Pathway Opportunity QUB

I am from the Pathway Opportunity Programme Team at Queen’s University Belfast. Having wrapped up a really successful 2022 Pathway Opportunity Programme, we are now looking towards our 2023 programme, and are finalising the last details, such as key dates, promotional materials and information on our 13 established pathways.

We would like your help in promoting the Queen’s Pathway Opportunity Programme to your young people (in year 13 or college equivalent).  The Programme, in its 7th year, encourages and supports young people from more disadvantaged backgrounds to come to Queen’s to study.  We’re pleased that we’ve been able to grow the programme every year, starting with 3 Pathways and 60 students in 2017 to this year with 13 Pathways and 300 students.

In the Pathway Programme, young people benefit from a structured series of events designed to aid progression to Queen’s University Belfast including 5 one-day events, two sessions of self-paced coursework and a week-long summer school.  Through this process they work within one of 13 Pathway subject areas, learning more about that subject and about university life in general. The subject Pathways are:

  • AHSS Pathway (Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences)
  • BioSci Pathway (Biological Sciences)
  • Business Pathway
  • Computer Science Pathway
  • Engineering Pathway
  • Law Pathway
  • MPS Pathway (Mathematics & Physical Sciences Pathway)
  • MDBS Pathway (Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences Pathway)
  • NBE Pathway (Natural and Built Environment Pathway covering Architecture, Planning, Geography and Archaeology)
  • Nursing and Midwifery Pathway
  • Pharmacy Pathway
  • Psychology Pathway
  • Social Work Pathway

Upon successful completion of the programme the students benefit from a guaranteed conditional offer on a course at Queen’s within their Pathway subject area (aside from those on the Social Work Pathway who will only receive a grade reduction, the Nursing and Midwifery Pathway, where students will receive their first choice in their chosen field of nursing, and those hoping to study Medicine/Dentistry or the MPharm Pharmacy course, who will receive a guaranteed interview and a one grade reduction) may be eligible for a reduced offer of up to two A-level grades (or equivalent) below the standard entry offer to Queen’s (depending on performance on the programme and course selected). This along with a £1000 bursary, transition support and ongoing support while they are at Queen’s.

Students must meet eligibility criteria to apply to the programme and we would encourage that students state all areas of the criteria that they meet on their application.  Again this year, our GCSE entry requirements state that students must now have at least: 6 GCSEs (or equivalent acceptable to the University, such as BTEC) at grades A*-C, including English Language, of which 5 GCSE grades must be at grade B or above. All GCSE grades need to satisfy any requirements for the course(s) on the chosen Pathway (for example, a grade B in Maths at GCSE to study Business courses).  Again, students should ensure that they include all of the eligibility criteria they meet on the application form.

The applications will open (online) on Monday 3rd October 2022 and will close on Wednesday 2nd November 2022 at noon. After receipt of the application a teacher at your young person’s school, or a member of your organisation (as nominated by the student) will be asked to complete a “technical” reference for the young person, confirming information such as postcode, eligibility requirements and GCSE grades/A-Level subjects. Please note that this is NOT a “personal” reference and does not require a written personal recommendation, however, where there are any issues that should be taken into account (health issues, overcoming adversity, etc.) they may be noted in this reference.   This year we will also request any additional support that student normally would receive during exam and assessment conditions, such as additional time, or specific paper for dyslexia.

To encourage your young people to apply, we are offering either virtual or pre-recorded webinars, or we are more than happy to send the presentation materials to you, depending on what would work best for you and your eligible students, as we know that some organisations have benefitted from presenting the information themselves.  Alternatively, the talks will take the form of a 45 minute to one hour presentation to inform young people about the programme and motivate them to make an application.

As part of our Green Initiative at Queen’s, we are not printing physical flyers but will have numerous resources to promote the programme to the students including a full digital flyer (and also short programme flyer which can be printed double sided and provided to eligible students or the link emailed to them), the listing of courses which are available at Queen’s within each pathway, the Postcode Checker which will allow you to check if a student’s postcode meets that eligibility requirement, and lastly, our Pathway Programme website.  All of these materials will be available shortly to assist you with promoting the programme, so please let us know which resources you wish to receive, along with any requests or presentation materials you may need in order to promote the programme to your students and we will be delighted to share them with you.

We look forward to hearing from you soon, and please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any queries.