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School of Geography

Stepping Stones Programme

Widening Participation through our Stepping Stones Programme

Stepping Stones mentors and mentees 2018
Stepping Stones mentors and mentees 2018

The School of Geography at Queen Mary University of London supports prospective students from groups who may experience social and economic barriers to accessing Higher Education through our Widening Participation programme Stepping Stones.

The Stepping Stones Programme, which has been running since 2014, is a guided introduction to university life and studying Geography at university. Throughout the programme students will be introduced to the experience of studying  at university, along with what to expect from a geography degree as well as other related degree programme such as Environmental Science and Global Development.

As part of this structured programme, we have incorporated a presentation-focused activity for students to complete. In 2023, we observed some excellent presentations from students at Mulberry Girls Sixth Form and Central Foundation Girls Sixth Form, covering topics such as the expansion of ULEZ in London, the neglect of public green areas and plants and climate change.

Students who successfully complete the programme and any related set work will be eligible for a reduced A level offer, should they apply to study a degree programme within the School of Geography at Queen Mary University of London.

This includes our following degree programmes:

  • Global Development BA
  • Human Geography BA
  • Geography BA
  • Geography BSc
  • Geography with Business Management BSc
  • Environmental Science BSc and
  • Environmental Science with Business Management BSc

We are very proud that we have several undergraduates now in the School of Geography who successfully completed the Stepping Stones programme when they were at school.


Programme dates for 2024

The Programme will take place at our Mile End campus over the course of four days.

Please note that the timetable provided may change. If your application is successful, we'll keep you informed of any updates.

Day 1

Monday 22 April

4:30pm – 6:30pm

Day 2

Friday 26 April

4:30pm – 6:30pm

Day 3

Thursday 9 May

4:30pm – 6:30pm

Day 4

Tuesday 14 May

4:30pm – 6:30pm



When deciding which applicants can participate in the Stepping Stones Programme, a number of eligibility criteria will be considered alongside your supporting statement.

Applicants are eligible for participation in this programme on the basis that they meet all 'Required Criteria', and at least one of the 'Additional Criteria'.

Required criteria

  • I am in Year 12 and studying Geography

Additional criteria

  • I am in receipt of (or entitled to) free school meals / 16-19 bursary / pupil premium funding
  • Neither of my parents or carers has attended university in the UK or abroad
  • I have lived in local authority care for a period of at least 13 weeks
  • I am estranged from my family or living independently / with friends
  • I am a young carer
  • I am a refugee or asylum seeker
  • I am disabled and in receipt of (or entitled to) personal independence payments or disability living allowance
  • I attend a school whose GCSE performance is below the England average. To understand your school's overall GCSE performance, you can go here. You can ask a teacher or adviser to help you with understanding this, if necessary.
  • I attend one of the Queen Mary sponsored academy schools. Queen Mary's sponsored academy schools are Royal Greenwich Trust School, St Paul's Way Trust School and Drapers Academy.

Click here to apply



If you would like to discuss any of the above items further with a member of the Stepping Stones Programme team, please email:

Additional support

QMUL offers a comprehensive programme of widening participation support and activities to students and schools in 11 London boroughs. You can find out more about these opportunities through QMUL’s widening participation team.


“Stepping Stones has helped me by boosting my confidence whilst taking me out of my comfort zone. I have a better insight now into studying geography at university. Thank you to our wonderful mentors who have really helped us.”
"I wanted to get a feel of whether geography was right for me. Achieved."
"The sessions were helpful as I learnt the different types of degrees you can take that relate to geography"
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