York College Access courses are validated by Certa. CERTA ACCESS - FULL COLOUR PNG

This one-year course provides you with a thorough grounding in Art and Design. 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.

If you already have a degree, check with the Student Loans Company whether you will be eligible for a loan before applying.

Delivery for 2020 -21: Due to Covid-19 Theory classes will be delivered remotely and undertaken at home and practical sessions to be attended on site.

Entry Requirements

Level 2 English qualifications and evidence of ability on Art and Design/Portfolio.

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. 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.

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Course Outline

The course begins with an introduction to creative art and design units through working with a wide variety of materials and processes. You will go on to complete projects in digital art, painting and drawing, textiles, book art, 3D, printmaking, alongside a broad range of self-directed projects.

In the early stages of the course, you will be shown how to experiment with materials and approaches to develop your own response to a series of assignment briefs. 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. Over time, you will begin to find a direction within the field of art and design 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. You will be asked to work on self-directed briefs, which will prepare you for developing your own practice or further study at degree level. To support this, there will be the opportunity to visit the UCAS fair and will receive support with your UCAS application.

Exams and Assessments

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


The Access to Higher Education Diploma is validated and accredited through the National Awarding Body Certa 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 and design 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 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. You are provided with a broad range of basic art and design materials.

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.

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