Change your life with an Access to HE Diploma 

A stepping stone to your degree

An Access to HE Diploma could be the starting route to a degree at Middlesbrough College. Access to HE Diplomas offer a flexible pathway to University level qualifications within a year.

You can choose from a wide range of pathways, which can be studied from as little as 12 hours per week for one year and lead to progression on to a university level course to enable you to gain a full degree. We know that being out of education for a while can be daunting, but our courses are designed to make the transition to Higher Education easier. With small class sizes compared to universities and all the individual support you need to ease you back into education, we will help you succeed and to reach your goal. 

We currently offer 14 Access to Higher Education Diplomas across a range of subject areas.


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We are the largest provider of Access to Higher Education Diplomas in the North East, offering a clear pathway to your future!


If you are aged 19-23 and this is your first full Level 3 course then the diploma is FREE!

If you are aged 24 or over on the start date of the course, you will have to pay fees, but you will be able to apply for an Advanced Learner Loan to cover these costs. This is easy to apply for and the repayments only start when you are earning over £25,000. Better still, if you progress to university and successfully complete your degree, the loan is not repayable.

The Access Diploma costs approximately £3k which is considerably cheaper than studying an additional qualifying year at university (frequently referred to as year 0). You can also stay on at Middlesbrough College and gain a globally recognised degree thanks to our partnership with The Open University. Degrees are taught on campus and are up to £16,000 cheaper than many universities.

An Access course is the perfect stepping stone for mature learners who are looking to progress onto Higher Education. 

  • You should be working towards a Level 2 in maths and English
  • Be able to provide a good reference
  • Complete a successful interview (which will include an online test)

If you don’t hit the entry requirements don’t panic!

We offer a range of pathways to help get you to where you want to be. If you don’t already have a Grade 4 (C) or above in maths or English or are not working towards a Level 2 in maths and English you can study Functional Skills before beginning your Access Diploma.

These courses are free for anyone who is 19+ and doesn’t have a previous Grade C (4) or above in these subjects. 

A Pre-Access course is designed for those who do not feel ready to begin an Access Diploma.

The Pre-Access course will help you get you back into education, find your feet being in College and build your confidence levels. 

The Access to Higher Education Diplomas are one year courses. Most of our Access courses are offered as a daytime or evening option.

If you choose to study a daytime Access to Higher Education Diploma you will be in College 3 days per week, 9am-3pm.

If you choose to study an evening Access to Higher Education Diploma you will be in two evenings per week, 5-9pm.

We also offer a Distance Learning Access to Higher Education Diploma in Health. This course is 100% distance learning so you don’t need to come into College at all and you can learn from the comfort of your own home.

Our Access to HE fees are set between £3,000 - £4,000* per course. Each course varies in price so you will need to visit our website or call our Course Information team on; 01642 333333 to find out more. However, if you are aged between 19-23 and do not already hold a full Level 3 qualification your course will be free! You may also be eligible for an Advanced Learner Loan so make sure you check through the Student Finance website.

Hopefully you know feel a bit more clued up on Access and if it is right for you. You can view all of the Access to HE course we offer and any further information on our website.

*prices based on 2019 entry

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