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Access to HE Diploma (Social Science/Social Work)

The aim of this Access to HE qualification is to provide appropriate preparation and a recognised qualification for progression to university. This is ideal if you have missed out on an opportunity to study previously; whether you are looking to develop new skills to boost your career prospects, you want to gain entry to university or change your career direction.

This part-time, evening course is designed for mature students who want to access university. It is the equivalent of three A levels, completed in one academic year. It is an intensive programme but will assist you with study skills, confidence building and applying for university. Your learning will take place alongside like-minded people in a supportive environment with experienced, friendly tutors.

Social work and social science are exciting subject areas. The social sciences focus on human behaviour such as; why do we do the things we do? What do we value as individuals and as a society? What motivates us?

This diploma in social work and social science is designed to give you the knowledge, core skills and confidence to progress onto degree courses in social work, social welfare, sociology, criminal justice, social policy or psychology.

When will I start the course and how long will it take?

The course will start in September. The course will last for one academic year, with attendance being for two evenings per week. There are a mixture of learning methods including attendance at college on a part-time basis, online tutorials and 20 hours of independent study.

What will I study?

The Access to HE diploma in social work and social science covers units drawn from a range of topics as well as core study skills.

This diploma consists of the following modules:

  • Social work
  • Sociology
  • Criminology
  • Social policy
  • Psychology
  • Study skills

How is it assessed?

The course is assessed via a combination of coursework and controlled examinations. Each subject offers five units; each unit is worth three credits. Students need sixty credits in order to pass the course.

Do I need any previous qualifications to start this course?

To undertake this qualification, you do not need to have been in education recently.

We do recommend that you have a minimum of five GCSEs at grade C or above including English and maths. Unfortunately we cannot accept equivalent qualifications such as functional or key skills.

However, if you don't have these GCSEs, don't let this be a barrier for realising your aspirations. We have a range of options available to help you gain these qualifications and provide the stepping stones needed to get to university.

All applicants will need to undertake, and pass a diagnostic exercise followed by interview to successfully secure a place on the course.

What are the course fees?

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 a 19+ 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 £21,000 per year.

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

For more information on the Advanced Learner Loan, please click here. For more information on the financial support that may be available, please click here.

What can I go on to do once I have completed this course?

Upon successful completion, this qualification will prepare you to undertake a degree in a variety of fields. You could also progress directly onto our foundation degree in either criminal justice or social policy, health and housing at University Centre St Helens.

Some of our successful alumni have used the course as a route into:

  • Social Work
  • Welfare Delivery (working for national charities)
  • Social Enterprise
  • Mental Health
  • Probation
  • Housing

Depending on your chosen progression route, some universities may expect you to have gained experience working in a relevant setting. You are strongly advised to check the entry requirements for your preferred universities.

I'm interested in this course, what do I do next?

If you would like any further information in relation to this course, please contact our enquiries team directly on 0800 99 66 99 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. You could also drop into our next Enrolment and Information Event. Alternatively, submit an application form to secure a place.

Ref: Brenda O'Brien