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Access to Higher Education- Diploma in Humanities, Education & Social Work

Level 3
Course Code:
North Devon Campus
One year

Want to go to university? Want a change of career? Or want a new challenge? No A-levels? No problem! It is never too late to study for a degree even if you have no qualifications at all. Or you may already have some qualifications at GCSE, NVQ or BTEC but not enough to get into university. Many adults return to education to improve their career opportunities and achieve their personal goals.

The course was an exciting opportunity to take me on to the next step in education. You have wonderfully supportive teachers that really want to see you succeed. - Laura, now studying the Foundation Degree in Law at Petroc


Access to Higher Education Diplomas enable mature students to apply for a degree programme in only one year, full time. So if you have a career path in mind which requires a degree and you thought you could never do it - think again.

Our Access Diplomas also cater for students who have been away from studying for some time. The course will equip you with the skills, knowledge and confidence to achieve your goals, as well as providing support and encouragement throughout the year.

To succeed, you'll need to be aged 19 or over, motivated, enthusiastic, able to manage your time effectively and be ready to study. You will be part of a group of adult students who are excited about learning and are willing to participate and work hard with other members of the group.

Many people worry that they're too old to do an Access course or will feel out of place - in fact, there's no upper-age limit and there will be many other mature students on this course - just like you. All you need is to be committed to study and focused on your career choice.

You will study three mandatory subjects: Literary Studies, Sociology and Social & Political History.
In each of these level 3 subjects, you will take take several modules over the year providing you with a total of 60 credits at Level 3; you can expect to study:

- Literary Studies: The Short Story, Appreciation of Poetry (selection), Appreciation of a Play, The Novel: Themes, Characterisation and Narrative Voice.
- Sociology: Inequalities (between class, gender and ethnicity), Poverty and Health, Inequalities & Achievement in Education, Research in Sociology (you will conduct your own relevant research).
- Social and Political History: The Foundation of the Welfare State, the relationship between unions, socialism, welfare and business in the 20th century.

All our Diplomas also include:
- Study Skills where you will gain essential skills for university study such as academic writing, Harvard referencing, and effectively locating and using a range of sources.
- Tutorial sessions. In Tutorials we will provide guidance and support for your UCAS application for university, as well as supporting you throughout your year of study.

This course is a Level 3 programme which enables you to progress on to a Foundation Degree or full Honours Degree at Petroc, awarded by Plymouth University, or to a BA or BSc programme at any UK university.
The Access Diploma is predominantly based upon continuous assessment (coursework). There will be a variety of teaching methods used throughout the course, including debates, small group exercises, on-line research, group presentations, whole-class teaching and peer assessment. You will be supported and encouraged to develop and practice the skills that will enable you to become an independent learner and fully prepare you for Higher Education. Students compile a portfolio of assessed work throughout the year, which is externally moderated at the end of the course.

In some subjects there will be in-class timed tests. Examination practice is a mandatory requirement of all Access courses to fully prepare students; all our Diploma include two Study Skills exams to meet this requirement.

Students taking GCSE English or Maths will also have external examinations in May/June
For learners aged 19 and above.

Most universities require at least 5 GCSE grades at C/4 or above, including 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/4 grade in Maths or English at GCSE, these are currently free for students over 19. Please contact our Advice and Guidance Centre for further details.

Please note that due to the amount of work involved, we strongly recommend that you only take one GCSE at the same time as the Access Diploma.
If you already have GCSE Maths and English (or equivalent), you must bring copies of your certificates with your to your interview.

Basic IT skills would be helpful.

There is no required set reading before the course starts, although you may find it useful to read about history, politics and/or current affairs in the media, or look at A level websites such as S-cool ( to find out more about the subjects you are thinking of studying.

It would be useful to research courses and universities prior to starting the course to help with your university application, which takes place in the first term. It is also recommended that you thoroughly research your preferred career pathway.

Please note: You need to have a genuine desire and aptitude to enter Education or Social Work. Most universities will expect you to have gained experience working in a relevant social care setting and will also require a DBS check as part of their entry requirements.
Forget your school experience - you will be learning in a friendly, vibrant college environment. Whether you are new to studying humanities subjects, want to boost your job prospects or move up the career ladder, this Diploma will give you the skills and knowledge you need.

The Education and Social Work sector is a hugely rewarding and exciting field to work in - it is a diverse area and holds multiple career pathways for your future. Students develop skills and knowledge which are applicable to a range of occupations.

You will explore and learn about a range of topical issues, we offer a wide range of modules, delivered by experienced staff with detailed curriculum knowledge.

This Diploma leads to a variety of degree courses in, for example, Teaching, Archaeology, Anthropology, English, Journalism, History, Sociology, Social Work and Criminology.
There is an excellent Moodle (VLE) for the Diploma courses where you will have access to resources and additional reading, as well as extensive Learning Resources support.
Individual computers can be booked for use in study periods.
- Our classrooms have undergone modernisation in recent years and are well-equipped with up-to-date technologies.
- There are dedicated and well equipped specialist laboratories.
- The tutors are well qualified, experienced, enthusiastic and understand the needs of Access learners and provide appropriate support and guidance.
- There is also support on applying to university from specialists in our Guidance Centre.
- We have a designated common room for mature students only (19+).
Pen, paper, memory stick.
Please contact the Advice & Guidance Centre on 01271 852422 for more information.
Q: Do universities recognise the Access to Higher Education Diploma?
A: The Access to Higher Education Diploma is a national qualification and is recognised and accepted by UK universities. Many universities have policies to encourage applications from Access to Higher Education students, who are valued for their maturity and willingness to contribute to discussions.

Q: How much does it cost?
A: You may be entitled to full fee remission if you are aged 19 - 23 and studying your first full Level 3 qualification. To find out more about the Advanced Learner Loan, please contact our Advice and Guidance Centre.
Applicants who take the Advanced Learner Loan do not need to pay anything upfront. If you complete your Access Diploma and then go on to complete a course in Higher Education, the remaining balance of your Advanced Learner Loan, including any interest on it, will be written off. You can get full information from Student Finance England. Or you can contact our Advice and Guidance Centre for advice and information on fees.

Q: Can I get any help with childcare, or other costs?
A: Some additional help may be available, dependent upon individual circumstances - please contact our Advice and Guidance Centre for advice and information.

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