Access to Birmingham (A2B)

a2b-logoThe 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. 

Everything you need to know about applying to A2B is on the website. Please read through the information carefully, including the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). You will find contact information at the end of this section if you have any additional questions. If you do need to email us please write your home postcode and your current school/college in the subject line of your email enquiry.

Application criteria

To apply, your application must be supported by a member of staff at your current school or college which is a partner in the A2B scheme. You also need to meet the following criteria:

  • You attend a partner school or college within the West Midlands.
  • Your parents have no experience of Higher Education in the UK or abroad.
  • The main income earners in your household are not in professional occupations, e.g., not teachers, doctors, solicitors or similar.
  • Your annual household income is £42,875 or less before tax.
  • Your home postcode shows that you live in an area with low levels of progression to Higher Education. 
  • You attend a non-selective state school or college which is a partner in the A2B scheme. If you are in the sixth form at a selective state school (such as a grammar school) we will take into account the context in which you achieved your GCSEs.
  • You must be classed as a Home/EU student for tuition fees.

If you have been a looked after child in local authority care for more than three months since the age of 14 you are welcome to apply through the scheme without meeting the above criteria (as long as you are studying at a partner school or college). 

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

Do let us know in your application if any circumstances such as a disability, a long-term illness or time spent caring for a member of your family has prevented you from achieving your full potential. 

You can use the following 'Postcode Checker' to give you an idea of eligibility from your postcode. Normally we would expect Quintiles 1 - 3 as shown on the checker to indicate A2B eligibility. 

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

How students should apply for the scheme

We ask schools and colleges to complete the application form with students. 

This form should be emailed to 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. 

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.

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

Please note it is important to enter A2B in the Further Details section of the UCAS application form.

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. 

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

A2B Bursary (from 2017 entry) - if you successfully complete the A2B Module and achieve the exam results needed for your alternative A2B offer you 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, you will need to ensure that you and your parents give consent for the household income to be assessed as part of your 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. 

HSBC Scholarship – 5 scholarships will be awarded to the top performing A2B student in each of the University colleges to cover their full University tuition fee. To be eligible for the HSBC scholarship you must have a household income of below £16,190. To be identified as a top performing A2B student you must achieve the standard offer for the course and achieve the highest score in the A2B online module and assignment. Students in receipt of the HSBC scholarship must be prepared to support the Outreach department in its work with the Development and Alumni Relations Office as well as its Outreach work with schools.

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 your employability skills. 

Student Experiences

Where will your degree take you?

Have you ever wondered what careers you can do if you study something like History, or Philosophy? Watch our film featuring graduates of these degrees who are making their way in the world of work.







Frequently Asked Questions

Find the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about A2B in the following document, including advice if you have received an unconditional offer: