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

What modules are covered?

Engineering Science

The Engineering Science course covers many of the fundamental science topics critical to the field of Engineering. Studies include the core concepts of Mechanical Engineering and Electrical Engineering, plus a research-based case study. In Mechanical Engineering you will learn about the study of kinematics (Forces and Motion), the science of studying how materials behave under pressure, stress and strain (Bulk Properties of Solids and Fluid Mechanics) and the laws of Thermodynamics, including state changes, latent heat and the behaviour of ideal gases. In Electrical Engineering you will study the behaviour of a.c. and d.c. currents in circuits (including Ohm’s Law and Kirchoff’s Laws), the use of capacitors and semiconductor devices, plus electromagnetic induction (Faraday’s Law).


The study of Physics is crucial in understanding our world from the smallest subatomic particles to the largest galaxies. Physics is the basis for many sciences, including Chemistry, Astronomy, Environmental Studies, Biology and Medical Sciences. As Nobel Laureate and discoverer of the nuclear atom Ernest Rutherford famously said, “All science is either physics or stamp collecting.” The Access course covers all the fundamental topics in the field of Physics and also includes a research project comprising of two distinct tasks: planning and conducting a practical experiment in Physics. Topic areas studied in the course include: Newton’s Laws of Motion & Mechanics; Materials science; Nuclear & Particle Physics (including quantum phenomena, such as electron energy levels); the behaviour of a.c. & d.c. circuits; Radioactivity; Thermodynamics and the Ideal Gas laws. Physics is useful for students wanting to study Engineering and Natural Science.


The subject aims to provide knowledge and understanding of key concepts in mathematics needed for the study of physics and engineering. The course covers an introduction to mathematics, algebra, geometry and statistics. You will also have the opportunity to complete a research project in mathematics.

Study Skills
This part of the course focuses on developing the practical skills you will use on a higher education course; including essay writing, referencing and effective note-taking. 

You will receive all the help you need with university applications and study support in a weekly tutorial, which also gives you the chance to talk to your tutor about your academic progress and plans for university.

What training will be provided?

Within this course you will cover a range of disciplines such as:

Basic concepts, mechanics, conversion of work, electrical engineering, motion, changes of state, properties of materials and their relevance to products, and pressure and flow of fluids in dynamic and static cases.

Your Future

What Next?

After successfully completing the diploma you will be prepared for studying a university-level (higher education) course at university or college. 

This diploma is suitable for you if you are pursuing a career in the areas below (after graduating from a relevant higher education course):

  • CAD technician
  • Design engineer
  • Materials engineer
  • Metallurgist
  • Product/process development scientist
  • Research scientist (physical sciences)
  • Technical sales engineer

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 GCSE Mathematics 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
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