Research-Based Curricula or RBCs are short tutorial courses designed based on real research in key subject areas, each written by a PhD researcher and expert in that topic. 

They are a chance for you to gain 'stretch' experience and build independent research and learning skills, which can be used to demonstrate your sincere subject interest and dedication -- something universities look for when you apply. This is similar to the work required for a university course or module, so this is a great activity to mention in your UCAS application as an example of your subject interest and being university-ready.


The RBC course library linked below is an *open and free* series of courses designed for self-guided learning that students can take advantage of.

Each course book, with data resources and activities, can also provide a great series of ready-made mini-lessons and actvities for teachers to use in their remote learning. 

We hope teachers will feel free to use these packs where possible and share them with students and parents. 

Access the Course Books - Our RBC Libraries

Arts and Humanities Library

Social Sciences Library

STEM Library

What are they?

  • Subject tutorial packs (PDF) for students to complete either with the guidance of a teacher or on their own  
  • Six 1-hour modules and a final assignment in each
  • Helps students build university skills and can be used as a critical subject experience to mention in a UCAS personal statement 
  • Supports attainment and subject understanding 
  • Develops critical thinking, problem-solving skills, data analysis skills, long-form writing and more

Who are they for?

  • Key Stage 4 or 5 students depending on the pack
  • Teachers can take lesson and activity ideas from these, or suggest them as extracurricular assignments
  • Useful for specifically for Years 10 and 11 in gaining stretch and prepare for A-level style learning 
  • Useful for 12 and 13 to build expertise and unique subject experience universities will be looking for 
  • They are also great inspiration or precursor for any students completing an EPQ (extended-project qualification)

Please note that many of the tutorial packs cover more than one school subject, for example, geography and statistics together. This is called interdisciplinary study and it is very common at university. Indeed, being able to demonstrate that you have engaged with 'interdisciplinary' study is likely to strengthen your UCAS application.

Support for Teachers

Click here for an overview of RBCs

Your school is eligible for free access to the RBC coursebooks as part of partnerships with UK universities and local National Collaborative Outreach Programmes (NCOPs). Please click on the following links to see the tutorial packs:

University Of Reading

Cumbria (HelloFutures)- Uni Connect

East Midlands  (Dancop)- Uni Connect

South Yorkshire (HeppSY+0- Uni Connect

Teachers at schools in Cumbria, the East Midlands and South Yorkshire may have opportunities for additional support, such as training and webinars.

>>> Need help or want to explore how your university can be a part of the Research-Based Curricula programme?
Contact us at [email protected]