Overview top

The Access to HE course is a Level 3, credit-based programme with the primary aim of providing appropriate preparation and a recognised qualification to enable students to progress to Higher Education (HE). 

Course Details

South Tyneside College offers two Access to HE Diplomas. Before you start the course you will need to consider what sort of job, career or degree you eventually wish to follow. It is also advisable that you access university information regarding more specific entry requirements. This helps you to decide which diploma to study.

Diplomas are a combination of subjects which are tailored to fit careers/courses. Further information about the subject content of these diplomas can be discussed at interview. Within these diplomas, you will complete a range of units, successful completion will accrue credits.

To be awarded the Access to HE Diploma, students must achieve units totaling 60 credits, 45 credits are from graded units at Level 3 and 15 credits are from ungraded units at Level 2 or 3.

  • Access to Higher Education Diploma (Health)                                  

Units to be confirmed during interview but will involve Science based subjects to prepare learners for Health related degrees.

Course Structure

The course runs from September until June. All classes are delivered during the day (9am to 5pm) and generally run over three days.

Entry Requirements top

Prospective students should have a GCSE in Mathematics and English at grade C or above (or equivalent Functional Skill at Level 2). Please note each university has different entry criteria for different courses and you need to check these e.g. some nursing degrees require a GCSE in Mathematics (not Functional Skill level 2).

To be eligible to study on the Access to HE course, you must have:

  • Had substantial experience of life outside of formal education, gained since completing compulsory schooling. 
  • GCSE Level or Functional Skill Level 2 in Maths and English Language 
  • Commitment to the course; a clear goal and a robust back-up plan
  • Some evidence in an informal interview of:
    • Resilience
    • Working with others
  • The ability to use Microsoft Office software to a reasonable standard

Informal interviews will be arranged by telephone at a time convenient to you and college staff.  

Assessment top

The assessments within this programme are internally set. Assessment is conducted through a combination of written assignments, reports, practical investigations amongst other assessment methods. Units totalling 45 credits are graded Pass, Merit or Distinction to help students demonstrate to universities the standard they have achieved. The remaining 15 credits are ungraded.

Further Information top

Applying to University is a big focus at the start of your Access to HE Diploma. Your UCAS application must be completed by mid-November of the year before entry. It is a very competitive environment and to ensure the best possible chance of securing a place on your chosen degree course, you should start planning your application early. More information can be found at https://www.ucas.com/

You can enhance your UCAS application by attending taster courses, open days or conferences and by talking to professionals in the field you want to work in. Please contact local universities for more information.

Almost all vocational degree courses demand either relevant work experience or voluntary experience, so bolstering your application with a variety of work placements will help you to stand out and compete for your place. www.do-it.org.uk is a useful place to start if you are looking for help to organise voluntary experience. Please note that most voluntary roles will demand a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check, which can take a number of weeks/months to complete. It is you responsibility to arrange this.

Dates & Fees

The course starts annually in September and runs until Jun (approximately). This will be confirmed at enrolment. 

The Access to Higher Education Diploma is funded through an Advanced Learner Loan. Any students under 19 without a level 3 may be eligible for funding.