Interested in Science, Technology, Engineering or Maths? Or are you just not sure which subject to pursue at higher education?

Pathways to STEM is a programme that looks to inspire and support students to explore the range of STEM courses and careers available to them. A programme designed to build the essential knowledge, skills and confidence required to go on to higher education and the world of work. This is achieved through a range of experience on the programme, from work placements and mentoring to academic taster sessions and skills workshops.

The programme launched in 2015 by the Sutton Trust and Kusuma Trust. Pathways to STEM was designed to address the skills gap in STEM related careers. The programme aims to raise student’s aspirations and allow them to make informed decision about their future career.

Applications for 2018/19 are now closed.


The Trust have teamed up with 2 universities to deliver the programme.
The Pathways to STEM programme supports 100 students a year
300 students are estimated to take part in the programme from 2017-2020.

Whilst each university has a unique way of delivering the programme, every Pathways to STEM student will be offered:

  • Work exposure days in the STEM sector

  • A programme of after-school and weekend events

  • E-mentoring from a university undergraduate currently studying a STEM subject

  • The chance to attend a summer residential packed with talks, activities and skills workshops


Students applying to Pathways to STEM must meet the following criteria:

  • Attend, and have always attended, a state-funded, non fee-paying school/college

  • Be in Year 12 at the start of the programme

  • Have achieved 5 A* – B grades at GCSE (with a minimum of 2 A* or A grades), including grades 9 – 6 in Mathematics and English

  • Live within a reasonable commuting distance of the university to which you are applying

In addition, we are looking for students who:

  • Would be the first generation in their family to attend university

  • Have been in receipt of Free School Meals whilst at secondary school

  • Have attended schools with a lower than average progression to higher education, or a higher than average proportion of students who qualify for Free School Meals

  • Have parent(s)/guardian(s) who qualify for means-tested benefits

  • Have been looked after or in care

*The more of these criteria you meet, the more likely it is that you will be offered a place on the programme.


Pathways STEM runs for two academic years. It starts during the first term of Year 12 and finishes in the final term of Year 13. The programme is run in conjunction with the following universities:

University of Nottingham

University of York


Applications for Pathways to STEM are currently closed.


The most useful aspect was learning about life at university and what certain degrees can lead to in the world of work.

Pathways Student

The day in the life of a STEM student gave me a very clear insight into university life.

Pathways Student


The cost associated with being on the programme (travel and accommodation) are covered by the Sutton Trust and our partner universities.

All students are offered the opportunity to take part in a work experience placement appropriate to the Pathways programme that they are on.

No, you can apply to and attend one Sutton Trust programme. This is to make sure as many students as possible benefit from the programmes. Any duplicate applications will be deleted.

Applications for Pathways to STEM will open on Friday August 25th, and will close on Wednesday November 1st.

All students are required to live within an hour’s commute from the delivery university in order to make involvement in the various sessions and activities manageable. If you are not within this proximity it might be worth considering the Sutton Trust UK Summer Schools which are national rather than regional programmes.

You can apply, but you should be aware that our Pathways programmes are often oversubscribed – If you do not meet the academic criteria your application is less likely to be successful.

If you do not meet the academic criteria but there are extenuating circumstances to explain this, please ask your teacher to provide details when they verify your application.

The Sutton Trust is not a grant / scholarship making charity. We cannot financially support our students following at Pathways Programme, though there are many other sources of financial support available, some of which may be specific to the university you go to and which your university may be able to advise on.

The Sutton Trust programmes are for highly able state school or college (non-fee-paying) students only. Applications from students studying at private/independent (fee-paying) schools will not be considered, even if you receive a scholarship or bursary in to cover the fees. Some universities will show flexibility if you are currently in or have been in care.

If you are unsure whether your school is eligible, please visit www.schoolguide.co.uk to check. If your school is listed as ‘Independent’, it is not eligible.

There is space on the UCAS form to indicate any involvement in a university access programme (which all the Sutton Trust programmes are). Some universities will give preference or reduced offers to students who have attended these, however this is not the case for all universities. We also stress that this should not be a determining factor for you to attend a Pathways programme. Your motivation for attending should be aligned to the aims and objectives of the programme.