Science Access to Higher Education Diploma level 3 – C0099

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Course Overview

Access to Higher Education courses are designed to give mature students (19+) the opportunity to return to study and apply for higher education (HE) courses. This is an intensive, challenging, one year science programme, so you will need to demonstrate high levels of motivation from the outset. Full attendance and excellent punctuality are essential to ensure that you reap the full benefits of the course. Practical work is carried out in modern, well-equipped laboratories and the aim is to help to prepare you for the demands of university-level study.

Access courses are validated by the QAA and are taken as standard entry requirements for the vast majority of British universities; you are advised to check the individual entry requirements for the university courses you are planning to apply to.

You will study alongside adults who have similar progression aims to yourself and will benefit from the support of a personal tutor to guide you through the UCAS process.

What You'll Learn

Year 1

You will study a variety of core units in science (chemistry and biology) as well as units in study skills and English for academic study. There is also a regular personal tutorial. Your progress will be tracked throughout your time on the course and additional support provided if appropriate. You will be expected to study at home at least 15 hours per week in addition to your timetabled hours in college and use resources on Moodle and ‘blend-space’ as directed.
A lot of support is available to guide you through the UCAS application process.

Entry Requirements

Applicants should be aged 19 plus by no later than the 31 August prior to starting the course.
You will need to hold English and maths GCSEs at grade 4/C or above. In exceptional circumstances, it may be possible to study for one of these qualifications alongside your Access course.

One reference from your previous place of study or work will also be required.

In order for you to progress onto an undergraduate degree at a British university, it is essential to have achieved a minimum of a GCSE grade 4 (C) in maths and English. It is your responsibility to check the GCSE grade profiles of the universities that you are interested in applying to and to attend a number of university open days.

For those without GCSEs, we run a pre-Access course (C0143) where up to six GCSEs can be studied in one year.

How you will be assessed

You will be assessed by both examinations and coursework. A number of these assessments will relate to practical laboratory exercises. During the course you will compile a portfolio of evidence that is externally moderated.
Forms of assessment throughout the year are designed to help you experience the ways you will be assessed at university: for example, essays, reports, exams, presentations and laboratory work.

Course Fees

Tuition fees

Tuition Fees (19+): £3384.00

Additional Costs

Please be aware that there is a charge for your UCAS application, and you will need to buy your own stationery.

There are no course fees if you are under 24 on 31st August of the year in which you start the course AND you do not possess a full Level 3 qualification.

If (a) you are under 24 and already have a full level 3 qualification, OR (b) you are over 24 (irrespective of any qualifications you have achieved), then course fees are applicable. However, you may be eligible for an Advanced Learner Loan to cover these.


If the course is longer than one year the total fees are for the first year only and further fees may apply in future years. All fees are based on a ‘home’ learner status. Please contact us for information on overseas fees.

For more information, please see our course fee disclaimers page.

Learn more about fees

Course and Career progression

Successful students progress onto a range of science courses at university, such as biomedical science, chemistry, biology, dietetics and nutrition, pharmacy, physiotherapy, paramedic science, radiotherapy, operating department practice and many more.

The Access to Science course will NOT normally allow you entrance to university courses in medicine, dentistry, veterinary science, physics or mathematics. However, our students have been accepted onto some foundation courses in these subjects.

You must check very carefully with universities about their entry requirements not only in terms of Access grades required but also any necessary GCSEs or vocational experience. It is advisable to attend university open days when making your choice of higher education institution.

What Happens Next

Apply online via the College website. You will need details of your qualifications and employment history, a reference, and a personal statement to complete your application. Once your application has been successfully processed, you will be invited to an interview at the College to meet your tutors, learn more about your chosen course of study and tour the facilities. You will then be offered a place on the programme, you need to confirm your acceptance of the course offered to you.

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