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Access to Higher Education & Social Sciences

Access to Higher Education: Your Fast-Track Route to University

Want to study at university, but lack the necessary qualifications? Then choose a one-year Access to Higher Education (HE) Diploma!


Nationally recognised and the equivalent of THREE A Levels, the flexible style of study suits adults leading busy lives; for some courses, we offer evening provision, fitting around your other commitments. Throughout your course, we’ll provide friendly support, expert advice and guidance – you may have been out of education for a while, and we want to ensure that your college experience is positive, enjoyable and successful.  When it comes to fees, you can pay for the cost of your course with an Advanced Learner Loan - progress to university and successfully complete your course and you won’t have to pay a penny back!

We also offer short taster courses to give you a sample of criminology, psychology and social science - an ideal introduction to the subjects. 


View our Access to Higher Education programmes below...

  • What is an Access to Higher Education (HE) course?

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    Access to HE courses prepare adults for study at university level.


    Courses are designed, in particular, for people who have been out of education for some time, especially those who left school with too few qualifications to be able to go straight to university.


    Access to HE courses provide a good foundation in the knowledge and skills required for studying at university level, so that students are confident and well prepared when they go on to higher education. In order to use the title ‘Access to HE’ a course must be recognised by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA).

  • What does an Access to HE Diploma involve?

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    An Access to HE Diploma course involves completing a certain set of units of study which are relevant to the overall Diploma subject. The whole package of units is designed to equip students for university level study in that subject or subject area.


    The detail of course content on individual courses depends on the subject of the Diploma, but all courses require study of relevant academic subject(s) at university entry level give students the opportunity to learn how to approach study at university level and develop techniques to help them to be successful students.

  • Do you have various Access to HE subjects?

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    Yes! Courses leading to the Access to HE Diploma are available in many different subjects, providing preparation for a wide range of university programmes. We offer:


    • Business Management
    • Computing & ICT
    • Nursing & Health Professions
    • Primary Teaching & Education Professions
    • Science
    • Social Sciences
    • Social Work



  • What qualifications do I need to join?

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    You will need English and Maths GCSE at grade 4 (C) or above and may require additional GCSEs if they are required for entry to your chosen university course. You are advised to investigate potential university progression routes to establish specific entry requirements they may require. If you are currently undertaking your GCSE qualifications in English and/or Maths the appropriate grades as outlined above will need to be achieved before the start of the course.

    All applicants are interviewed prior to acceptance on the course, and this is a two-stage process. You will be asked to complete a written assessment during the first part of the interview, which assesses your academic reading and writing ability to ensure you are at a level suitable for study at Level 3. You will then be invited for a 1-to-1 interview with a course tutor to establish the suitability of your chosen pathway for your intended progression route. 

  • Thinking of applying for an Advanced Learner Loan?

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    If you're thinking of applying for an Advanced Learner Loan to fund your Access course, you should first check your eligibility here.




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    Please note, the award of the Access to HE Diploma does not provide guaranteed entry to UK HE programmes – before applying for an Access to HE programme, please speak to your chosen Higher Education provider to ensure that the Access to HE Diploma award meets their entry requirements.

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