Award Crest
York College

Access courses are now closed for 2018 entry. Applications for 2019 will open on 1st December 2018. Look out for information about our new Access courses for 2019.

This one-year course provides you with a thorough grounding in Art, Design and aspects of media. The course is run over two days each week for one year.

The programme would suit students with some experience of creative art and design who may be returning to education, studying for the first time at college or wishing to change career. The range of units studied 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

The course will run for one year and you will attend for two days per week.
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, 3D, printmaking and design, alongside independent research.

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 or 3D crafts.

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 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.

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.

The course has some mandatory units and a range of optional units.


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 guaranteed progression to successful students to our own higher education courses here at York College, subject to tutor approval. Students have gained places on graphic design, fashion, fine art, textiles, illustration, 3D and design degree courses across the country including at Wimbledon College of Art and Design, Northumbria University and Manchester Metropolitan University and other prestigious Art Schools.

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.”

Ycol260315 large 153

Ycol260315 large 158

Ycol260315 large 160

Ycol260315 large 179


Course Enquiry

Please type your full name.
Invalid email address.
Please tell us about your enquiry