cultural delights!

Two of our A2B students chose to document their experiences of the trip - read Georgia's blog and watch Sophie's vlog to see what they got up to!

Frequently Asked Questions

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

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





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.”