City and Islington College

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Access to Higher Education

We offer Access to HE courses in subjects including Business, Science, Humanities, Media, Social Work and Teaching to help you to get to university and onto a rewarding career.

What is Access to Higher Education?

Can I get help with the cost of my Access course?

How to enrol

How our students do

Spotlight on Access to HE... Science courses

How my course helped me...

Our Access to HE courses

Why choose City and Islington College?

What is Access to Higher Education?

Do you want to go to university, but left school without the qualifications you need to apply? If so, Access to Higher Education is for you.

- Widely accepted by universities as the adult equivalent of A Levels
- Prepares you for university, especially if you haven’t been in a classroom for some time
- Develops the study skills you need to be a successful student, such as doing research and essay writing
- Suitable for students with overseas qualifications who may need to improve their academic English
- Suitable for students whose overseas qualifications are not recognised by UK universities
- Covers subjects relevant to your chosen degree and career path

As the first College to teach these courses, we teach the largest number of Access to HE students in London. This means we offer expert teaching from highly-experienced, friendly tutors who are committed to helping you to achieve your goals.

Can I get help with the cost of my Access course?

If you are aged 19-23, your Access to HE course may be free. Click here to find out more

If you are aged 24 or over, you may need to cover the cost of the course, but you can get a government loan for this called the 24+ Advanced Learning Loan.

What’s more, if you then complete a Higher Education course, you won’t have to repay the loan for the Access course. Click here to find out more

How to enrol

To enrol on an Access to Higher Education course starting this September, click here.

How our students do

Our students progress to a range of degrees at around 30 universities each year in and outside London, including prestigious institutions such as Russell Group universities.

Universities that our students progress to:

Degrees that our students progress to:

Aberystwyth University
Bath Spa University
University of Bedfordshire
Birkbeck, University of London
University of Birmingham
University of Brighton
Brunel University
City University London
East London University
Goldsmiths, University of London
University of Greenwich
University of Hertfordshire
Kingston University
King’s College London
London Metropolitan University
Middlesex University
Queen Mary, University of London
University of Roehampton
SOAS, University of London
London South Bank University
University of Sussex
University College London (UCL)
University of Westminster

Accounting (incl. with Finance)
Arabic/African Studies/Japanese Studies
Banking and Finance
Business (incl. Management/Administration)
Developmental Studies
Education Studies
English Literature
History/Medieval History
Human Geography
International Relations
Law (incl.with Business/Developmental Studies)
Primary Education
Psychology (incl. with Criminology/Counselling)
Social Anthropology
Social Work
Sociology (incl. with Psychology/Criminology)
War Studies

Spotlight on Access to HE... Science courses

City and Islington College is one of the UK’s biggest providers of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths courses (Levels 2-5), and is the only College in London judged outstanding on every measure by Ofsted.

Our students achieve excellent results, go on to attend top universities, and launch successful careers across a number of subject areas.

97% of our students tell us they feel respected and safe here, 93% tell us that the teaching is good, and they would recommend the College to a friend.

At City and Islington College we offer you:

- Modern learning environments with specialised facilities including forensic mock crime scenes, sports science laboratories and a Centre of Excellence for Applied Optics
- Friendly, professional teaching staff with experience working in the areas you are training for
- Individual, one-to-one support
- Opportunities ranging from enrichment to mentoring to help you gain key life and employability skills

Student Spotlight

Nick Smith, Access to HE: Medicine and Medical Biosciences, has an offer to study medicine at Southampton University. Before coming to the College, Nick was a technician in the British Army.

“I wanted to be an accident and emergency doctor so I could make a difference to people’s lives.

I had no idea that courses like this were available, but I would really recommend them to anyone wanting to pursue a career in science and medical fields.

I need to be surrounded by people I like in order to achieve and feel motivated, and I had that in abundance at City and Islington. The facilities and staff are also superb.” Read more here

How my course helped me...

Access to HE: Mixed Media student goes from working as security guard to Cambridge University
"Growing up I did not gel with school at all and I did not study any A Levels. I could not have done what I am doing without the support and encouragement of my tutor. I am really looking forward to the prospect of going to Cambridge, and hope to go on to become a journalist for a national newspaper.’ Read more here

Mel Charles studied Access to Higher Education: Media in 2002/03 and is a consultant at ‘Women Like Us’

"I feel wonderfully secure and am very excited about returning to work in July. When I look back from where I am now, I remember clearly my best friend urging me to check out City and Islington College. An introduction which truly changed my life.’ Read more here

Read more about our access students who have made it to Cambridge University this year Here

Our Access to HE courses


Forensic Science

Health and Human Sciences, including Nursing, Midwifery, Occupational Therapy, Speech and Language Therapy



Media (Film Studies and Television Production)

Medicine & Medical Bio Sciences

Mixed Media

Politics and International Relations


Social Science

Social Work

Sports Science


Why choose City and Islington College?


- Excellent learning environment with specialised facilities and friendly, experienced and professional teaching staff


- Regular one-to-one sessions with your personal tutor

- Additional learning and disability support, if required

- Library, Information Services and IT facilities including: books, e-books and journals; PCs, Apple Macs, audio equipment and iPod Touches; scanners, photocopiers and printers – with your own quota of free printing; free WiFi and your own email account; our own Virtual Learning Environment so you can access course materials online – even when you’re not at College


- Confidential, unbiased support on any practical issues such as financial worries, studying while on benefits, accommodation and immigration issues

- Two College nurseries providing limited places for students’ children aged 2-5

- Onsite canteens offering great value for money

- Lots of activities and events to help you relax and enjoy yourself


- Information and guidance on careers and your next step, including visits to universities, jobs fairs and developing your employability skills

- A wide range of courses at different levels and for different abilities helping you to progress even further, whether starting work, changing career or going on to further study or Higher Education

What is Access to HE? (Video)

This film was made with support from the following OCN London member and affiliate centres:
City and Islington College
Birkbeck, University of London
Morley College
St George's University of London
Westminster Kingsway College

OCN London is an Access Validating Agency (AVA) for the recognition and approval of Access to Higher Education Diplomas within the national framework managed by the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA).