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Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the Pathway Opportunity Programme?

    The Pathway Opportunity Programme is a route for talented young people from Northern Ireland who have the ability to study at Queen's University but may require additional support and encouragement to reach their full potential.

    Throughout Year 13 and 14, you will benefit from a structured series of events designed to aid progression to Queen's University, including receiving admissions guidance and support. You will also participate in a residential assessed summer school at the end of Year 13. Participants who successfully complete the programme will benefit with a guaranteed conditional offer in a course within their Pathway and potentially benefit from receiving a reduced grade offer for a programme of study at Queen's University, which may be up to two A-level grades lower than the standard offer.

    Queen's University has selected eight Pathway subject areas as part of the Pathway Opportunity Programme:

    • AHSS (Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences)
    • BioSci (Biological Sciences)
    • Business
    • Computer Science
    • Engineering
    • Law
    • Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Science
    • Natural and Built Environment (including Architecture, Planning, Geography and Archaeology)
  • What will the Pathway Opportunity Programme involve?

    Pathway Opportunity Programme participants will take part in a series of workshops, masterclasses and seminars which will be delivered either on campus or online via our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). Participants will complete an assessed summer school which will take place in June or July 2020 for five nights on the Queen's campus. The summer school is a residential event with all participants expected to stay on campus for the duration of the summer school. Participants must successfully complete all elements of the programme to be eligible for the guaranteed conditional offer and any potential reduction in undergraduate admission offer.

  • Am I eligible for a place on the Pathway Opportunity Programme?

    To be eligible for the Pathway Opportunity Programme, you must meet all the following section A criteria:

    Section A Criteria:

    • You must be ordinarily resident in Northern Ireland and be in full-time attendance at a school or college in Northern Ireland.
    • You must currently be in year 1 of an acceptable (to the University) two-year Level 3 qualification such as A-Levels, BTEC etc. *
    • Neither of your parents must have attended university nor obtained an undergraduate degree (or equivalent) in the UK, Ireland or abroad. However if a parent is currently studying for their first degree or has graduated within the last 5 years your application will still be considered.
    • You must have at least 7 GCSEs (or equivalent acceptable to the University, such as BTEC) at grades A*-C, including English Language, of which 5 must be at grade B or above. *

    In addition to the above criteria in section A, we are looking for students who meet at least one of the following Section B criteria:

     Section B criteria:

    • You are eligible or are currently receiving free school meals (FSM) and/or Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA).
    • You are the main carer for a family member or dependant.
    • Your permanent residence postcode is classified as being in a “disadvantaged neighbourhood” by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency.
    • If you are care experienced or currently in the care of a Health and Social Care Trust, you are automatically offered a place on the programme provided you meet the academic requirements of Section A: Northern Ireland resident, 1st year of a 2 year Level 3 programme and GCSE (or equivalent) grades.

    Queen’s University welcomes applications from students with a disability or long term condition.

    * You are required to meet any specific subject requirements for the course you are applying to. We advise you to research course specific entry requirements via our Course Finder on our website ( prior to application.

  • How can I apply for a place on the Pathway Opportunity Programme?

    Applications for the 2020 Pathway Opportunity Programme are now closed. Applications for the 2021 programme will open in October 2020.

  • Are the subjects I am studying accepted by my chosen course pathway?

    Queen's University Belfast accepts a wide range of qualifications and subjects. To find out more about specific entrance requirements for each individual course pathway, please refer to Entrance requirements vary between courses and are subject to change.

  • Why are there only eight course pathways accessible through the Pathway Opportunity Programme?

    There are currently only eight course pathways to choose from. It is anticipated that further subject pathways will be added for the 2021 programme.

  • Do I need to be resident for the duration of the summer school?

    All participants must be resident for the duration of the summer school to facilitate engagement with the programme and in particular the assessment component. If you have exceptional circumstances that may prevent you from taking part in the residential element, please contact the Widening Participation Unit on 028 9097 5020 or email

  • Where will I stay while at the summer school?

    During the summer residentail, students will be staying at Queen's Elms Village, Malone Road, Belfast (QUB Student Accommodation), where each participant in the programme will have their own bedroom with private bathroom for the duration of the residential. All accommodation and catering costs will be paid for by Queen's University.

  • Will I have any free time while at the summer school?

    Free time will vary depending on the Pathway subject, as the coursework for each subject will be delivered differently. Learning activities are scheduled from 9:30am until 4:30pm with dinner every evening at or around 6:00pm. There will be plenty of opportunities  to socialise with other participants during the evenings while at the summer residential through group activities which usually run from 7.00pm until 9:00pm.

  • What will the assessment undertaken at the summer residential involve?

    The assessment will vary depending on your Pathway subject, and may involve undertaking research, reading articles, writing a report or essay, undertaking group work exercises, or delivering a presentation.

  • I have already submitted my application, and need to make changes to it. What do I do?

    If you need to make any changes to your application, please contact the Widening Participation team on 028 9097 5020 or email

  • What do I do if I am not successful in gaining a place on the Pathway opportunity Programme?

    Even if you have not been successful in gaining a place on the Pathway Opportunity Programme, we strongly encourage you to apply to study at Queen's University through the UCAS system. Your application will be treated in the same way as all other UCAS applications.

  • Do I have to apply to Queen's University after doing this programme?

    No, you may decide that Queen's University is not for you after completing this programme and can apply to any University you choose. However you will only qualify for the guaranteed offer if you make Queen's University your firm choice (CF) or insurance choice (CI) with UCAS in one of the specified courses in your Pathway subject. You will be given more in depth guidance about the UCAS process during the scheme.

  • What courses can I study at Queen's University within my chosen Pathway?

    Pathway students may apply to study at Queen's University in a number of different courses within their Pathway. To be eligible for the guaranteed conditional offer and potential grade reduction, the student must select one of these course as their Firm (CF) or Insurance (CI) choice on UCAS.  Please download the listing of courses for all of the Pathways below:

    Courses Available for Students 2020

    Other courses may be available in those subject areas and in all the other subject areas at Queen's. Pathway students may apply onto courses that appeal to them that are outside the above list of courses, however they will not receive the guaranteed conditional offer nor the potential grade reduction for these other courses.