Access to HE Online



The Access to Higher Education (HE) Diploma is a qualification, equivalent to A Level, which allows learners to go on and study at University when they did not have the relevant qualifications needed to do so. Access to HE courses are available in a wide range of different subjects and are widely recognised by UK Universities.

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The course will increase your understanding of biological science, psychology and sociology and you’ll also explore topics including the history of the NHS and contemporary health issues. Consider the varied responsibilities of a nurse and find out where a career change could take you.

This programme is designed to support your progression to a nursing degree course and dedicated units will update your academic abilities. Develop the confidence to research independently and write assignments.

There are a wide range of career opportunities for you if you study the Nursing Access to HE Diploma. When you have finished studying your course, you will be able to apply to university.


  • Course Fee: £3,384

  • Course length: 10 months

  • Recommended study per week: 15 hours*

  • Total number of units within the course: 21

* You should allow a total of around of around 15 study hours per week to complete the whole qualification, over 10 months. If you study more hours each week, you may finish the course more quickly.


A qualified Assessor will mark your work and provide written feedback via the VLE. Your appointed Assessor will confirm contact hours once you start your learning and will be able to offer support via email correspondence. During Induction you will be provided with a Study Plan including the expected assessment schedule for your course.


  • Each unit includes specific Learning Outcomes and Assessment Criteria.

  • To achieve a Pass in any assessment you must meet all criteria.

  • The list of detailed Assessment Criteria for each Unit is made available to you on the VLE.


The course consists of 21 Units of Study.

  • Unit 1 (Induction Unit): Preparing for Success

  • Unit 2: Academic Writing Skills

  • Unit 3: Preparing a Written Assignment

  • Unit 4: Health & Wellbeing

  • Unit 5: Cell Biology

  • Unit 6: The History of the National Health Service

  • Unit 7: Human Nutrition & The Digestive System

  • Unit 8: The Role & Responsibilities of the Registered Nurse

  • Unit 9: Introduction to Psychology

  • Unit 10: The Human Endocrine & Nervous Systems

  • Unit 11: Social Factors in Health & Social Care

  • Unit 12: Understanding Dementia

  • Unit 13: The Human Muscular & Skeletal Systems

  • Unit 14: Classification & Use of Social Drugs & Medicines

  • Unit 15: Mental Health & Illness

  • Unit 16: Human Immunity

  • Unit 17: Understanding Poverty

  • Unit 18: Health Promotion

  • Unit 19: Study Skills Portfolio Building

  • Unit 20: Human Disease & Prevention

  • Unit 21: Equality and Diversity within Health Care


The study materials and all assessment for this course is through an online platform (VLE). You won’t need to purchase any books unless you wish to supplement these study materials.

The Access to Higher Education Diploma is a nationally recognised Level 3 qualification, regulated by the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA).

In order to complete this diploma, you must achieve a total of 60 credits. 45 credit graded (taken from the subject specific areas of biological science, health studies, psychology, and sociology) and 15 credits are ungraded from the skills for learning and IAG assessments. You should note that 45 of these credits are taken from graded units which are concerned with academic subject content. The remaining 15 credits are earned via taking ungraded units which are included to help you to develop your study skills.

The Access to HE Diploma is made up of a number modules that fall under specific subject areas. The subjects are:

  • Skills for Learning

  • Biological Science

  • Health Studies

  • Sociology

  • Psychology

You will study the online course materials and self-direct your study.

You will be required to submit assessments by a set deadline. To pass the module you must meet all the assessment criteria. After your first submission your assessor will provide feedback. At this point you will either have met all the pass criteria and your module will be graded or will be asked to resubmit your assessment taking on board the assessor’s feedback and you’ll be permitted to make further submission of your work. Once your module has been achieved you can then proceed to the next module of the course. You will continue in this way through until you have completed all modules of the course.

Once all of the assessments are complete and have gone through internal moderation and external moderation the College will then present your grades to the Awarding Body.


Learners should ideally already have a GCSE in English and maths (grade A* - C or Level 4 – 8’ or an equivalent) or be working towards. We also ask that learners have the ambition to study a healthcare related degree at a higher education institute or university.

Access to Higher Education Diplomas are extensively accepted as an alternative to 'A Levels' for University entrance. The Access to Higher Education Diplomas have a reputation of successfully helping students to gain admission to University.

Learners should, however, be aware that each university apply their own admissions criteria, and we highly recommend that you research universities prior to applying to this course, to ensure your chosen university accepts this Diploma and the credits and graded units available for each subject area.

Whilst we have confidence that the Access to Higher Education Diplomas are compliant and sufficient to form part of a University application, East Sussex College will not be able to accept any liability for the inability of any Access to Higher Education learner to secure an offer from a Higher Education establishment due to the individual set requirement of each university or higher education institution.


Study time includes:

  • working through the interactive content

  • completing the assignments for each unit

  • reading assessor feedback and reviewing course material or other resources as directed

  • resubmitting your assignment where requested


Your course is fully supported by a dedicated assessor each subject. This assessor will guide you through the course providing assistance and a tailored course experience for you.


East Sussex College offer a 14-day Cooling-Off Period for this course which enables you to assess whether both the course and the online mode of study is suitable for you. It also allows the College to assess your suitability, in particular whether you can produce work to meet the standards set by the awarding body.

You will be set a deadline within the cooling-off period to complete the first assignment.

Enrolment onto the qualification will take place once you have passed the first assignment. If you do not meet the pass criteria for the first assignment after 3 submissions, you won't be enrolled onto the course.

If you take out an Advanced Learner Loan to cover your fees, then this will be activated 14 days from the course start date.

If you wish to withdraw, you may cancel your enrolment by notifying the Administration Team in writing (by e-mail) prior to day 14 and you will owe nothing. After 14 days, you will owe the full course fee plus an administration charge, in line with the ESCG Tuition Fee Policy.


Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz), 2GB RAM
Operating Systems: Windows 7, Windows 8, Mac OS
Browsers: Internet Explorer 8 or above, Google Chrome, Safari 6 or above, Mozilla Firefox
Compatibility: Windows, Mac


  • If you are 23 or under and have no prior Level 3 qualification, then you may be entitled to a tuition fee waiver*

*subject to eligibility and availability check

  • If you are over 19 years-old and have a full Level 3 qualification you have two options: an Advanced Learner Loan or self-funding.


  • This Government loan will be paid directly to the college, and is linked to your attendance.

  • You will start to repay your loan when you start to earn over £25,000 per annum (correct at time of posting).

  • If you take out an Advanced Learner Loan to fund an Access to HE Diploma, then go on to complete a higher education course, you’ll be eligible to have the balance of your Advanced Learner Loan written off. However, if you don’t complete either course, you won’t be eligible to have the balance written off, and will need to repay your loan in full.

For more information about Advanced Learner Loans visit:
Advanced Leaner Loan Guide to Terms and Conditions for courses starting on or after 1st August 2023