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UCP News Access to Higher Education

Access to Higher Education

Want to go to University but lack the qualifications?

If you are 19 and over, there is fast-track route – the Access to HE diploma. Access to HE courses are designed for motivated individuals who wish to go on to study at degree level.

What’s the difference between A Levels and Access to HE?

The primary difference is that A Levels include two years of study, whereas the Access to HE diploma runs for just one year. However, the courses are QAA recognised and is accepted by UK Universities as a standard entry qualification for degree courses.

What can I study?

Course options at Peterborough Regional College include:

  • Humanities and Social Science
  • Professional Care
  • Science
  • Computing with Business

What qualifications do I need to get on the Access to HE course?

Access to HE courses are taught at Level 3, therefore get on to the Access to HE course you will need Level 2 qualifications (such as GCSE's) in both English and Maths. You will need GCSE Science at qualify for the Access to HE Science diploma.

What else do I need to know?

Students learn in a motivated, collaborative and hardworking environment with experienced lecturers who provide fantastic support and guidance throughout the course.

Tutors will additionally take you through every step of applying to University.


The Access to HE course is funded via a student loan. This is processed through the Student Loans Company (who also provide loans for degree level study)

The primary difference is that, if you subsequently complete an undergraduate degree, the loan received for the Access to HE course is wiped out.

What can the Access to HE diploma course lead to?

Each Access Diploma is designed to offer you the chance to study and prepare yourself for degree study in subjects as varied as: education/teaching, psychology, nursing, politics, midwifery, history,

English literature, creative writing, media, journalism, IT, criminology, business, human resources, sociology, bioscience, philosophy, archaeology, psychosocial, law, economics, social work and crime and investigative studies (many of which are offered here in Peterborough through University Centre Peterborough).


Is it the course for me?

If you have the ambition to go to University but lack the Level 3 qualifications, Access to HE is a fantastic solution. If you are motivated, willing to work hard, listen to feedback and want to challenge yourself, an Access to HE course is ideal for you. Access to HE diplomas are hard, but most definitely worth it.

What next?

For more information, contact Lizzie Maciag on

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University Centre Peterborough currently has around 700 students on over 30 different degree level programmes.


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