Access to HE

What is Access to HE?

The Access to HE course is a Level 3 modular, credit-based programme for adults aged 19 years and over. The primary aim of the Access to HE Diploma is to provide appropriate preparation and a recognised qualification to enable students to progress to Higher Education (HE).

Course Details

We deliver three Access to HE diplomas and one Pre-Access to HE course - and you should choose the one that is best suited to your desired future study route at university. The diplomas are shown below along with the mandatory subjects for each diploma:


  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Core Science
  • English Literature
  • History - Social and Cultural Development


  • Core Science
  • Human Biology
  • Psychology
  • The Psychology and Sociology of Health
  • Humans Against Disease


  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • English Literature
  • Crime and Deviance
  • History – Social and Cultural Development


  • Developing IT and presentation skills
  • Developing literacy skills
  • Building a career portfolio
  • Building reports and using basic research methodology
  • Solving practical problems and managing real world projects
  • Study skills and self-development

Access Courses

If you are unsure which diploma is the best suited to your aspirations, have a look at university websites and prospectuses for course entry requirement details and check with their admissions departments.

As well as choosing your diploma, you will study the following core units, which equal 15 credits:

  • English Language (9 credits)
  • Maths (2 x 3 = 6 credits)

Please note that most universities require GCSE English and Maths at Grade C (4) or above. If you do not have these grades at GCSE, the core units that you will take in these subjects should compensate. However, each university has different entry criteria for different courses and you need to check these. Please note that if you are planning to do a degree in Business or a business related subject, many universities require you to have at least a GCSE grade C in Maths in order to be offered a place.

The Access to HE course is worth 60 credits – 45 credits come from academic units specific to the pathway you have chosen (5 x 9 credit units) and 15 credits are core units that are ungraded.

Course Structure

We offer a range of classes over one-year or 18-month study options. The classes are during the day. There is currently no option to do evening classes. Most daytime classes run from 10am-2.00pm.

During the one-year course, you will be in at least three days a week in semester 1 and four days a week in semester 2. The structure of the one-year course is:

  • Semester 1:
    • 3 subjects plus UCAS preparation
  • Semester 2:
    • 4 subjects

During the 18-month course, you will be in for two days a week in the first semester, then three days a week for semester 2 and 2 days for semester 3. The structure of the 18-month course is:

  • Year 1, Semester 1:
    • 2 subjects
  • Year 1, Semester 2:
    • 3 subjects and summer school (3 x 2hr sessions)
  • Year 2, Semester 3:
    • 2 subjects plus UCAS preparation

Your timetable is discussed at interview and finalised at enrolment.

Entry Requirements

To be eligible to study on the Access to HE course, you must have:

  • Had a significant break from study (which means you are aged over 19 years)
  • The ability to work at or above Level 2 in English and Level 1 in Maths, preferably with qualifications at Level 2 in these subjects
  • Commitment to the course; a clear goal and a robust back-up plan
  • Some evidence in an informal interview of:
    • Resilience
    • Working with others
  • The ability to complete 2 basic selection tasks
  • A referee (not a friend or family member) who can objectively comment on your skills and commitment
  • The ability to use Microsoft Office software to a reasonable standard


Your UCAS application must be completed by mid November of the year before entry. It is a very competitive environment and to ensure the best possible chance of securing a place on your chosen degree course, you should start planning your application early.

You can enhance your UCAS application by attending taster courses, open days or conferences, and by talking to professionals in the field you want to work in.

Almost all vocational degree courses demand either relevant work experience or voluntary experience, so bolstering your application with a variety of work placements will help you to stand out and compete for your place. is a useful place to start if you are looking for help to organise voluntary experience. Please note that most voluntary roles will demand a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check, which can take a number of weeks/months to complete. It is your responsibility to arrange this.


From September 2020, the annual course fee for access courses will be £3,384.

Financial Support

Further Education (FE) Student Loans were introduced in 2013 to help individuals over the age of 19 years to pay their course fees. There are no upfront fees and you don’t start to re-pay the loan until your income is above £26,575 per year. If you progress onto university to complete a degree course following completion of your Access to HE course, the fee for your Access course will be waived.

Please note that if your attendance is poor, or if you leave/the College withdraws you from the course, the Student Loan Company will not pay your course fees and you will still be liable for these fees.

There is also support available to help with childcare support and nursery places.

Speak to a member of the College’s Gateway team to find out what financial support is available for you and how to progress with applications for these.

***All nursing, midwifery and allied health professional degree students studying or starting their course in September 2020 will receive at least £5,000 a year. There will also be up to £3,000 further funding available for eligible students. Some students could be eligible for up to £8,000 in total support per year. More information can be found at:***


Next Steps

You will need to attend an information evening as your first step. The Access to HE information sessions run from 5:45pm – 6:45pm at our Coast Road campus on the first Tuesday of every month. Book a place with our Gateway team or come along to TyneMet for a drop-in session, find out more - Events

After interview you will be notified of three possible outcomes:

  • An unconditional offer – the course is right for you and you meet our entry requirements
  • A conditional offer – offer made on condition e.g. provision of references or achievement of Level 1 Maths and Level 2 English on your skills test
  • No offer made – the course isn’t suitable for you at this point in time – though you may be encouraged to reapply at a later date

A student advisor from the College’s Gateway team will contact successful applicants to provide further information about the enrolment process.

If you have any further questions about the course, or the pathway that is most suited to you, please contact a student advisor in our Gateway team on 0191 229 5000 or email

Access to HE courses

Course Course mode Duration Start  
Access to HE Diploma: Educational Studies
Delivered: , 10:00 ~ 14:00
Part-time 45 weeks (part-time) 30-weeks (full-time) Sep 2021 Apply
Access to HE Diploma: Health
Delivered: , 10:00 ~ 14:00
Part-time 45 weeks (part-time) 30-weeks (full-time) Sep 2021 Apply
Access to HE Diploma: Humanities & Social Sciences
Delivered: , 10:00 ~ 14:00
Part-time 45 weeks (part-time) 30-weeks (full-time) Sep 2021 Apply
Pre-Access to HE (January)
Delivered: Thursday, 10:00 ~ 14:00
Thursdays: 10:00 - 14:00
Part-time 30 weeks Jan 2022 More
Pre Access to HE (September)
Delivered: , 10:00 ~ 14:00
Part-time 30 weeks Sep 2022 More