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In Short

If you are over 19 and wish to move onto higher education but either lack the formal entry qualifications or feel the need to develop confidence and regain practice in study methods, then our Access to Higher Education (A2HE) course is for you. Our Diplomas are nationally validated through AIMawards and are entered in the National Register of Access to Higher Education courses, to which higher education establishments refer. This course will help you to gain a university place to study in a range of vocational or academic degrees. Weymouth College offers a number of different A2HE diplomas: Healthcare, Science  and Humanities. An encouraging and friendly environment, created by staff and fellow mature students, means that we have a very good track record in helping adults get to university. We offer you support and advice throughout the process of applying to university including preparation for interview.


Entry Requirements

This course is intended for those returning to learning. However, due to changes made by the awarding body and in order to maximise your potential for entry into HE institutions, we now require applicants to already possess at least one from GCSE English or Maths grade A – C (new specification 4).

If you do not possess these qualifications or are not working towards obtaining them you may consider completing an evening GCSE course. Please see GCSE pages for further details.

Applicants will be contacted prior to interview to ascertain appropriate Diploma routes and entry requirements. All applicants are required to take an initial assessment in English and Mathematics before attending the interview designed to establish motivation and commitment towards study. You must also show sufficient life experience and commitment to independent study. The A2HE course is a full time, two days a week (Thursday and Friday) programme. Please ensure that you are able to devote this time in addition to completing assignments at home. All diplomas are taught over 34 weeks together with a minimum of 8 hours directed private study per week.

Course Content

The core component of the A2HE course will help support you in returning to education, developing your confidence in writing, computing and presentation skills. The course is taught through a combination of lessons, group discussions seminars and tutorials.

The philosophy underlying the course is that you should be actively involved in the learning process. Your experience will be seen as a valuable resource. Independent study techniques will be encouraged throughout the course and you must be prepared to devote an agreed amount of time per week to study at home. There are three different diplomas available. Availability of subject options is dependent on the number of applications received; your options will be discussed at interview. You must complete the core component plus at least three subject options as follows:

Science:  Human Biology • Chemistry • Physics and Maths • Practical Science Project

Healthcare: Human Biology • Psychology • Health Studies

Humanities:  Literary studies • English language • Philosophy • History

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed through coursework and development of portfolios of evidence. There are examinations and formal timed assessments at the end of the course, which count towards parts of your achievement, these are designed to prepare you for this type of assessment at university. Coursework consists of written and practical assignments and presentations. On completion of the course you will receive an AIMawards Access to Higher Education Diploma in accordance with the requirements of the national validating body QAA, who provide the National Kite-Mark.


Vocational degrees such as Nursing, Midwifery, Social Work or Paramedic Science, BSc in a related academic subject (with an option progressing to an additional qualification such as a Master’s Degree). In addition, Weymouth College offers a range of Foundation (FdSc or FdA) degrees which may also accept the Access to HE course as a suitable form of matriculation (admission).

The course is excellent preparation if you wish to follow a wide range of studies at university. The successful completion of an A2HE programme is regarded as an acceptable form of matriculation (admission) by universities and colleges however, it is important to note that each university sets its own entry requirements so you will need to research these carefully. You will be able to apply to universities and colleges of higher education throughout the country or you could choose to continue to study at a higher education level at Weymouth College. Your application to higher education courses will be considered more seriously and more sympathetically as a result of your attendance on this course but places are not guaranteed. The Careers Advisors at Weymouth College can assist in helping you research university options and potential career choices. We will give you support and advice in gaining a place in higher education through the UCAS and other entry schemes. This course offers a wide range of progression routes. More recently for example, students have gone on to study healthcare courses (midwifery, nursing, paramedic science etc.), business management, equine science, public services, science and forensic science as well as other academic degrees. *Students are advised to check university requirements before selecting diplomas and subjects.


The fees for 2021/22 have yet to be confirmed however the fees for 2020/21 were as follows: Humanities Diploma £3022 and for all other Diplomas £3384.

If you are aged 19+ at the start date of the course you may qualify for an Advanced Learning Loan.  See for further details.  The College will be holding workshops to help applicants with the application process usually from May annually and successful applicants will be contacted with further details.  Student Finance England will ‘write off’ any outstanding Advanced Learning Loan balances you owe for an Access to HE course once you complete a higher education course. This means you don’t have to repay it.

Note: If you are aged between 19-23 years at the start of the course and the Access to HE course is your first full Level 3 qualification you may still be entitled to government funding.  Please contact Lin Gisborne on 01305 764723 or email for further details.

*Note All costs may be subject to change

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