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Access to Higher Education Diploma in Health & Social Care (19+ only)

Level 3
Course Code:
Mid Devon Campus
One year.

The sole aim of the Access course is to open doors to study for applicants who do not have the specific A Level qualification needed to enter a degree programme. This course paves the way to a Foundation Degree or full Honours Degree at Petroc, awarded by Plymouth University, or to a degree programme at any UK university.

"I didn't think I would be ready academically for a Level 3 course, but to achieve the course with the grades achieved makes me realise that I do have the potential to become a children's nurse."


All Access Diplomas nationally consist of 60 Credits. 45 Credits have to be gained from THREE academic subject choices (15 credits achieved in each subject) and a further 15 from Academic Preparation Skills.
The Academic subject choices are:
Biology (mandatory) this subject offers an interesting variety of topics of study including cell structure,
organisation of the human body, inheritance as well as disease and immunity. In addition you will have the opportunity
to develop your practical skills, data handing and analysis in a wide-range of experiments that support the theoretical
elements of the course.
Plus TWO academic subjects chosen from
Chemistry: this subject begins with the fundamentals of structure and bonding, formulae, equations and the mole,
moving onto core Chemistry and exploring chemical reactions. In addition there are practical units in both inorganic
and organic chemistry.
Psychology: this subject explores research methods used in Psychology and then goes onto explore both atypical and developmental Psychology. The topics studied include the classification and diagnosis of Psychological conditions as well as treatments and therapies.
Sociology: this subject covers the topics that relate Sociology to the many facets of health and social care such as Culture and Identity, Poverty and health, Crime and Deviance as well as the Sociology of Health and Education.
All academic subject content modules are graded at Pass/Merit/Distinction at Level 3.
Our Diplomas also include:
The Academic Preparation Skills : (5 Modules to provide a total of 15 Credits graded Pass/Fail at Level 3) Tutorial support throughout the year.
The focus of tutorial support is heavily weighted towards guidance and support for the UCAS application for university courses and helping you
make the transition to academic study at Level 3.
Most universities demand GCSE grades at C or above, or equivalent, in English and Maths as part of the entry requirements for degree courses.
GCSE English and Maths are separate qualifications from the Access Diploma so, if required, we offer additional lessons for these subjects. If you don’t already have a C Grade or above in Maths or English at GCSE, these are currently free for students over 19.
Assessment is continuous throughout the course and offers a wide range of assessment formats e.g. essays, oral presentations, group work, and short question and answers. Some students will also gain experience in completing in-class timed tests/exams and practical experiments.
Examination practice is a mandatory requirement of all Access courses. If you achieve 30 credits at Distinction and 15 at Merit, you will have the equivalent of 3 A Levels at grades ABB.
Students taking GCSE English and/or Maths will also have external examinations in May/June.
You need to apply online and all applicants will be interviewed.
At interview you will complete online assessments in Literacy and Numeracy, unless you have already achieved a grade C in GCSE English and GCSE Maths.
To be offered a place on diplomas in Humanities or Health & Social Care you will need to achieve Level 2 in Literacy and Level 1 in Numeracy.
For the Science Diploma you will need Level 2 in both Literacy and Numeracy.
Applicants wishing to take Level 3 Mathematics units will need a minimum of grade B at Maths GCSE.
Those wishing to study chemistry at Level 3 will also be expected to have achieved a grade B GCSE in Double Science or a grade B in Chemistry.
Students have progressed to a variety of degree courses in subjects such as Archaeology and Forensic Science, Business Management, Nursing, Paramedic Science, Nutrition, Psychology, Criminology, History, English, Occupational Therapy, Podiatry, Law, English and Film Studies, International Relations, Medical Imaging and Biological Sciences.
There is an excellent college internet site for the diploma courses and excellent support from our Learning Resources staff. You can book college computers for use in private study periods. Most classrooms and laboratories have up-to-date teaching technologies, laptop trolleys with internet access.
Q. How do I apply?
A. There is an online application system, visit Everyone who applies will be invited to interview.

Q. How do I know if I can cope with the course?
A. At interview we will give you an assessment and chat to you about your previous experience and commitment to ensure that you have what it takes to succeed on the course. There is an option of a pre-Access course if you are not quite ready. In addition in the July prior to the course beginning we invite applicants to spend two hours in college, in that time we set you a Summer task for each of the three subjects that form part of your Diploma, so you can have first-hand experience of what the course involves.

Q. How many hours a week do I need to commit to the course outside of lessons?
A. To be successful we recommend approximately 15 hours a week of private study.

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Sharon Tourle: Case Study

Sharon Tourle: Case Study

Learn more about Sharon's experience of studying this course.

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