Centre for Widening Access and Participation

  • Widening Access at Ulster
    Ulster is in the top 10 UK universities for Widening Access

Welcome to the Centre for Widening Access and Participation

The Department is dedicated to maintaining the University's position as a sector leader in widening access to higher education.

Widening Access and Community Engagement Sub-Committee

The Widening Access and Community Engagement Sub-Committee (WAGESC) has a remit to keep under review and, as appropriate, advise and make recommendations in relation to the University's Access Agreement, Widening Participation Strategic Assessment and student application and entry profiles.
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Widening access and participation strategy

One of the University’s corporate goals aims to provide excellent, student-centred, flexible programmes of study which are accessible to all those who have the ability to benefit from them. Our widening access and participation strategy attests to our commitment to work in partnership with key stakeholders to allow all who can successfully participate in higher education to achieve their full potential.

Widening Access and Participation Plan 2015 - 16

The University has a longstanding record of widening access to higher education. It has consistently been successful in attracting students from socially and economically disadvantaged backgrounds and providing a supportive and flexible learning environment. Our WAP Plan 2015-16 outlines our commitment to address barriers to higher education for non-traditional and low participation sections of society.

Widening Access and Participation Plan 2016-17

Ulster University is welcoming and inclusive with a proven reputation for widening access to higher education and increasing social mobility. As a civic university we are committed to providing learning opportunities for everyone with the ability to benefit from them, and we excel in participation by those in society who are under-represented in universities generally. Read our Widening Access and Participation Plan 2016-17.

Widening Access Initiatives

The Science Shop

The Science Shop offers all University of Ulster students an opportunity to engage in a community based research or learning with a community or voluntary partner.

Community and voluntary partners across Northern Ireland in need of help put forward community based project ideas that are then offered to Ulster students, who undertake the projects as course work.

Students who engage in Science Shop activities come from a variety of disciplines including, architecture, communications, social policy, geography, business and management, law, environmental health, computing, interactive media arts and many more. All students receive a University certificate recognising their contribution to the community as well as an opportunity to win one of three Science Shop Student Awards with a total prize fund of £1,500.

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Step-Up

Step-Up is a unique and innovative interventionist programme which provides new learning opportunities in science for talented young people who live in areas of social and economic disadvantage.

The programme aims to raise pupils' aspirations, expectations and academic performance thereby enabling them to progress to Higher Education.

The programme operates successfully in the North-West of the province and actively involves the University, schools, local industry, the local hospital and government agencies in a collaborative partnership. The partner organisations contribute to the teaching of the General Certificate in Education (GCE) Applied Science formerly Advanced Vocational Certificate in Education within a highly structured programme of academic and vocational activities which are delivered in the schools and the University, and through experience in local industry and the hospital.

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Tutoring in Schools

The TiS programme places University of Ulster students in any primary, secondary or special needs school in the province and participation from regional colleges is also welcome. It provides your school with a student to work alongside your colleagues and pupils on any project you propose. Feedback received from both schools and students following placements has confirmed that this has proved to be a positive and rewarding experience.

The scheme runs in the second semester, normally from February to April, and requires students to spend either 32 hours or 50 hours in school, depending on whether they take TiS as an assessed module or as an additional university sponsored programme. In either case, their time at school is usually based around half a day or a whole day per week (pending on students University timetabling commitments). Students are cleared through the AccessNI process before they start their placement and their travelling expenses are covered by the University; schools are not required to make any financial contribution.

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Sports Outreach

Sports Outreach (SO) is our flagship community sport and physical activity unit, bringing skill, talent and energy of University staff and students to the communities in which we are based. Based in the Ulster University’s School of Sport and led by professionals in the area of physical education, sports development and community sports development, Sports Outreach (SO) facilitates a range of programmes (known as SHINE@ULSTER) aimed at widening access to sport and physical activity to young people at greatest disadvantage across the province.

For further information please see https://www.ulster.ac.uk/sportsoutreach

Looked After and Care Experienced Young People

Ulster University provides advice and support for young people who have been looked after by their local authority in foster or residential care to encourage them to apply to the University.

If you are leaving care, or have previously spent time in care for three months or more, and are thinking of applying to the University, there are a range of services that we can offer you. For example, we may be able to provide financial support, year-round accommodation, and advice and guidance from our dedicated Student Support Outreach Adviser.

Those full-time undergraduates who meet this criteria are eligible for £1,000 care leavers' bursary per year whilst studying at Ulster University.

When applying to Ulster University through UCAS, it is important to make sure you tick the box which asks if you have been in care. This will enable us to contact you at the application stage, and give you more information about the support we can provide. To read more about the UCAS Tick the Box campaign, go to https://www.fostering.net/policy-and-campaigns/campaigns/tick-the-box#.VhwdAkaD4dU

If your application is not made through UCAS, make sure you contact our Student Support Outreach Adviser, who will guide you through other application processes.

Support we offer:
  • A named contact
  • Outreach sessions or activities
  • Pre-application help if required
  • Guidance for offer holders
  • Web page for care leavers
  • Careers advice and support after graduation
Accommodation we offer:
  • A place to live all year round if required
Funding support we offer:
  • Specific funding that's just for care leavers
  • Additional funding available (such as bursaries and grants)
  • Financial advice

The following document provides further guidance in relation to 'Pathways to Further and Higher Education for Looked After and Care Experienced Young People'

Ulster University was the first FE and HE provider in NI to achieve the Buttle UK Quality Mark in August 2009. For further specific support, contact our Student Support Outreach Adviser:

Mr. Paul Cassidy
Telephone: +44 28 71675233
E-mail: p.cassidy@ulster.ac.uk