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Access to Higher Education Diploma (Social Sciences)

Key Details

  • Available at:
  • Study Mode:
  • Course Length:

    1 year (16 hours per week)

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Access to Higher Education Diploma (Social Sciences)

Full-time (Further Education)

Please note: We recommend that you have access to a laptop or Chromebook to enable coursework to be completed digitally at home. There is a dedicated IT Digital Inclusion fund to support those learners who do not have a digital device and are unable to purchase one.

Course Description

Would you like to progress into Higher Education? Do you want to prepare for studying a social science subject? This course gives you the knowledge, skills and confidence to progress onto a related higher education course, including degrees in Psychology, Sociology, Politics, Law and other subjects.

The aim of the All Wales Access to HE Diplomas is to give you the skills necessary to progress to and successfully participate in a programme of higher education. They are targeted at learners who have substantial life experience gained since completing compulsory schooling.

Entry Criteria

In order to qualify for this course, you will need at least one of the following:

  • GCSE Grade C or equivalent in English or Welsh 1st Language, GCSE Grade D or equivalent in Mathematics or Numeracy, as required by the route of progression to university. You should have at least three years of relevant life skills gained after compulsory education.

As part of the application process, you will be asked to attend an interview to give you the opportunity to discuss the course.

Please Note:

  • Entry into social work is particularly competitive and you will need to demonstrate a clear understanding of what the role entails. Along with this is the need for recent and relevant work experience (employed, voluntary or personal) and in some cases, a minimum of six months experience is required.
  • Entry into social work will require an enhanced DBS check. If you are concerned that something in your past may affect your eligibility, please contact the relevant Higher Education provider for guidance.
  • In light of the increased competition for social work, you may be advised to enrol on the Skills for Further Study prior to starting the Access course.


Access to Higher Education Diplomas are designed to help you return to studying after a break. As such, the sessions will be participative with a friendly and encouraging atmosphere. You will work closely with the tutors, learning through formal teaching as well as discussions, demonstrations and project work.


The course is assessed as follows:

  • You will be assessed during the course, with separate tasks for each unit
  • Your tutor will provide you with help and sufficient preparation
  • A variety of assessment methods are used, including essays, reports, practical tasks, evaluation of roles and presentations.
  • There will be at least one time-constrained unseen exercise for every academic subject module.

The programme of learning will include subjects such as Information Technology and a Level 4 ‘Looking Forward to Higher Education’ module.


Completion of this course will give you the knowledge, skills and confidence to progress into Higher Education at Grŵp Llandrillo Menai or many other institutions.

There are a range of courses to choose from including degrees in Psychology, Sociology, Politics, Law, Criminology and other subjects.

Alternatively you could go into the probation service, social work, teaching or another area.

Campus Information Bangor

Access to HE (Social Sciences)

Course information and pre-requisites

The Access to HE (Social Sciences) course runs over 3 days a week for the full academic year. Classes are scheduled between 9.15 AM and 4PM - and learners are expected to attend all sessions. Attendance and punctuality are monitored closely over the first few weeks on the course.

The course is primarily aimed at adults who are returning to learning following a break and wish to progress to University. Learners will not normally be accepted straight from school or from another Level 2 or 3 course.

Whilst learners are advised that the NMC may require you to hold GCSEs in English and Mathematics prior to application to University, our entry requirements are that learners must be able to demonstrate that their academic level is broadly at Level 2 (GCSE Grade C) at entry. Learners without a Level 2 profile may be advised to embark on the Skills for Further Study qualification before embarking on an Access course. In addition, because University places on nursing, midwifery and associated courses are very competitive and learners need to apply so soon after beginning the Access course, you are advised that you should have significant experience in a care setting (as an employee or volunteer) before you begin the Access to HE course.

Subjects of study

The Access to HE Diploma comprises a core of Study Skills, Literacy and Numeracy which must be passed in order to attain the Diploma, as well as a grounding in IT Skills for Higher Education.

In addition, learners must pass 45 Credits at Level 3 in each of three academic subjects, which are graded at Pass, Merit or Distinction.

A typical University offer may be (for example) 30 Credits at Merit and 15 credits at Distinction.

On the Access to HE (Social Sciences) Pathway the academic subjects of study are:

  • Sociology
  • Social Work
  • Psychology

Other details

Course type: Full-time (Further Education)

Level: 3

Programme Area:

  • Access to Higher Education



Access to Higher Education

Learn more about this area and see our course level guide:

Access to Higher Education

Higher education learner studying at college