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Access to Higher Education (Level 3 Diploma) Health and Social Care and Social Science

What is it all about?

Do you want to go to university or switch a career? If yes, then our Access to Higher Education Level 3 courses could unlock your future and fulfil your dreams.

The Health and Social Care and Social Science pathways can lead to a degree and career in many different professions. In one year, you could be well on your way to a new job such as:

  • nurse
  • social worker
  • counsellor
  • midwife
  • paramedic
  • dental hygienist
  • mental health practitioner
  • criminologist
  • oceanographer
  • therapeutic professional
  • teacher
  • environmental scientist
  • nutritionist
  • anthropology specialist

The Access to HE course has also provided learners with the ability to change their career direction without going to university.  Many learners use the Access course to develop their knowledge and gain a credible qualification to enter a new area of employment. The course is taught by highly skilled tutors who are experts in their specialist areas, they are supportive, non-judgemental and allow learning at your own pace.

What will I study?

A wide range of health-related, psychological and sociological subject units, our Health & Social Care and Social Science diplomas share the following specialist units, meaning students on both pathways will study the following:

  • Sociological Theories and their Application to Contemporary Society
  • Psychological Perspectives and Behaviour
  • Defining, Classifying and Explaining Disorders
  • Planning and Carrying Out Research in Sociology
  • Ethical Issues in Professional Practice

The Health and Social Care specialist core units are:

  • Anatomy and Physiology of the Human Skeleton and Muscles
  • Aspects of Human Physiology
  • Biomolecules and Key Biochemical Principles
  • Infectious Diseases.

The Social Science specialist core units are:

  • Families, households and Personal Relations
  • Offender Profiling
  • Treating Disorders
  • Childhood Development
  • Lifespan Development
  • Crime
  • Poverty
  • Offender Profiling

All students MUST complete the following Study Skills units:

  • Academic Writing Skills
  • Researching and Understanding Opportunities for Higher Education
  • Seminar Skills
  • Developing Your Research Skills
  • ICT - Skills and Uses for Higher Education

Each pathway has 45 credits of specialist units and 15 credits of academic units.

How am I assessed on the course 

The course and hours are designed to fit around your work, life and family commitments. Assessment is portfolio based and will take the form of:

  • coursework
  • presentations
  • in class assessments

This is dependant on the units you are studying.

Where and when

Delivered in centres across the county, you can find this course locally in Falmouth, Helston, Liskeard, Newquay and Bude. The classes are delivered between the hours 9.15am to 2.45pm, 3 days a week.

Entry requirements

Access to HE courses are for students aged 18+. You MUST hold either a GCSE or Level 2 in mathematics or English at grade C (4) or above to be accepted onto our courses. It is also advised that you gain both qualifications if you are planning to progress onto HE (a Higher Education degree). Applicants can gain the qualification they may be lacking before or alongside their Access studies if their commitments allow. Applicants MUST check these requirements before applying.


  • Health and Social Care £3,384.00
  • Social Sciences £3,022.00

If you are aged 18 on 31 August 2023, you may be eligible for full fee remission.

If you are aged 19-23 on the first day of learning without a full level 3 qualification, you may be eligible for fee remission.

If you do not qualify for full funding, most learners will be eligible for an Advanced Learner Loan from the Student Loans Company. Student Finance England will ‘write off’ any outstanding Advanced Learner Loan balances you owe for an Access to HE course once you complete a higher education course. This means you do not have to repay it. The higher education course must be eligible for student finance. Should you not go on and complete an eligible higher education course you will be required to pay back the loan. You’ll only start making repayments when your income is over £524 a week, £2,274 a month or £27,295 a year. (This is before tax and other deductions). For more information visit:

Those aged 19+, who are not eligible for any fee remission and decide not to take an Advanced Learner Loan, may pay the course fees in instalments.

Get in touch and find out more about the course

Additional support

We understand that for some learners, the only way they will be able to take part in Adult Education is if they receive financial help and support. For example a contribution towards the costs of:

  • tuition
  • exam fees
  • travel expenses
  • books
  • childcare

The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) and the funding agency for Advanced Learner Loans have allocated some money to help us provide this support to eligible learners on applicable courses. Information and advice about eligibility and how to apply can be supplied upon request.

We also support students through the university application process (UCAS). We can support with personal tutorials and academic units focussed on HE progression. These are designed to offer guidance and support throughout the learning process. We do however recommend checking the entry requirements for a chosen course at your preferred university. For more information on the awarding body please visit the Ascentis website.

What if I have specific requirements that might affect how I access this course?

Cornwall Adult Education is committed to providing the best possible learning opportunities for all our students. We want all learners to achieve their full potential and to enjoy their learning. When you enrol, please let us know if you have any specific requirements. This includes a physical disability or learning difficulty. You can note this on your enrolment form. Alternatively, you can contact your local centre directly. This information will only be used to support you in your learning.

What University - HEI Progression

The Access to HE Diploma Level 3 qualification enables students to acquire enough UCAS points for many health and science-based degrees. These may be in Cornwall, Plymouth and other parts of the country. It is also a highly recognised qualification in a professional workplace.

Some university courses include:

  • Midwifery
  • Adult Nursing
  • Child Health
  • Nursing
  • Mathematics
  • Oceanography
  • English
  • Social Work
  • Primary School teaching
  • Veterinary Nursing

Other information, advice, and guidance

We offer help, support and put you in contact with advisers who can help you:

  • Decide which course is the best for you
  • Find out about other courses you can move on to
  • Explore possible financial support options
  • Benefit from additional learning support
  • Look at employment opportunities

Please enquire at your local centre. Alternatively, you can email for further information.

Enquire now and find out how an Access to HE course can change your life!

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