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Information for Students

The Pathway Opportunity Programme for 2024 is now running.

Applications for the 2025 Programme will open in October 2024.

What subjects can I study on Pathway?

You can apply to take part in one of 13 different pathways on our 2024 programme.

Click on each below to learn more about these Pathways and meet the Academics leading the programmes.

Arts, Humanities & Social Science - including Arts English & Languages, History, Anthropology, Philosophy & Politics and Social Sciences

Biological Sciences (BioSci) - including Biological Sciences, Food and Environment

Business - including Accounting, Economics, Business Managements and International Business with a Language

Computer Science 

Engineering - including Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Electrical & Electronic Engineering and Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering


Mathematics and Physical Sciences (MPS) - including Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics

Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences (MDBS)

Natural and Built Environment (NBE)- including Archaeology, Geography, Planning and Architecture

Nursing and Midwifery



Social Work 

Each Pathway will give you the chance to study in a field of your choice, exploring everything from subject knowledge and skills to study techniques and balancing life as a student.  To find out more, click the Pathway you are most interested in to discover what it could hold for you.

Click below to download a listing the various courses at Queen's University that are available within each of the Pathway:

Pathway - Courses Available to Students 2024


Benefits, Eligibility and Applying for the Programme:

  • What are the benefits of studying on the Pathway Opportunity Programme?

    There are a number of benefits of taking part on the Pathway Programme.  As a participant, you will have the opportunity to:

    • Receive a guaranteed conditional offer or a guaranteed interview to Queen’s on a course within your Pathway subject.*
    • Receive a potential reduction of up to two A-level grades in your offer, which will be dependent on your performance in the programme and the course you apply for.*
    • Receive a £1000 Kilwaughter Minerals bursary to start you off on your studies at Queen’s University Belfast that is awarded during your first semester. 
    • Experience university level coursework in your chosen subject area.
    • Get to know some of the lecturers and staff that you’ll be working with when you arrive at Queen’s. 
    • Meet other students from across Northern Ireland and take part in workshops designed to support you.
    • Take part in a Summer School designed to introduce university and student life.
    • Develop key skills that will help you adapt and thrive in a university environment.
    • Receive ongoing support with university applications and the transition to Higher Education.


    Please note: Students on the Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Science Pathway applying to study Medicine or Dentistry will receive a guaranteed interview and, if successful at interview, will be eligible for up to a one grade reduced offer; Students on the Nursing and Midwifery Pathway applying to study a degree in Nursing (all fields) and/or Midwifery will receive a guaranteed interview and, if successful at interview, will, depending on performance on the programme, receive an offer for their first choice in their chosen field; Students on the Social Work Pathway applying to study Social Work will receive a guaranteed interview and, if successful at interview, will be eligible for up to a one grade reduced offer; and Students on the Pharmacy Pathway applying to study the Pharmacy (MPharm) course will receive a guaranteed interview and, if successful at interview, will be eligible for up to a one grade reduced offer. 

  • Am I eligible for the programme?

    If you think that the programme is something you are interested in, it’s important to consider the eligibility criteria.  You must meet all of the following criteria: 

    Section A

    • Be ordinarily resident in Northern Ireland and be in full-time attendance at a school or college in Northern Ireland.
    • Currently be in year 1 of an acceptable (to the University*) two-year Level 3 qualification such as A-Levels, BTEC etc. This means that the subjects you are currently studying meet the specific requirements for the course(s) in the Pathway you are applying to.
    • Ensure that neither of your parents 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 for the programme.
    • Have at least 6 GCSEs (or equivalent acceptable to the University**) at grades A*-C, including English Language, of which 5 of your GCSE grades must be at grade B or above. Again, GCSE grades need to satisfy any requirements for the course(s) on your Pathway.

    *A combination of A-levels and BTEC/ OCR Level 3 qualifications will be considered as per the table below which is provided for guidance based on the current entry requirements. It is important to note that for Medicine, Dentistry and Pharmacy courses Level 3 BTEC, OCR and other non A-Level qualifications are not acceptable in meeting the A-Level requirement.

    **In meeting the GCSE (or equivalent) requirement for the Pathway Opportunity Programme please note that the 5 GCSE B's requirement can be met by BBBBB but can also met by ABBBC or AABCC when we use "averaging" of an A and a C and please note also that a C* is not considered equivalent to a B in meeting this requirement. The University will accept a maximum of one non-GCSE qualification at Level 2 which can, in itself, be equivalent to up to 4 GCSEs, where a Distinction*/Distinction is equivalent to an A, Merit is a B and Pass is a C. As for Key Skills, ASDAN Certificate of Personal Effectiveness (COPE), Open College Network (OCN and OCN NI) or Princes Trust, the University acknowledges that development of transferable skills is an important aspect of both school and university education and students are encouraged to develop these whether or not it is through a formal qualification. However, the University will not consider them in satisfying the GCSE requirement for the Pathway Programme.


    In addition to the above, you must also meet at least one of the below criteria:

    Section B

    • Be eligible for or are currently receiving free school meals (FSM) and/or Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA).
    • Be the main carer for a family member or dependant.
    • Have a permanent residence postcode that is classified as being in a "disadvantaged neighbourhood” by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency. You can check the eligibility of your postcode Pathway - Postcode Checker 2024.
    • Be a Newcomer, a Refugee or an Asylum Seeker.
    • If you are care experienced or currently in the care of a Health and Social Care Trust (e.g. Foster Care, Residential Care, etc.), you are automatically offered a place on the programme provided you meet the requirements of Section A: Northern Ireland resident, 1st year of a 2 year Level 3 programme and GCSE (or equivalent) grades.

    Students applying with Asylum Seeker status may be limited to the courses for which they can apply and the benefits they receive from the programme.

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

    Before finalising your Pathway choice, it is advised that you research the courses you are most interested in on the website at in order to ensure that you meet all of the required criteria, such as A-Level subjects and GCSE requirements. 


    It is also important to check the Key Dates section to make sure you are available throughout the course - especially during our Summer Schools.

  • What do I need to do to apply for the Pathway Opportunity Programme?

    Applications for the 2024 Programme opened on Monday 2nd October 2023 and closed at noon on Monday 30th October 2023. (Applications for the 2025 Programme will open in October 2024)

    It is an online application that cannot be saved - so make sure you have all of your information with you in order to complete it at once.

    Here are a few tips to help you:

    • Type your list of qualifications and statements on a document before starting to fill in the online form - that way if there are any issues with your internet connection, you won't lose all your hard work.
    • Make sure you check that all of your subject titles and grades are accurate (do not guess what the actual qualification type and title are!).
    • Remember that the application cannot be saved, so give yourself enough time to work through it in one go.
    • Make sure you give lots of detail in the two statements, especially about yourself, your circumstances, and why you think Pathway is a good choice for you.  This is a great opportunity for the team to see why you want to be a part of the programme, so keep that in mind when you're writing about why you've chosen to apply.
    • Ensure all of your contact details are up-to-date and double check you’ve entered them correctly.
    • You should remember to contact your reference so that they will be expecting to receive the online 'Request for Teacher's Reference' which in turn will make the process much quicker.
    • Lastly, proof read over your application - make sure important details are correct, that you've said all that you want to say and that you've answered all areas of the form.

    Good luck!

  • When do I need to be available for the Programme?

    Make sure you check our Key Dates section of the website to make sure you are available throughout the programme.  Please note that there are two summer schools, one at the end of June 2024 and one at the end of July 2024.  You only attend the one for your Pathway (7 Pathways in June and 6 Pathways in July) so please do check your availability for your specific Pathway.

PHOTO: Stephen Joyce
I can say that Pathway was genuinely one of the most informative, exciting, and fun experiences I've had in relation to university. The programme offered such an honest insight into what university life would be like and really motivated me in my ambition to get to Queen's. It has been such a pleasure to see the expansion of the programme at Queen's and it has been amazing to see the students genuinely enjoy their time on Pathway as much as I did when I had the opportunity. Stephen Joyce
Medicinal Chemistry Student