Access to HE Diploma (Health Sciences)

Access to HE Diploma (Health Sciences)

Course Overview

The Access to Higher Education Diploma in Health Sciences is a one year part time programme designed for anyone who would like to study a health sciences or healthcare degree, but who may not yet have the necessary skills and qualifications to obtain a place on their chosen course.  You will need to commit to study from September 2017 to July 2018, the course is held on Fridays, Saturdays and Sunday mornings at The AECC. The normal schedule is that attendance is required every other weekend during term-time (total 17 weekends).

The AECC’s 50 years of experience in delivering health science and healthcare programmes makes it the perfect choice for your studies. You will be taught by a dedicated team of clinicians and scientists who help to make the Diploma clinically relevant by utilising their own experience and the AECC’s facilities, including our on-site outpatient’s clinic and imaging centres. This innovative approach to your education helps to ensure that you are well prepared for your future training. Added to this is the unique structure of the programme where units are taught at weekends, allowing students to focus on their studies whilst still being to work.

The Access Diploma is a nationally recognised qualification, accepted by all UK universities. Successful completion of the Diploma allows you to consider further study in a number of careers including chiropractic, nursing, exercise science, physiotherapy, osteopathy, radiography and audiology.

Is the Access course right for me?

If you don't have the correct qualifications to get to university or if you left school early, our Access course will prepare you for degree-level courses so you can start working towards the career of your dreams.

The Access to Higher Education Diploma in Health Sciences is a nationally recognised qualification in the UK, accepted by all universities. Successful completion of the course allows you to consider further study in a number of careers including:

  • chiropractic
  • exercise science
  • medicine*
  • physiotherapy
  • occupational therapy
  • osteopathy
  • audiology
  • healthcare science
  • midwifery
  • podiatry
  • nursing programmes (adult, child and mental)
  • radiography programmes (diagnostic and therapeutic)

*Southampton University Medical School BM6 programme only

To achieve the most from the Access Diploma you need to be highly motivated and prepared to work independently. The Access Diploma is an intensive programme of study where 100% attendance is expected. Whilst the course has been designed to suit people with work and/or home commitments, it may not be suitable for everyone and you are encouraged to ensure you can fully commit to the programme before applying.

How long is the course?

The Access course takes place over 17 weekends within one academic year from September to July. Additional dates may be required to fulfil unit requirements.

Course Structure

This is a part-time course and is delivered at the AECC on Friday (9am-5pm), Saturday (9am-5pm) and Sunday (9am-1pm) normally every two weeks during term-time between September and July.


Day at the AECC



Friday Morning

09:00 – 12:00

Assessment from a previous teaching weekend (for example, this may be a coursework hand-in deadline, presentation or written exam)

Friday afternoon

13:00 – 17:00

1st session of unit

Saturday morning

09:00 – 13:00

2nd session of unit

Saturday afternoon

14:00 – 17:00

3rd session of unit

Sunday Morning

09:00 – 13:00

4th session of unit


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The Access to Health Science Diploma can lead to a number of university courses and careers. To date successful students have gone on to study chiropractic, exercise science, podiatry and operating department practitioner training.

Requirements for progression onto the AECC’s Master of Chiropractic programme can be found here.

Contact us for more information. 

The course is validated by CAVA and undergoes stringent quality checks to make sure students receive the very best teaching and assessment.


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What will you study on the course?

The course covers a variety of science and human health topics including:

Students studying anatomy

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Psychology
  • Health promotion
  • Research methods
  • Ethical and professional practice

View a breakdown of the course content and credit values

In addition, students undertake placements in a healthcare setting to ensure they have the right level of theoretical and practical experience needed to progress further with their studies. Such placements can be taken in the AECC’s modern clinic, located on campus.

How will I learn?

If you have been away from education or even if you are choosing to study something completely different, learning something new can seem daunting. The AECC’s faculty will be here to support you in whatever way they can to ensure your transition into the Access Diploma and from the Diploma to university is a smooth as possible.

The faculty will encourage you to learn through classroom based lessons, practical laboratory classes, in class discussions and case scenarios. We recognise the value in ensuring that you take responsibility for your learning, rather than relying on tutors to teach you what you need to know. So you will be encouraged to read around the topics and reflect on your learning. Even though classes are only scheduled at weekends, you can use the AECC’s facilities at any time and meet with tutors at a time which is convenient for both if you need some further clarification.

How much time do you need to study?

When you attend the AECC for a teaching weekend, you will have 15 hours of contact with the unit tutor. We advise you spend an additional 10-15 hours per week studying to ensure that you complete the associated reading and assessments for each unit. It is important that you consider this time commitment and ensure that you will have enough time to study away from the college.

How will you be supported with your studies?

Each student will be allocated a personal tutor who will help the student to progress through the course. The tutor will provide both academic and pastoral support should they be needed at any stage throughout the programme.

This is particularly important given the format of delivery where the student will attend classes but also have to study independently in order to achieve the necessary standards.

The AECC offers a range of academic support for students. As well as your own personal tutor, additional study and language support is available on campus. If you have an additional educational need or specific learning disability you are welcome to present supporting documentation, such as an educational psychology assessment, at enrolment for consideration. Alternatively, if you suspect you have a learning difficulty but have not been assessed the college will arrange for you to meet with an assessor for an initial screening.

It may be necessary for a further specialist assessment to be made which the AECC can help arrange. Once a student’s needs have been assessed measures will be taken to support them in assessments which may include:

  • Extra time in written examinations
  • Examinations printed on coloured paper if recommended
  • Use of a computer to record answers
  • Other measures recommended by the expert assessor

How are you assessed?

The Access course has been designed to give you experience in a number of assessments methods, all of which are used in universities. This allows you to demonstrate your knowledge whilst also gaining valuable experience in different styles of assessment. The following assessments methods are all utilised in the Access Diploma:

  • Essays
  • Written Exams
  • Open-book exams
  • Oral Presentations
  • Poster Presentations
  • Practical Demonstrations
  • Scientific Laboratory Reports
  • Portfolio of Evidence
  • Research report

View a breakdown of the course content and credit values

Download the Access to Higher Education Diploma Prospectus

The following questions should help with any questions you may have on the Access to HE Diploma (Health Sciences) at the AECC.

If your question is not answered below, email our admissions department for further help.

AECC students working on group project in the outside quad area

Who validates the access diploma?

The Access to HE Diploma is validated by Cambridge Access Validating Agency (CAVA) 

What will I learn on the Access Diploma?

On the Access to HE Diploma you will take a total of 20 units which aim to give you the best background for your future health related studies. Units are divided in 5 Academic Preparation Skills (APS) and 15 Academic Subject Content (ASC). This mix of knowledge and study skills helps to ensure you are well prepared for university.

When are classes held?

Teaching occurs at weekends from Friday to Sunday, generally every other week. The academic year runs from September to July.  

How will I be taught?

Faculty use a variety of different teaching methods including lectures, tutorials and science laboratories. You will also complete a clinical placement either at the AECC outpatient clinic or with a healthcare professional of your choice.

How will I be examined?

We use a variety of assessment methods on the Access Diploma to help develop the different skills you will need for university. Academic Preparation Skill subjects are graded as pass or fail. Academic Subject Content subjects are graded as pass / merit / distinction.

What grades can I achieve?

Academic Preparation Skills units are graded as pass or fail and make up 15 credits of the Diploma. These include study skills and the Introductions to Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Academic Subject Content units are graded as pass / merit / distinction and make up 45 credits of the Diploma.

What grades do I need to go to university?

The entry requirements for university vary from subject to subject and university to university. Before enrolling on the Access Diploma, please ensure you thoroughly research the universities and courses you wish to study in the future so that you know what their entry requirements are.

For example, a university may require you to achieve a full diploma (60 credits) with at least 15 credits at distinction and 30 credits at merit.

It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that they have the GCSE (or equivalent) grades required by UK universities. In general, universities will insist that students have GCSE Maths and English, grade C or above, but some degree courses may insist on the applicant having other GCSEs as well.

Applicants should also ensure they meet any additional university requirements, such as criminal records or police checks.

You can find more information on the 'Entry Requirements & Applying' tab.  

Where is the diploma taught?

The diploma is taught at the AECC in Bournemouth, England.

Where can I stay whilst I’m studying the Diploma?

The AECC doesn’t have any accommodation that it can offer to you during the Access Diploma. If you do not live locally and require accommodation overnight you’ll find a number of local hotels and guest houses close to the college. Further information can be found here.

How much does it cost?

The course fees for 2016/17 are £1550.

What if I have to leave the course part way through?

Students who withdraw from the Diploma or suspend their studies from one year to the next will not lose the credits they have already achieved. However, they may be liable for part or all of their tuition fees and any registration fees depending on when they inform the college of their decision. Further information can be found on the Course Fees tab.  

Can I receive funding?

At present it is not possible to receive funding for the AECC Access Diploma.

Are there any entry requirements?

There are no specific entry requirements for the Access Diploma. However, it is the applicant’s responsibility  to thoroughly research the universities and courses they wish to study in the future and ensure they meet any GCSE, English language, occupational health, police checks or other requirements before they enrol on the Diploma.

Normally, applicants to the Access Diploma will be 19 years of age or older on the 1st September in the year the course commences.

The Access to HE Diploma is not available to non-EEA nationals who would require a student visa to study in the UK as the course is part-time

How do I apply?

To apply for the Access programme click here and complete the online form.

Who do I contact if I have any questions?

If your enquiry is regarding applications, please contact the admissions team.

For general enquires please contact Philip Dewhurst, programme leader.

Entry Requirements and Application

This course is open to students who do not have formal qualifications or do not have an appropriate profile of qualifications to study healthcare at higher education.

All applicants must complete an application form and attend the college for an interview. Students are advised to check the entry requirements for the specific degree programme they wish to apply for, to ensure that this Access to Higher Education Diploma will provide them with the appropriate qualification to apply for their chosen subject area.

It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that they have the GCSE (or equivalent) grades required by UK universities. In general, universities will insist that students have GCSE Maths and English, grade C or above, but some degree courses may insist on the applicant having other GCSEs as well. International students or those whose first language is not English will require an IELTS qualification in addition to the university’s GCSE (or equivalent) requirements. Please speak to the admissions departments of the universities you are considering studying at to ensure you have these pre-requisites before applying to the Access Diploma.

Applicants should also ensure they meet any additional university requirements, such as criminal records or police checks.

Normally, applicants to the Access Diploma will be 19 years of age on the 1st September in the year the course commences.

The Access to HE Diploma is not available to non-EEA nationals who would require a student visa to study in the UK as the course is part-time.  


You can apply directly to the AECC with our online application form.


The application deadline for September 2016 entry is Thursday 1st September 2016. Please note applications received after this date will not be considered.


Recognition of Prior Learning

Applicants may request recognition of prior learning for achievements gained on other courses provided they are:

  • at level 2, 3 or above.
  • directly relevant to the areas of study on the Access course and can demonstrate equivalence to a complete unit.
  • not more than 30 credits out of the 60 required for an Access to Higher Education Diploma.

If you believe you qualify for recognition of prior learning, please contact Philip Dewhurst, programme leader, for more information.


Withdrawing or Suspending from the Access Diploma

Students wishing to withdraw or suspend their studies before completion must inform the College in writing utilising the AECC Withdraw/Suspension Request Form (unless they have been withdrawn or suspended by the College). Only once this written notification has been received will the withdrawal or suspension be processed and the College’s records amended.

The liability for the tuition fees are as follows:

4 September 2016 – 31 January 2017 33.33% liability

1 February 2017 – 17 April 2017 66.67% liability

On or after 18 April 2017 100% liability

Fees are not refundable unless paid in advance for a term not started. NB Except in exceptional circumstances the date of withdrawal or suspension is the date that the College receives notification or withdrawal or suspension from the course, not the date of last attendance.


Tuition Fees

The tuition fees are £1,550 for students starting in the 2016/17 academic year. You are able to pay in two instalments if this is easier for you.

You can pay by:-

• Cash

• Cheque

• Credit/Debit card

• Bank transfer

Further information on payment of fees will be sent to applicants in the summer before course enrolment.

Contact Finance for more information on the course fees.

Additional Costs

In addition to course fees there may be some additional costs to students. These include purchasing recommended text books and placement polo shirts (if you intended to attend placements at the AECC clinic).

Please consider your travel costs when applying for the Diploma. The AECC is located on the South Coast of England with local train services to London, Dorchester and Weymouth and via Southampton to the midlands.

In addition, if you do not live locally you will need to stay at one of the towns many hotels or guest houses. Information on local accommodation can be found here.

If you are looking to get into higher education, the AECC provides a great opportunity with an Access to Higher Education Diploma.


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Anglo-European College of Chiropractic