Imperial College London Widening participation

By | 15th June 2017

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Imperial College London Widening participation

Widening participation in higher education is a major component of government education policy in the United Kingdom and Europe. It consists of an attempt to increase not only the numbers of young people entering higher education, but also the proportion from under-represented groups (those from lower income families, people with disabilities and some ethnic minorities).

In this way it is hoped to redress the inequalities in participation between social classes. Widening participation is one of the strategic objectives of the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE). The issue of widening participation became a political issue after the Laura Spence Affair which hit the headlines in 2000 and after the 2003 University of Bristol admissions row which concerned alleged biases in favour of the state sector.

HEFCE is pursuing this policy through a number of measures, including the payment of financial incentives to universities and by funding the Aimhigher programme.

Pathways to Medicine

Undergraduate medicine students on campus

This three-year programme is for highly motivated state-school students from low and middle-income homes who have the academic potential to achieve the grades for medical school.

It aims to provide them with subject-specific support and guidance as they take their first steps towards a medical career.

What does Pathways to Medicine involve?

Pathways to Medicine consists of activities that run throughout Years 11, 12 and 13 to help prospective students make strong and informed applications to study medicine at university.

Activities include:

  • informative talks by admissions tutors and medical students at Imperial
  • e-mentoring with current Imperial medical students
  • a summer school at the College during year 2 of the programme and personal statement advice

All Pathways to Medicine students are also guaranteed work experience in a healthcare setting.

Who can apply?

Registration is only open to students who meet all of the following criteria:

  • Are in Y11 at time of application
  • Attend a non-selective state school
  • Live and attend school within the M25 (and able to travel to South Kensington campus)
  • Are able to provide contact details for teacher who can provide references for applicants from your school

See our application information page to find out more about who we’re looking for.

If you meet this criteria and would like to find out more about the application process, or you would like to register your interest, please email

Please provide the following details:

  • the programme you are interested in
  • your current school year
  • the name of the school you attend
  • the email address of a suitable contact teacher

Imperial College London Widening participation

When do applications open?

Applications are now closed for 2016–2017. They will re-open in November 2017 for the next cohort of Year 11 students.

Who is the programme run by?

The programme is delivered by Imperial in partnership with the Sutton Trust, Health Education England and the Medical Schools Council.

It is also supported by Vision – a student-run medical society in Imperial College Union, which aims to widen participation in medicine. Students from the society provide ongoing mentoring support to Pathways to Medicine participants, as well as organising events that give the students an idea of what it is like to study medicine at university.