Home » Courses » Higher Education » Access to Higher Education: Humanities, Education & Social Work

Access to Higher Education: Humanities, Education & Social Work

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 offers a route into teaching in primary or secondary education, specialising in humanities subjects. In the humanities route, you will study three subjects: literary studies, sociology, and social and political history. You will also need to organise your own relevant teaching experience in a school to take place during the January to February half term.

The literary studies modules explore all forms of literature with reference to current and classic writers and their works. You will look at the short story, acquire an appreciation of poetry, and of the play, and study the novel, its themes, characterisation and narrative voice.

In studying history, you will concentrate on social and political history in the 20th century. The course covers the major themes in period, beginning with the foundation of the post-war welfare state, and investigating the complex relationship between unions, socialism, welfare and business in the period.

Set against the historical background, the sociology modules consider class, gender and ethnicity inequalities, differences in poverty and health, and inequalities in education.

As well as developing general study skills including academic research and writing, you will also conduct your own research project. Tutorials will support your study and provide guidance that will help you progress toward a foundation degree or full honours degree programme.

Apply for this course

Sep 2022 : North Devon : Full-time
Course Code : FTB247L (2022)
Level : Level 3
Duration : 34 Weeks

Cost : * Total Fee £3384

North Devon campus Apply

Course details


This course employs continuous assessment. You will 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.

Students taking GCSE English or Maths will also have external examinations in May/June

Entry Requirements

Most universities require GCSE grades at C or above in English and Maths, or equivalent, as part of the entry requirements for degree courses. GCSE English and Maths are separate qualifications from the Access to Higher Education 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. 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.

Basic IT skills would be helpful.

You will need to organise your own relevant teaching experience in a school to take place during the January to February half term (this is a mandatory aspect of the Teaching Diplomas): you will also need to obtain a Disclosure & Barring Services (DBS) check in order to carry out your placement.

There is no required set reading before the start of the Access Diploma course although, depending on your subject choice, 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 (www.s-cool.co.uk) to find out more about the subjects you are thinking of studying.

It will also be very useful for you to research courses and universities prior to starting the course to help with your university application, which takes place in the first term.


This Diploma leads to degree courses in teaching as well as other degrees, such as English, journalism, history, sociology, educational psychology.

Facilities and resources

Access students are well supported at Petroc with well equipped and fully resourced physical and online facilities. There is an excellent Moodle (VLE) and other well supported learning resources. Dedicated labs support relevant courses, as do widely available IT resources. We also offer a designated common room for mature (19+) students.


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 & 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 is available, dependent upon individual circumstances – please contact our Advice and 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.

As this course requires you to undertake work placements with children and/or vulnerable adults, a DBS check is required.

Apply for this course

Starting Date : 13/09/2022
Course Code : FTB247L (2022) 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.

Dee Jackson

Student Success Stories

Tanya O’Connor

Student Success Stories

Hannah Hartwright-Ley

Student Success Stories

Ray Price

Student Success Stories