Online Access to Higher Education – Social Science (Psychology and Sociology)

This Course at a Glance

  • Leads towards a broad spectrum of career options in the psychology and sociology fields
  • Completed within 6 – 12 months
  • Provides a route to university without A Levels
  • Completely Online
  • Depending on previous qualifications this course may be free
  • No exams
AIM Qualification Assessments
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Course Info
Do I have to pay a fee?
How to Apply
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Who is the course for?

Do you want a career in a diverse sector?

Do you need a Level 3 Qualification to meet the entry requirements for University?

If so, then this is the course for you!

Traditionally, universities were quite strict on what they accepted as adequate qualifications to meet the entry requirements of scientific degrees. This would limit many would-be students from pursuing higher education to reach their career goals, such as a Counsellor. Now, many more qualifications are accepted as adequate preparation for learners going into higher-level study, including Access to Higher Education Diplomas.

Created as alternatives to traditional qualifications (e.g. A-levels), Access to Higher Education Diplomas are designed for learners who have been out of education for an extended period of time and are looking to return to study.

They are designed to equip students with the knowledge and skills to confidently undertake a degree level programme.

Most universities across the UK accept Access to HE Diplomas in place of A-levels and will accept applications from students working towards, or holding, this qualification.

It is important to check the entry requirements of the universities you wish to apply to, however, as all university admission criteria differ!

Course Overview

Are you fascinated by the fabric of society and how the mind drives human behaviour?

Did you know you can combine these two interests by studying an Access to Higher Education Diploma (Social Science) Psychology and Sociology course?

The Access to Higher Education Diploma (Social Science) – Psychology and Sociology is the first step on a path towards an interesting and meaningful career in the fields of psychology and sociology.

Covering a wealth of topics, this nationally recognised online course delves into the relationship between society and humans, exploring a range of subjects including cognitive psychology, understanding the motivations behind our behaviours, and the link between social policy and poverty.

The vocation-focused modules provide learners with subject-specific knowledge and skills whilst gaining a qualification worth the equivalent of 3 A-Levels. Not only will you gain a wealth of knowledge, you will also complete modules that focus on giving you the study skills for university, which is perfect for those who have been out of education for some time.

As well as gaining a solid foundation of knowledge in sociology and psychology, you will learn various study skills and writing techniques that will prepare you for degree-level study.

Access to Higher Education Diplomas can be used to gain entry to university, however, universities set their own entry requirements, so we advise that you check with your chosen establishment before applying.

With a broad spectrum of career options available, you can take initial steps towards discovering your perfect role by studying for an Access to Higher Education Diploma.

How will I learn?

Do you want to study online from the comfort of your own home?

Are you unable to commit to full-time college-based study due to personal or employment reasons?

The Access to Higher Education Diploma (Social Science) – Psychology and Sociology is a flexible distance learning course, allowing you to study at a pace that suits you.

Studied completely online, the flexibility of this course enables you to work towards a future career in the biomedical science sector outside of your current work / life commitments. So, no matter if it’s a full-time job or childcare, you can complete your course around them.

Once you have enrolled onto the course, you will be given 24/7 online access to interactive and easy-to-follow materials. As part of your study programme, you will also receive support and guidance on your university application so that you can get the most from your diploma.

Stay On Top Of Your Learning

You will have a dedicated personal tutor who will be available to contact for assistance. You will be supported every step of the way.

You will be provided with an Individual Learning Plan that outlines the submission deadlines for your assignments to keep you on track throughout your studies.

The amount of time required to complete this course is approximately 600 hours and you’re free to do this in as little as 6 months or over the course of one academic year.

Modules

Access to Social Science – Psychology and Social Science Modules

Unit 1: Academic Writing Skills

On completion of this unit you will:

  • Be able to write with relevance in responding to an academic task
  • Know how to interpret and discuss ideas and issues in responding to a set, academic writing task
  • Be able to summarise for academic purposes, selecting key points, information or central ideas

Unit 2: Preparing a Written Assignment

On completion of this unit you will:

  • Understand how to use key information sources
  • Understand why sources are acknowledged and referenced
  • Understand a range of reading strategies
  • Understand note-making methods
  • Understand how to plan draft and produce a written assignment

Unit 3: Health and Well-being

On completion of this unit you will:

  • Understand the relationship between resilience and mental well-being
  • Understand the expression of feelings and emotions and how these could be managed
  • Understand how mental well-being can be supported and managed

Unit 4: Introduction to Psychology

On completion of this unit you will:

  • Understand the importance of research in psychology
  • Understand the main approaches in psychology
  • Understand ethical issues in psychological research

Unit 5: Understanding Crime and Deviance

On completion of this unit you will:

  • Understand explanations of crime and deviance
  • Understand theories of crime and deviance
  • Understand perceptions of crime and deviance

Unit 6: Introduction to Cognitive Psychology

On completion of this unit you will:

  • Understand research in an area of cognitive psychology
  • Understand how the findings of research into cognitive processes can be applied to real-life issues

Unit 7: Sociology of the Family

On completion of this unit you will:

  • Understand changes in family structure
  • Understand sociological explanations of the family to include Functionalist, Marxist, feminist, interactionist and postmodern views

Unit 8: Foundations of Social Policy

On completion of this unit you will:

  • Understand the historical origins of social policy in the UK
  • Understand the key influences on social policy in the 18th and 19th Centuries
  • Understand changes in the political order
  • Understand different types of voluntary action and role of poverty surveys

Unit 9: Sociology of Health

On completion of this unit you will:

  • Understand concepts and models of health
  • Understand the social construction of health and ill health
  • Understand alternative approaches to health

Unit 10: The Origins of The Welfare State

On completion of this unit you will:

  • Understand what is meant by the term Welfare State
  • Understand the purpose of the 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act and its effects on society
  • Understand early twentieth century Liberal Reforms and their effect on society
  • Understand the social problems which the Welfare State attempted to address
  • Understand the significance of the Beveridge Report

Unit 11: The Brain and Nervous System (Psychology)

On completion of this unit you will:

  • Understand the major sub divisions of the nervous system
  • Understand the structure and function of glial cells and neurons

Unit 12: Combating Prejudice and Discrimination

On completion of this unit you will:

  • Understand theoretical explanations for prejudice and discrimination
  • Understand legislative responses to discrimination and prejudice
  • Understand community initiatives in combating discrimination and prejudice

Unit 13: Sociology of Mass Media

On completion of this unit you will:

  • Understand the patterns of ownership and control of the mass media
  • Understand the role of the mass media
  • Understand the process of selection and presentation of the news
  • Understand how media stereotypes are presented

Unit 14: Abnormal Psychology

On completion of this unit you will:

  • Understand the difficulties faced by psychologists in the definition and diagnosis of abnormal behaviour
  • Understand a psychological disorder
  • Understand possible treatments used to treat people with psychological disorders

Unit 15: Sociology of Education

On completion of this unit you will:

  • Understand the importance of education as a socialising agency
  • Understand the roles of education in contemporary society
  • Understand the sociological explanations of labelling and the use of stereotypes
  • Understand the concept of meritocracy

Unit 16: Measurements of Crime

On completion of this unit you will:

  • Understand sources of crime statistics
  • Understand the reliability of published statistics on crime
  • Understand factors that are not reflected in criminal statistics

Unit 17: Psychobiology of Stress

On completion of this unit you will:

  • Understand common physiological and psychological responses to stress
  • Understand the relationship between stress and illness
  • Understand methods used to reduce stress

Unit 18: Contemporary Issues in Social Policy

On completion of this unit you will:

  • Understand current issues in social policy
  • Understand current legislation in relation to current issues in social policy
  • Understand the economic context of a contemporary issue

Unit 19: Understanding Poverty

On completion of this unit you will:

  • Understand definitions of poverty
  • Understand ways of measuring poverty
  • Understand the extent of poverty in contemporary Britain
  • Understand explanations of poverty
Entry Requirements

Course pre-requisites

Applicants for Access to Higher Education Diplomas must be aged 19 years old or over at enrolment and will require a minimum of Level 2 Maths and English. This means you will need GCSE English at Grade A*-C (9-4) or equivalent (Level 2 Functional Skills) and GCSE Maths at Grade A*-C (9-4) or equivalent (Level 2 Functional Skills).

Some Universities will only accept GCSEs to meet entry requirements. They will also require you to have additional GCSEs at Grade A*-C (9-4) for some courses, and depending on the specific entry requirements of your chosen University programme you may also need Grade C (4) or above for GCSE Science for some pathways.

Minimum age restriction

As Access to Higher Education Diplomas are designed to support students to progress to university who have substantial experience of life outside of formal education which they have gained since completing compulsory schooling, applicants must be aged 19 or over at enrolment.

As this is a distance learning course there are additional eligibility criteria:

To be eligible to undertake this distance learning course you must meet the below requirements:
You must be aged 19 years or over as at 31/08/23
You must have lived in the EU for the last three years
You must reside in England with a postcode outside of London, Greater Manchester, Liverpool City, Cambridge & Peterborough, Tees Valley, and the West Midlands.
You must not be on another funded programme i.e. an apprenticeship or another distance learning or online course
You must not have completed this course or a similar course previously
You must not be on another distance learning course with another training provider

Additional Requirements

  • As the course is fully online you must have strong ICT skills to enable you to cope with the demands of the course.
  • You will also need to have your own laptop.

Post-Application

You will be required to attend an interview. At interview please bring in the email correspondence you have had with the universities you are intending to apply to, providing such information as the required GCSE Maths and English/Level 2 qualifications. Please note that many degree courses have a GCSE Maths and/or English and/or Science requirement for courses, although some will be satisfied with a level 2 Functional Skills in these subjects.  It is therefore important that you contact your chosen universities and ask about their specific GCSE requirements and bring this information to your interview.  It is not possible to study GCSE qualifications alongside an Access diploma.

University Entry Criteria

Access to Higher Education Diplomas fulfil the entry criteria for range of different university courses and are suitable for the UCAS application process, however it must be reiterated that each university will set its own admission criteria.

When searching for a university course, you’ll find the entry requirements include a minimum number of UCAS points. This will often be 112 UCAS points, although this will vary from course to course, however most universities seem to accept that 112 UCAS points are the standard for the average UK student. Universities will also assess their candidates on many different factors as part of their criteria.

Admission criteria may include, but is not limited to:

  • Having a set number of credits attained at Merit or Distinction level
  • Attending a face-to-face interview at your chosen university
  • Passing literacy and numeracy assessments
  • Successful completion of work placements or work experience

You must check with your desired institution if your Access to HE Diploma and other qualifications will be accepted.

It is your responsibility to check that your Access to HE Diploma will be accepted as part of these entry requirements for your chosen degree. Colchester Institute will not be held accountable if completing this Access to Higher Education Diploma doesn’t secure you a position with a higher education institution.

 

Assessment

The Access to Higher Education Diploma (Social Science) – Psychology and Sociology is modular and composed of graded and ungraded units, allowing learners to quickly and easily absorb the information in bitesize chunks.

In order to achieve this qualification, learners will need to have attained a total of 60 learning credits, of which 45 of these will be taken from graded academic subject units, whilst the other 15 units are ungraded skills for learning units relating to study skills.

Learning is assessed through various methods to prepare learners for study at university, including essays, report writing, online assessment, and presentations.

The assessment process of the course consists of the following:

Assignments

The assignments for this course aim to prepare learners for the next step into higher education while providing the number of credits necessary to achieve the qualification.

At the end of each unit of study, you will need to complete an assignment which your tutor will then mark and provide you with feedback and a grade to help you to progress.

The feedback aims to show the quality and effectiveness of the submitted piece of work and where improvements are needed going forward. These assessments are integral to the learning process as they are signposts of where progress is taking place.

Credits

To successfully complete the Access to Higher Education Diploma, learners will need to achieve 60 credits in total.

The credits are split between the following categories:

  • Graded – 45 credits come from graded units, which focus on the academic subject
  • Ungraded – 15 credits come from ungraded units, such as writing and study skills

As part of the diploma, learners will also receive help and guidance with their university application and the research they need to do to get the most out of this qualification.

Are Exams required?

There are no exams included in the assessment of the course.

Qualifications

In order to gain your diploma you need to successfully pass all units within the course. This diploma has been assigned 60 credits.

Following successful completion of this diploma you will be awarded a QAA recognised Access to HE Diploma at level 3 (QAA ref: (40012554).

Course Progression

Degrees You Could Study

Should your chosen university accept Access to Higher Education Diplomas as part of their entry requirements, you can go on to study degrees in many areas.

If you have an interest in learning about the intricacies of psychology and sociology, then our Access to Higher Education Diploma (Social Science) – Psychology and Sociology will cover all the bases. This online course presents the perfect opportunity to kick-start a new career.

Should you pursue any of these degrees, there will be a number of postgraduate courses you can take to either enter or elevate your science-related career. These can be academic or vocational, research, taught or work-based, and can either be completed in a full or part time capacity.

The type of postgraduate study that suits you will depend entirely on your interests and the type of career you want to go into, as many science-related roles require you to have completed a Masters or PhD.

Further Qualifications and Prospects

There are specific job roles that will require additional qualifications, depending on the level of role you are pursuing. For example, to become a teacher, you will require a PGCE in addition to your existing qualifications. You may also require industry-specific qualifications for the role you are working towards. This may apply to the following:

  • Advertising
  • Psychology
  • Human Resources
  • Business Administration
  • Personnel Management
Career Opportunities

What are the career routes for this course?

The beauty of progressing towards a degree in psychology, sociology, or a combined degree, is that you will open doors to diverse careers across two subject areas. During your initial studies, you may find that an area of these subjects interests you more, enabling you to pursue a specific sector, such as:

  • Government
  • Counselling
  • Health and Social Care
  • Teaching

This online course could be fully-funded via the Government Adult Education Budget for learners who meet the age, residency and previous qualification criteria outlined below.

To meet the criteria you must be aged 19 and over and have not already achieved a full Level 3 qualification or equivalent. You must also have lived in the EU for the last three years and currently reside in England with a postcode outside of London, Greater Manchester, Liverpool City, Cambridge & Peterborough, Tees Valley, and the West Midlands.

This online course could be fully-funded via the Government Adult Education Budget for learners who meet the age, residency and previous qualification criteria outlined below.

Advanced Learner Loans available!

If you’re not eligible for the above and are worried about funding this course, you may be eligible for an Advanced Learner Loan.

The minimum loan you can get is £300 and you won’t need to pay anything back until you’re earning at least £27,295 per annum. If you go on to complete an undergraduate degree following your Access to Higher Education Diploma, you won’t have to pay the loan back at all!

Do I have to pay a fee?

The information in this section applies solely to this course and the criteria for a fee waiver is not transferable to any other course offered by the College.

You will not pay tuition fees if the below applies:
If you are aged 19-24 at the 31st August 2024 and have an active Education, Health and Care Plan*

*Any course up to and including level 3 will be fully-funded by the government if you are aged 19-24 at the start of the course and have an active Education, Health & Care Plan (EHCP).

If you are aged 19-23 and have not already achieved a full level 3 qualification* then this course will be fully-funded by the government. (In some cases, if you need to first enrol on a lower level course, before progressing to a level 3, this may also be fully funded by the government)

* This means that you have not previously attained a full level 3 or equivalent (2 A Levels or 4 AS Levels, or QAA Access to Higher Education (HE) Diploma at level 3, or a level 3 Tech level or applied general qualification (e.g. BTEC)).

You will pay tuition fees if you are:
aged 19 and over at the start of this course and have previously achieved a full level 3 qualification
Learners required to pay tuition fees can either self-fund and pay for the course themselves or apply for an advanced learner loan to cover all or part of the tuition fees for this course. The minimum loan you can get is £300, but the maximum will depend on how much the fees are and the type of course you take.
Advanced Learner Loans

If you get a loan to cover tuition fees for the Access to HE course and then complete a higher education (degree) course, you won’t have to repay the remaining loan for the Access course!

Am I eligible for an Advanced Learner Loan?

To qualify for an advanced learner loan to cover the fees for this course you must be:

  • 19 years old or over on the first day of your course (there’s no upper age limit)
  • A UK national or have ‘settled status’ (this means there are no restrictions on how long you can stay)
  • Living in the UK on the first day of your course, and have lived in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man for three years immediately before this

Most learners that fall into this bracket will be eligible, it doesn’t depend on your household income and there’s no credit check!

If your nationality or residency status is different to the above, then please contact the national Advanced Learner Loan helpline on 0300 100 0619 or check the Advanced Learner Loan website: https://www.gov.uk/advanced-learner-loan where you will be able to find further information on eligibility.

How do I apply for an Advanced Learner Loan?

Once you have applied and been offered a place on the course, the college will provide you with a ‘learning and funding information letter’. These are normally sent out in early July.

You need this to complete the loan application and you cannot apply for a loan until you have received this.

Once you have applied for a loan and it has been approved you will receive an official letter from Student Finance England.

Am I eligible for a bursary?

Applicants thinking of enrolling on this course can apply for funding to help with the costs associated with attending college.  Bursary funds are targeted at students where there is an identified low household income.

If your household income is below £25,000 per annum, you are likely to be eligible for support through the 19+ Bursary Fund (19-23 years old and taking your 1st Level 3 course) or Advanced Learner Loan Bursary Fund (for students paying tuition fees with an advanced learner loan).

The bursary fund cannot provide help with costs unrelated to your course, such as general living expenses, nor can it be used as an attendance incentive.

Applications to the fund are not normally considered if the household income exceeds £25,000 but may be considered in some instances if the household is experiencing severe financial hardship.

Funds are targeted at course related costs such as travel, childcare, books and equipment.

Regardless of income or employment status, students self-funding (including where an employer is covering course fees), are not eligible for financial assistance through any discretionary bursary funds.

When can I apply?

******Applications for student funding for learners who started in September 2023 are still open. Applications can be made from this page using the button below.

Applications for student funding for learners starting in September 2024 will not open until the end of June 2024*****

Bursary Fund applications for courses starting in the 2023/24 academic year opened on July 1st 2023.

For courses starting in September 2023, applications should be made by 1st November 2023. If you find yourself in financial hardship after this date it is important that you still contact Student Services. Applications received after 1st November will be considered on a pro-rata basis subject to need and the availability of funds.

Payment Options

Payment should be made in full at the time of enrolment. Acceptable payment methods include Debit Card and Credit Card (excluding American Express). Please note that we are no longer able to accept cash or cheque payments.

Can I pay in instalments?

Yes, you can spread the cost of fees. Any student of the College who pays his/her own programme costs is entitled to do so on a monthly payment plan basis, providing the total course fees exceed £200 and the student is aged 19 years, or over, on 31st August in the current academic year.

Where total course fees exceed £200 you (or your employer, if they are paying your course fees) can choose to pay your fees in instalments through a monthly payment plan and 40% of the fee or £500 (whichever is lower) will be payable at enrolment.

The balance must be paid within 6 months or by the end date if the course is less than 6 months in duration.

The monthly instalment payments will also be set up at the point of enrolment, or if you are enrolling using our online enrolment process, a member of our Finance team will contact you to set up the instalment plan after you have submitted your online enrolment.

In order to pay through monthly instalments, students must sign the Colchester Institute Instalment Payment Plan terms and conditions!

If a student fails to sign up to an instalment plan at enrolment all fees will become due for payment within 30 days.

Failure to fulfil any terms and conditions of an instalment agreement will result in you becoming immediately liable for the full outstanding balance and you may not be entitled to pay any future fees by instalments.

Please download and save the form below, then fill it in and sign it. These forms can either be emailed to registry@colchester.ac.uk prior to enrolment, or if you are completing an online enrolment you can upload these documents during the enrolment process.

Further Education Fee Instalment Student Terms and Conditions

Employers who are funding a student’s fees must complete and sign an authorisation form which must be submitted either prior to or at enrolment together with an advance payment of 40% of the course fee or £500, whichever is lower. This can be paid via the online store prior to or at the point of Enrolment.

If the advance payment is not made prior to or at Enrolment the student will not be eligible to attend college.

Further Education Employer Authorisation Form, Instalment Plan, Terms and Conditions

The application window for Online Access to Higher Education courses starting in September/October 2024 is open from 12pm on Monday 2nd October 2023.

Applications for this course are made via our online application form and you will be able to access it from this course page when applications are open.

Once you are ready to apply then please click the ‘Apply Online‘ buttons located in the menu section below.

Upon successful submission of an application you will receive an acknowledgement email from our Admissions team. If you do not receive this you should contact the team to check that your application has been received.

We will then process your application and applicants will receive further correspondence from the College about the next stages of the admissions process.

In the mean time, if you have any further questions about the application process, want to check the progress of your application or if you are unsure about anything please contact us using the enquiry line or enquiry form below.

Application and Enquiry FAQ

Can I study GCSE English and/or Maths alongside an Access to Higher Education Diploma?

No, it is not possible to study GCSE qualifications alongside an Access to Higher Education Diploma, and these will need to be achieved prior to starting.

Colchester Institute offers GCSE English and Maths for adult learners and you can study both of these in the same academic year.

Is Functional Skills (maths and English) Level 2 equivalent to a GCSE?

Functional Skills at Level 2 is equivalent to a GCSE grade 4 (C on old grading system). Functional Skills is a qualification which is widely accepted as a GCSE equivalent.  Most universities will accept Functional Skills, but please check with your chosen university before you submit your application in order to avoid disappointment.

When can I apply for an Access to Higher Education Diploma?

Applications open on the 2nd of October 2023.

We accept online applications throughout the rest of the academic year, however we encourage you to apply as early as possible.

Do I have to pay a fee?

Depending on your age and prior attainment you may be expected to pay full fees, however you will be able to apply for a loan under the Government’s Advanced Learning Loans Scheme to cover the cost of these fees. Loan repayments start when you earn over £27,295 per year.

If you get a loan to cover tuition fees for the Access to HE course and then complete a higher education (degree) course, you won’t have to repay the remaining loan for the Access course.

What if I am not eligible for an Advanced Learner Loan?

If you do have to pay a fee and are not eligible for an Advanced Learner Loan, then your fees can be payed by instalments.

You will need to pay at least 40% of the total fee when you enrol (or £500, whichever is the lower).  A monthly payment plan will then be setup for you to pay the remainder.  All fees need to be paid in full within six months of the start of the course.  Please contact our Registry department on 01206 712555 for further details.

What financial support is available to me?

For those applying for an Advanced Learner Loan, a bursary may be available. For students with an identified low household income, there may be financial support available to assist with the cost of returning to study. Funds are targeted at course related costs such as travel, childcare, books and equipment.

Online Access to Higher Education - Social Science (Psychology and Sociology)
Course Outline: The Access to Higher Education Diploma course will offer you the ideal preparation for further study in higher education or training.
Qualification: Access to Higher Education Diploma (Social Science) - Psychology and Sociology
LevelLevel 3
LocationDistance Learning – Delivered Online
Duration6 - 12 Months
Study ModePart-Time
Campus / Adult Skills CentreTraining is Delivered Online
Start DateSeptember or October 2024
ApplicationsApplications for starting in September or October 2024 are open from 12pm on Monday 2nd October 2023
AttendanceFlexible study throughout the year
Fee(s)£3,384*: *Subject to eligibility this course may be fully-funded

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Disclaimer

All fees, prices and funding information shown on this page are for courses starting in the 2023-24 academic year unless stated otherwise, and are correct at the time of entering/printing information, however these may be subject to change due to factors outside of our control. The College cannot accept legal or financial liability as a result of any such changes.

Courses fees are generally not confirmed for September until June / July due to the above factors.

The course information describes programmes offered by Colchester Institute. The College takes all reasonable steps to provide courses as described, but cannot guarantee provision. The information is for guidance and does not form any part of a contract.

The College reserves the right to update and amend information as and when necessary. Colchester Institute will do its best to provide the courses shown, but may have to modify or withdraw a course depending on customer demand and other factors.