Access to Art and Design

The Access course has been designed for those adults who feel they missed out on higher education when they were younger or would like a change of career.

  • Course Type Access
  • Subject Area Art and Design
  • Qualification Access to Higher Education Diploma
  • Study Mode: Full Time Only
  • Course Level Level 3
  • Location Centre for Creative Industries
  • Course Length 1 year
  • Start Date September Yearly
  • End Date July Yearly
  • Day 3 days per week - TBC
  • Times 9.00am-4.30pm (Hours may vary)
  • Fee £3,928
  • Reduced Fee

    See below


This 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 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 (Counsellors)
  • A Learner Support Fund (apply through College)
  • Designated study space specifically for our Higher Education and Access to Higher Education students

*2023-24 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 01392 400170 or email for advice.

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

Units may include:

  • Photography Skills
  • Graphic Design
  • Ceramics Working with Clay
  • Contextual Studies
  • Working with 3D Media
  • Textiles
  • Colour Theory and Application
  • Extended Study in the Visual Arts (Final Major Project)
  • Historical Perspectives in Art
  • Observed drawing
  • Perspective Drawing
  • Portfolio Development
  • Mounting an Exhibition
  • Study Skills and IT Units: Presentation Skills, Research and Referencing, Progression Skills, IT for Academic Study

Please note these are all subject to change.

The modules are chosen to give a broad-based understanding of art and design and a grounding in a range of skills in preparation for University.

Entry Requirements

GCSE English Grade C (or Grade 4) or above or IELTS score of 6.5 overall and no less than 6.5 in any other section for all International and non-speaking English students. The test should be no older than 2 years prior to the start of the programme. You can also access English for Speakers of other Languages (ESOL) or adult GCSE English courses at the College.

Some universities will also require you to have GCSE Maths grade C or grade 4 or above before applying; this will mean you will need to complete this before starting the Access Diploma. Please check this before applying to the Access diploma.


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. There are Learning Lounges specifically for Access to Higher Education and Higher Education students.

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, you will need to buy several large sketchbooks.

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.

  • Have a question?

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    Speak to us today on 01392 400500 or send us a message using our contact form:

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