What can I study?

There are a wide range of Access to Higher Education Diplomas available such as Science, Health Care and Humanities.  

Courses offering a specific subject, such as Nursing or Social Sciences, are suitable for learners who want to continue onto a specific Higher Education programme.

Other courses, such as Humanities or Science, offer a more general background knowledge for entry onto various Higher Education programmes.

Search here to see the full list of Agored Cymru Access to Higher Education Diplomas.

What is included in an Access to Higher Education Diploma?

Each Access to Higher Education course is different. 

Although, all courses include:

  • study of a related academic subjects such as Nursing or Midwifery, and
  • a compulsory skills element.

The skills element includes subjects, such as communications, study skills and numeracy.

Whilst some learners have life experience or experience of working, often they need support to develop study skills to become more confident, independent learners.

How long will it take?

Access to Higher Education Diplomas can be studied full-time or part-time.

Normally, a full-time course takes a year. It requires about 16 hours of study per week at college as well as a substantial amount of self-directed study at college or at home.

Alternatively, some courses are available part part-time. These usually take two years or more.

The maximum time allowed to gain sufficient credits to achieve the Access to Higher Education Diploma is five years.

Most courses start in September and finish in June. Some start in January or February and finish the following year. 

How will I be assessed?

Assessment is carried out throughout the duration of the course.

Different types of assessment methods will be used dependent on the subject area of the course.

Often, a range of assessment methods will be used, including; 

  • assignments, reports, essays, research projects, field work,
  • presentations, and
  • an exam.

What qualification will I achieve?

Learners who successfully complete their course will receive an Access to Higher Education Diploma.

It is a nationally recognised qualification that is accepted for entry onto Higher Education programmes.

Where can I study?

Access to Higher Education Diplomas are offered at all further education colleges in Wales.

Many colleges hold open days for prospective students. This is an opportunity for learners to find out more about the courses on offer, meet the tutors and talk to current students.

List of Colleges

How much does it cost?

Fees vary depending on the course and the college. 

Contact your chosen college and they will provide advice and guidance on course fees, additional costs and financial support that may be available.

How do I apply?

Applications can be made at any time throughout the year.

The application process varies depending on the course and the college.

Learners are advised to contact their chosen college for specific advice, support and guidance on the application process.  

Some colleges may require applicants to attend a formal interview. This can include an assessment of literacy and numeracy skills.

If a college feels that a learner may need to develop their skills and confidence in order to demonstrate the potential to successfully complete an Access to Higher Education Diploma, they can suggest entry onto a Level 2 pre-Access course, such as Skills for Further Study.

What is the Agored Cymru Access to Higher Education Learner of the Year Award?

Every year, we celebrate the amazing achievements of Access to Higher Education learners with our prestigious Access to Higher Education Learner of the Year Award.

Find out more about our Award.