Access to HE Diploma - Art and Design
This course is for people aged 19 or over
Faculty of Art and Design
Level Location Start Date End Date Day Time Fee Reduced Ask Apply
Level 3 Centre for Creative Industries, Victoria Yard September 2018 July 2019 3 days per week TBC 9.00am-4.30pm (times may vary) See below* See below

What is it like to study this course and how will I be assessed?

The Access course has been designed for those adults who feel they missed out on higher education when they were younger. The programme aims to provide a firm foundation for study at degree level.  Study skills and educational guidance form essential parts of the course.

Tutorial sessions support learners and offer guidance with the UCAS process and study skills.

The Diploma is taught by subject specialist teaching staff in a supportive environment to develop the academic skills necessary to progress onto higher education. You will have homework and assignment work set each week with strict deadlines. There is at least 15-20 hours of additional study at home each week. Additional support is available for students for particular difficulties/needs.

There is also:

  • A Learning Support team
  • Learning Centres
  • Wellbeing team 
  • A Learner Support Fund (apply through college)

Support in literacy can be available although outside the main timetabled hours.

*2017/2018 fees for Access to Higher Education courses are dependent on your age, circumstances and chosen course. Click here to view more information about fees 

This course is eligible for an Advanced Learner Loan, which may be written off if you continue your studies in to higher education at college or university. For more information click here.

You may be entitled to support towards the fee, please phone Jill Clark on 01392 400526 or email jillclark@exe-coll.ac.uk for advice.

What topics will I study?

The course comprises units of study in a range of art and design disciplines.

Units may include:

  • Painting and Drawing – using a range of mediums
  • Photography – studio and location-based photography using digital and film cameras
  • Graphic Design – typography and graphic design incorporating the use of computer design software
  • Ceramics – creating forms with clay using a range of techniques
  • Textiles – dying and printing onto cloth
  • Printmaking – using a range of techniques including screen printing
  • Sculpture – using a range of materials and tools

Students will develop skills in researching and analysing existing artwork to inform their own work.

The modules are chosen to give a broad based understanding of art and design and a grounding in a range of skills. Learners also study IT and study skills at Level 2 (GCSE level/Level 3).

Please note, the unit information above will be subject to change, we are awaiting confirmation of the details for 2018 entry. Please keep checking our website for up to date information or contact us if you have any questions.

What are the entry requirements?

You will need GCSE English at grade A to C. We would encourage applicants to contact the Higher Education providers they intend to apply to ensure that the age of their GCSEs are acceptable (written confirmation is advisable) and whether GCSE maths is also a requirement. Students may wish to take GCSE maths alongside the course but the increase in work load would be considerable.

What we look for in a successful applicant:

  • Motivation to progress onto higher education
  • Evidence of recent study (not compulsory)
  • A letter of application that demonstrates your commitment to study, considers the reality of study, shows some idea about what subject they intend to study at university and mentions which higher education institutions you intend to apply.
  • Evidence of ability in English (GCSE A to C). You may be asked to take an assessment at interview
  • IELTS score of 5.5 or above for students where English is a second language

If you have been out of education for some time we would recommend a course in maths/English. Research the entry requirements for the universities you wish to apply to. You could do voluntary / paid work where relevant.

What facilities are there?

The Art and Design Department has eighteen art studios, a Print workshop, a Ceramics workshop, a 3D workshop, Photographic darkrooms, Photoshop and PremierPro software on PCs. You will also have access to the college Learning Centres.

New for 2016 - Learning Lounge specific for Access to HE and HE students.

What can the course lead on to?

Typical progression courses are: Degrees in Fine Art, Illustration, Fashion Design, Graphic Design, Animation, 3D Design.

Are there any additional costs?

As well as the course fees, applicants need to factor in food, travel, books and stationery and printing costs. Applications for our college Learner Support Fund or the Bursary Fund are advisable for applicants who know that they may struggle financially. There will also be UCAS fees and a college materials fee of £30.

What do our students think?

The challenge of the Access course is that it covers a lot of ground in a short space of time. I have developed a real passion for the subject that I’m continuing to study. I feel that I was able to do this due to the support, encouragement and enthusiasm of the tutors on my course. All of the staff at the college were so helpful; generous with their time, skills and knowledge. One of the things I really valued about the access course was the fact that the students were of all ages, and each person brought a different range of experience and knowledge the subject.” 

The course gave me the opportunity to explore an area of study (fine art) at level that was both stimulating and challenging. The breadth of subjects covered the range of resources and techniques experienced and the study skills required during the year have provided a really good starting point for the HE course that I am taking. I have gained confidence in my art practice and the enthusiasm I have for my studies has been something I have been keen to share with my young children. It has provided me with an exciting first step towards a new career."


It is important that you apply and pay for your course at least one week before the course starts to ensure that you will have access to all the facilities and resources in your first week.
Please be aware that there are no car parking facilities at Exeter College city centre sites, but public car parks are available across the city.

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