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Access to HE Diploma (Computing)

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 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.

If you are aiming to work in computing and IT, then this access course will equip you with the skills and knowledge you need to pursue your ideal career. You will study programming, web development and computer architecture, giving you the ideal grounding to take your learning to the next level. You will also develop the specialist study skills you will need to be successful at university such as academic writing, research and planning.

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

The course will start in September. You will attend College on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10.00am - 4.00pm for one year.

The course takes place at St Helens College, Town Centre Campus, St Helens WA10 1PP.

What will I study?

The Access to HE Diploma in Computing covers units drawn from a range of topics as well as core study skills.

You will study the following:

  • Study Skills
  • Information Systems
  • Systems Analysis
  • Computer Architecture
  • Networking / Network Administration
  • Programming Design and Writing (Visual Basic)
  • Database Design and Creation
  • Web Development & Server Side Scripting
  • Maths for Computing

You will study alongside like-minded people in classes delivered by friendly supportive tutors.

How is it assessed?

The course is assessed via a combination of coursework and examinations.

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 recommend that you have a minimum of five GCSEs at grade 4 or above (equivalent to grade C or above) including English and maths.

However, if you don't have these GCSEs, don't let this be a barrier for realising your aspirations. At your interview we will discuss what other activities and knowledge you have gained in addition to your GCSEs and take this into account to provide a range of options available to help you gain these qualifications and provide the stepping stones needed to get to university.

What are the course fees?

Course fees are dependent on your personal circumstances and you may be eligible for funding. For more information on the financial support that may be available, please visit our dedicated Adult Financial support page.

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 £25,000 per year. For more information, please visit our dedicated Advanced Learner Loan page.

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.

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

Once you have completed this qualification you could choose to study subjects such as Cyber Security, Computer Science, Forensic Computing, Computer Networking, Web Development, Information Technology and Software Engineering at university.

You could also progress directly onto our Foundation Degree in Computing at University Centre St Helens.

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. or drop into our next Enrolment and Information Event. Alternatively, submit an application form to secure a place.

Ref: Steve Hibbert

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