Access to Higher Education (A2HE) Diplomas provide a transformative pathway to personal growth, career opportunities, and societal progress. However, there is a grey area surrounding whether universities will accept the courses as part of their entry requirements.

In this article, we will highlight some of the forward-thinking ones that have opened their doors to Access to Higher Education and, in turn, making learning at the highest level an achievable goal for a variety of learners.

But what exactly are Access to Higher Education Diplomas? And why are they important in the first place?

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Access to Higher Edi=ucation Diplomas can provide an alternative route to university without A Levels.

What is an Access to Higher Education Diploma?

The Access to Higher Education Diploma is a nationally-recognised Level Three qualification that provides an alternative path to further education, approved by Ofqual and QAA, equivalent to an A-level. It can be taken online, making it possible to fit learning around other commitments such as childcare or existing study.

What are the entry requirements for Access to Higher Education Diplomas?

Access to Higher Education Diplomas can be studied by anyone aged 19 and above. You should also have, or be working towards, GCSEs in English and Maths, or equivalent Level 2 qualifications, as these are important aspects of the university entry criteria. For education and veterinary courses, most universities expect you to have a GCSE Science, too.

Which universities accept Access to Higher Education Diplomas?

Access to Higher Education Diplomas have been around for decades, and are by and large seen as perfectly suitable at most of the top ten ranked UK universities. However, it is worth carefully checking the course requirements and if there is any doubt, contact the university directly. A full list of the QAA-approved Access to Higher Education Diplomas is available here. It is thought that around 24 000 A2HE students are accepted at 140 universities each year, including:

How are Access to Higher Diplomas graded?

Access to Higher Education Diplomas are graded Pass, Merit, or Distinction. Depending on the grade, a Diploma can be equivalent to as much as 144 UCAS tariff points, the same as three A grades at A-level. Again, the criteria for specific courses will vary. As the two examples above allude to, there may be instances where a Pass level may not be enough to get onto a particular degree.

Do Access to Higher Education Diplomas have exams?

Access to Higher Education Diplomas do not have exams. Instead, you will complete assignments throughout the course that work towards your final grade.

How long will an Access to Higher Education Diploma take?

Access to Higher Education Diplomas typically takes 12 months to complete, with no exams, making them ideal for learners who favour assignment learning. In addition, the course material on an Oxbridge Access to Higher Education Diploma is designed to marry up with degree-level content; in other words, the language and terms will already be familiar when it comes to taking a university degree.

What careers can an Access to Higher Education Diploma help with?

There is a wide array of career paths that Access to Higher Education Diplomas can help you work towards, ranging from working in mental health to teaching, beauty therapy, and even working with animals.

Ready to start studying?

Typically aimed at mature students, Access to Higher Education Diplomas also offer a route to students who may not have received the A-levels they need but still hold aspirations for getting a degree without the need to resit their exams again completely. It is also ideal for students looking to get back into education after a break, for whatever reason, opening opportunities in a variety of areas.

At Oxbridge, we are proud to provide Access to Higher Education Diplomas in a variety of areas, including education, psychology, and health. To learn more about your options, speak to one of our learning advisers or view our prospectus here.