The University of Southampton
Schools and colleges

Access to Southampton (A2S)

Access to Southampton is the University’s widening participation scheme. The programme includes a residential summer school, potential eligibility for an alternative admissions offer, as well as support with the transition to University and a bursary.

What is Access to Southampton?

The University of Southampton is committed to recruiting talented students who have the potential to succeed at the University regardless of their educational or social background. We recognise that A-Level grades alone cannot tell us everything about an applicant's abilities or personal circumstances.

We have developed the Access to Southampton (A2S) scheme to provide special consideration and financial support to students who meet two or more of our eligibility criteria.

Please note that applications to the programme for 2017 entry are now closed. The information below is for illustrative purposes only. Details about our A2S programme for 2018 entry will be available in Autumn 2016.


Access to Southampton (A2S) is open nationally to students living permanently in the UK. Students must apply to A2S when they are in Year 12 or the first year of A-Level (or equivalent) study. To be eligible for the A2S scheme, you should have the potential to study at the University of Southampton and meet two or more of the following criteria:

School performance tables can be found on the Department for Education website:

Postcodes can be checked for eligibility on the HEFCE Postcode Checker Postcodes in Quintiles 1 & 2 qualify for this scheme.

For more details about the eligibility criteria please read the A2S scheme guidelines.

Useful Downloads

Need the software?PDF Reader

Participating subjects

A large number of our subject areas participate in the Access to Southampton scheme. 

Unfortunately, at this time the following disciplines are not available through the scheme: Dual Field Nursing, Ecology, Economics, Environmental Sciences, Healthcare: Management Policy & Research, Medicine, Healthcare Science: Respiratory and Sleep/Cardiovascular, ITO, Midwifery, Natural Sciences, Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy, Podiatry, Web Science and programmes based at Winchester School of Art.

If you're unsure whether your subject of interest participates please contact us.

What are the benefits of Access to Southampton?

Year 12 A2S Summer School

The Summer School will provide an opportunity to see what life is like as University of Southampton student. You will attend lectures and/or seminars organised by academic tutors in your chosen discipline, as well as spend time with current University of Southampton students. You will be given information and guidance about studying at University level, the UCAS application process and writing your personal statement. You will also be set a subject-specific assignment which will need to be completed at home.

We aim to offer accommodation in our halls of residence to as many students attending the Summer School as possible. However, in the case that we have an overwhelming number of applications, priority will be given to those travelling from outside Hampshire. Transport costs can be reimbursed if required.

Please note that you must be able to attend both days of the Summer School for your chosen subject.

*Applicants to Engineering, Computer Science and Physics: Due to the diverse nature of these disciplines, the academic content of the Summer School will be based around a common theme within these different subject areas: the creative use and application of Mathematics.

A2S assignment

Completed after attending the Summer School, this independent assignment gives our admissions tutors a chance to assess your ability and potential. We understand that the transition to Higher Education is a big step and the academic assignment is an opportunity for you to see what an undergraduate piece of work will be like in your chosen discipline.

The piece of work set will be designed to test the skills necessary for your chosen degree. As such, the nature of the task will depend upon your subject. For example, for essay-based courses you will normally be required to submit a 1500 word essay. Whereas, for more Maths or Science based courses you may be required to complete problem-solving tasks or write up an experiment which you carried out during the Summer School.

Eligibility for an alternative admissions offer

Students who pass the academic assignment could be eligible for an alternative admissions offer when they apply to the University, in recognition of the additional work you have carried out and the potential you have shown. The alternative offer is normally one or two grades below the standard admissions offer for the course to which you are applying. For example, if you are applying to a course with entry requirements of AAB, an A2S offer would usually be ABB-BBB.

Access to Southampton does not guarantee an offer from the University. Admissions decisions are based on a combination of your predicted grades, content of your UCAS personal statement, UCAS reference, interview (for some courses) and the additional information provided on the A2S application forms. You must meet any standard GCSE entry requirements for the course. Any alternative offer made through A2S will be conditional upon the applicant selecting the University of Southampton as their firm choice and completing all parts of the programme.

Ongoing support

In addition to the support of the A2S Co-ordinator, upon successful completion of the academic assignment, you will receive online support from our current University of Southampton student mentors. They will give you further insight into what it's like to study at a research-intensive University by sharing articles and ideas related to their discipline. Your mentor will also be there to answer your questions about University life.

Year 13 A2S transition and skills event

When students undergo the transition from school/college to University, they are faced with a range of new experiences and challenges, from being taught and learning in different way to becoming more independent. This day of workshops will help prepare you for the transition to University life by providing information and guidance on topics including research skills, academic integrity, time management and budgeting.


Those who successfully complete the A2S programme in full and within the required deadlines will receive a £1000 bursary in their first year of study when they enrol at the University of Southampton.

How to apply

Applications for 2017 entry are now closed. The information below is for guidance purposes only.

When shortlisting applications for invitation to the Summer School we will be looking for the following:

Your application must be supported by a member of staff from your sixth form/college. This could be your personal tutor, subject teacher or another member of staff who can provide the following information:

Please note that the reference must provide the above information, in order for the A2S Team to verify your eligibility and to ascertain your suitability for the programme.


Contact us

For further information on Access to Southampton, please contact the A2S Co-ordinator:

Telephone: 02380 595696


Frequently Asked Questions

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.