York College

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

Overview of the course

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.

Entry Requirements

GCSE English Grade 4 or C (or better).

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.

Dates and Times

September 2021 - June 2022.

The course is full-time over an academic year. Attendance is over 3 three days per week plus an additional 10 to 15 hours’ personal self-guided study.

Course Length

32 weeks

Course Modules

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.

Teaching Methods/ Course Delivery

Delivery for 2020 -21: Due to Covid-19 Classroom-based lessons will be delivered remotely and undertaken at home. Seminars and tutorials will be attended on site when possible. Please keep checking the website for the latest information and updates.


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.

Course Fees and additional costs

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.

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.


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.

Why choose this course?

The Access to HE Diploma: Humanities and Social Sciences diploma 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 steppingstone to your career.

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


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).


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 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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.

About the course tutors

English Literature

Lecturer and Diploma Lead: Alison Willis 

BA (Hons), MA in Postmodern Political Literary Theories (class, race and gender, and specialising in postcolonial writing (including the poetry of Benjamin Zephaniah, Linton Kwesi Johnson and Grace Nichols)), PGCE.  I have taught English to a range of groups, including adult returners (on a variety of courses) as well as young offenders, A level literature groups and international students. I have also taught on degree programmes for the University of York.

I have been Diploma Leader since 2015. Every year, I absolutely love seeing students embrace challenges with gusto, debate new ideas (often continuing into the lunch break!), grow in confidence, support each other and make lasting friendships.  The Access literature course offers real variety, given that it includes modern and classic novels, drama, poetry from Beowulf to rap artists, and almost anything in between! The course looks at the links between literature, music, art and theatre, and students are encouraged to explore their own areas of interest.

When not working, I love being outdoors and enjoy cross-country running – especially when it’s followed by coffee and cake.

Sociology and Criminology

Lecturer: Dr Daniel Nelson, BA (Hons), MA, PhD, CTTLS, Cert. TESOL has been teaching on Access social science courses at York College since 2008. Specialising in criminology and sociology, Daniel has also taught organisational psychology and social policy on degree level courses at the College, as well as the University of York and Doncaster College. A keen gardener and allotmenteer, he is particularly interested in green issues and his doctoral research involved participation observation of environmental protest movements.


Lecturer: Lecturer: Clive Broadley,  LLB (hons). Called to the bar 1981. Barrister-at-law
Moved into teaching around 2002 and teaches law on the Access course . Clive is involved in delivering the tutorial programme. Brings experience of practising law out of chambers in London and York into the classroom.  A keen photographer and occasional breeder of chocolate Labradors (and owner of 2).


Lecturer: Heather Sherman

I completed my BA Hons, MA and PGCE at the University of York and have just completed a further advanced teaching qualification with the Society for Education and Training. Before coming to York College, I taught in a Secondary School and in the third sector. I have been teaching on the Access to Humanities and Social Sciences course since 2015. Specialising in Modern History, I have designed the curriculum to cover a broad range of Modern History including British History, fascism in Europe and American Civil Rights. I also teach the Modern History A Level and mentor PGCE students, working with PGCE students from York College and at the University of York. Outside of college I am a mum to a spirited 2.5-year-old and we enjoy going on adventures outside and baking cakes together.


Lecturer: Victoria Jevens BA (Hons), started tutoring at York College on the Access to Education Pathway in 2019. Victoria started her degree course in Primary Education at Sheffield Hallam University which included Initial Teacher Training in 2011, obtaining a 1st class honours degree. She went on to start her teaching career in an outstanding school in Barnsley, working there for 4 years before moving on to teach in a number of other school settings. She has mentored a variety of students on initial teacher training programs including during University placements and also School-Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT). Outside of work, Victoria is a lover of the outdoors and tries to integrate a forest school approach to her classroom practice where possible. She also focused her educational enquiry on green space and the effect on knowledge acquisition.

Contact Us

If you would like to enrol, you can do so via our Enrol Now page.

If you have any further questions about York College please email info@yorkcollege.ac.uk 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.


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