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Access to higher education

Get a degree and progress on to an exciting career - discover your fast-track route to university.

Aged 19 or over and want to study for a degree, but don’t have the qualifications for it? Invest in your career with an Access to higher education programme. 

Whether you want to work in the healthcare sector, as a nurse or midwife, or in the legal, business, engineering, finance or education sectors, an Access course can get you on to a relevant degree and into your chosen career.

Choose one of our Access to higher education pathways - linked to your future study and career routes. Most courses run three days a week during school hours, making it a flexible option if you have childcare responsibilities at home or other commitments. 

You will gain the knowledge, skills and confidence to study at degree level, experiencing different kinds of learning that you need for university, such as participating in seminars and writing essays.


Our exciting range of Access pathways includes:

  • Art and design 
  • Business and finance (accounting and finance, business) 
  • Health and social care (Health professions, mental health nursing, midwifery, nursing and social work)
  • Education professions 
  • Engineering 
  • Humanities and social sciences 
  • Legal professions 
  • Psychology 
  • Science 


After completing the programme, you will gain an Access to higher education diploma. This qualification is equivalent to three A-levels for the purpose of applying to university.

You may choose to progress on to one of our higher education programmes, including Foundation Degrees, BA Honours Degrees and the PGCE. 


As an Access student, you will have access to fantastic specialist facilities, particularly for science subjects. 

Many of our subjects are taught in the classroom. This curriculum is enriched with a variety of external trips and visits from employers and universities.

Career pathways

A career pathway is a  a plan, with clear, practical steps you can take to achieve the career of your dreams. This will equip you with the skills, attributes and knowledge that future employers want, giving you a greater chance of success.

Our career pathway maps will show you the best routes through college, higher education and employment and into the most popular industry sectors.  

Read More About Career Pathways

Industry partnerships

You'll benefit from our many links with leading universities, such as the University of Reading, Oxford Brookes University, the University of Winchester and Southampton Solent University. 

In autumn each year, students take part in UCAS Takeover Week, with workshops run by universities on subjects such as personal statements and student finance. 

We also hold two higher education fairs, with over 40 university exhibitors at Oxford and Reading.