Access to Higher Education Diploma

The Access to Higher Education Diploma is a nationally recognised Level 3 qualification accredited by Gateway Qualifications, an authorised validating agency which awards nationally recognised certification for Access programmes.

This course is suitable for those who have been out of full time education for some time and are aiming to progress onto further study at university or higher education courses.

This course provides entry to a wide range of degree courses and professional training.

Your learning will be facilitated by a range of activities ranging from, teacher input, group work, seminar presentations, research activities and personal study.

The Access Main Course offers a programme of academic study, equivalent to A Levels, leading to entry on degree and diploma courses. It has two elements:

1. Core Studies (Seminar Presentations, Study Skills, Academic Writing and Academic/Group/Personal Tutorials).

2. Additional or Specialist Studies (chosen according to your needs and the course of study which you want to pursue).

Access Courses
Access Courses
Course Info
Do I have to pay a fee?
How to Apply
How will I know which Diploma to take?

Making sure you choose the right course of study is an important part of the journey on the path to your graduate career.

Once you have decided on your desired career you will need to find out what higher education subject(s) you need to study, where you can study them and whether the Access to Higher Education course you’ve chosen meets the entry requirements for that university.

In the drop-down menu below, each of the diplomas we offer have a list of higher education courses and training that students have gone on to undertake.

The following Access Diplomas are available to study:

Health Professions

The Access to Higher Education Diploma – Health Professions will offer you the ideal preparation for further study on the following higher education courses and training:

  • Nursing – Adult, Child and Mental
  • Midwifery
  • Speech and Language Therapy
  • Physiotherapy
  • Health Studies
  • Sports Studies
  • Nutrition

  • Operating Department Practice
  • Public Health
  • Sports Coaching
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Sports Psychology
  • Health and Social Care
  • Teaching

This diploma consists of one mandatory subject and one secondary subject. The mandatory subject for this diploma is;

Human Biology

Human Biology Units
Practical science skillsBiochemistryCell biologyBiological supply systems
GeneticsHuman reproductionThe human body and diseases

Students can choose which secondary subject they study from the list below:


Psychology

Psychology Units
Approaches in psychologySocial psychologyResearch methods in psychologyAspects of cognitive psychology
StressAtypical development and abnormal behaviourIntroduction to early child development


Sociology

Sociology Units
Introduction to sociologySocialisationIntroduction to the Sociology of Education
Introduction to the Sociology of Crime and devianceHouseholds and Family StructuresSociology of Health


Science

The Access to Higher Education Diploma – Science will offer you the ideal preparation for further study on the following higher education courses and training:

  • Bioscience
  • Sports Science
  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Marine Biology
  • Animal Science
  • Microbiology
  • Zoology
  • Biomedical Science
  • Physiotherapy
  • Dietetics
  • Nutrition

  • Nutrition and Human Health
  • Forensic Science
  • Paramedic Science
  • Genetics
  • Diagnostic Radiography
  • Therapeutic Radiography
  • Pharmacy
  • Biochemistry
  • Biological Science
  • Teaching
  • Material science

This diploma consists of one mandatory subject and one secondary subject. The mandatory subject for this diploma is;

Human Biology

Human Biology Units
Practical science skillsBiochemistryCell biologyBiological supply systems
GeneticsHuman reproductionThe human body and diseases

Students can choose which secondary subject they study from the list below:

Physics

Physics Units
Practical science skillsPhysics fundamentalsForces and energy
Heat, electricity and magnetismApplication of nuclear physicsHealth physics


Chemistry

Chemistry Units
Chemical basics and atomic structureFundamental chemistryQuantitative chemistry
Introduction to organic chemistryFurther organic chemistry


Science and Maths

The Access to Higher Education Diploma – Science and Maths will offer you the ideal preparation for further study on the following higher education courses and training:

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Mathematics
  • Computer Science
  • Computer Games Design
  • Construction

  • Software Engineering
  • Physics
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Aeronautical Engineering
  • Teaching

This diploma consists of one mandatory subject and one secondary subject. The mandatory subject for this diploma is;

Maths

Maths Units
Interpreting and presenting informationAlgebra, exponentials and logarithmsCore mathematics
TrigonometryMechanics

Students can choose which secondary subject they study from the list below:

Physics

Physics Units
Practical science skillsPhysics fundamentalsForces and energy
Heat, electricity and magnetismApplication of nuclear physicsHealth physics


Chemistry

Chemistry Units
Chemical basics and atomic structureFundamental chemistryQuantitative chemistry
Introduction to organic chemistryFurther organic chemistry


You will also have the opportunity to study one of the following subjects alongside your core units in academic writing skills, research and presentation skills.

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 opened on the 1st of October 2021.

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.

Entry Requirements

Applicants for the Access to Higher Education Diploma must be aged 19 years old or over at enrolment and will require a minimum of Level 2 Maths and English.

Depending on the specific entry requirements of your chosen University programme you may need GCSE Maths, English or Science at Grade C (4) or above.

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 Access.

Things to consider

  • Do you intend to be working in paid employment whilst studying? If you are, how many hours a week would this involve?
  • Have you considered how you will be able to support yourself financially whilst you are studying?
  • Do you have any other responsibilities that will demand your time when studying?
  • How many hours a week do you think you will need to devote to your studies if accepted on the Access Course (including time and homework)?
Individual Interviews

You should prepare a written response to the questions below, and during your 20 minute interview be prepared to answer questions on what you have researched. You should bring in and submit your notes of this research (word-processed or handwritten) as these will also be used to assess you for selection. The interview process involves determining whether you have sufficiently researched you chosen degree pathway.

Please also 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.

You should take time to research your chosen Higher Education programme and future career, you will be asked questions about your research at interview.

  • What have you been doing in the last 3-4 years?
  • At which University and which Higher Education programme do you wish to progress onto following the Access programme?
  • What has influenced your choice of Higher Education programme?
  • Describe some of your strengths and explain how these can be applied to further study or your career goal.
  • Describe some of your weaknesses and how you could improve them.
  • Where do you wish to study?
  • What qualifications are required to progress onto your Higher Education programme, including Access grade, preferred subjects to be studied and Access Diploma type.
  • Details of any work experience/voluntary work required.
  • Mode of HE study e.g. modules studied on the programme, work placements, exams.
  • In relation to a career, what do you know about factors such as shift patterns, pay, location, jobs market etc.
  • What is the level of competition for a place on the higher education course to which you would like to apply?
  • What alternative course/s have you researched if your degree application is unsuccessful?
Use the UCAS link to help you research which university course programme you wish to progress to following completion of your Access to Higher Education Diploma


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 2022 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?

Bursary Fund applications for courses starting in the 2022/23 academic year will be open from June 1st 2022.

For courses starting in September 2022, applications should be made by 1st November 2022. 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

Can I pay in instalments?

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.

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.

Payment in full in advance

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.

Application update 21/09/2022: Online applications for Access to Higher Education Diplomas starting in September 2023 are now closed.

If you would like to speak to a course tutor about securing a late enrolment onto an Access to Higher Education Diploma then we advise that you book an appointment at our final advice sessions taking place at our Colchester Campus on Wednesday 21st September from 5pm – 6pm or visit us during our walk-in enrolment hours.

Access to Higher Education Diploma
Course Outline: The Access to Higher Education Diploma course will offer you the ideal preparation for further study in higher education or training.
LevelLevel 3
LocationColchester
DurationOne Year
Study ModeFull-Time
Campus / Adult Skills CentreColchester Campus
Start DateSeptember 2022 - Applications open on 1st October 2021
AttendanceApproximately 3 days per week
Fee(s)Health Professions: £3,384
Science: £3,384
Science and Maths: £3,384

Disclaimer

All fees, prices and funding information shown on this page are for courses starting in the 2022-23 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.