Information for Students

Who is eligible for the Pathway to Healthcare programme?

Student criteria

All students interested in applying to the Pathway to Healthcare Programme will need to meet at least one of the following criteria.

  • Are entering Year 12 in September at a non-selective school/college in the Birmingham, Solihull or the Black Country region. You must have support from your school to enrol on the programme. This includes approval for time off from school/college when necessary.
  • Students must be first generation into higher education
  • Students must study Chemistry and Biology at A-Level standard
  • Students must have achieved five A* - C grades at GCSE including: Maths, English Language and Double Science or Chemistry and Biology at grade B/6. Students that do not meet this grades and are willing to retake should contact us in the first instance.
  • Students must demonstrate an active interest in pursuing a career in healthcare or medicine

They must also meet at least one of the following eligibility criteria. Priority on the programme will be given to those students who meet more than one:

  • Come from a home where neither parent attended university in the UK or abroad
  • Currently in receipt of a means tested bursary (i.e. 16 to 19 Bursary)  
  • Has been in receipt of free school meals at any point over the last six years (Ever 6)
  • Lives in an eligible postcode area (low progression rate to higher education) as confirmed on the Office for students website. Priority on the programme will be given to those students who meet POLAR 4 Quintile 1 or 2.
  • Living or has lived in local authority care

School/college criteria

To be eligible schools/colleges must meet the following:

  • Offer non-selective Post-16 education including at least Chemistry and Biology at A Level standard (or equivalent)
  • Be situated in the Birmingham, Solihull or Black Country region
  • Be in full support of their students’ application and allow students time off from school/college where necessary
  • Meet our school/college postcode criteria based on IMD Data set

Each partner institution will be expected to target students from Year 12 who meet our set criteria to apply for the Pathway to Healthcare Programme. We will review partner institutions on an annual basis to ensure they still adhere to the eligibility criteria as both a partner institution and with regards to the students that they target to apply.

Please note students who enter the Pathway to Healthcare Programme are not guaranteed a place on our MBChB medical degree or life and health sciences degrees. On successful completion of the Pathway Programme, students who wish to apply to Aston University, who fulfil all our admissions and other entry criteria, may be made a contextual conditional offer at the university. 

What's included in the programme?

Successful applicants for our innovative Sir Doug Ellis Pathway to Healthcare Programme will have access to a wide range of services and events including taster days, exam boot camps and application support sessions. All events are designed to help students expand their knowledge, develop their skills and give them an insight into what university life is really like.

Year 12

Pathway to Healthcare Launch
Find out more about the pathway programme and details of future events.

Medical Taster Days (two events)
Students will explore aspects of Medicine and the wider healthcare sector to understand the various careers within the NHS and make informed decisions about their future footsteps. Students will learn about the various subjects they can study at university to progress into healthcare professions and the employability skills candidates need to make successful applications. 

Aston University Subject Tasters
A series of workshops delivered by Aston academics to enrich students current studies and discover more about studying a subject outside of Medicine for university. These events not only allow students to explore their chosen subject area, but also the opportunity to meet our current undergraduate students to find out more about university life. 

Work experience placements – summer holidays
Work experience will be arranged for a limited number of students by Aston Medical School. Students will need to apply for a work experience placement and attend an additional ‘Preparing for Work Experience’ day at Aston University.

UCAS application day – Developing your personal brand
An interactive day of workshops where students will learn more about the UCAS application process, how to write an effective Personal Statement, choosing the right course and right university and how to develop their personal brand. 

Residential Summer School
A three day programme which allows students to embark on an interactive learning experience. Students will work in peer groups, receive lectures and workshops from our Medical School lecturers and have access to independent learning in order to complete an academic piece of research around a topical healthcare issue.

Aston University Open days
Open Days are an ideal opportunity for students, parents and advisers to explore all that Aston has to offer and to meet our friendly staff and students, as well as take part in academic sessions across the spectrum of courses available. Informative and informal, everyone is welcome to attend!

A-Level Revision Boot Camp
In order to be successful in achieving your future careers, we believe that it is vital to focus on your academic attainment as early as possible. This event is a two day A-Level revision boot camp in Chemistry or Biology. Students will learn, revise and study one subject area intensively, with the chance to review progress through assessments and 1-2-1 feedback with an A-Level teacher from that specialised subject area. 

Year 13

UCAT and UCAS application support
The UCAT (The UK Clinical Aptitude Test) session will provide up to date knowledge on the challenges of the UCAT test, as well as giving students the chance to practice the test for themselves. Staff from Aston Medical School will also be on hand to answer any questions about the general UCAS process.

MMI and interview practice
Practice Medicine Multiple Mini Interviews (MMIs) and University Admissions Interviews used by many universities for selection to competitive healthcare courses such as Medicine, Optometry and Pharmacy.

A-Level Revision Boot Camp
A three day A-Level revision boot camp in Chemistry or Biology. Students will learn, revise and study one subject area intensively, with the chance to review progress through assessments and 1-2-1 feedback with an A-Level teacher from that specialised subject area. 

Pathway to Healthcare Graduation
A celebration bringing together all of the students who have taken part in the Pathways to Healthcare Programme and celebrating their achievements.  

A Level results day support
Aston Medical School staff will be available on results day for students to talk through their future options.

Transition into Higher Education
Students will be invited back to Aston to receive top tips on arriving and surviving university.  Students intending to study at Aston University will also be invited to become an Aston Medical Student Ambassador to work with future students on the Pathway to Healthcare Programme. 

Why choose Aston's Pathway to Healthcare?
  • 84% of students on our most recent cohort have applied to study a medicine or healthcare related course at university.
  • Access to a wide range of medicine and healthcare experts to help your students decide on their future career path.
  • A Level boot camps and application preparation to ensure you are fully prepared to apply to university.
  • Make informed decisions about your future career.
  • Single points of contact at Aston University who support you throughout the university application process.

“The Pathway to Healthcare Programme has given me an insight into what university is really like and helped build my confidence about my own journey into higher education - it was a real eye-opener”.

“The Pathway to Healthcare Programme gave me the opportunity to flourish and realise my potential. It helped me develop my grades and social skills. It’s an incredible opportunity that I would highly recommend”

Former Pathway to Healthcare students 2019

How to apply?
Applications for 2019 have now closed. Applications for next year's cohort will open in September 2020.
Contact us

Any questions?

Contact us directly at or call +44 (0)121 204 4787.

Find out more

If you are interested in finding out more about the Outreach events and activities which we run at Aston University, including our other Pathway to Aston Programmes outside of healthcare subjects, please visit our central Student Recruitment and Outreach webpages, or contact us directly at or call +44 (0)121 204 4771.