Access to Higher Education Diploma

(Social Science and Health)


1 year (2 days per week)



Department of Health
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24,000 Access to HE students are accepted at over 140 universities every year*


90% of graduates with Diploma were employed or in further study six months after graduating (2017/18)

Are you looking to return to study or change career but finding you don’t yet meet the entry requirements for higher education courses? Our Access to Higher Education Diploma is a highly-recognised Level 3 qualification (equivalent to A-Levels) that can help you take the next step into a career in Nursing or a wide range of careers within the health sector.

This Access to HE Diploma combines building your learning skills – e.g. academic writing skills and study techniques – with a foundation of subjects related to social science and health, including psychology, social influence, anatomy, disease, nutrition and cell biology. Completing the diploma will open the door for you to enter higher education study in related fields, such as nursing and midwifery, paramedic practice, public health, childhood studies. education, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, social work or psychology. (Please note many of these career pathways do also require GCSE English, maths and – in some cases – science at grade 4/C or above.)

Our course is specifically designed for:

  • Students with a current or previous role in care (e.g. health assistant, care assistant, care worker)
  • Students who have not benefited from previous educational experience due to their individual circumstances
  • Learners seeking a change of direction or a career boost, and who can demonstrate their interest in entering a profession related to health and social care
  • Anyone who wants to return to study having been out of education for a long time

View example timetable

Why choose this college course?

  • RECOGNISED QUALIFICATION – This Access to Higher Education Diploma will give you a nationally-recognised qualification to help meet the entry requirements for university
  • BOOST YOUR SKILLS – Gain the necessary study skills and key knowledge for your chosen subject or career, as well as the independent learning skills needed for university study
  • GREAT LEARNING SUPPORT – Enjoy a positive and supportive learning experience that will develop your skills and confidence to progress onto higher education
  • MOVE UP TO UNIVERSITY – Continue your learning journey to the next level at University College Birmingham, such as on our business or finance and accounting degrees.
Student Finance England will ‘write off’ any outstanding Advanced Learner Loan balances you owe for an Access to HE course, once you complete a higher education course. This means you do not have to repay it. (The higher education course must be eligible for student finance.)

Course breakdown

Topics you will study

  • R&R of a HCP
  • Introduction to Psychology
  • Abnormal Psychology
  • Introduction to Sociology
  • Psychobiology of Stress
  • Anatomy
  • Disease and Prevention
  • Nutrition
  • Cell Metabolism
  • Respiratory and Cardio
  • Muscular Skeletal
  • Nervous System
  • Research Topic
  • Study Techniques
  • Academic Writing Skills
  • Seminar
  • Progression to HE

Please note: Units/topics of study are subject to change

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

Our Access to Higher Education Diploma course has been designed for students who have not had the opportunity to access higher education. Applicants must have at least three years’ life experience outside of formal education gained since completing formal education. Experience does not need to be in a subject-related field.

Academic requirements

  • GCSE English (Language or Literature) or Maths at grade 4 (grade C) or equivalent
  • A minimum of grade 3 or equivalent must be achieved in the subject where a grade 4 or equivalent has not been achieved
  • If you are unsure if your qualification is equivalent or if you wish to check if you meet the entry requirements for this course, please call 0121 214 2919 or email

Supporting documents required

Applicants will also be required to submit a reference from a previous or current employment role. Please where possible submit this with your application by emailing your reference to

Additional Information

There may be the opportunity to study GCSE maths or Functional Skills English alongside the course as part of your studies.

For applicants who need to retake their maths and English alongside studying the Access to HE Diploma, please note that we cannot guarantee these lectures will fall between 10am and 3pm.

Guaranteed progression

Students who achieve 128-112 UCAS points from this qualification will be automatically guaranteed an interview for Nursing (Adult) BSc (Hons) or Physiotherapy BSc (Hons) at University College Birmingham.

Key information

Teaching and assessment

Learning will be assessed in a variety of methods to prepare you for study at university – these may include essays, report writing, online assessment and presentations.

In order to successfully complete the Access to Higher Education Diploma (Social Science and Health), you must achieve a total of 60 credits (including social science academic subjects, health academic subjects and Skills for Learning).

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.

Our teaching and assessment is underpinned by our Teaching, Learning and Assessment Strategy 2021-2024.


View timetable for the course

Please note: small changes to the timetable may occur and the provided document may be updated


The fee for this course is £3,022. Please click here for more information.

Please note: Student Finance England will 'write off' any outstanding Advanced Learner Loan balances you owe for an Access to HE course once you complete a higher education course. This means you do not have to repay it. (The higher education course must be eligible for Student Finance).

My teachers have the time and patience to explain any questions raised. What I have learned has helped me organise my assignments, learn how to research essential information on the internet and in text books, and given me a fair idea about what I will be studying at the University.

Gifty Adubea Darko Access to Higher Education Diploma (Social Science and Health)

Progression and career opportunities

This course is designed to enable your progression onto higher education. Depending on entry requirements, you could continue onto a degree at University College Birmingham, such as Adult Nursing, Physiotherapy, Early Childhood Studies (Graduate Practitioner) and Health and Social Care.

With further study, possible future career options open to you include:


Average Salary: £25,794

Adult nurse

Average Salary: £33,834

Social worker

Average Salary: £48,000

Learning disability nurse

Average Salary: £24,905


Average Salary: £28,803

Mental health nurse

Average Salary: £33,951

Note: The example roles and salaries are intended as a guide only.


We are here to support your career goals every step of the way. 


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