Manchester Distance Access Scheme

The Manchester Distance Access Scheme (MDAS) is a national online access scheme for students who are currently holding an offer from The University of Manchester for a place on a selection of courses.

The scheme consists of two elements, a study skills module to help you develop university style learning skills and an academic assignment to help you prepare for studying your course. This will include regular communication with an academic tutor or member of staff; research and reading; the submission of an initial draft, detailed plan or test on which you’ll receive feedback for future improvement prior to final submission.


Benefits of participating in MDAS include:

  • An opportunity to receive university teaching before starting your course;
  • A chance to improve your academic skills in preparation for university study;
  • Upon successful completion of the scheme you’ll receive a one-grade reduction in your current offer from The University of Manchester (made at the discretion of your Academic School).

How do I apply?

If you have received an offer on a course participating in MDAS then your Academic School (the department that ‘owns’ your degree programme) might wait until you respond (by making your University of Manchester course your firm choice) to then contact you with information on how to sign up to take part in the scheme. Depending on the course you have applied for, your Academic School should be in contact with you either at the beginning of April or the end of May.

Alternatively, MDAS might be included  in your UCAS offer, in which case all you would have to do is fill out the survey in this link.


To participate in the scheme, you’ll need to hold an offer from The University of Manchester. If you choose Manchester as your ‘Firm’ choice, you’ll be able to participate in the Mini Degree Module and complete the scheme.

MDAS is open to students who meet certain background criteria, you’ll need to:

  • Permanently reside in the UK;
  • Be studying at a UK education provider;
  • Have an offer to start a course at The University of Manchester in September 2023;
  • Live in an area with low progression to higher education, or is indicated as a less advantaged neighbourhood;
  • Have not attended an independent or fee-paying school;
  • Not already hold a higher education qualification;
  • Not be taking the Access to Higher Education qualification;
  • Have not completed the Manchester Access Programme;
  • Be under the age of 21.

In order to participate, you’ll need to:

  • Select a University of Manchester course participating in MDAS as your ‘Firm’ choice (see a list here);
  • Be available to complete online work from late April to the beginning of August 2023.
Please note: This information is accurate for MDAS 2023 and is subject to change for MDAS 2024. 

Find out more

To find out more about MDAS, including which degree courses are participating in the scheme this year, please visit the MDAS website.

If you have any further questions, please contact the MDAS team by email at

This information is accurate as of September 2022 and is subject to change.