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Access to Higher Education Science Diploma

  • Level(s) of Study: Further education
  • Start Date(s): September 2023
  • Duration: One year
  • Study Mode(s): Full-time
  • Campus: Brackenhurst Campus
  • Entry Requirements:
    More information


This one-year level 3 course is designed for adults (19 years+) who want to study science-related disciplines at degree level but haven’t got the usual qualifications required. You will develop your academic writing skills, as well as your knowledge, understanding and experience in a range of scientific principles.

Download a course brochure

Find out more about CAVA, the awarding body for this course.

Course leader Bethany Iveson is available on Unibuddy to answer any questions you may have about our Access course.

  • Brackenhurst is set in stunning countryside just a bus ride away from Nottingham city centre, next to the town of Southwell.
  • At Brackenhurst, you’ll have access to incredible facilities. These include an Animal Unit, Equestrian Centre, laboratories, library and gardens and fields that are overflowing with plants and wildlife.
  • Studying with us means that you’ll be a part of an amazing learning environment. You get all the perks of being part of a big university, but you will still enjoy the comforts of a friendly college.

What you’ll study

This course is designed for anyone interested in the core sciences and are keen to learn knowledge and skills relevant to biology, chemistry and physics. You’ll gain practical experience in the labs, whilst developing your written and communication skills for higher education.

You will also have the opportunity to gain relevant industry experience through support from our employability team.

  • You’ll develop your skills in referencing, note-taking, and be encouraged to contribute to group discussions. You will also develop your exam techniques and research skills.
  • Biology focused units will cover topics such as Plant and Cell Biology; Physiological Processes and Body Systems; and Health, Disease and Immunity.
  • Chemistry focused units will cover topics such as Core Chemistry; Inorganic Chemistry; and Formulae and Moles.
  • Physics focused units will cover topics such as Energy, Waves, Forces and Mechanics.

Don’t just take our word for it, hear from our students themselves

Student Profiles

Charlotte Fowler

All the tutors are lovely, they are really supportive and go out of their way to help every person on the course no matter what they are struggling with.

Olivia Radford

I have chosen this course because it allowed me to get experience being on a university campus and using the university resources.

Video Gallery

Take a look at why you should study your college course at Brackenhurst. You can also learn more about the equipment you'll use and what you'll study on the course with our facility tour video.
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How you’re taught

You’ll learn in our fantastic facilities and be taught by tutors who have experience of working within the industry. The course is a combination of theory and practical work. You will be taught through lectures, group discussions, practical demonstrations and laboratory sessions. You’ll also get to go on trips to industry and have contact with employers.

You’ll need to commit to 15 hours a week of contact time during the course. You’ll also be expected to invest a similar amount of time in your personal study. Teaching will take place three days a week.

How you’ll be assessed

You'll be assessed through written assignments, presentations, practical assessments, and exams.

Careers and employability

This course is specifically designed to allow you to progress into higher education.

You can progress on to many degree courses right here, such as Nottingham Trent University's BSc (Hons) Environmental Science, BSc (Hons) Pharmacology, BSc (Hons) Forensic Science, BSc (Hons) Chemistry, BSc (Hons) Physics, BSc (Hons) Biological Sciences and BSc (Hons) Paramedic Science.

NTU Enterprise

You'll also have the opportunity to turn your ideas into a viable business with help from NTU Enterprise, NTU's purpose-built Centre for Entrepreneurship and Enterprise, a support centre to help students create, develop and grow their own businesses.

Campus and facilities

Study a science course at Brackenhurst Campus and you’ll have access to some fantastic facilities.

The campus has several fully equipped laboratories. This include a microbiology laboratory and a chemistry laboratory. You’ll use the labs for hands-on, practical lessons during your studies.

As well as your subject-specific facilities, you’ll also find:

  • a library, including fully equipped computer rooms
  • modern classrooms and teaching areas
  • our careers and employability service
  • a dining room and Costa Coffee
  • our student shop
  • a common room.

Entry requirements

For 2023 entry you will need:

  • GCSE maths and English language at grade 4 / C or above.

Equivalent qualifications will be considered.

You will also be required to attend an interview and undertake a written science assessment.

Applications are welcome from mature and international students.

Getting in touch

If you need any more help or information, please email our FE Team or call on +44 (0)115 848 5299.

Fees and funding

The fee for this course is £3,384. Students on this course can apply for an Advanced Learner Loan. This loan is not means tested, and is written off on completion of an undergraduate degree.

If you need any more help or information, please email our FE Team or call on +44 (0)115 848 5299.

How to apply

Applying is really easy. Follow our step-by-step guide below.

Fill in an application form

  • Download an application form. Remember to show your passion for your chosen subject in your personal statement.
  • Provide contact details for two referees - usually one teacher from your current School or College and one character reference which could refer to any volunteering, work experience or hobbies you may have (i.e. Sea Scouts, sports clubs etc.). Alternatively, this can be a long standing family friend or neighbour.

Come for an interview

  • If you meet the criteria for the course, we'll invite you for an interview. We'll send you details of what will happen on the day in advance via email. All interviews are held via Microsoft Teams and you may also need to provide a video of you working practically or complete a written task.
  • Don't panic! Our administrative team will guide you through the process and our tutors are really friendly and will help you to do your best.

Get your offer

  • We'll email and let you know how you got on at the interview. Hopefully we'll be able to offer you a place on the course. This offer might be conditional on your upcoming exam results — for example GCSEs, and to obtaining satisfactory references.

Accept your offer

  • You need to tell us that you want to accept your offer. Please do so by emailing us or calling us on 0115 848 5299.

Get your exam results

  • If you're taking GCSEs or other qualifications, you'll get your results over the summer. Once you've got your results you need to let us know what they are by calling 0115 848 5299. Then we can confirm your place.

Start at Brackenhurst

  • We'll send out all the information you need to start with us by email. We hold an enrolment day in the first week of September, this allows you to get your student ID, start meeting your new friends and tutors, and get used to your new campus.

Any questions?

Just drop us a line – we’re here to help every step of the way. You can email us or give us a call on 0115 848 5299.