The City of Liverpool CollegeAccess to Higher Education - The City of Liverpool College

Access to Higher Education

What is Access?

Our Access to HE diplomas are suitable for anyone aged 19 or over. It doesn’t matter if you’re returning to education or have just left school.

The courses typically take one year to complete with around 12 hours of studying required per week, so can fit it around other commitments such as family and work life.

Access qualifications are equivalent to three A Levels and provide vital UCAS points to help learners secure their place at university or on a higher education course. They can often be funded via an Advanced Learner Loan (subject to eligibility).

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Why study with us?

Small groups

Our small class sizes provide a personalised learning experience with one-to-one tutorials and support from dedicated personal tutors, to help you achieve your goals.

Financial support

There’s plenty of financial help available to students, including Advanced Learner Loans to cover course fees, bursaries, travel passes, meal vouchers and childcare grants (subject to eligibility).

Top facilities

Enjoy five city centre campuses, state-of-the-art workshops and several learning resource centres with computers, equipment and other useful materials to support your studies.

Expert tutors

Our highly qualified, passionate and knowledgeable tutors have many years of experience working in industry, so you’ll be learning from the very best in the business.

Outstanding personal support

From wellbeing and childcare support to finance and personal development, we pride ourselves on the support we offer to our students and will make sure nothing gets in the way of learning.


Our Access to HE courses offer great flexibility and are a great alternative to A Levels for adults. We also have an evening and online course, to fit around work, family life and other commitments.

Excellent links with universities

Our links with local universities give you the best chance of securing your place. Lots of universities actively encourage applications from Access students and those studying on our Allied Health Professions and Nursing pathways are guaranteed an interview with Liverpool John Moores University.

Open events

Attend an open event and get a taste of what’s on offer. You’ll watch demonstrations, tour the facilities and have an opportunity to get your questions answered by staff and students.

Find out more

‘Outstanding’ adult learning

We’re rated ‘outstanding’ for our personal development and adult learning programmes by Ofsted.

Read our report

Courses on offer

Don't take our word for it

Former Access to HE students have a lot to say about what makes The City of Liverpool College a great place to learn…

Access to Higher Education | Samuel's Story

Access to Higher Education | Eve's Story

Access to Higher Education | Chloe's Story

Terry Ferrigan

Access to Higher Education Social Sciences.

Attending the Access to Social Science course at the college was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. After several years away from education I decided the time was right to have another go at it, with the goal of attending university.

Demi-Leigh Burke

Access to HE Allied Health Professions.

The level of support I received from the staff meant that I was able to secure my place at the University of Liverpool. I am now a second-year nurse with the hopes of progressing further in the field of nursing.

Mark Heraty

Paramedic. Access to HE Allied Health Professions.

The college was amazing. Without it, I would never have got to university and would be where I am today. The staff were so friendly and treated me like an adult.

Charlotte Skelton

Access to Higher Education, Education professions.

All of the tutors and mentors have offered excellent support and the highest level of teaching standards throughout the year. I started the course nervous and unsure of my potential but I’m leaving feeling confident and excited to embark on my journey through university.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Access to HE?

Our Access to Higher Education (HE) diplomas have been designed for learners who are either returning to education or have left school without the qualifications required to be able to progress on to higher education and university.

The courses provide students with a good level of understanding about their chosen subject to prepare them for an undergraduate degree at university and come with UCAS tariff points to help them secure their place.

Who is Access for?

Access to HE Diplomas are available for anyone aged 19 and over. So if you have left school without A Levels (or an equivalent) but decide you want to go to university, Access to HE Diplomas could be the perfect solution. The qualification is designed to allow learners to go on to study at degree level or progress in their employment.

Is Access suitable for older students?

Absolutely! Access to HE Diplomas can be an ideal route back into education for mature students. We know that re-entering education after any period away can be daunting and we will make sure you get the support you need whilst studying at the college to help you to achieve your full potential.

How long does the course take?

All of our Access to HE courses take one year of full-time study to complete.

How much study time is required?

Typically, students who are completing the Diploma spend around 12 hours per week studying, so it can easily be studied alongside other commitments. We also offer our allied health Access course as an evening class.

Is Access recognised by universities?

Access to HE courses are widely recognised by UK universities as an alternative to ‘traditional’ qualifications for entry into undergraduate degree courses. In fact, many universities across the UK are directly involved in the creation of courses and many actively encourage applications from Access to HE Diploma holders.

How many UCAS points are they worth?

UCAS tariff points are hugely important for getting into university. For an Access to HE Diploma, UCAS tariff points are anywhere between 48 and 144 points, depending on the grade you receive. It’s therefore possible for Access courses to generate the same amount of UCAS points as A Level or BTEC courses.

What does the course include?

All Access to HE courses are designed to equip students for university level study in a specific subject or subject area. The content will therefore vary on the subject area you choose, but all courses will generally provide you with the knowledge and skills required for university and equip you with the study techniques required to be successful at that level.

How does it compare to A Levels or BTEC?

Just like A-Levels and BTECs, our Access to HE Diploma is a full Level 3 qualification, so it meets the same academic demands.

How is the Access to HE Diploma assessed?

Units are formally assessed in a variety of ways. This may include exams and portfolio work, depending on the Diploma.

What subjects are available as an Access to HE course?

We offer a variety of Access to HE courses, including:

– Allied Health Professions and Nursing

– Business & Finance

– Engineering

– Humanities

– Professions in Teaching and Education

– Science

– Social Science

– Law and criminal justice

What is the success rate like?

Last year, Access to Higher Education had a pass rate of 99.5%.

91% of last year’s Access who applied for university were successful in securing a place, most of them (83%) went onto study at universities in the North West, with 71% joining universities based in the Liverpool City Region.

What subjects could I go onto study at university after my Access course?

Here are some of the subjects our students from last year (2020-2021) have gone onto study at university:

Access to HE Diploma What our learners from last year are studying at university
Business Accounting and Finance

Business and Management

Business and Public Relations

Business Management




Education Professions Education and English Language

Educational Psychology

Primary Education with QTS  (5-11)

Special Educational Needs and Sport & Physical Education


Engineering Aeronautical Engineering with Foundation Year

Aerospace Engineering with Pilot Studies


Civil Engineering

Computer Science

Electrical & Electronic Engineering

Mechanical Engineering


Allied Health Professions Adult Nursing

Child Nursing

Mental Health Nursing




Paramedic Science


Humanities Ancient, Medieval and Modern History

Creative Writing and English Literature


English Literature and History



Law and Criminal Justice

Philosophy and Politics


Science Biochemistry

Biological Sciences

Biomedical Science

Dental Therapy

Diagnostic Radiography




Veterinary Medicine


Social Science Childhood & Youth and Social Policy

Forensic Psychology

Psychology and Sociology

Social Work



Who is the college’s awarding body for Access to HE courses?

We work with Ascentis, an award-winning provider of cutting-edge qualifications for education, training and business in the UK and overseas. To find out more about them, visit:

How can I find out more about Access to HE courses?

To find out more about our course options and to begin your application, please click here.

Can I get funding for an Access to HE course?

Yes, you may be eligible to apply for an Advanced Learner Loan to fund your studies. We can also help with meal vouchers, travel costs and childcare support if you’re eligible. Find out more here.


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