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Access to Higher Education Science Diploma

  • Level(s) of Study: Further education
  • Start Date(s): September 2024
  • 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.

  • 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 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.

Fundamental Principles of Chemistry

You will gain knowledge of a range of core topics including chemical change, the periodic table and chemical bonding.

Maths for Scientists

You’ll develop your skills in how to apply mathematical models to scientific data. You will also become confident in using equations for calculations in science as well as using maths to help determine and analyse relationships.

Inorganic Chemistry

You will study a range of groups in the periodic table in order to identify patterns. You will study how to link trends in the periodic table to physical properties of elements. You will also gain laboratory observation skills in this module linked to a range of chemical reactions.

Organic Chemistry

Study the structure and formulae of organic compounds in order to explain and link physical and chemical properties. You will apply this knowledge to medical and pharmaceutical problems in the real world.

Physical Chemistry

In this module you will learn how to explain concepts including enthalpy and kinetics whilst gaining skills in chemistry calculations. You will study theories relating to and factors that affect the speed of a range of useful chemical reactions in the chemical industry.

Practical Chemistry

You will carry out a range of important laboratory techniques such as titrations, chromatography, distillation and melting point determination. You will also carry out quantitative chemical testing for organic and ionic compounds, becoming an expert in the lab.

Cell Biology

In this module you will study cell structure and function and learn the biochemical basis of life. You will also learn about important cellular processes involving transport.

Cell Division and Genetics

You will study key concepts in genetics and inheritance and apply this to solve genetic problems. You will also compare and contrast mitosis and meiosis linking this to natural selection.

Practical Microbiology Techniques

You will develop your skills in the laboratory growing bacteria under laboratory conditions safely. You will be able to identify different bacteria using microbiological techniques and investigate the growth of microorganisms.

Human Disease and Immunity

In this module you will study how diseases are categorised and how the human body defends against infection. You will also gain knowledge of the complex human immune system processes and how these can be artificially enhanced.

Exchange and Transport in Body Systems

You will study the cardiovascular, respiratory and digestive systems, gaining knowledge of how each system functions effectively. You will also develop microscope, dissection and scientific drawing skills in this module.

Skeleton and Muscles

You will learn the role of the human skeletal system and the human muscular system. You will gain knowledge of complex processes within these systems and how to maintain health.

Human Reproduction

You will explain the structure and function of the reproductive system, linking this to fertilisation and the hormones involved in a range of processes.


In this module you will learn about feedback mechanisms in the human body linked to thermoregulation, osmoregulation and blood glucose regulation. You will gain knowledge of important human body systems and organs, in order to prepare for a range of biology-based degree courses.

The Nervous System

Learn how the nervous system is organised and how it functions to integrate and respond to a range of stimuli. You will compare and contrast many structures within the nervous system as well as a range of processes that allow impulses to be transmitted around the body.

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.

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

Student Profiles

Charlotte Fowler

Access to Higher Education Science

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.

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 ScienceBSc (Hons) PharmacologyBSc (Hons) Forensic ScienceBSc (Hons) Chemistry, 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 2024 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 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.