Access to HE
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Access to Higher Education (Full-time)

Course Overview

The full-time Access to Higher Education course will prepare you to pursue a degree or diploma at university. You will develop your skills and confidence to enable you to embark on a successful higher education career. Access to Higher Education qualification is a QAA-recognised entry qualification for degree or diploma level studies at all universities in the UK, for a wide range of subjects. On this HE course, you will study English, Maths and study skills together with subjects related to your degree choice.


This is a full-time HE course completed over one year. If you would prefer to study part-time and spread the course over two years, we now offer a part-time Access to Higher Education course.



Access to HE Celebration of Achievement 2017 – Source Somerset Guardian 29.6.17


One Student’s Story:
Steph is in her 4th year at the University of Bath where she is studying for a Psychology degree.


See Steph’s Story here: lookfurther.bath.ac.uk


What topics are covered?

Within the course, we offer six diplomas:


    • Health & Social Care – This popular diploma enables you to study a degree in a range of healthcare professions, including nursing, midwifery, radiography, paramedicine, physiotherapy and social work.


    • Education – Designed for future educators, this diploma offers you the qualifications needed to pursue a degree in teaching.


    • Science – The science diploma allows you to progress to a university degree in subjects such as physics, biology, forensics, psychology, ecology or biomedical sciences. Please ask for guidance.


    • Engineering – This engineering diploma allows you to progress to a university to study a engineering related degree.


    • Humanities – This diploma offers a broad range of progression possibilities; students have progressed onto degrees including history, literature, creative writing and international development.


    • Social Science – This diploma offers progression opportunities including sociology, social policy and other social sciences.
    • Medicine – This diploma offers progression to train as a doctor.


We will advise you on the right diploma to study. After you make your choice, you will be advised on the subjects you should take relating to your choice of degree/diploma. We offer English Literature, Education, Sociology, ICT, History, Psychology, Statistics, Chemistry, Biology, Physics and Mathematics.


Students will also study English and Study Skills.


Here is a subject taster from a presentation which one of our Biology students on the Health & Social Care Diploma put together:



Here are a couple of images to give you a flavour of what working in the Biology lab is like:


Access Biology Class 2016 - Yeast                             Access Biology Class 2016


Here is a subject taster from a Sociology class activity on Crime & Deviance:


Who is the course aimed at?

This course is aimed at mature students who have been out of full-time education for at least a year and wish to go on to a degree/diploma course. You may have missed out on earlier educational opportunities and have few formal qualifications.


This is what one of our students, Emma-Jane Cook, had to say about the Access to HE course:


“When we were told at the beginning of the academic year that we would be doing presentations throughout this course and a 40 minute seminar in English near the end, I was absolutely terrified!

“One of the best things about this course, is that it does (absolutely!) take people as complete individuals and it develops them personally. Whether that’s from being ridiculously shy to being able to stand up in front of peers and talk about things that they are passionate about, or from being an introverted person to an outgoing member of a group.

“It’s been so wonderful to see so many people grow in confidence, myself included, and I’m pretty sure that it’s down to the encouragement that you and the rest of our lecturers and tutors give us.  So thank you.”


Some Access students talk about the course:




This is from a student in their final year at University College, London who will be going on to do a Master’s and already has a graduate offer from a prestigious international financial institution:


I couldn’t have been more grateful at the time for all your personal effort along with the wider Access team but I most certainly wouldn’t be sitting in the position I’m currently in without the course. I would like to extend my absolute gratitude to … the Access team and the college.”


And from a student in her first year of study at the University of Bristol:


Just wanted to let you know that the essay writing skills you taught me resulted in a 94% for my first uni essay. I was gobsmacked when I saw that! Everyone had said the first pieces of work are always really bad as you need to learn what University wants. I had decided I would be really happy with anything around 50-60%. Access really did provide me with amazing tools, thank you.”


And from a student in his first year of university studying Law:


“Now semester 1 is finished and grades are finalised I’m pleased to say I’m achieving 2:1s, a little below what I’m aiming for but much higher than I could have achieved if I hadn’t utilised your feedback in all my Literary Studies assignments. The confidence that you gave me to express myself has very much shown in my essays and reports.”


And from a student who graduated 2 years ago and has landed his dream job through studying on the Access course:


A few years down the line from passing the Access course (over 5 already!!), I wanted to say thank you for running the course and providing the support to allow the opportunity for students to develop themselves and pursue a different career path…

Upon reflecting back over the last few years and realising how far I have come and the extent of the change I have made in my life, I am left with an overwhelming feeling of thankfulness and appreciation for those that have given their support along the way.”

What are the entry requirements?

GCSE English and Maths at grade C/4 or better are required for the Access course. We also accept passes at GCE ‘O’ Level grade C and CSE grade 1. We do not accept Functional Skills.


We will need to see evidence of your GCSE grade achievement such as the certificate, results slip or letter from a school.


However, in some instances, it will be a requirement that students must have GCSE Maths at grade C/grade 4 or better before starting the Access course. This will usually be the case for students who wish to study science degrees, for example. We will advise you when you come for interview.


Only in very exceptional circumstances will we consider students without these entry requirements.


If you have overseas qualifications, we will check compatibility using the NARIC compatibility check system.


In some cases, a degree will require additional GCSEs such a science GCSE for some Physiotherapy courses or a higher grade in Maths. We advise students to check with us or with universities before the start of the course.


If you do not have GCSE English or Maths currently, we have fast-track GCSE courses starting in January 2018 – please contact the Student Advice Centre for details or click here for Maths or here for English.


We advise potential students to gain relevant experience for some degree courses such as health professions, social work and teaching.

Universities will also carry out a DBS check (Disclosure and Barring Service) for these courses.


We highly recommend that you make a careers advice appointment at the College before interviewing for the Access to HE course. Please phone 01225 328 720 to make the appointment.

When you have applied, you will be invited to attend an information session, an interview and to take a short assessment (information will be given with your invitation).

What qualifications will I gain?

You will receive a QAA-recognised diploma, validated by Ascentis, listing the credits achieved.


Ascentis Logo 2016


Who is the awarding body?

Ascentis (www.ascentis.co.uk)

Who will be my tutor?

You will be assigned one of several personal tutors on the Access to HE programme.

How will I learn?

Study is classroom-based, with a strong emphasis on group work.


Access students talk about how they study:


How will I be assessed?

Assessment is based primarily on coursework and there are some exams. You must achieve a certain number of credits to pass the course.

What can I do after this course?

During the course we will help you to apply to university to study your choice of subject. We can give you lots of advice and guidance when you come for your interview and throughout your studies and 98% of students who applied to university gained a place on their chosen course in the last academic year. Students have gone on to study a variety of subjects at a variety of Universities. Students have studied subjects including –


Adult Nursing, Mental Health Nursing, Children’s Nursing, Occupational Therapy, Midwifery, Physiotherapy, Paramedic Science, Emergency Care and Operating Theatre Practice, Diagnostic Imaging, Podiatry, Psychology, Cyber Security Management, Business Management with Economics, IT Management for Business, Real Estate, Software Engineering, Education, Law, Social Work, History, American Studies, Media Communications, Classical Studies, English, Conservation Biology and Ecology, Zoology, Environmental Conservation and Heritage Management, Forensic Computing and Security, Information Management for Business, Biology, Engineering and Physics.


These are some of the Universities our students have studied at –


Cardiff University, UWE, Bath Spa University, Bournemouth University, University of Gloucestershire, University of Bristol, Oxford Brookes University, University of Exeter, University of Brighton, University College, London-UCL, University of Brighton, University of Worcester, University of Southampton, University of Nottingham, University of Sussex, University of East Anglia, King’s College London, University of Law Guildford, Queen Mary London, Plymouth University, Sheffield Hallam University, Royal Agricultural University


Some Access students talk about applying to university:



“The Access to HE course was awarded a Grade 1 in the recent College SAR which was thoroughly deserved. Excellent work, team!” Stuart King, Head of English, Access and Maths

How much does this course cost?

These were the fees for 2019/20:

  • If you are aged between 19-23 when the course starts and you do not have a full level three qualification the Access course is FREE.
  • If you are aged between 19-23 when the course starts and you do have a full level three qualification you will need to pay the fee or take out an Advanced Learner Loan to cover the cost of the fees.
  • If you are aged 24+ when the course starts you will need to pay the full fee or take out an Advanced Learner Loan to cover the cost of the fees.
  • The Advanced Learner Loan is not means tested and at present this is ‘written off’ when you graduate from university.
  • The fee is £3022 and 3384 depending on your diploma.
  • If you withdraw from the course early, the College reserves the right to collect the total course fee from you. Students should ensure that they have financial arrangements in place before commencing the course.

Are there any additional costs?

Stationery (e.g. files, paper).

Where is this course?

On your first day, please report to the Reception in the Roper Building at City Centre Campus.

What else do I need to know?

Maths and English language GCSEs, required for nearly all university courses, are no longer included in the Access qualification. If you do not have Maths or English language at this level we recommend that you enrol on our part-time GCSE courses starting in September. These run during the day and in the evening (contact the Student Advice Centre for further information). If you do not have both GCSEs, you can study for the one GCSE you do not have (either English language or Maths) alongside the Access course.


Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)

  • If a student studies Education Studies they will need to complete a school placement. They may need a DBS for this and the college can provide this at no charge.
  • If a student chooses to do the Social Work Placement unit they may also need a DBS.
  • We need to tell you that If the college supplies a DBS and a student does not complete the course they would be liable for the cost which is  £44.

Where can I find out more information?

For advice or more details please telephone 01225 312191 or email info@bathcollege.ac.uk. You may also visit our Student Advice Centre.

If you have a learning difficulty or disability, please contact Additional Learning Support to arrange additional help.

How do I apply?

Online: Click the "Apply" button and fill out an online application form.

By post: download the Full-Time Application Form and send to Student Advice Centre, Bath College, Avon Street, Bath BA1 1UP.

In person: Visit the Student Advice Centre in either of our campuses

To find out more about the application process, please go to the How to Apply page.

21 reviews for Access to Higher Education (Full-time)

  1. 5 out of 5

    The amazing people behind the Bath College Access Course are what makes it such an excellent experience. All the teachers and tutors are extremely helpful and understanding. They all helped me tremendously when I was undergoing issues that they probably were never faced with before meeting me.

    The course itself was a great learning experience and the material covered was very interesting. I feel like I have grown as a person and improved my academic skills since going on the Access Course.

    Thanks to the help of the amazing staff I was able to secure an unconditional offer to study Law at Oxford Brooke’s which I would not have been able to achieve without their undying patience and support.

  2. 5 out of 5

    The Access course has truly been the best decision I have made as I have managed to gain so much confidence around academic study and writing. I’ve gained friends for life and skills to take away with me as I begin university, which I did not think would happen. Being in full-time education as a 22 year old, single mother on low income it has been tough but the staff have been fantastic in giving support and advice throughout the course and I cannot thank them enough for everything they have done for me throughout the last year.
    The Access course is full on and has been hard but that is what makes finishing the course even more rewarding as it is now my biggest academic achievement which has changed and improved my study as well as giving me the career I have always dreamed of.

  3. 5 out of 5

    I can not recommend this course highly enough. It is a great stepping stone toward university. I have benefited so much from the support of the tutor and advise on university application which is not find at 6th form colleges. This course has exceeded my expectations. Even I currently have to offers from universities, the tutors have been great in helping do everything possible to workout what I need so I can re apply for uni and make my dream come true.

  4. 5 out of 5

    This course has changed me as a person but most likely changed the way I see my future. I could not feel more excited to be able to study at King’s College London and persuade a career in Dietetics, something I have dreamed of for the past 10 years. I could not be more grateful to all the teachers for their continuous support, especially for someone like me, who is not a native English speaker, and who was out of education for nearly 8 years. I have not only gain a great amount of knowledge in the Science area but the course also equipped me with key skills needed for university, like working under pressure, presenting, independent reaserch or referencing. Access teaches will also advise you on university choices and guide you through the entire process, starting from applying though UCAS, writing your personal statement and preparing you for university interviews. I can honestly say I have enjoyed every single lesson, especially working in the lab on practical ways of apply biology and chemistry. I have also met fantastic people along the way, including studentas and teachers and I hope to stay in touch with everyone for as long as it is possible.

  5. 5 out of 5

    The access course has allowed me to go places I never thought possible. The year has gone so fast and at the start I felt like writing an essay was the hardest thing in the world, by the end of it I was doing several essays at once which has set me up perfectly for university. I now have a place to study physiotherapy. There is an option to go full or part time depending on your situation, which makes it perfect to balance a work, family and educational life. Would recommend to anyone who has been out of education for a long time and wants to get a place at university. But be prepared to put the work in!

  6. 5 out of 5

    This course has been one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life! The staff are so helpful and supportive, I never felt like I couldn’t ask a question or reach out if I was stuck. Not only that, but the people that I have met on this course have been so warm and friendly and I know that getting through would have been harder without their constant kindness. The work load is intense, but the pace at which the content is taught means that you find yourself just getting on with it. It’s opened so many doors for me and I can’t recommend it enough!

  7. 5 out of 5

    In late December I was diagnosed with Tuberculosis (TB) and started my 6 months intensive treatment. The help and support I got from the teachers was incredible. I would have not have completed this course without their compassion and endless understanding. They made me feel like I could do it, even when I honestly had lost faith in myself. They helped me organised my time effectively and ensured that my health was the first priority. Between the doctors appointments and family circumstances I never once felt that I could not confide in the Access teachers.
    I am delighted to say that I have been given a conditional offer at the University of Bath to study Social Work, and I have made friendships that will last me a life time. I really don’t think I have given this course or the teachers justice! Yes the course is demanding, and some days are better than others, and you have to put in effort, but it changed my life. I was made to feel that I am good enough, I have no idea how I will ever replay the fantastic Access course team for this! It doesn’t matter if yo haven’t done the whole school thing in a long time, they will support you, and ensure you achieve more than you ever thought possible. 🙂

  8. 5 out of 5

    I have just completed this course and although challenging, have found it thoroughly enjoyable and invaluable in my goal to become a midwife. After having my daughter I knew I didn’t want to go back to my office job and wanted to start my journey to university. The Access course at Bath college not only gets you back to academic life (after 10 years!) but it also helps to nurture study skills, English, and maths alongside the course subjects for your chosen uni course. My confidence has grown exponentially these last 9 months with thanks to the patient tutors and the brilliant students, all keen to reach our goals together. I would recommend without hesitation to anyone wanting to go back into study.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Attending this course has been one of the best decisions that I have made as it is enabling me to work towards a new career. I am currently half way through this course, it is hard work and requires self discipline and commitment. However, this challenge is very enjoyable and rewarding as you meet a variety of other students who want to do well, who are willing to help each other and want the same outcome as you, making the college a great learning environment. I have a great rapport with the teachers who are committed and motivated, who want to see you succeed by helping you apply for university and supporting you through that process. I am delighted that I have been given a conditional offer to study Paramedic Science at UWE.

  10. 5 out of 5

    This course has enabled me to access the opportunity of university education which I did not think was possible until I came to Bath College. The teaching standards are very high and there is a lot of guidance to achieve the best possible grades, and because of this I have had offers from all of my university options to study criminology.

    Much love

  11. 5 out of 5

    Access is the perfect route for me to achieve my goal of a place in Midwifery. The course is broken down to be tailored to lots of different career paths, and the healthcare aspect is gearing me to the challenges I will face at Uni. The support I was given in the uni application process was great, and helped me secure 3 interviews.

    If you are returning to education, and have a career goal in mind this course it an excellent choice.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Unsure whether to go to university through clearing after my gap year or start working full-time, the Access course gave me an option I didn’t think was possible. It gives me a clear-cut route into university, without the need to retake A-Levels which would be a hassle to say the least. Over half-way through I can tell this was definitely the best decision for me, as I was eager to go to university but unsure as to what I wanted to learn and if I could get into the universities of my choice. I can now safely say I have sent my UCAS application off to multiple universities like Exeter which I didn’t think would be possible with my A-Level grades, and I am continuing my studies at the college for only a few more months before the course ends.

    The course feels so fast, it’s already been 5 months and this year I am going to university. The amount of work can sometimes be stressful, but it’s not enough that it would put me off the course and think about dropping it. The teachers are always understanding, and help out as much as they can. As long as you follow what they tell you, passing this course won’t be a problem!

    I am incredibly grateful for a course such as this to be available, as it gives people who want to go to university a chance to do so for only a 9 month course. It really is incredible that such a course exists, and I can’t wait to go to university this year. As long as you’re determined to get through the course, you will have no problems passing and getting the grades you want/need.

  13. 5 out of 5

    It was very daunting coming back to education after 16 years, but the teachers in each subject are incredibly supportive and want you to do well, so that you can go on to University. This course is full on and completely takes over your life for the year, but it is worth it when the university invitations start coming through. Within the access course, you not only learn relevant subjects to your chosen career, but also other useful skills like Harvard referencing, revision and essay planning, which all help prepare you for university, giving you a head start. Not only are the staff supportive but past students are as well, who are all happy for you to contact them for information and advice on either the degree you are wanting to study, or the university that they are currently studying at that you are thinking of applying to. Thanks to the support of the access teachers, I have an interview at my first choice university and I am very excited about moving forward with my chosen career.

  14. 5 out of 5

    I would recommend this course highly. The course will fully prepare you for further studies, and will provide you with the support you need to progress. I feel I have benefited most from the great and relevant course content and other information you may not find at 6th form colleges, such as being taught how to use the Harvard referencing guide. This course has exceeded my expectations. After receiving offers from my chosen Universities I am looking forward to September!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Bath access course is a really good, wholesome course. The tutors are very good at helping you complete all your assignments and are very involved in your future studies. It has really helped me as I came out of University and had to complete a higher education course in order to go to a different University and this course has given me the skills and all the tools I need to get the education level I need.
    Would highly recommend .

  16. 5 out of 5

    If you are looking for an access course that will not only teach you, but really push you, this is the one!
    For me, Bath College delivered the means to a new beginning as I transition from college and onto University life. The study skills sessions have helped me immensely! Having been out of education for 21 years I didn’t have a clue what Harvard referencing was all about and after reading bullet point business reports for more years than I care to remember I have throughly enjoyed the challenges of writing academically! There will plenty of essays for you to practice your skills on, that’s for sure.
    If I can give a future student any practical advice, just start the assignments as soon as they are set! Don’t give up, there is a light at the end of the tunnel…trust me! Finally, remember the people you will meet over the next year will become lifelong friends so take time to socialise together, (I recommend the cork over the road), this does make the course so much easier if you have fellow students supporting each other! I don’t think I could have done it without them!

  17. 5 out of 5

    I looked into various access courses and open university courses and chose Bath College for their professionalism, flexibility and success rates. I definitely made the right choice, I will be moving onto a very competitive university course next year and I’m thrilled!
    I already had a degree but that was more than 20 years ago, my studying skills were outdated and I knew it. Ironically, this course has left me feeling highly prepared for university, much more so than my previous degree. Everything is covered and nothing is left to chance. The tutors are very involved and interested in your success. It is definitely hard work but so worthwhile, I also couldn’t recommend it more highly.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Despite having no formal qualifications or education beyond the age of 13, I decided to embark on the journey to advance my education at the age of 26, as I have always wanted to do Nursing. Initially I found the course overwhelming, but the teachers are approachable,and supportive, and encourage you every step of the way, as they want you to succeed.
    Coming to Bath college has been the best decision I have made, and thanks to this course, I have now been offered a place at my first choice university! And feel I have the confidence in myself to know that I CAN do it!
    I Cannot thank everyone enough, and would highly recommend the course to anyone wishing to go to uni, that like myself, doesn’t have many GCSES or A-levels or has been out of education for a while.

  19. 5 out of 5

    I cannot recommend this course highly enough! Everything about it from the course content to the tutors have by far exceeded all my expectations! Thanks to the access course and the exceptional support from other students and teachers I am looking forward to starting university in September!

  20. 5 out of 5

    This course has been a huge learning curve for me, I have acquired many new skills as well as a new found confidence in myself. I am a mature (40 year old) mother of two, student who has found the course challenging at times but overall enjoyable.
    I have been offered a place at my first choice university to study midwifery and I am very proud of my achievement.
    The tutors at Bath College are all excellent and offer support and guidance throughout. All have been fantastic and a huge thank you to them for the advice and support as well as the academic teaching they have provided me. I am a much more confident person now.
    I am proof that age is no barrier, hard work and determination will help you to succeed.

  21. 5 out of 5

    What can I say that will do this course true justice? I am not sure I can.

    However, what I will say is that this course is truly life changing. Both me and my wife have completed this course in consecutive years and are now on our way to university! We have made some amazing friends and have been able to change the outlook of our lives for the better.

    This course is a stepping stone and a second chance for many to reach their personal dreams and goals, without this course that second chance would not be possible. The staff at Bath College are extremely professional and supportive and will work with you to get yourself through the course.

    Just make sure you are willing to put in the hard work needed, it can get tough. Good Luck! And do not think twice about enrolling.

    Great course, great tutors, great people, great outcomes.

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