Access to Higher Education Diploma (Social Care Professions)

Type of study
Examination board


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. 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 Social Care Professions pathway is designed for adult students who are interested in preparing for Higher Education courses in for example: the general area of social work, probation, youth work, or specific subject degrees such as Psychology, Sociology or Social Sciences. Core units include: Health Psychology, Studies of Social Work Practice, Social Policy 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.


Availability & Details

Access to HE Diploma (Social Care Professions), Tue+Thu 17:30 - 21:30 (+20 hours for support classes) Gp 01 SP-ACSCL3-G(1718)Y01

South Downs College
12-Sep-2017 - 05-Jul-2018 (34 weeks)
Tuition Standard Full Fee £3259.00
Exam Standard Full Fee £125.00
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All applicants are required to possess a minimum of grade C in GCSE English and at least one other subject. Students are also required to carry out their own research into the specific entry requirements for their chosen university courses prior to application.

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

For many 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 social care. You will be asked to declare any criminal record on application.

Access classes take the form of two sessions per week for 35 weeks. Each session begins with an optional individual/additional support session, followed by a 30-minute tutorial and a 3 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 with be at Level 3 and will comprise of the following:

  • Academic study skills
  • Sociology studies
  • English studies
  • Health as a social construction
  • Mental illness, society and the media
  • Sociological theory and health
  • Social work studies
  • Social policy
  • Psychology studies
  • Health psychology
  • Health psychology applied


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 Career 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.

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I got into both of the Universities I wanted to. It happens so fast and it’s an amazing feeling when you think that all of the work you’ve done has paid off in the best way possible.

Anton Sukhorukov, A Level student

You’re here to learn and you want to learn, and the lecturers make it fun. You don’t have to come to college but you want to come to college.

Natalie Thorpe, A Level student

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


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.

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