Access to Higher Education:
Full and Part-time Diplomas Available

What does it involve?

Specifically aimed at students over 19, the Access to HE Diploma offers a recognised entry qualification to higher education. You can study the course full time over a year if you have GCSE English and Maths at grade 4 or above, or for some university courses Functional Skills Level 2 in English and Maths are accepted.

For those candidates who still need to gain GCSE or Functional Skills Level 2 in English and Maths, you may take the course over two years part-time, as you gain your English and/or maths qualifications alongside.

We also offer a Preparation for Access package of courses, for the year before taking the Access Diploma, either full or part-time. This is intended for those who feel they would like a little more preparation before committing to the Diploma course. Please see details below.

Preparation for Access

The package of courses on offer would be funded, and so you would be able to take any or all of the following during your preparation year at no cost:

We hope that this will provide our potential Access candidates with plenty of opportunity to study and develop skills, to help them progress with greater confidence on to the Access to HE Diploma.
We offer a choice of subjects across our Diplomas, some of which may be mandatory. You need to check what subjects your prospective degree course requires, to help you decide what you should take. The Access team at St Vincent College is also able to help you make the right choices, and this will be discussed at interview.

Access to Higher Education Diplomas (Full and Part-time)

Each Diploma is worth 60 credits, and you need to pass all 60 credits to gain the Diploma. These will be achieved across the range of units you take in your mandatory and optional subjects.

Subjects available:

Access to HE Downloads

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, but only part-time. The Access Course is demanding in terms of lessons and homework in one year, so you are unlikely to have much time for paid work.

Yes, there is a nursery for students’ children but it is very popular. You will need to have been interviewed and accepted a place by July for the September start to be fairly sure of a place.

The course runs each year from early September – there is no midway start.

Currently Access runs as a daytime course, but we may offer it as an evening course and/or a ‘twilight’ course in the future.

There is a means tested Discretionary Learner Support Fund (DLSF) available for students to apply for help with eg books, stationery or travel. Contact the College Finance Office.

If you wish to take an Access Diploma course you need to have GCSE Maths and English at Level 4 or above, or some university courses will accept Functional Skills Level 2 Maths and English. You must check your proposed university course entrance requirements before starting the Access course. You may take GCSEs or Functional Skills qualifications as part of the Preparation for Access package of courses before enrolling on Access.

Yes, if they can be fitted into your timetable.

No, not on the Access Course but yes in any other lessons you may do. Many adults enjoy working with younger students!

Yes, you will have a personal tutor and there is a full Careers service in College.

The Access Course is open to anyone over 19 but it is essentially intended for those applying for University. Adults can do any of our other daytime courses, if you think you would prefer to go straight into a job. Apply to the College and this can be discussed at your interview.

All Access students will take units on essay writing and critical thinking, which will develop the skills you will need for assignments and your future studies at university. One-to-one tutorials are also available with your teachers if you need advice or assistance. The Preparation for Access package of courses also includes free workshops in study skills.

How To Apply


By phone, with credit/debit card.


By post, with payment & application form.


In person, at the College Reception.

Once we receive the form we’ll send you an acknowledgement to let you know your application is being processed and then you’ll be invited to meet the Access Manager and attend an informal interview at college.

Please contact us on 023 9258 3890 or via email

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