Access to HE Diploma Level 3: Health and Social Care – September 2024

Funding information: Free for First Full L3 for 19-23 year olds otherwise Adult Learner Loans available, course costs apply.
Duration: 1 Year
Attendance: Full-time Provision

Course Overview

Level 3 Access to Higher Education courses are designed to enable mature learners who have been out of education to gain the qualifications, academic skills and knowledge necessary to progress on to university-level study.

This diploma covers a range of topics designed to allow you to develop skills and knowledge in health and social care-based professions. You will explore the importance of health and social care, differing perspectives of care in the UK, and how economic, legal, social and political factors influence the provision of key services.

In addition to health, the course covers units from the subject areas of human biology, law, sociology and psychology.

Your time on the course will help you to develop key transferable skills for the workplace, such as effective communication, team-working and collaborating, and sourcing and utilising evidence.

Additional units, such as academic writing, sourcing and referencing academic texts, and presenting effectively to a group, will help you to develop key academic skills and prepare you for study at higher education level.

You will have a Personal Tutor who will support you throughout the programme, as well as access to the Higher and Adult Support Coordinator who offers key advice on returning to learning, finances, progression and wellbeing.

Upon successful completion of this Diploma, students will be able to:

  • Approach health and social care from different perspectives
  • Recognise structural and societal factors that shape health and social care
  • Explain the importance of health and social care in contemporary Britain
  • Develop core research, referencing and study skills for success in HE

Ultimately, the Access to HE course will prepare you for study at higher education level.

Course Content

To successfully complete the Access to HE Diploma you must achieve a total of 60 credits. These credits will be achieved through completion of the following units (unit credit value in brackets):

Health Studies

  • Foundations of Health Care Practice (3)
  • Health Promotion (6)
  • Care in the Community (3)
  • Understanding Mental Health (3)

Human Biology

  • Nutrition and Digestion (3)
  • Cell Biology and Biochemistry (6)


  • Health Psychology (3)
  • Treatment and Therapies (3)


  • The Law in Social Work (6)

Sociology and Social Policy

  • Inequalities in Health and Social Care (3)
  • Social Work Practice with Key Client Groups (6)

Academic and Study Skills

  • Research and Referencing (3)
  • Presentation Skills (3)
  • Progression Skills (3)
  • Producing a Written Assignment (3)
  • Roles and Responsibilities of a Health Care Professional

Some units may be subject to change.

Entry Requirements

You will need a grade C/4 in GCSE English and GCSE Maths.

Enrolment will be subject to an initial progression discussion and, in cases where English and Maths qualifications are not currently held, an initial assessment may be required to determine the most appropriate level of entry.

The Access to Higher Education courses have been designed predominantly for older students returning to education. However, each application will be considered on an individual basis, on the condition you are aged 19 or over by the course start date and hold GCSE grade C/4 or above in English.

Assessment Methods

  • Research projects
  • Reports
  • Written assignments
  • Presentations
  • Role play/simulations


The aim of this qualification is to prepare students for progression into higher education subjects including, but not limited to:

  • Health and Social Care
  • Social Work
  • Nursing
  • Occupational Health

Please note: students are strongly advised to contact universities prior to commencing this Access to HE Diploma to check the university’s specific entry criteria. The award of a Diploma does not provide guaranteed entry to UK higher education programmes – each university has its own criteria for entry.