Widening participation

Widening participation in higher education, particularly enabling fairer access to an education at the Faculty for talented students regardless of their background, is central to our values.

The aim of widening participation is to make sure the Faculty's student body is as diverse as possible by supporting students from backgrounds where people do not generally go onto a university education.

A number of schemes and projects are offered to help young people first to think about careers in biology, medicine and health, and then to help them work up to the application and, finally, through the admissions process.

Knowing that a young person is from a widening participation background means we can offer specific and sometimes extra help and support. Both the University and Faculty run widening participation events for young people, their parents and teachers throughout the year.

Eligible pupils may be able to receive:

  • practical advice to understand what studying at university means;
  • advice about money and finances;
  • advice and information on the admissions processes, and what people need to do before going to university;
  • the chance to speak to members of staff who teach healthcare courses;
  • the chance to speak to students from widening participation backgrounds who are studying healthcare courses.

Eligibility for widening participation

Some schools already know if they are in a widening participation area, as these are defined by the government based on social and economic data.

However, students can still come from widening participation backgrounds even if they attend schools not officially designated as widening participation, such as grammar schools.

The following criteria help us to know if young people are from a widening participation background:

  • if they are the first in the family to go to university;
  • if they have been in receipt of free school meals;
  • if they have been in care services;
  • if they come from a community that has a low number of students who go to university.

Find out more about how we consider students' applications taking the above criteria into account.

If you are unsure about whether or not your school or a particular student is from a widening participation area or background, then please contact us for more information.


The University offers a package of financial support for students, with bursaries available to some students. For further details, see the student finance page on the University website.

Foundation years

Foundation (Year 0) courses are available in:

These foundation year courses, run jointly with Xaverian Sixth Form College, seek to attract applicants from non-traditional backgrounds.

They have been designed to meet the needs of a broad range of applicants by combining core course units and options to provide appropriate learning opportunities for a diverse range of students.

Widening access to Medicine

Learn about our activities to help pupils to learn more about and apply to Medicine courses, including support through access programmes: Widening access to Medicine at Manchester.

Global Graduates scheme

The University's Global Graduates scheme sends successful student applicants to countries around the world to meet alumni based in cities such as New York, Hong Kong and Singapore - and most of the students on the scheme come from a widening participation background.

Events for young people, parents and teachers

We have a range of subject-specific activities and events for secondary school and college students, including Discover Days for Year 12 students looking to find out more about specific areas of study.

There are also university events aimed at teachers and advisers and parents and supporters. We also run Faculty-specific events – please contact us for further information about these.

Contact us

If you have a query about the widening participation activities the Faculty offers, please get in touch with Jose Puello by emailing jose.puello@manchester.ac.uk.