Routes to the Professions

R2PThe Routes to Professions programme offers a unique opportunity for Year 12 students to gain a real insight into university study. It focuses on specific vocational courses and provides students with tailored support through the university application process.

Students join the programme in Year 12 and receive a range of support through to Year 13. This 18-month programme has five bespoke streams to support students who are looking for a career in:

  • Medicine
  • Dentistry 
  • Law
  • Accounting and Finance 
  • Engineering  

About Routes to the Professions

Students join the Routes to the Professions programme in Year 12 and receive a range of support through to Year 13 including: careers advice, support with UCAS personal statements, interview preparation, work placement opportunities, mentoring by current undergraduate students, and the opportunity to shadow current students during lectures.

Students will be supported with the following:

  • GETTING IN - support for applications and admissions including UCAS, admissions tests and interviews
  • GETTING TO KNOW - increasing knowledge of the professions and support for securing work experience placements and making the most of these opportunities
  • DEVELOPING THE SKILLS - activities to help students develop the non-academic skills (reflection, communication, ethical debate) required for entering their chosen profession
  • BEING A TEAM - working with other Routes to the Professions students to develop team working and leadership skills
  • GETTING SUPPORT - interaction with undergraduate mentors

Opportunities within the Routes to the Professions Programme

Launch Event

Students will have the opportunity to:

  • Find out more about entry requirements and different routes into chosen profession

  • Find out about different careers in law and places of work

  • Experience a taster lecture

  • Find out more about life as a student

  • Meet current undergraduate students who will support them through the rest of the programme.

'Preparing Your University Application' Workshop

This workshop is designed to help students to prepare for their UCAS applications. Students will receive advice on different routes and careers in their chosen profession, support in developing their UCAS personal statements and guidance on admission tests. 

Student mentoring

All students will be assigned a mentor who will be a current undergraduate student. The mentor will support students with:

  • Understanding more about the demands of studying at University

  • Seeking and making the most of work experience

  • Writing a UCAS personal statement and preparing for admission tests

  • Interview preparation

  • University life

Student shadowing

Students will have the opportunity to spend a day with their mentor shadowing lectures and spending time on campus, so they can experience what it is really like to be a student at the University of Birmingham.

Clinical mentoring (Medicine and Dentistry only)

Students will also be mentored by a doctor/dentist. They will have the opportunity to discuss with their mentor what it is actually like to work in the profession, the challenges involved, the highs and the lows, and the career paths available. This will give students an invaluable insight into the profession and will help them make important decisions about their future.

Mock interviews (Medicine and Dentistry only)

This session will give students the opportunity to find out more about medical/dentistry interviews, take part in a practice interviews and receive tips on how to prepare and be successful.

Guaranteed interview (Medicine and Dentistry only)

Students who satisfactorily engage with and complete the R2P: Medicine or Dentistry programmes will be guaranteed an interview on our undergraduate MBChB or BDS programmes.

Law Court visits (Law only)

Students will visit the Birmingham Law Courts where they will have a guided tour by a member of Court staff. The visit will include a talk and the opportunity to see courtrooms, talk to a Judge and observe cases. 

Work experience opportunities

Students on the different streams of the programme will have the opportunity to spend between 3-5 days at a GP surgery, leading law, financial or industrial firm. The will get a real insight into these professions through observing day to day work, meeting and engaging with a range of professionals and developing transferable skills. 

Benefits of Routes to the Professions

Students who successfully complete the Routes to the Professions programme 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 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 be eligible for the Pathways to Birmingham Bursary worth £1,000 and an Pathways to Birmingham Scholarship worth £1,500 per year of study.

Students gain a lot of valuable experience through this programme, including:

  • Guaranteed interview on our Medicine and Surgery MBChB or Dental Surgery BDS course for students who successfully complete the R2P: Medicine / Dentistry programme and meet the following criteria:

      • Minimum GCSE threshold and have the required predicted A level grades
      • Have a strong personal statement with evidence for motivation for Medicine / Dentistry and involvement in society and,
      • Have taken the UKCAT
  • Insight into university study and exposure to experiences that will support their applications. 
  • Support to help you to prepare and make successful applications to competitive university courses
  • Develop transferable skills required to enter elite professions
  • Gain insight into professional careers and studying at university
  • A rare opportunity to shadow a current student during lectures
  • Opportunities for work experience/shadowing
  • Mentoring from current students 

What is successful completion of Routes to the Professions?

 In order to successfully complete Routes to the Professions, and be eligible for an alternative offer, you are required to:

  • Attend a minimum of 3 of the 5 events hosted by the University of Birmingham 
  • Engage with the mentoring opportunities avaliable to you through the programme 
  • Pass ‘Skills4Uni’, an online study skills quiz
  • Successfully complete a reflective activity on your experience of the programme

You will be provided with more information about each of these aspects of the programme once your place is confirmed.

Application criteria

The Routes to the Professions programme 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 following Pathways to Birmingham criteria.

To apply for Routes to the Professions, 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. 

Academic Entry Criteria

As well as meeting the eligibility criteria, we also require students to have the academic potential for studies and careers in the 5 vocational streams. The academic criteria, as used by the University of Birmingham Admissions department, is listed below:


  • Have 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
  • Minimum predicted A Level grades BBB including Biology and Chemistry


  • Have a minimum of seven GCSEs including English Language, Maths,Chemistry and Biology (or Double Award Science) at grades AABB or 7755 in any order
  • Minimum predicted A level grades BBB including Biology and Chemistry


  • Have a minimum of grade C/4 in GCSE Maths and English
  • Predicted grades of ABB at A-level or D*DD BTEC in a relevant subject (Law and Business), or Access to Higher Education in relevant subject –  60 credits overall to include at least 45 credits at level 3. This must include 21 level 3 credits at Distinction and 15 level 3 credits at Merit.

Accounting & Finance

  • A minimum of grade B/6 in GCSE Maths and grade C/4 in English
  • Predicted grades BBB at A Level or equivalent in other qualification


  • A minimum of seven GCSEs at grade A*/9-C/4 including English, Maths and Physics/Double Science
  • Predicted grades BBB at A level including Maths or DDD at BTEC Extended Diploma with sufficient Maths content/BTEC Diploma with A level Maths

How to apply

Applications for the Routes to the Professions 2018/19 programme are now closed. Students who have applied for this programme should expect to hear from the University before the end of December 2018.

Contact us

If you have any questions about the Routes to the Professions programme, please get in touch  via e-mail or phone on 0121 414 9017. 

What do our students think?

“Without Routes to the Professions I wouldn’t have got into university to study medicine. The support from my mentors and the events the programme provided prepared me for everything from interviews to personal statements.”

“Experiencing a lecture with my student mentor was not only great fun, but provided insight into what exactly the degree would be like, and what studying law would entail.”