Access to Science (Biology and Chemistry)

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 Science
  • Qualification Access to Higher Education Diploma
  • Study Mode: Full Time Only
  • Course Level Level 3
  • Location Maths and Science Centre
  • 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 £3,384
  • 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. 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
  • Wellbeing team (Counsellors)
  • a Learner Support Fund (apply through College)
  • Designated study space specifically for our HE and Access to HE 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.

For further detail please visit our Awarding Body website here.

The programme consists of compulsory core units and subject options.

Topics may include:


  • Nutrition and Gaseous Exchange in Plants and Animals
  • Biochemistry
  • Body Systems: Cardiac and Respiratory
  • Inheritance and Genetic Engineering


  • Fundamentals of Chemistry
  • Experiments
  • Hydrocarbons
  • Medical Chemistry
  • Physical Chemistry

Practical Scientific Project


  • Statistics
  • Exponentials and Logarithms

Introductory Academic

  • Cell Biology
  • Bonding, Crystal Structures and Shapes of Molecules

Study Skills and IT

  • IT for Academic Study
  • Research and Referencing
  • Producing a Written Assignment

Please note these are all subject to change.

All Access students will also be enrolled on a supplementary IT course, at no extra cost (Essential Digital Skills).

Past students have gone on to work in or study various subjects, including: Conservation Biology, Environmental Science, Computer Science, Biosciences, Dietetics, Forensic Science, Radiography, Medical Science, Paramedic Science and Veterinary Science.

This course takes place in the Maths and Science Centre and the Tower Building on Hele Road.

Entry Requirements
  • GCSE Maths Grade 4/C or above
  • GCSE English Grade 4/C 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.
  • GCSE in any Science Grade 4/C or above

You can also access English for Speakers of other Languages (ESOL) or adult GCSE English courses at the College.

We also offer a ‘Preparation for Access to Higher Education – Science’ course – click here for further details.

  • Digital and Data Centre – there are many spaces for adult students to study and an Access to Higher Education student computer room
  • Coffee shops – for example, in the Digital and Data Centre and the Tower building
  • Four Learning Resource Centres (LRCs)
  • You will have access to new fully equipped laboratories (Maths and Science Centre)
Additional Costs

As well as the course fees, applicants need to factor in food, travel, books, 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.

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?

    If you have questions or would like to speak to someone, our team of Customer Service Advisers can help answer your questions or direct your enquiry to the correct team.
    Speak to us today on 01392 400500 or send us a message using our contact form:

  • Ready to find out more?

    Why not come along to one of our open events, a chance to explore our facilities, ask questions about our courses and find out more about being a student at Exeter College. Visit our open events page to find out more today.