Access to Higher Education Diploma (Social Science and Health Professionals)

Access to Higher Education Diploma (Social Science and Health Professionals)


Awarded by Open College Network West Midlands

Who is this course for?

The Access to Higher Education Diploma (Social Science and Health Professionals) offers learners a coordinated, integrated and supported year of study.

It has been designed for learners who do not have the necessary entry requirements for undergraduate study at University or for learners who are looking for a change in career. You will gain the knowledge, academic skills and confidence necessary for successful entry into undergraduate courses or to boost your career prospects. You will study the equivalent of 3 A Levels in one year of study.

Our vocationally experienced and enthusiastic teaching team will provide the right level of support to keep you motivated and on track. The team fully understands the needs of Access learners and can give you the guidance you need.

You will need GCSE English at Grade A-C (4-9) or equivalent (Level 2 Functional Skills) and GCSE Maths at Grade A-C (4-9) or equivalent (Level 2 Functional Skills).

Some Universities will only accept GCSEs to meet entry requirements. They will also require you to have additional GCSEs at Grade A-C (4-9) for some courses, including a science for the Health pathway.

You will need to attend an interview to ensure you will be able to cope with the academic requirements of the course. This will include a numeracy and literacy assessment.

There is no mandatory placement within the course, however it would be beneficial to have either paid or voluntary work experience in your chosen area to support your application to University and your academic work at college.


Course fees are dependent on your personal circumstances and you may be eligible for funding. If you are aged 19-23, and this is your first full Level 3 qualification, 100% of your course fees will be covered. More information can be provided upon application.

If you are aged 19+ you could also choose to apply for an Advanced Learner Loan to cover your course fees, enabling you to study now, pay later. Loan eligibility isn’t dependent on income or employment status and there is no credit check. Loan repayments don’t start until you have finished your course and earn over £25,000 per year.

If you successfully complete your Access to HE course and progress on to a degree course, your 19+ Advanced Learner Loan will be written off and you will not need to repay.


Social Science modules include Sociology, Social Policy, Social Work, Psychology, Health Studies and Skills for Learning. 

University Progression Routes: Social Work, Social Care, Social Policy, Psychology, Psychology and Criminology, Probation Service, Public Health, Community Studies, Health Studies, Counselling, Policing, Human Resource Management and Business and Marketing.

Health Professionals modules include Biological Sciences, Psychology, Health Studies and Skills for Learning.

University Progression Routes: Adult Nursing, Children’s Nursing, Learning Disabilities Nursing, Mental Health Nursing, Midwifery, Physiotherapy, Paramedical Science, Speech and Language Therapy, Audiology, Radiography, Biomedical Science, Health Sciences, Health Studies, Public Health and Community Studies.

The course is taught over 3 days between Monday and Friday and comprises 16.5 hours of contact time. You will be assigned a personal tutor who will support you throughout your period of study and you will complete a ‘Steps to Success’ portfolio to enable progression to Higher Education.


Learning is assessed in a variety of methods to prepare you to study at university. These may include essays, report writing, timed assessments under controlled conditions, online assessment, and presentations.

You must achieve 60 credits at Level 3. 45 are Graded Credits in Academic Modules at Pass, Merit or Distinction, and 15 are Ungraded Credits in Skills for Learning.

In 2017-18 97% of learners achieved undergraduate places at University, with the remaining 3% entering employment. Progression routes for each pathway are extremely varied and listed above.

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