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Access to HE Diploma - Art and Design


This course is suitable for students aged 19 and over.

This nationally recognised qualification is designed for students who are potentially returning to education, are looking to progress to university, and/or are hoping to enhance their career prospects.

Studying alongside like-minded people, in a supportive environment with experienced, friendly tutors, this exciting subject area encompasses a wide range of disciplines such as fine art painting, 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 take one year to complete. You will attend College for three days per week.

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

What will I study?

This qualification will cover the following:

Art and Design Module:

  • 3D processes 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 by practical art and design coursework, and also through study skills, written research, an essay, an oral presentation and your application to university.

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 4 or above (equivalent to 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 do not already have it.

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

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.

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 course, and then successfully complete a degree, then you don't have to repay the outstanding loan for the Access to HE course.

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 on to one of our creative arts degrees at University Centre St Helens, validated by University of Chester. 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 this course as a route into becoming one of the following professionals:

  • 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 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: Hannah Kirkbride

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