Home » Courses » Vocational Courses (incl T Levels) » Access to Higher Education Diploma: Computing

Access to Higher Education Diploma: Computing

Want to go to university? Want a change of career? Or want a new challenge?
No A Levels? No problem! It’s 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. Access to Higher Education Diplomas enables mature students to apply for a degree programme in only one year. So if you have a career path in mind which requires a degree and you thought you could never do it – think again.

An Access to Higher Education Diploma is a means of entry to a degree course. It will help you prepare for the academic rigour of higher education study, reviving skills you might not have used in a while and building your confidence. You will be part of a group of other adult students equally excited about learning, motivated to work hard and fulfil their ambitions.

This Access to HE Diploma prepares you for in-depth study of computing at degree level. Learning at this stage is broad and can help to increase employment opportunities equally, particularly due to the increased need for digital and IT skills.

During the diploma, you will study a range of units including introduction to computer science and computer networks, as well as programming, website development and systems analysis. To further ensure currency in the subjects being covered, we are also planning to run a unit on Machine Learning and AI. The diploma will also include mathematics units, which will help to prepare you for elements of the subject that feature within computing, while also providing you with Level 3 credits in maths, that may support progression on to some other Higher Education courses in maths or engineering.

Throughout the course, you will also develop your study skills including reading and referencing academic research from a wide range of sources, in addition to developing presentation skills, reflection and exam preparation to support assignments in graded subjects, while also ensuring that you are fully prepared for Higher Education study.

Tutorials will also support your study and provide guidance that will help you progress toward a foundation degree or full honours degree programme.

*Please note: This course is being advertised subject to approval by the Access Validating Agency.

Apply for this course

Select from the start date/s below…

Sep 2024 : North Devon : Full-time
Course Code : FTB643 (2024)
Level : Level 3
Duration : 34 Weeks
North Devon Campus Apply

Course details


Assessments might include reports, answers to structured questions, exams, presentations and other practical assessments such as building a website.

Entry Requirements

This course is for learners aged 19 and above.

You will be required to have GCSE English and Maths at Grade C/4 or above.

Some 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 do not already have a C/4 grade in Maths or English at GCSE, these are currently free for students over 19. Please contact our Advice & 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.


This course is a Level 3 programme which enables you to progress on to a foundation degree or full honours degree at the University Centre for Northern Devon at Petroc (awarded by Plymouth University) or to a BA or BSc programme at any UK university. This diploma could support progression onto to a variety of degree courses such as the Foundation Degree in Software Engineering, Foundation Degree Electronics and Communications, as well as Degrees in Computer Science, Web Development, Games Computing, Software Development and Applied Computing.

The Maths units covered within the Diploma can also support progression onto the HNC Engineering currently offered at the University Centre for Northern Devon.

Facilities and resources

Access to HE students will be part of the University Centre for Northern Devon, which is based in the South West Institute for Technology (SWIoT) building on Petroc’s North Devon Campus.


Q: How many days a week is attendance required at college?

A: Full-time Access to Higher Education Diplomas are planned to be delivered over 2-3 days a week throughout the academic year.

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 HE students, who are valued for their maturity and willingness to contribute to discussions.

Q: How much does it cost?

A: You are entitled to full fee remission if the following applies to you:

Aged 19 – 23 and studying your first full Level 3 qualification.

Aged 19+ – find out more about the Advanced Learner Loan – our Advice & Guidance Centre will be able to help you with this and any questions you may have.

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. Alternatively, you can contact our Advice & Guidance Centre for advice and information on fees.

Q: Can I get any help with childcare or other costs?

A: Some additional help is available, dependent upon individual circumstances – please contact our Advice & Guidance Centre for advice and information.

Study Programme

Every full-time student at Petroc will have their own Study Programme which will include:

– Your academic or vocational qualification.

– Maths and English Language development – if you have not achieved GCSE grade 4 in either of these subjects.

– Work Experience – hours will vary depending on your qualification and course level.

– Tutor Support – to support your personal, academic and professional development.

– Sustainability – helping you to identify how you can improve the sustainability of your future employment sectors.

– Personal Development Awards – developing six key areas of personal and employability behaviours to prepare you for the working world.

Apply for this course

Starting Date : 16/09/2024
Course Code : FTB643 (2024) North Devon Campus Apply

Why Petroc should be your first choice

Petroc offers high quality education and training across North and Mid Devon. We provide outstanding learning, excellent facilities, strong connections to employers and a supportive environment to help you fulfil your education goals and set you on your path to the career of your dreams.

A group of Petroc students having a conversation


We offer a supportive and inclusive environment where you can flourish and feel a valued member of the college and wider community. 


Our teaching spaces and facilities are some of the best in the region, providing stimulating and true-to-life learning environments. 


We’ll provide you with the experiences you need to be ready for employment or the next step on your educational journey.

Emilie Cassinelli

Student Success Stories

Ellie Humphrey

Student Success Stories

Willow Moore

Student Success Stories

Shannon Willetts

Student Success Stories

Kezia Webber

Student Success Stories

Jason Irwin

Student Success Stories

Kali Mcilwaine

Student Success Stories

Eleanor Delve

Student Success Stories

Polly La Fontaine

Student Success Stories

Talia Beer

Student Success Stories

You may also be interested in