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Access to HE Diploma (Sciences) - Level 3


Aspiring to a career in science? Would you like a stepping stone to university study? Are you an adult who has been out of formal education for some time now but are now ready for the challenge of university? If so, our Access to HE Science course is specifically designed for you. 

You will study a number of different mandatory modules (units) which are specific to the relevant pathway you have chosen. You will also undertake some core academic units, designed to prepare you for the demands of higher level study. These are common to all Access pathways, with an emphasis on critical thinking, the techniques of written and spoken presentation and research skills.

Cambridge Access Validating Agency (CAVA) designs and validates Access to Higher Education Diplomas. To find out more visit

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Entry requirements

  • You must be at least 19 years of age to enrol on an Access to HE course.
  • You must have GCSE English, maths and science at grade C (4 points) or above. We will accept BTEC Level 2 Diploma in Applied Science at Merit. 
  • If an applicant has one of the entry requirements they will be considered but will be subject to diagnostic assessments.

It is recommended that you contact universities to check their specific entry requirements before enrolment; many require a GCSE at grade C in English. It is possible to study one GCSE alongside the access course.

The above entry requirements are subject to the programme being revalidated by CAVA and may change.

Start dates and fees

Start DateDurationCodeAnnual Fee (Age)Actions
over 19
Sep 20191 yr(s)1054A1002FREE* to £3384.00Apply

* If you are aged 19-23 and studying your first Level 3 course then that course may be free. Please contact us for more details. If you are aged 19 or over and either studying a second Level 3 course or qualifying Level 4, 5 or 6 course you may be able to apply for an Advanced Learner Loan to cover the costs.

This course is eligible for an Advanced Learner Loan

The Advanced Learner Loan is a new scheme introduced by the government to help mature learners study for qualifications that will improve their employability and develop high level skills and knowledge.

Loans are specifically designed for those aged 19 and over, who are intending to study on a Level 3 or higher course – including Access to HE diplomas.

Best of all, if you successfully go on to complete an HE qualification following an Access to HE course – you won’t even have to pay the loan back.

It’s easy to apply! To find out if you’re eligible, or for more information, see the Advanced Learner Loan page.

How long is the course?

Our Access to HE courses can be studied within one academic year – up to 450 hours of class time.


How will I be assessed?

The course is made up of a number of units designed to prepare you for the demands of higher level study. Assessment consists of at least one item of written coursework for each unit (report, essay, examination). For some units this is augmented with a spoken presentation.

What does the course lead to?

You could progress to study a wide range of science-related HE courses including:

  • BSc (Hons) Biochemistry
  • BSc (Hons) Biological Sciences
  • BSc (Hons) Pharmacology
  • BSc (Hons) Chemistry
  • BSc (Hons) Forensic Science
  • BSc (Hons) Radiography
  • BSc (Hons) Podiatry
  • BSc (Hons) Veterinary Nursing
  • BSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy
  • BSc (Hons) Physiotherapy

All of these could lead to rewarding careers in the relevant fields. A chemistry graduate with a good degree could earn up to £27,500 in their first job, whereas moving into financial services could secure remuneration of up to £45,000. 

What will I study?

It is possible to study two pathways within the Access to HE Science course. You will study the units listed below (those on the biological sciences or chemical sciences pathways are marked accordingly). Both the chemical and biological sciences pathways contain a significant portion of hands on, practical science.

  • Study skills
  • ICT (Spreadsheets)
  • Practical, scientific individual research project
  • General biology: parasites, cells and biochemistry, metabolic pathways, genetics, biodiversity and evolution, modes of nutrition and transport system diversity.
  • Human biology: body systems, nervous system, nutrition and regulation and reproductive system.
  • Chemistry: fundamental principles of chemistry, inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, Practical chemistry, physical chemistry and principles of chemical reactions.

How do I apply?

You can complete an online application form or contact the college for an application form to be sent to you.

All students must have an interview before starting the programme.

Apply online


Next steps

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Why choose West Notts?

100% A Level pass rate in 2018

Best FE college for A Levels value added* in the East Midlands

One of the top colleges in the UK for student satisfaction**

An extensive bus service across Mansfield and the surrounding area

£50m investment in our facilities since 2008

*Value added is a measure of a student’s progress against their starting point
**Learner Exit Survey 2017/18
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