Access to Higher Education

Access to HE studentsPurpose

This is a nationally recognised qualification which is designed to prepare you for moving on to higher education. The varied programme suits students with appropriate life experience who may or may not have formal qualifications. It will enable you to study a number of subjects to a level which allows a smooth transition to degree or other higher level courses. You will achieve a nationally recognised qualification - QAA Access to Higher Education Diploma.


Course content

This diploma is made up of a combination of study skills units and subject specialisms such as Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Psychology and Sociology.



You are assessed rigorously throughout the course and present a portfolio that will include evidence such as essays, presentations, reports, tests, exam answers, self and peer assessments. For all parts of the course you can gain credits awarded by the Open College Network South West Region. Sixty credits, all of which must be  at Level 3, are required for a full Access Diploma.



Programme Manager: Lorna Britton BSc, PGCE


Entry requirements

You will need to have, or be working towards, GCSE English and Maths grade C or above. The course is designed to build upon your previous experience, but if you do have some qualifications, these will be enhanced.

You will need to write a letter to accompany your application form explaining your reasons for applying. This could include expanding on prior learning; demonstrating your understanding of the nature of the Access course and how you think you would cope with its demands; describing what you hope to study at university and any other information you think is important. This letter is an important part of the selection process, as it will form the basis of discussion at interview and be used to determine the most appropriate ‘pathway’ for you to follow.



Access is designed to take you on to a wide range of higher education courses including The Open University and Plymouth University Foundation Degrees available at Strode College.

Many students are interested in careers such as nursing, teaching or social work, but others progress on to a diverse range of courses, such as psychology and engineering.


Key Facts

Code: CD3HE
Level: Level 3
Award: Access to HE Diploma
Awarding Body: apt
Length: 1 Year
Tuition fee: Fees may apply to students over 19 years, price on application. Students aged 24+ can apply for a 24+ Advanced Learning Loan.

The fees include exam/reg fees and any material costs. See Paying for Your Course for fees information.

Student Profiles

Claire Walter
Jordan Robins

Adult student of the year - Rowena Sheppard

Studied: Access to HE, Pass
Home town:
Where now?
Bournemouth University studying Adult Nursing

Rowena was working as the Deputy Manager of Southlawns Care Home in Street before choosing to return to education. While at Strode, Rowena’s attention to detail, analytical skills, time management and attendance were all noted to be excellent. Her hard work and effort was rewarded when she secured a place on the highly sought after Adult Nursing BSc Hons degree at Bournemouth University, fulfilling her lifetime ambition.”

Useful links