Access to Higher Education Diploma (Social Science and Health)

Overview (NV)

Access to Higher Education Diploma (Social Science and Health)

Course length
1 year 3-4 days per week (10am-3pm)
Awarded by
Open College Network West Midlands


The Access to Higher Education Diploma is a highly-recognised and intensive Level 3 qualification, equivalent to A-levels. It is primarily designed for learners who are considering returning to study but don’t have the necessary entry requirements for higher education courses in their chosen career pathway. 

Our Access to Higher Education Diploma (Social Science and Health) is specifically designed for:

  • Students with a current or previous role in care, working as a health assistant, care assistant or care worker
  • Learners who have not participated in or benefitted from previous educational experiences due to their individual circumstances
  • Learners seeking a change of employment direction, or a boost to their career opportunities, who can show a demonstrable interest in entering a profession related to health and social care 

Our course is designed to help ease you into returning to study if you have been out of education for a long time. If you have children, the course also provides the flexibility to fit your studies around your childcare commitments and the school day. 

In order to successfully compete the Access to Higher Education Diploma (Social Science and Health), you must achieve a total of 60 credits through studying the following units and subjects:

  • Social Science academic subjects such as psychology and sociology
  • Health academic subjects including anatomy, respiration and circulation, cell biology, diseases, infection control and health studies
  • Skills for Learning

By completing this Diploma, you will be able to progress onto a higher education course. Possible future study and career options include childhood studies, nursing, health and social care, midwifery, public health, occupational therapy, operating department practice, paramedic practice, physiotherapy, social work, psychology and sociology. 

Why should I choose this course?

  • If you don’t currently have the necessary qualifications to enter university study, this course will give you a nationally recognised qualification and provide you with the skills needed to move into higher education in your chosen field
  • You will be introduced to the necessary study skills and key areas of knowledge within your chosen subject or career pathway
  • The course will help you to become an independent, self-directed learner and help prepare you for the demands of studying at undergraduate level
  • You will benefit from a positive and supportive learning experience to help you build skills and confidence




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Teaching & Assessment (NV)

Teaching and assessment

Learning will be assessed in a variety of methods to prepare the learners to study at university. These may include essays, report writing, online assessment, and presentations. Learners 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.

Our teaching and assessment is underpinned by our Teaching, Learning and Assessment Strategy 2015-2020.

Entry Requirements (NV)

Entry requirements

  • Applicants must be at least 19 years old
  • Whilst the Access to Higher Education Diploma course has been designed for students who have not had the opportunity to access higher education, applicants should note that many of the career pathways linked to this area of study such as; nursing, midwifery, social work or occupational health, do also require GCSE English and maths. We would normally require applicants to have achieved GCSE English and maths at grade 4 (grade C) or above or Functional Skills level 2 to progress onto some degree courses
  • There is the opportunity to study either English or maths GCSE or Functional Skills Level 2 alongside the Access course as part of your studies
  • In exceptional circumstances where applicants can demonstrate considerable work experience related to the health care sector but have not obtained maths or English, you we will be required to complete literacy and numeracy assessment to ensure that you will be able to cope with the study requirements of the Access course. Applicants will be required to achieve a Level 1 in the assessment.
What will I study? (NV)

What will I study?

You will study the following subjects:

  • Biological science  - Anatomy, Human Disease and Prevention, Human Nutrition and the Digestive System, Human Reproduction, Growth and Development. 
  • Health studies – Health Promotion
  • Psychology – Introduction to Psychology, Abnormal Psychology
  • Skills for learning – Academic Writing Skills, Study Techniques, Preparing for a Higher Education Admission
  • Sociology – Introduction to Sociology, Sociology of health. 
Careers (NV)

Careers and progression

By completing this course, you will be able to progress into higher education at your institution of choice (depending on entry requirements). There are also opportunities to move into higher education at UCB and build on your growing knowledge and skills. You could take a degree in Early Childhood Studies (Graduate Practitioner), Health and Social Care, Public Health and Health Promotion or Youth, Community and Families

Possible future study and career options include nursing, midwifery, occupational therapy, operating department practice, paramedic practice, physiotherapy, social work, psychology and sociology.