The Access to Higher Education Diploma is a year-long qualification which prepares people without traditional qualifications for study at university.

Admission and information sessions

If you are ready to apply for this course, or have any further questions, please come in to one of our Admissions sessions. They include a brief introduction to Access to HE courses, and are followed by an English and Maths assessment. The process usually takes about two hours.

Following the admissions session you will be invited for an interview with the main course tutor, to discuss further details. If you are not offered a place on an Access to HE course because you do not have the required prior qualifications, you will be offered a place on a Preparation for Access (Skills) course, which will help you brush up on literacy skills and enable you to progress onto the Access to HE Diploma course. The assessments will take place at:

The Angel
311-321 Goswell Road

Funding and Advanced learner Loans:
Access to HE course are free for 19-23 year olds, providing this will be your first level 3 qualification. If you are aged 24 or over and want to study an Access to HE course, you will be eligible for an Advanced Learning Loan, which will cover the cost of the course, and will be completely written off should you successfully complete your university degree. Find out more by visiting our financial support section to register your interest in receiving information about the loans from the College. 

Medicine & Medical Bio Sciences - Access to Higher Education Diploma


Science students at City and Islington College

About the course

If you are a mature student (19+) with an interest in medicine or medically related sciences, this course could be for you. It's geared toward people with life experience and enthusiasm who want to enter Higher Education, but who don't yet have the formal qualifications necessary.


You must be a mature student (19+) at the start of the course, with more than 2 weeks work experience.

You are required to hold a GCSE English and maths, grade `C or above, or equivalent, on commencement of the course (this could be higher depending on your degree choice).

You do not need any formal qualifications in Science, but need to demonstrate an aptitude and strong interest in your chosen pathway.

Photo I.D. will be required at all stages of the application process.

Applicants who fulfil the above criteria will be invited to take a 1 hour computer-based assessment in communications and mathematics.

Following a successful outcome to the assessment, applicants will be invited for interview, and are expected to bring evidence of recent and relevant work experience, such as work placements in clinics, surgeries, hospitals or residential homes etc before starting the course.

International Students

  • Equivalent overseas qualifications will be considered
  • IELTS 6.0 (with a minimum of 5.5 in each skill) or equivalent
  • Medicine and Dentistry applicants need to have been out of education for more than 3 years.
  • You must take the UKCAT at an independent centre before starting the course, and have obtained a score of at least 630 , with a minimum of 550 in each section.
  • You will also need GCSE English and Maths, grade B or above, or equivalent. You are advised to check the entry criteria for the individual universities, as these vary and some may require grades higher than a 'B'. 

You will study modules in Anatomy and Physiology, Chemistry, Physics and Maths, as well additional units in Study Skills. The science units are graded to pass, merit or distinction whilst the study skills units are ungraded. Students cannot resit units to achieve upgrades.

Assessment is both continuous throughout the course, and based on written examinations. You will achieve a diploma in 'Access to H.E. Medicine and Medical Biosciences'. The course is 'kite marked' and awarded by OCNL (Open College Network London). The course is fully approved by OCNL and QAA and follows their rules and guidelines.

Students have progressed to Higher Education courses in medicine, dentistry, radiography, optometry, nursing, pharmacology, biomedicine, biology, genetics, nutrition, dietetics, psychology, physiotherapy.

Hope Timson

Hope Timson

Hope Timson

Hope Timson

Studied: Medicine & Medical Bio Sciences - Access to Higher Education Diploma

Destination: Optometry, Manchester University

“I have enjoyed my experience here. The Access course has enabled me to have the opportunity to go to university to study Optometry, something which I didn’t think would be possible having not gained any A levels. The teachers and staff are so friendly and helpful which has helped me to feel comfortable returning to education. “

Course information

Start date
(see other dates)
01 January 1970

Select your preferred start date

Come to an Open Day

Thinking about studying with us? Come and meet staff and students, and see for yourself what we can offer you.

Centre for Applied Sciences building

Centre for Applied Sciences

In the heart of Angel, this Centre offers you the chance to study Medicine, Pharmacy, Optometry, Sport Science, Forensics, Vet Sciences and Engineering.

How to apply

How to apply

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