An Access to Higher Education qualification could get you into university in just 33 weeks. Courses include, science, social science, medicine & medical sciences, forensics & criminology and education & childhood studies.

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Seven Reasons to Study an Access to Higher Education Diploma

It's recognised and accepted by universities

Whilst A Levels are commonly thought to be the main route to university, an Access to HE Diploma can get you there too. The diploma is equivalent to three A-Levels and is worth between 44 and 148 UCAS Tariff points that can be used towards your university application.

Specialist support and guidance is on hand to support learners throughout the application process and to ensure you arrive at fresher’s week fully prepared for university life.

There's a subject for everyone

Access to HE Diplomas are available in a range of subjects, including science, social science, forensics & criminology, and education & childhood studies. The variety of options means that there is an Access to HE diploma for you, depending on the subject you would like to study at degree level. Not only will you build knowledge in your specialist subject, but you’ll build skills and confidence, ready for university.

They’re designed for those returning to education

Unlike other post-16 qualifications, an Access to HE Diploma is designed specifically for those returning to education. Students learn in a supportive environment and have access to additional writing tuition to make sure that they’re ready for degree-level study.

Many Access to HE courses offer part-time and full-time study options, meaning that you can fit it around your schedule and commitments, making university accessible to everyone.

Perfect for those who didn’t get the grades the first time

Results day can be stressful, especially if you don’t get the grades you were hoping for. However, all is not lost! An Access to HE Diploma takes one year to complete full time and gives you another opportunity to get into university without having to retake A-Levels.

Ongoing Assessment

Most of us don’t like the thought of end of course tests and the pressure that comes with them, however, by studying an Access to HE Diploma, you will be assessed by a number of assignments throughout the course.

It may not cost anything

Learners on an Access to HE Diploma course have access to an Advanced Learner Loan to cover the cost of the course. The bonus is that Student Finance England will write off any outstanding balance on an Advanced Learner Loan for an Access to HE diploma once you graduate from university. A great reward for all your hard work! If you are 19-23 years old and have not already achieved a full level 3 qualification, your Access to HE diploma may be free.

Minimal entry requirements

You may only need level 2 qualifications in English and maths to join an Access to HE Diploma. Please note that some degree courses may require GCSEs rather than Functional Skills qualifications.

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Subject Areas & Career Pathways

Study all three science disciplines equally to give a balanced view of skills to enable progression to science based degree programmes.

Related Careers

  • Scientist
  • Geologist
  • Meteorologist
  • Laboratory Technician
  • Environmental Scientist
  • Astronomer

Progress onto a range of degree level programmes including a focus on sociology, psychology and criminology which underpin most social science degrees.

Related Careers

  • Psychologist
  • Social Worker
  • Advisor
  • Equality & Diversity Officer
  • Support Worker
  • Probation Officer

The Diploma has a strong emphasis on both biology and chemistry and learners will have the opportunity to study both equally to give a balanced view of skills to enable progression to medicine based degree programmes.

Related Careers

  • Medical Laboratory Scientist
  • Clinical Scientist
  • Research Scientist
  • Doctor
  • Physiotherapist
  • Pharmacist

Study key skills within biology and chemistry which underpin the two subject areas of Forensics and Criminology.

Related Careers

  • Police Officer
  • Detective
  • Forensic Scientist
  • Crime Scene Technician
  • Criminologist
  • DNA Analyst

Develop skills which will enable progression to a range of degree level programmes including a focus on education and learning and development.

Related Careers

  • Teacher
  • Education Consultant
  • Family Support Worker
  • Play Therapist
  • Learning Mentor
  • Social Worker
  • Teaching Assistant