Access and Participation

The Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry has a regional and national reputation for its widening participation work, and as part of our commitment to widening participation to medicine, dentistry and health courses, we undertake a series of initiatives in order to raise aspirations and awareness. 

The main aim is to help target and support the least likely but most able students, regardless of their background. 

From an access perspective, the student lifecycle now commences much earlier’, and our programme starts at primary school age to help children think about a career in healthcare and what this means. 

The Peninsula Pathways to the Healthcare Professions Programme then continues the support to help them work up to the application and admissions process.

British Science Week

As part of British Science Week, we invite schools to take part in our ‘Science Lab for Schools’ programme where as a year nine you will get to meet staff and students carrying out research into diseases such as cancer, and take part in laboratory-based activities using medical research techniques. Extract DNA from a banana, learn how we culture cells and see how the fruit fly model helps us understand human disease.

"The staff were exceptionally kind and supportive. They really helped us understand and we learnt a lot during the time we spent here."

Year nine pupil feedback

Nuffield Research placements

Over 1,000 opportunities are available annually to work alongside scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians as part of the Nuffield Foundation’s Research placements. If you are 16 plus and in the first year of your science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) course you are eligible to apply. Placements are available across the UK including with us.

As a Nuffield Research placement holder at the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, you will have the opportunity to spend up to six weeks working on your own project alongside our researchers in our research laboratory. To apply or to find out more about the scheme visit the Nuffield website: or contact the regional co-ordinator Rachel Delourme. Email:

Outreach events

Students on the human and health programmes have an opportunity to become involved in outreach events for primary and secondary school children, and the wider public.

Our students are involved in promoting and generating interest in science at the Scitech Showcase event, Big Bang South West, Pathways to Health, and many more.

Peninsula Pathways

As part of the Peninsula Pathways to the Healthcare Professions, we offer further support and guidance to potential students considering a career in medicine or dentistry from backgrounds which are under-represented in higher education through various engagement in activities and events. 

Students are recruited from schools and colleges in the South West of England region.

Devon and Cornwall Children’s University

If you are aged between 5–14 years old the Children’s University offers a 'Passport to Learning' where you can travel to various learning destinations and collect hours of learning towards nationally recognised awards.

As part of this national scheme to raise aspirations and encourage engagement with learning, the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry in partnership with Plymouth Children’s University offer as a ‘learning destination’ workshops to children. The aspiration building activities cover topics such as a Teddy Bear Hospital workshop and Asthma and Airways.

You will be rewarded for your participation at a graduation ceremony with the University of Plymouth.

Millfields Inspired

Created by the Millfields Trust, Millfields Inspired is a charity working with six primary schools in the Stonehouse area of Plymouth. 

The charity aims to get Year 5 students thinking about the world of education and work. 

Supported by the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry this programme, if you are a Year 5 pupil from these schools, you may be invited to take part in various hands-on workshop based activities.

The programme is delivered by our own students with a strong, positive message to the pupils taking part – that this could be them in the not too distant future, helping to make future opportunities very realistic and achievable.

Widening Access to Medical and Dental School (WAMS and WADS)

You shouldn’t feel that you can’t pursue your ambition to be a doctor or dentist because of your family or school circumstances. 

Widening Participation inspiring and encouraging school students to apply to medical and dental school.

Find out more about WAMS and WADS

e-Mentoring Scheme

It is so nice to know that someone is there for any questions that pop up or any support or guidance that I may need.

Mentee, Year 11 pupil, Truro School

Find out more about the e-Mentoring Scheme

Get a head start through the Children’s University

The Children’s University is a national initiative for children aged 5–14. Children will have the opportunity to attend thought-provoking lectures and engaging activities outside of school hours. The programme covers a wide range of subject areas including art, science, medicine and dentistry.

The Children’s University introduces children to the joy of learning, develops their confidence and helps build aspirations for bright futures.

Find out more about the Children’s University