About the Course

The Access to Higher Education Diploma course has completely transformed the lives of thousands of adults. If you do not have a full Level 3 qualification, here is an opportunity to return to study and achieve a nationally recognised qualification.

The aim of the course is to provide you with a route into higher education at university or college. Hundreds of former students have gone on to higher education courses at both our own University Centre Farnborough and elsewhere, showing that the course is successfully preparing students for the next stage in their education.

The qualification is a full-time course equivalent of two to three A Levels and takes one year to complete.


Many students who study an Access to Higher Diploma use the government's Advanced Learner Loan initiative to fund it. This means there are no up-front fees or credit checks. Visit the government's useful pages here to find out more.

Your Course

How will I be taught?

Unit 1:  Study Skills

  • Lectures and seminars exposing learners to opinions and information concerning art works from a variety of sources, TV video programmes, radio programmes, articles in the press, books and journals.
  • Students are encouraged to discover and discuss the major principles that inform opinion and place a work in its particular context.
  • Students write a short critique of a work they have directly experienced.
  • Students make a group presentation on a given theme.

Unit 2:  Visual Language & Printmaking

  • Visits to galleries and exhibitions.
  • Visual research gathering interesting and stimulating material.
  • Group work and evaluation to assess the potential of the material gathered.
  • Studio work focused on descriptive drawing using the Life Model/Still Life.
  • Studio work and exercises in Form and Composition using Paint/Collage.
  • Material manipulation using either Printmaking or Clay or 3D Construction.
  • Group work involving evaluation and criticism.

Unit 3:  Diagnostic Subject Studies

  • Lectures and demonstrations of techniques and processes. (Graphics, Photography, Painting and Book Arts)
  • Studio work focused on making.
  • Material manipulation using specific Art/ Craft/Design discipline.
  • Group work involving evaluation and criticism.

Unit 4:  Portfolio

  • Selection and evaluation of work.
  • Demonstration of mounting and portfolio presentation techniques.
  • Group work involving evaluation and criticism.
  • Presentation and display.
  • Mock Interview.

Unit 5:  Research into Practice

  • Lectures and seminars explaining the particular nature of research in the creative context.
  • Lectures using examples taken from significant artists and makers.
  • A visit to an inspirational location.
  • Exercises gathering visual material, drawing, photography, collecting.
  • Further studio development.
  • Learners evaluate the material in a group presentation on a given theme.

Unit 6:  Contextual Studies

  • Lectures, videos, and readings to introduce key arguments and examples.
  • Seminars and discussions.
  • Research and study into an artist/ maker/designer or school of thought of particular relevance to the student’s major project and subject area.

Unit 7:  Subject Specialism & Research Journal

  • Research and sketchbook work.
  • Lectures and demonstrations of techniques and processes.
  • Studio work focused on making.
  • Material manipulation using an art/ craft/design discipline.
  • Group work involving evaluation and criticism.

Unit 8:  Final Major Project & Exhibition

  • Research and sketchbook work.
  • Lectures and demonstrations of techniques and processes.
  • Studio work focused on making.
  • Material manipulation using Art/Craft/ Design discipline.
  • Group work involving evaluation and criticism.
  • Exhibition presentation and display.

You will attend a number of external trips each year, for example to London galleries and drawing and research focused locations. You will also have the opportunity to go on an overseas study tour to Paris to view a variety of famous Galleries and gain inspiration from the city and its landscape. The feedback from students on the course is consistently positive, with high rates of student satisfaction.

Your Future

What Next?

These courses provide a route to higher education at university, with previous students choosing to study a fast-track degree here at University Centre Farnborough or applying to study elsewhere.

Student Profiles

"This Access Course has let me get closer to my dream of running my own business. I have learnt many skills that made me university."
Harry Webster

"Joining Access has taught me a lot about Printmaking and I now have my little print studio at home. I am excited to be offered a place in Illustration. I can now express my thoughts through different mediums and techniques."
Kingsley Sarpong

"Taking the Access to Art & Design course at Farnborough College of Technology allowed me to explore and develop artistic techniques I didn’t know in working with other people."
Rebecca Chalmers

Entry Requirements

What previous qualifications and experience will I need?

This course is designed for mature students, aged 19 or over, who have had sufficient life or work experience between leaving school and starting the diploma. 

To make sure this is the right course for you, acceptance onto the diploma is based on aptitude and commitment following an interview and assessment.

You will need an English Language GCSE at grade C/4 or above. 

It is also strongly advised that you contact the university or teaching institution, you wish to attend after completion of this course and check what their exact GCSE requirements are for your chosen degree. Every university admission policy is different so its worth making sure you have the right course for your particular needs. 

Ask A Question

Ask a Question

Please contact us through the form below. After submitting a form we will contact you as soon as possible. We will delete your information one month after the beginning of the next academic year.

We focus on giving you the skills and knowledge to kick-start your career, which is why many of our courses are more hands-on than you might expect.
Our class sizes are similar to college, which means you won’t get lost in the crowd or feel like just a number with us.
Our small campus is full of plants, natural light, and new facilities that will help you feel good while studying. Plus, you’ll have exclusive access to University Centre study spaces in the College.
Studying a degree at a small institution means your lecturers will know all your strengths and weaknesses, and give you valuable feedback and support to help you go further.
UK Quality Assured
University of Surrey
Ofsted Outstanding Provider
UK Quality Assured
University of Surrey
Ofsted Outstanding Provider
University Centre Farnborough
C/O Farnborough College of Technology, Boundary Road, Farnborough, Hants GU14 6SB
Call: 01252 405555
Powered by Farnborough College of Technology