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Access to Higher Education Land-based Studies (Animal 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 course is a chance to learn how to care for, handle and house animals and to develop skills in science, writing and giving presentations. If you would like to study at degree level but haven’t got the usual qualifications needed, then this course could be the perfect solution.

Download a course brochure

Find out more about CAVA, the awarding body for this 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.
  • You can apply for an Advanced Learner Loan to cover your course fees. This loan is not means tested, and is written off on completion of an undergraduate degree.

What you’ll study

This one-year course is designed for anyone passionate about the care of animals and keen to learn more about animal biology. You'll gain experience in animal handling and housing, whilst developing your written and communication skills.

Higher Education Study Skills

You’ll develop your skills in referencing, note-taking and be encouraged to contribute to group discussions. You'll also create a presentation on a research area of your interest.

Science of Life

This module focuses on anatomy and physiology of the major body systems in mammals.

Animal Science and Welfare

You’ll learn how to describe the function of the animal body, its diseases and cures, and how to develop a plan for the handling, housing and training of animals.

Animal Management and Behaviour

Develop an understanding of the housing of healthy and sick animals and examine legal and ethical aspects of animal.

Land-based Industry Skills

Study the importance of health and safety in the land-based sector. This has one week of work experience outside of the classroom.


Learn how to review the periodic table and perform calculations. You’ll also learn about anatomy and physiology and compare and contrast the energy flows in plants and animals.

Practical animal industry skills

This practical module will teach you the importance of health and safety in the land-based sector. You’ll carry out a range of relevant tasks in our Animal Unit which houses a range of different species.

Business in the animal sector

Learn about business structure and the roles of those who work within the animal industries.


Study reproductive physiology and the importance of genetics and immunity in breeding.

Introduction to Science

You will study cell biology and develop skills using laboratory equipment to perform practicals and write scientific reports with guidance from course leaders.

Research Project

This module is a chance to plan a project and put together a report, which can include practical research or an investigation using literature with support from your tutor.

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

Student Profiles

Oliver Mather

Access to Higher Education Diploma in Land-Based Studies (Animal Science)

I spent a lot of hours of volunteering at the animal unit, and I couldn’t have asked for anything more, it’s only a 5-minute walk from the campus and the technicians are so knowledgeable and willing to let you work with what you want.

Clare Sims

Access to Higher Education Diploma in Land-Based Studies (Animal Science)

The Brackenhurst campus is like a breath of fresh air, I love coming onto this campus especially seeing the cows and sheep in the fields, you would not believe that you are 30 minutes away from the city centre.

Video Gallery

Take a look at why you should study your college course at Brackenhurst. James Smith tells us about his experience on the Access to HE (Animal Science) course. You can also learn more about the facilities 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 professional and experienced tutors. You can expect the course to be split so that approximately 30% is practical work and 70% is theory work. You’ll be taught through lectures, group discussions and practical demonstrations.

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, usually starting at 9.30 am and finishing at 3 pm.

How you’ll be assessed

You’ll be assessed through written assignments, presentations, class tests, practical assessments and internal exams.

Staff Profiles

Julia Mumby

Curriculum and Quality Manager

School of Animal Rural & Environmental Sciences

Julia Mumby is the Programme leader for Access to Higher Education: Land-Based Studies (Animal Science).

Careers and employability

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

You can progress on to degree courses right here, such as Nottingham Trent University's FdSc Animal Science, FdSc Veterinary Nursing, BSc (Hons) Animal Biology or BSc (Hons) Zoo Biology degree.

Future jobs within the animal industry include:

  • Animal Carer - you can earn up to £21,000
  • Welfare Assistant - you can earn up to £21,000
  • Laboratory Assistant - you can earn up to £23,000
  • Veterinary Nurse - you can earn up to £25,000
  • Industry Sales person - you can earn up to £27,000

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 an animal course at Brackenhurst and you’ll have access to some fantastic facilities.

Our specially designed Animal Unit is home to over 250 animals from around 70 different species. These include small animals such as rabbits, cats, dogs, reptiles and birds, as well as larger animals like goats and donkeys. All our animal courses include hands-on, practical lessons at the unit. You’ll also help our technicians to care for the animals on a day-to-day basis.

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

  • a library, including fully equipped computer rooms
  • modern classrooms and teaching areas
  • laboratories
  • 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.
  • To be aged 19 or over.

Equivalent qualifications will be considered.

You will also be required to attend an interview.

Applications are welcome from students aged 19 and over.

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 £5,197. 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 in for an interview. We’ll send you details of what will happen on the day in advance through the post. Don’t panic! Our tutors are really friendly and will help you to do your best.

Get your offer

  • We’ll write to you 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.

Accept your offer

  • You need to tell us that you want to accept your offer of a place by returning your confirmation slip to us or calling us on 0115 848 5299.

Get your exam results

  • If you’re taking GCSEs or other exams, you’ll get your results over the summer. Once you’ve got your results you need to let us know what they are. Then we can confirm your place.

Start at Brackenhurst

  • We’ll send out all the information you need to start with us in the post at the end of August. We hold an enrolment day in the first week of September. This allows you to get your student ID and start meeting your new friends and tutors.

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.