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Access to HE Diploma (Art and Design)

The aim of this Access to HE qualification is primarily to prepare students for progression to university by offering them the opportunity to achieve a nationally recognised qualification. This is ideal if you have missed out on the opportunity to study previously, but now wish to improve your future prospects and plan to undertake a degree. If you are looking to develop the skills necessary for entry to university, learn new skills to boost your career prospects, or change your career direction to an entirely new area, then this could be for you.

This full-time course is designed to cater for students who have maturity and life experience beyond formal education. It is the equivalent of two to three A levels (level 3), the normal minimum requirement for entry on to a degree course. Completed in one academic year, this is an intensive programme, but you will be assisted throughout with study skills and applying for university, until you feel confident and ready for the next level. The Access to HE Diploma in Art and Design is designed to give you the knowledge and core skills you need and you can look forward to learning alongside like-minded people, in a supportive environment with experienced, friendly tutors. Art and Design is an exciting subject area that encompasses a wide range of disciplines such as Fine Art, Graphic Design, 3D Design, Textile Design and Photography.

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

The course will start in September and will last for one academic year. Attendance will be for approximately three days per week.

What will I study?

The Access to HE Diploma (art and design) covers units drawn from an art and design module, as well as a developmental module.

Art and Design Module:

  • 3D processed and media
  • Introduction to ceramics
  • Art and design project
  • Introduction to life drawing
  • Relief printmaking
  • Introduction to drawing and painting
  • Materials exploration: sculpture
  • Extended study in the visual arts
  • Introduction to photography
  • Graphic skills development
  • Computer imaging for art and design
  • Introduction to visual research
  • Application of drawing

Developmental Module:

  • Academic essay writing
  • Developing research skills
  • Applying for university
  • Study skills
  • Presentation skills

How is it assessed?

The course is assessed via mainly practical art and design coursework, and also through study skills, written research, an essay, an oral presentation and your application to university. The course consists of 18 units. A unit is worth either three or six credits and 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.

You will need to have already achieved a minimum of five GCSEs at grade C or above including English and ideally, an arts based subject. If you wish to progress on to a degree in teaching, then you will also need a GCSE in maths, which you can study alongside the Access to HE course if you don't already have it. Students with alternative qualifications may be considered and all applicants will be required to undertake a simple diagnostic exercise, as well as an interview, before being offered a place.

However, if you don't have these GCSEs, don't let this be a barrier to 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.

What are the course fees?

Course fees are dependent on your personal circumstances and you may be eligible for funding to cover course fees. 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 creative arts fields.

You could also progress directly onto one of our creative arts degrees at University Centre St Helens. You could choose from BA (Hons) graphic design, BA (Hons) game art, BA (Hons) photography or BA (Hons) fine art painting.

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

  • Teacher
  • Photographer
  • Architect
  • Fine Artist
  • Graphic Designer
  • Fashion Designer
  • Game Artist

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. If you wish to move into teaching, you are required to have paid or voluntary experience of working in schools or a related area.

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: Esther Watson

Why study Art and Design with us?

Creative Environment

You’ll develop your skills in specialist studios and workshops.

Exploration of Techniques

You’ll explore a wide range of materials, techniques and skills.

Work Experience

You’ll have the chance to work on live projects with local employers.

Inspiration

You'll take regular trips to galleries and lectures for inspiration.

Employer Links

We have strong employer links and industry experienced tutors.

Progression Routes

Progress onto an apprenticeship, university or employment.