Award Crest
York College

This one-year course provides you with a thorough grounding in Art, Design and Media. The course is run over two days each week for one year. The course has a set of joint units for Art, Design and Media plus three specialised units for Art and Design students and three specialised units for the Media pathway students.

The programme would suit students with some experience of creative art, design and media who may be returning to education, studying for the first time at college or wishing to change career. For both the Art and Design pathway and the Media pathway the majority of units ensure you have a strong portfolio of creative ideas to show your potential for the next stage of your career.

Entry Requirements

Level 2 Literacy qualification and evidence of ability in Art and Design.

What You'll Need

Please refer to the Access page for entry requirements.

You will be required to show samples of work at interview demonstrating a strong interest in Art and Design and will be invited to present a portfolio of existing creative work if you have one. 

The current agency guidance states; ‘Access to HE programmes are designed to support adults seeking entry to HE and the EFA funds any young people on these programmes by exception.’

Any student under the age of 19 must contact Student Services to discuss alternative options available at York College, and whether or not you have a case which may make you an exception.

Duration and Attendance

This course is due to commence in September.
Applications will open on 1st December – please register interest at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Course Outline

The course begins with an introduction to creative art, design and media to develop and establish drawing and analytical skills through the use of different materials and techniques. You will go on to complete projects in digital art, painting, textiles, book art, ceramics, printmaking and design, alongside art history and research.

You will fulfil the requirements of mandatory units including a written piece, preparation for HE and study techniques, which will be related to your work and integral to the taught aspects of the programme.

In the early stages of the course, you will be shown techniques in how to use materials and approaches to develop your own response to a series of assignment briefs, following the art and design process from initial research to development and producing a final piece. You will learn how to research a range of starting points, relate your ideas to the work of artists/designers and reflect on your practice as an artist.

By exploring and experimenting with a range of materials and techniques, you will begin to find a direction within the field of art, design and media and work towards your subject specialism such as graphics, fine art, textiles and so on.

At all stages you will be encouraged to adopt an innovative, creative and personal approach to your work in order to build an individual portfolio for application to Higher Education. You will be asked to work on self-directed briefs and real-life assignments as well as competitions and events, where appropriate, which will prepare you for developing your own practice or further study at degree level. There may also be one-day visits to the 'Design Your Future' UCAS event and galleries to help you with your UCAS application and further enhance your learning.

Whilst you will not have a permanent designated studio space, you will have the use of a purpose built studio and access to some of our extensive workshops and resource areas.

Exams and Assessments

All coursework is project-based and assessed in relation to a set of assessment criteria.

To achieve the Access to Higher Education Diploma students must achieve 60 credits of which 45 credits must be at Level 3. The course has some mandatory units and a range of optional units.

A minimum attendance of 85 per cent is required throughout the course to successfully progress and achieve.


The Access to Higher Education Diploma is validated and accredited through the National Awarding Body Ascentis which is an Access validating agency, licensed and regulated by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA).

How You Can Progress

The course provides a well established route to a wide range of degree level art, design and media courses including our own Higher Education courses here at York College.

Students have gained places on BA (Hons) Graphic Design , BA (Hons) Fashion, Design Production and BA (Hons) Contemporary 3D Crafts at York College; BA (Hons) Art and Design and BA (Hons) Fashion Design at Leeds College of Art,; BA (Hons) Product Design, BA (Hons) Creative Art Practice and BA (Hons) Fine Art at Sheffield Hallam University; BA (Hons) Textile Design at Huddersfield College of Arts; BA (Hons) Fashion Design at Northumbria University; BA (Hons) Fine Art at Liverpool John Moores University; BA (Hons) Visual Studies and Illustration and BA (Hons) Architectural Venue Design at Derby University; BA (Hons) Design at Birmingham City University and BA (Hons) Textile Design for Fashion and Interiors at the University for the Creative Arts (Farnham).

Course Fees

Course fees vary each year. Prospective students are advised to contact us for the latest fees.

There will also be the cost of materials to consider and a student contribution of £50 towards the cost of materials for the year is requested.

How To Apply

Applicants can apply online or complete a full-time application form (available from the Infozone team in person or on 01904 770400 or from the website). You will need to attend an interview with evidence of some creative work.

Advanced Learner Loan

If you are offered a place on this course, you will be able to apply for the new Advanced Learner Loan. The loan means that you will not have to pay any tuition fees up front and will only pay back the loan when your salary rises above £21,000. Repayments are made automatically if you are employed and are part of your tax return if you are self-employed.

If you are taking out an Advanced Learner Loan to study an Access to HE Diploma your Loan will be written off on successful completion of your higher education programme - so in effect your Access to HE Diploma programme could be free.

For more information follow this link.

Contact Us

If you have any questions about this course or any aspects of studying at York College please email or call (01904) 770770.

Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this webpage, the content is subject to change where necessary.




Charlotte Dawson

“I studied the Access course in Art and Design in 2011/12. I had a prior interest in art and had completed a BTEC in Performance Art and an adult learning short course in Sewing.

"York College staff were particularly helpful and went above and beyond for their students; I would say it’s thanks to their encouragement that I found my artistic style and confidence.

"I left college with an Access qualification which allowed me to enter university. I received two offers and chose to attend Leeds College of Art, where I am approaching my 3rd year of a BA (Hons) degree in Art and Design.”

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