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Access to Higher Education - Nursing/Midwifery (OCN) Level 3


Course Description

All applications for this course must be submitted before Friday 8th August.  Any applications received after this date will be:

  • considered for entry onto the level 2, ‘Stepping up to Access’ course


  • added to the reserve list for Level 3 Diploma


The aim of the course is to give mature learners a second chance at education which will facilitate entry to broad range of health and care related  Higher Educational programmes, such as BSc (Honours) Nursing and BSc (Honours) Midwifery. The course will enable students to develop confidence, self-esteem and interpersonal skills alongside the academic skills required for higher studies.  To achieve the Access to HE Diploma 60 Access credits are required, 45 of which must be at level 3.


All modules are internally assessed and graded and internally and externally moderated.  Grades awarded are Pass, Merit or Distinction.


Programme/Course Structure 


The course is made up of as follows:


Core units:

  • Personal & Professional Development
  • English & Communication
  • Study Skills


Subject specific units from:

  • Biology
  • Human Biology
  • Research methods 
  • Sociology                              
  • Psychology


These units are subject to change 


The course can be studied as follows


 One year programme (Studying at Level 3)

12.5 hours per week of timetabled sessions will be delivered using a blended approach which combines direct tutor contact with distance learning using the college virtual learning environment.  In addition, you will be expected to complete a minimum of 12 hours per week of independent study.


Course Entry Requirements

Level 3 Access to HE Diplomas


Applicants must possess GCSEs in English and Maths at grade C or above, with the exception of mitigating evidence, subject to the approval of the Assistant Director. A recent study of science would be an advantage but not essential.

Applicants must be able to evidence a minimum of 75 hours relevant work experience (within the last 5 years), with the capacity to evidence 150 hours before the course starts.  (References will be requested).


Please make sure you bring copies of your existing qualifications with you to the interview.


Recruitment onto Access courses is a three stage process which begins following receipt of your application. 


This process will be used to provide individual guidance onto an appropriate level / route of study.


  • Stage One: Skills Review (Maths and English).
  • Stage Two: Diagnostic Assessment (A more indepth Maths and English assessment).
  • Stage Three: Interview.


Offers are made on a first come, first served basis, following the interview. Failure to attend any one of these stages could impact on your chances of securing a place.


In preparation for achieving the level three Access to HE Diploma by the fastest route possible you should consider the following:

  • Achieving (or updating) Maths GCSE C or above.
  • Achieving (or updating) English GCSE C or above.
  • Achieving (or updating) Science GCSE C or above.

(You can arrange a brush up on one or both of these subjects by contacting the basic skills team on 0800 358 7676.)

  • Specific University entry requirements such as GCSEs or national qualifications.
  • Specific University work experience requirements, either paid or voluntary.


Or why not consider doing our 'Stepping up to Access' course which can  include GCSEs in Maths, English and much more. 


Once on the one year full-time course you will be required to complete an application for a University place straight away. Therefore, prior research is essential. Please refer to the University websites or visit to explore your career options and/or visit our careers drop in service during the following days/times.

  • Monday and Wednesday 1pm-5pm.
  • Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 9am-1pm.


Please note: Most University courses require that you have RELEVANT work experience (paid or voluntary) prior to submitting your application for a University place.  If you need to do voluntary work to gain relevant experience then you will be advised to complete the Access course over 2 years. See details of our 'Stepping up to Access' level 2 course.


Course Fees

24+ Advanced Learning Loans - Loans may be available for learners over the age of 24. For further information, see our Financial Support pages or


Please Note: This course is designed to meet the needs of students over the age of 19 and as such it is not funded for students aged between 16 and 19 when the course commences; although this age group is not excluded students will have to pay full fees, which are currently approximately £3,800.


Course Progression

On successful completion of the course you will be prepared for entry onto a HE programme, such as the BA (Hons) and BSc Nursing or Midwifery.


Course Career Prospects

The Health Service, both public and private, offers broad ranging and challenging careers.  Previous learners have gone on to study adult nursing degrees with the aim of working in A&E/Trauma, Genito-urinary/sexual health, and community nursing.  Past learners also include ODPs (Operating Department Practitioners), Paramedics, Paediatric nurses, and aestheticians.


Useful careers websites:


If you are unsure about your career progression please contact the Careers Team.


For Specific Course Information Contact

Course Leader: Peter Lyon 01302553553 ext 2765

Course Leader: Carmel McHugh 01302 553553 ext 4411

Admin Assistant: Ann Thompson 01302 553716                          

For more advanced courses such as Degrees and HNC/Ds please click here.

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