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Access to HE

Access to Higher Education Diploma: Science

Subject Area
Start Date
September 2024
Study Mode
1 Year
Entry Requirements
GCSE English and Maths - minimum Grade 4/C is required. Students with Level 2 English and Maths may be invited to interview and a plan of action discussed. If students do not have a formal Level 2 English and Maths qualification, they would need to complete this before starting the course.
Validated 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.

The course is divided into units of assessment. Each unit is broken down into learning hours and most of the units are worth three to six credits (one credit equals 10 learning hours). You will specialise in either Physics and Maths, Chemistry and Maths or Chemistry and Biology.

Entry requirements

GCSE English and Maths - minimum grade 4/C. Students with Level 2 English and Maths may be invited to interview and a plan of action discussed. If students do not have a formal Level 2 English and Maths 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 comfortable classrooms and well-equipped labs A good level of student participation is expected throughout the duration of the course.

Reasons to choose this course

The Access Science course provides you with a strong set of skills and technical capabilities to enable you to achieve, whichever your chosen pathway. We have an excellent record of getting people into top universities such as the University of York, Leeds Beckett University and Sheffield Hallam University.

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, you may need access to a PC/laptop and suitable Wi-Fi to access additional teaching and learning from home as required for the additional guided learning hours.


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

In the past students have progressed onto higher education and have studied a range of courses in physics, chemistry, dietetics, nutrition, and professional training such as radiography and engineering.

Course modules

Biology & Chemistry

  • Ideal for those intending to progress into areas like biology, chemistry, biomedical sciences or dietetics.

Chemistry & Mathematics

  • Ideal for those intending to progress into areas like mathematics or chemistry and can be useful for people who already have qualifications in biology or physics.

Mathematics & Physics

  • Ideal for those intending to progress into areas like mathematics, physics, engineering, or computer science.

On application, your chosen option will be discussed at an interview with a member of the Science Team. This interview will help ensure your preference will allow you to progress in your career or onto an appropriate university course. Attendance in College is for three days per week plus an additional 10 to 15 hours personal self-guided study. Timetables and hours of study will be discussed at the interview.

You will complete all the units corresponding to the pathway you have chosen:


  • Exploring Cells
  • Enzymes
  • Practical Biology Skills
  • Systems Physiology
  • DNA and Protein Synthesis
  • Cellular Transport
  • Biochemical Molecules
  • Respiration in Cells


  • Computing a Science Project
  • Exploring Atoms, Bonds and Structures
  • Moles, Equations and Acids
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Organic Compound Analysis
  • Redox and Periodicity
  • Kinetics, Energetics and Acid-based Equilibria
  • Enthalpy, Rates and Equilibrium


  • Computing a Science Project
  • Exploring Waves and Optics
  • Newtonian and Rotational Dynamics
  • Particle and Nuclear Physics
  • Electricity and Electromagnetism
  • Thermodynamics


  • Exploring Algebra and Functions
  • Introductory Calculus
  • Further Differentiation
  • Further Integration
  • Kinematics
  • Exponentials, Logs, Trigonometry and Series
  • Further Trigonometry
  • Algebra


Assessment may take the form of reports, assignments, examinations, logbooks and presentations. Assessment will take place during and at the end of each unit as appropriate. Some units are ungraded and must simply be achieved; all other units will be awarded as Distinction, Merit or Pass. At the end of the course, you will be given a transcript listing all units and the grade awarded; there is no overall grade. Access to HE Diploma is now on the UCAS points tariff; however, individual Universities may specify a grade in certain units as part of any offer they may make.


Where possible, practical sessions take place in modern, purpose-built laboratories, with an excellent range of equipment and you are supported by a dedicated team of specialist technicians.

Students have access to a fantastic range of College-wide facilities such as the Learning & Research Centre, 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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