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Access to HE

Access to Higher Education Diploma: Humanities & Social Sciences

Subject Area
Humanities & Social Sciences
Start Date
September 2024
Study Mode
1 Year
Entry Requirements
GCSE English - minimum grade 4/C is required. If students have a Level 2 English qualification, then they can be invited to interview and we can advise on their best course of action. If students do not have a formal Level 2 English qualification, they would need to do this before starting the course.
Validate by
Skills and Education Group

Access your degree or higher-level qualification with us and find your way to a prosperous career. The Access to Higher Education (HE) Diploma is designed for people who do not have “traditional” qualifications, such as A Levels, and for those who have been out of education for some time. If you want to go to university but feel you might lack the entry qualifications, or you are worried that you might not be able to cope with the demands of degree-level study, then an Access course can help.

Entry requirements

GCSE English - minimum grade 4/C. If students have a Level 2 English qualification then they can be invited to interview and we can advise on their best course of action.

If students do not have a formal Level 2 English qualification, they would need to do this before starting the course.

Teaching methods/course delivery

Under the guidance of our expert tutors, you will be encourage to explore different materials and techniques across our range of purpose-built workshops and studios. A good level of student participation is expected throughout the duration of the course.

The course is full-time over an academic year. Attendance is over three days per week plus an additional 10 to 15 hours personal self-guided study.

Reasons to choose this course

The Access to HE Diploma: Humanities and Social Sciences boasts excellent progression rates to university, including Russell Group Universities and more local higher education establishments. Taught by well-qualified subject specialists who have significant experience of teaching, this course is an excellent stepping stone to your career.

Course fees & additional costs

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

All materials are provided for you to complete the course. However, as many of our courses are currently delivered via online learning, you will need access to a PC/laptop and suitable Wi-Fi to access the teaching and learning.


If you are aged 19 to 23, you may qualify for fee remission for an Access course depending on your circumstances. Eligibility for a free course is based on government guidelines and the most up-to-date information is available on our website or from our Funding Team. If you do not qualify for free tuition, you will be able to pay for your tuition fees in instalments and may be eligible for an Advanced Learner Loan.

Still have questions? Call 01904 770443 or email

How you can progress

Progression is to Higher Education to a broad range of courses such as BA (Hons) Sociology and Social Policy all at University of York, BA (Hons) Psychology at University of Wales, BA (Hons) History at University of Newcastle upon Tyne, BA (Hons) Literature at the University of Leeds, BA (Hons) Philosophy at University of St Andrews, BA (Hons) Media at Thames Valley University London and BA (Hons) Primary Teacher Training at York St John University. BA(Hons) Criminology Durham University.

Course modules

The course is divided into units of assessment. Each unit is broken down into learning hours and the units are worth three to six credits (one credit equals 10 learning hours). The Access to Higher Education Diploma consists of a number of units which are built up to meet the students proposed subject at HE.

To achieve the Diploma, you must achieve 60 credits of which 45 credits are graded and 15 are ungraded. A minimum of one examination taken under invigilation conditions must be successfully completed. All units are at Level 3 and need to be achieved

This course is in three parts and you will:

  • A tutorial session which will be for three hours a week and you will complete units in academic writing, Higher Education Tool Kit and reflective practice.
  • Study two subjects for 4.5 hours a week each. Possible subjects are English Literature, History, Sociology, Criminology and law. Individual modules are subject to change.
  • Study a smaller unit for 1.5 hours a week. Possible subjects are Politics: Theory and Concepts, Short stories and Education, Teaching and Learning.

The programme delivery method includes lectures and seminars and a good level of student participation is expected.


Assessment may take the form of written reports, essays, controlled tests, examinations and presentations. Assessment will take place both during and at the end of each unit as appropriate. Graded units will be awarded as Distinction, Merit or Pass.

At the end of the course you will be given a transcript listing all of the units and grades awarded: there is no overall grade.

Universities will specify the grades they expect you to achieve in various units as part of any offer they may make.


Students have access to a fantastic range of College-wide facilities such as the Learning Resource Centre (LRC), study hubs, computer areas with accompanying multi-function printers and helpdesk advice.

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 £27,525. 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.

Please refer to the York College Advanced Learner Loan page for more specific information.


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

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