Access to HE Diploma - Science
This course is for people aged 19 or over
Faculty of Maths and Science
Level Location Start Date End Date Day Time Fee Reduced Ask Apply
Level 3 Hele Road and Victoria House September 2018 July 2019 Three days TBC 9.00am-4.30pm (hours 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.  Students will develop practical laboratory skills, scientific writing skills, note taking, reference writing and exam practice, as well as confidence in independent study and good time management. Additional support is available for students for particular difficulties/needs.

There is also:

  • a Learning Support team
  • Learning Centres
  • Well being team (Counsellors)
  • a Learner Support Fund (apply through college)

*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 for advice.

What topics will I study?

The programme consists of compulsory core units and subject options:
These are some of the units available:

  • Unicellular Life - Unicellular life is an introduction to cell organelles and their importance in the functioning of the cell and cell membrane.  There is a practical element enabling students to practice aseptic techniques in the growth of bacterial cultures

  • Heart and Circulation - A practical unit where you get a chance to dissect a pig’s heart and fully understand how it works

  • Enzymes & Nucleic Acids - Enzymes and nucleic acids contains a large practical element where enzyme activity is investigated, along with the structure of DNA and its replication, and application to protein synthesis

  • Core Chemistry 1 - Core chemistry covers the basics of atomic structure, bonding and the periodic table, linking previous knowledge at GCSE to level 3 study. It is a good introduction to later content of the course

  • Biochemistry: Biological Molecules - Biological molecules introduces the chemistry of life, looking at the structure and function of lipids, carbohydrates and proteins in context of the human body

  • Physical Chemistry - Physical chemistry covers energetic, kinetics and equilibrium, including a consideration of Hess’s law and the Maxwell Boltzmann distribution. Students carry out practical work and calculations for a variety of enthalpy changes

  • Biology/Chemistry Practical Scientific Project - Design and Implementation/Analysis and Presentation: The academic project is a 5000 word report based on a practical investigation and piece of research. Students choose a topic based on either chemistry or biology, related to an area of study covered in the Access course.  

For a full list of units, please click here.

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 GCSEs in maths and English at grade C or above, a GCSE in science at grade C or above is also required. We would encourage applicants to contact the Higher Education providers that they intend to which they intend to apply to ensure that the age of their GCSEs are acceptable (written confirmation is advisable). 

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 (GCSE A to C) qualifications in maths and 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
  • a working knowledge of Microsoft Word and Powerpoint

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?

You will have access to laboratories and a learning centre. There is a refectory in the Hele Building and Victoria House.

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

What can the course lead on to?

Typical progression courses are: Biology and Bio Sciences, Dietetics, Environmental conservation, Forensic Science, Radiography and Computing.
This course does not cater for progression into Maths based higher education courses such as Engineering, Architecture and Physics.
Please be aware that a clear DBS check (previously known as CRB) and occupational health test may be required before entry onto some vocational degree courses.


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.

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.

College Prospectus

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