Access to Higher Education Diploma - Social Sciences

Course code
Subject area
Access to Higher Education
1 Year
Type of course
Full Time

About the course

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 the equivalent of two to three A Levels and takes one year to complete if studied full-time, or two years if part-time.

Advanced Learner Loan
A loan from the government can cover all your tuition fees and give you access to courses you thought were out of reach.

As an Access to Higher Education student, you can also take advantage of the fact the government will write off the balance of your loan when you complete a subsequent (eligible) higher education course.
  • The loan is not dependent on household income
  • There are no credit checks
  • There are no repayments until you earn over £21,000 per year
  • Applying online is easy
See our student finance pages for full details.

Subjects covered

Victorian History
You will study the history and culture of Victorian Britain, one of dramatic political and social change. From the remarkable changes brought about by the Industrial Revolution to the increase in political engagement and activism, you will develop an in-depth knowledge of key social, cultural and political events. You will study the emergence and plight of the working classes, Victorian literature and art, and the changing nature of the family in Victorian Britain.

You will develop the analytical skills needed to interpret and write about the past. Studying history is an excellent option for those wishing to better understand the past, or to develop their reading and writing skills.

The road to power of Hitler and the Nazis is explored in considerable detail, including the reasons why many Germans voted for the Nazis and found Hitler so appealing. The construction of the Nazi dictatorship is examined, not least the role of terror and propaganda in consolidating the power of Hitler. Also studied is the role of Hitler in the Third Reich and whether he could be classified as a strong or weak dictator.


Through reading and discussion, you will begin to think critically about different topic areas in Psychology, such as personality, emotion, memory, child development and conformity. From your study of these, you will develop a broad understanding of the perspectives and research methods used in psychology.

You will be able to develop further into some topics through essays, a seminar and research project.


The broad aim of the course is to introduce you to the study of modem society. This is an interesting and lively activity as it involves looking at familiar ideas and institutions in a new and critical way.

During the course you will study selected topics such as education, crime and deviance and culture. Through these topics you will become familiar with some of the key ideas, concepts and perspectives used within sociology. The research project, which forms part of the assessment, provides an exciting opportunity for you to explore issues and areas of personal interest.

You will also study either Law or Philosophy:


Law is divided into three units. Unit one looks at types of law and how they interact with the doctrine of the Separation of Powers. Assessment is by a 1000 word assignment.

Unit two is a research unit where students will select a topic to investigate such as euthanasia or whether there exists a gender bias in murder laws. Assessment is through planning and producing a piece of research.

Unit three explores aspects of the English Legal System looking at the structure of the courts, the differences between civil and criminal law, the role of solicitors, barristers, judges, magistrates and jurors.


The aim of this course is to introduce you to some important philosophical ideas and debates. The questions dealt with in philosophy are of interest to all those concerned with human beings and the human condition. Is killing always wrong? What is the good society? Are we free? Is it ever justified to break the law? Do animals think? Of what can I be certain? Is there a printed page before my eyes?

During the course you will study branches of philosophy including Ethics, Politics and a set text. You will be encouraged to think philosophically and develop your ability to analyse, reason and carry out some independent research.

The pattern of assessment will provide an opportunity to explore issues and areas of personal interest. There are no agreed answers and conclusions in philosophy so you will be prepared to think in new ways and question received opinion.

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.

On completion

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):
  • Counselling
  • Criminology
  • Psychology
  • Social work
  • Sociology
  • Teaching

Entry requirements

This course is designed for mature students, aged 21 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 or above and usually GCSE Mathematics or Functional Skills in Numeracy.