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Access to Higher Education

An alternative route to university

Are you over 19 and want to study for a degree but do not currently hold the right qualifications?

The Access to Higher Education Diplomas can offer you an alternative route into university. It is ideal if you are looking to retrain for a new career, upskill in your current profession or return to education as a mature student.

This is a one-year programme delivered over three-days per week. It qualifies for UCAS tariff points that are comparable to the tariff points for three A-Levels and is widely accepted by universities.

The Diplomas are designed to develop more than your subject-specific knowledge and skills, they will also prepare you for study at higher education by developing a range of study skills. These skills include report and essay writing, research and referencing skills, communication skills and using information technology.


  • Fees

    For up-to-date information about tuition fees, living costs and financial support, visit Fees and Finance page. You can also find out more about an Advanced Learner Loan, which is a government loan available for anyone to apply for who is over 19, a UK resident and applying to study on a Level 3 to Level 6 course. This covers all or part of your tuition fees and is paid directly to the College and if you study on an Access to HE course and go on to achieve a Higher Education qualification, you will not need to pay back your loan.

  • Do universities accept an Access qualification?

    Access to HE courses have been designed and developed with the support of universities. The Diploma will give you UCAS tariff points comparable to three A levels.

  • What entry qualifications do I need?

    There are no standard entry qualifications for Access courses with each programme having its own requirements. All programmes look for GCSEs in Maths and English at Grade 4 or above but if you don’t have these qualifications equivalent qualifications, skills and experience may be accepted. Southwark College also offers courses in Maths and English to help you progress.

    If you are not quite ready to start an Access course, you could apply for a one-year Pre-Access Certificate in Progression (Level 2) Programme.



Key information

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Coronavirus update

Southwark College is closely monitoring all communications and guidance as it becomes available. This information is for students and staff and reflects updates from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Public Health England (PHE). We are prepared to escalate our contingency arrangements in the event of change.

The government is monitoring the situation closely and will continue to work with the WHO and international community. For staff and students, it remains business as usual across our sites and our workplaces.

Please note that, at present, this advice refers only to arrivals from Wuhan, and not the remainder of China. If you have returned from Wuhan you should:

General guidance for those planning visits to Wuhan or other destinations in China

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) maintains updated travel advice for those planning a trip to Wuhan or other destinations in China. This is available at:


This advice is derived from The Department of Health and Social Care will be publishing updated data on a daily basis at 2pm until further notice:

Supplementary Q&A for individuals wishing to know more around how the UK is managing the risk: