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Access to HE Diploma - Health Professionals


This course is suitable for students aged 19 and over.

This nationally recognised Access to HE qualification is designed for students who have life experience outside of formal education and would like to study at university but don't yet have the qualifications to gain entry. The Access to HE Diploma will enable you to accrue 60 credits (which transfers to UCAS points) for entry on to a chosen degree programme, including University Centre St Helens. It is also equivalent to 3 A levels. If you are looking to pursue a career in microbiology, exercise, health and fitness, nursing, midwifery or other allied health professions, then this diploma is a great first step to achieving this.

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

The course will start in September and will take one year to complete. You will attend College for two days or two evenings per week.

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

What will I study?

Based on your chosen career path, you will have the opportunity to study the following:

  • Health studies
  • Psychology or microbiology
  • Human biology
  • Development units

Daytime Diploma

Microbiology Pathway: 8 units from human biology, 3 microbiology units, 3 health studies units and 5 developmental units.

Psychology Pathway: 8 units from human biology, 4 psychology units, 3 health studies units and 5 developmental units.

Evening Diploma

Psychology Pathway only: 8 units from human biology, 4 psychology units, 3 health studies units and 5 developmental units.

Through collaboration with higher education establishments and the awarding body, the above pathways and unit combinations have been approved for progression.

Support is given throughout the Diploma, including progression advice and guidance.

How is it assessed?

The course is assessed via a combination of coursework, controlled examinations, academic assignments, presentations, reports, academic posters, case studies and research projects.

Do I need any previous qualifications to start this course?

You should have five GCSEs at grade 4 and above (grade C and above), including maths and English and also science (for the evening open learning diploma). Science is also desirable if undertaking the daytime diploma.

However, if you do not have these GCSEs, don't let this be a barrier to you realising your aspirations. We can offer you the Pre-Access to HE programme as a stepping stone, where you will study English and maths GCSEs for the year while undertaking a 17-week programme which underpins the study for this Diploma.

Functional Skills Level 2 in both English and maths may also be considered for entry criteria on to this Access to HE Diploma. Although, you would need to check and have written confirmation from your planned university that they would accept FS Level 2 instead of GCSEs at grade C/4 prior to enrolling on the Access to HE Diploma * Science and Health Professionals (Allied Medical).

Is there any additional entry criteria?

There is an expectation for you to have significant life experience outside of formal education and in particular, within the healthcare field as this will underpin and enhance learning. Additionally, it would be advisable to have had voluntary experience relating to the degree you intend to progress on to.

Students whose first language is not English should have IELTS 5.5 or equivalent. Qualifications gained from outside the UK must be translated by NARIC. Please be aware that written confirmation from universities must be obtained to confirm qualifications are acceptable for progression to the chosen degree programme before applying for the Access to HE Diploma.

If you already have a degree, please check with the university's admissions department to see if you meet their entry criteria. If not, then please apply to study this Access to HE Diploma.

We highly recommended that you contact the universities you are hoping to progress on to to check that this qualification meets their entry requirements, as we cannot guarantee progression.

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 or over, you could also choose to apply for an 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 £27,295 per year. For more information, please visit our dedicated Advanced Learner Loan page.

If you take out an Advanced Learner Loan to cover the course fees for an Access to HE Diploma, and then successfully complete a degree, then you don't have to repay the outstanding loan for the Access to HE Diploma

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

Upon successful completion, you could progress directly on to FdSc Microbiology, FdSc Exercise, Health and Fitness or BA (Hons) Criminal Justice at University Centre St Helens.

We recommend studying the 'Psychology Pathway' for this Diploma, if you are looking for a career in:

  • Nursing (General/Paediatric/Mental Health)
  • Midwifery
  • Child Health and Wellbeing
  • Counselling
  • Psychology
  • Environmental Health
  • Public Health
  • Health Studies
  • Health and Social Care

We recommend studying the 'Microbiology Pathway' for this Diploma, if you are looking for a career in:

  • Microbiology
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Emergency Response (Paramedic)
  • Nutrition
  • Exercise, Health and Fitness
  • Speech and Language Therapy
  • Operating Department Practitioner (ODP)
  • Teaching (you will require a GCSE in science in some circumstances)

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 should I do next?

If you would like to submit an application to study this course, simply fill in our online form here.

However, if you still have questions in relation to this course and wish to receive further information, please submit your enquiry here.

Ref: Karen Mutch