National Access 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 in Year 12 when they apply. If your school is in the West Midlands region, and is a partner in our Pathways to Birmingham scheme, please apply for the Academic Enrichment Programme instead.

Applications for the 2024 programme will open in early 2024. We are no longer accepting applications for 2023.

About the National Access Summer School

The residential will run 20-23 August 2023 just after Year 12 is finished, with the aim to give each student a chance to experience first-hand what life studying and living at a research-led university is like. 

Students spend four days and three nights in the University halls of residence and attend 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 undergraduate student ambassadors on hand to provide advice and support within a relevant academic stream.

There are three broad academic streams that applicants can choose from. The stream of choice 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, and more
  • Biological and Health Sciences: Physiotherapy, Medicine, Dentistry, Nursing, Biology, Biomedical Material Science, Chemistry, and more
  • Engineering: Civil, Electronic, Electrical and Systems, Aerospace, Chemical, Materials Science, Nuclear Engineering, and more

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 and:

  • An alternate offer to study at Birmingham which is typically two A level grades below the standard offer for the course (e.g. BBB rather than AAB)
  • Guaranteed interviews for Medicine, Dentistry, and Nursing
  • A suite of scholarships and bursaries

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

  • Taster lectures from a range of academic disciplines
  • First-hand experience of living in university accommodation and socialising with like-minded students
  • 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 a Russell Group institution like 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 on our Pathways page.

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 POLAR 4 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.

Contact us

If you have any questions about the National Access Summer School, please email