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Access to HE (Nursing & Healthcare Professions)

Access to HE Diploma

HSDC students in an access class holding a work book


An Access to Higher Education Diploma is the ideal way for adult students (aged 19+) without traditional A Levels or Level 3 qualifications to qualify for entry to a degree or other Higher Education course. The Access qualification is a popular, nationally recognised qualification designed to provide adult students with the skills they need to apply for courses at universities.

Access Diplomas are Level 3 courses specifically tailored toward the adult learner. Havant and South Downs College is proud to be offering QAA credit based Access to Higher Education Diplomas validated by LASER in a variety of qualification pathways.

The Nursing and Healthcare Professions pathway is for those students wishing to enter a wide range of health and care professions or subject specific degrees such as: Adult/Mental Health/Child Nursing, Midwifery, Allied Health Sciences, Occupational Therapy, ODP and many more, including specific subject degrees such as Psychology, Sociology or Human Biology. Core subjects will include: Health Psychology, Human Biology and Sociology. (Note: All pathways also include modules in Study Skills, preparation for university and an independent project unit).

Successful students receive an Access to Higher Education Diploma which is currently validated by a regional Access Validation Agency (LASER). This is a national validation indicating a common level of academic achievement, recognised by universities. In addition, grades achieved through completion of Level 3 units will be shown separately on the certificate to indicate individual subject achievement/ability.


How to apply

Contact us

Fees Explained

All applicants are required to possess a minimum of grade 4/C in GCSE Maths and English. Students are also required to carry out their own research into the specific entry requirements for their chosen university courses prior to application.

Havant and South Downs College offers several Maths and English courses at various levels for potential Access students and a range of GCSEs.

For nursing/midwifery/social care and other vocational courses relevant work experience is also required prior to the university application. South Downs College has its own work experience department that can offer advice with work placements.

Students will also need a clean DBS in order to pursue careers in health care. You will be asked to declare any criminal record on application.

Access classes are two sessions per week for 35 weeks, both daytime (off site at Leigh Park Learning Centre) and evening options are available. Each session begins with an optional individual/additional support session, followed by a 30-minute tutorial and a three hour taught session. In the early weeks of the course students will be taught study skills to introduce and develop essay writing and academic skills to help them complete assessments; they will also receive advice and support in the process of completing the application to university. In addition to the contact hours, students will be required to complete independent work each week.

All QAA Access Diploma qualifications require students to achieve a total of 60 credits, including 45 graded credits at Level 3. All credits on the Access programmes at South Downs College will be at Level 3 and will comprise of the following:

  • Academic study skills
  • Sociological studies
  • Health as a social construction
  • Mental illness, society & the media
  • Sociological theory & health
  • Psychology studies
  • Health psychology
  • Health psychology applied
  • Biology studies
  • Fundamental of human anatomy and physiology
  • Human anatomy and physiology
  • Physiological disorders (optional)
  • Independent academic study or extended independent academic study

Access courses are taught by a team of specialist subject lecturers, supported by a tutor. Students are also given help and advice on applying for Higher Education in specific sessions from tutors and also the College Careers Zone Department.

Classes incorporate a variety of teaching and learning methods e.g. discussion, lectures, group work, practical sessions etc. Attendance is compulsory.


Assessment is made through completion of assignment based activities, essays, course work, independent study and research, practical work and class based tests.

In order to achieve an overall pass, students must achieve 60 credits of which at least 45 must be at Level 3 and up to 15 at Level 2. All Level 3 credits will be graded at Pass, Merit or Distinction.

Higher Education (university), application to a variety of undergraduate courses in vocational areas or single subjects. Students are also given considerable help and advice on applying for Higher Education.

College is definitely worth all the effort you put in, you get to meet lots of different people and it’s amazing.

Ebony Puttock, A Level student

The tutors were really supportive and it was all thanks to them that I have achieved what I have. I’ve also made loads of great friends and really enjoyed my time at the college.

Lizaveta Sinkerich, A Level student

My experience at the College was great, it’s very different to school, and I think it’s a good step to going to university. The support was amazing, I loved all of my teachers, they helped me through everything. The College is friendly and you will succeed.

Heidi Adamson Brattland, A Level student