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Access to Higher Education

Access to Higher Education Science Bedford College students

Your route to university

If you are aged 19 or over without the qualifications you need to enter higher education, these one-year, intensive courses are ideal for you. Our Access to Higher Education Diplomas build the skills, knowledge and confidence you need to progress on to higher education in the subject area you’re interested in. They are recognised by universities across the UK and allow entry on to higher education courses in your chosen specialist area.

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Access to Higher Education prospectus cover.

Download our booklet

Click here to see our Access to Higher Education booklet and learn more about what we offer.

Access midwifery students Bedford College

Why choose us?

Studying with us means you can choose from a wide range of subject pathways, which can be studied from as little as 12 hours per week for one year. At the end of the year you’ll be able to access a course that will lead to a full degree. We are the largest provider of Access to Higher Education Diplomas in the region and each year 85% of our students progress on to higher education.

Access to HE Tresham College student

Expert tutors and top-class facilities

With small class sizes compared to universities, and all the individual support you need to get back into education, we will help you succeed and reach your goal. Our experienced tutors have been teaching Access to Higher Education Diplomas and developing the programme over a number of years. Many of our tutors are industry professionals, helping to inspire your learning.

You will gain a good introduction to your chosen subject, develop your study skills and increase your confidence and ability with this level of study. All pathways will include compulsory English & maths, as well as research skills units. You will also need to have good IT skills as all of your assignments will be carried out using either Word, Excel or PowerPoint. You can undertake IT Skills classes at our Learning Centre, if needed.

Access science Tresham College students
What can I do next?

Student success

Access courses are widely recognised by UK universities for entry on to undergraduate courses. Last year, over 20,000 Access students achieved their Diploma and progressed to university courses across the UK. (Source:

Our degree-level qualifications are run in partnership with local universities. Once you complete your Access to Higher Education course, however, you don’t have to go straight to university. If you prefer, you can go on to study a higher education course with us at The Bedford College Group, and then just do your final year at university to top-up to a full degree. Staying local while studying will help you reduce your student debt and will also allow you to study alongside other commitments, such as family and work life.

Engineering HE Bedford

How to get into University without A-Levels

A-Levels were traditionally seen as the be all or end all when it came to getting in to university, but they aren’t suited to everyone.

All too often we hear people talking about how they wish they had stayed on at school or that they had worked just a bit harder when at school.  The good news is that there are other alternatives for those who are over 19 and looking to return to education.

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Access to Higher Education Courses