Access to Higher Education Diploma
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About this course

If you are aged 19 or over and are interested in improving your qualifications, taking a Higher Education course or pursuing a new career, then this is the course for you!

Access courses are intended for adults who do not have A Levels or Level 3. The course enables you to prepare for, and gain entry to, degree and other Higher Education programmes. You may have some qualifications already, for example GCSEs or an A level, but not enough to get into university. You will have made a conscious decision to return to education and bring a commitment and wider life experience to your studies.

This is an extremely intensive course. You will need to be able to commit to at least 30 hours’ study per week, in college and on your own.  You should work no more than 15 hours per week, paid or voluntary work.
You will require GCSE English and Maths at Grade C or above before you start the course, as this is a requirement for nearly all university courses.  If you want to go into teaching, you will also need GCSE Science - double or single award - at grade C or above.  This is also highly desirable if you want to study for a health-related course, as Level 3 Biology is very demanding. 

The course aims to:

  • Prepare you to progress to Higher Education
  • Develop you as an independent learner
  • Provide an awareness of opportunities for personal and professional development
What will I learn?

You will need to study:

• A minimum of three academic specialist subjects
• Study Skills

Specialist subjects offered include:

• Biology
• Business Studies
• Chemistry
• English
• History
• Maths
• Physics
• Psychology
• Sociology

Not all subjects are available on all sites.

We offer the following pathways:

• Access to Health and Social Care
• Access to Education
• Access to Humanities
• Access to Business Studies
• Access to Science
• Access to Science and Engineering
• Access to Social Science

You will be supported by a personal tutor throughout the course and will have 1:1 tutorials on a regular basis.

Entry requirements

You will need:

• Commitment to study full-time for a year
• Knowledge of your intended university course
• A passion for study and a keen interest in the specialist subjects offered
• A GCSE Grade C or above in English Language and Maths

In addition to the above you must gain some relevant experience if you are intending to study for nursing, midwifery, teaching or social work as places for these courses are becoming more competitive at interview.  For some teaching courses, experience in a school is a requirement of entry.

If you are considering an Access to Higher Education Course but do not currently meet the entry criteria, our Return to Learn course provides the opportunity to study towards GCSEs in English, Maths and Science and gain entry to the Access course in September. Click here for more information.

Study, assessment and qualifications
You will be advised of the details of assessment requirements by the subject specialists. A variety of assessment are used on the course including coursework such as essays, reports, individual and group, presentations, laboratory experiments and examinations.
Additional costs and information
Books will need to be purchased. You may choose to buy some of the recommended texts, although some copies of relevant texts will be available in the Library. Some students may qualify for financial assistance from the College's Learner Support Fund to offset some of these costs.
What could I do next?

Progression options include:

• BA/BSc in any subject e.g. English, History, Psychology, Sociology
• Degree in Social Work
• Degree in Nursing/Midwifery/Physiotherapy/Occupational therapy
• Degree in Engineering/Pharmacy/Medicine
• A Higher National Diploma
• BA/BSc QTS (Qualified Teacher Status)

The range of employment opportunities is varied and will depend on which degree course you choose to take. Completing the Access to Higher Education course will enable you to pursue a career in a multitude of industries, via relevant university level studies.