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Access to Higher Education Diploma: Health Professions

This intensive one-year Access to HE course is designed for adult students (aged 19+) who are considering a future career as a nurse or midwife or in related healthcare fields. Equivalent to three A-levels, it is accepted for entry to many university degrees.

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Course Summary

Subject Area: Access to Higher Education
Adult and Community
Location: Ilkeston
Full Time or Part Time: PT
Level: 3
Number Of Years: 1
Interview Required?: Y
Weeks: 34
Hours: 13.00
Start: 12/09/2022
Tuition: £3384
Adult Loan Amount: £3384

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Course Information for Students

This one-year intensive course is designed for students aged 19 + who are considering a future career in nursing, mental health nursing, child nursing or midwifery. This is also a course for those interested in physiotherapy, paramedicine, occupational therapy or related healthcare fields. The Access qualification is equivalent to three A-levels.  

The programme is delivered by a team of well qualified, enthusiastic and experienced teachers who understand the needs of Access learners and are therefore able to provide appropriate support and guidance.  You will learn through a wide range of activities including lessons, small and large group work, seminars, projects, tests and presentations.

You will also be encouraged to undertake a placement within a relevant workplace setting to help you develop organisational, planning and problem-solving skills as well as the interpersonal skills that are vital to those in caring professions.  Whilst it is extremely advantageous to have some experience working in a relevant healthcare field prior to, or during, the course, the intensive nature of this programme makes it unsuitable for study alongside full-time employment.

Access to Higher Education Diplomas ensure that you are well prepared for university study as well as future employment, so we deliver additional subjects covering study skills and academic writing. If you are returning to learning after a break from education, then this course is for you.

This programme is delivered at our Ilkeston campus on different days and at different times which will be discussed in more detail at your interview.

All applicants will be invited to an interview to discuss their qualifications, experience and any other related issues.  You are also encouraged to attend an open evening to discuss the course with the tutors.

Applicants need to have at least a grade 4 (C) in GCSE English, and it is advantageous to have at least a grade 4 (C) in GCSE Maths and Biology.

For applicants who do not have at least a grade 4 (C) in GCSE Maths or Biology, you must be working at a sufficiently competent level (determined via assessment) and may be able to study GCSE Maths alongside your Access course.

Applicants who have not achieved English, Maths or Biology GCSE recently will have to undertake relevant assessments.

For those seeking to progress directly to midwifery, a strong GCSE profile – possibly with AS Level study – along with substantial experience in the field of healthcare will be expected.

Modules* will include:

  • Study skills – Harvard referencing, academic writing, presentation skills and Information Technology (IT) for academic studies
  • Biology
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Health Studies
  • Maths in a Health Care context

* Please note that modules may be subject to change.

Students will learn using a blended teaching approach, predominately in the classroom and state-of-the-art laboratory within the Ilkeston campus. Your tutors will be highly supportive.

To help reduce the costs of travelling and childcare, you will have a remote learning day, where you will have live lessons, tutorials or one-to-one support whilst working from home.

You need a filled pencil case with calculator, paper for note-taking, a folder to keep your assignment briefs organised and a laptop to complete assignments (with access to the Internet).

For practical sessions, a lab coat and goggles will be provided. 

While on the programme, you will be assessed using a variety of methods: assignments, practical work, reports, group presentations, poster presentations and exams (practical and theory). All assessment methods have been designed to focus on skills specific to the industry while incorporating key transferable skills.

Each unit has a number of credits assigned to it and is marked against AIM grade descriptors and given Distinction, Merit or Pass grades. 

This course provides the ideal platform for applying for university courses in nursing and midwifery at the University of Derby, Nottingham Trent University, Loughborough University, Leicester University and De Montfort University. 

There is potential for progression to careers centred on adult, mental health, learning disability and child nursing, midwifery, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, and roles such as operating department practitioner.

As with all qualifications, the award of the Diploma does not guarantee progression to a higher education course: this will depend upon learners meeting conditions set by individual universities for specific degrees.

For more information, contact Derby College Group on 0800 0280289 or

Course Information for Employers

If you are an employer and would like to know more about the apprenticeships and professional training we deliver or how you can get involved in co-creating and co-delivering the curriculum, please contact us via email on, call us on 01332 387 421 or visit our employer pages here.

Career Information

This course could lead to one of these careers...










Medical Radiographers


Medical Radiographers

Health Care Practice Managers


Health Care Practice Managers

Health Services and Public Health Managers and Directors


Health Services and Public Health Managers and Directors

More Careers Information at:
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DCG Success Stories

Jade Shaw

Jade Shaw

Jade awarded national bursary to pursue dream career in nursing

The Derby College access course is really good and I'd definitely recommend it – in fact I already have. I told one of the mums at my daughter's dance class about access to nursing and she's starting the course this September.

Read More about Jade Shaw

Christopher Cooke

Christopher Cooke

Former access student about to embark on adult nursing degree

Completing the access course has enabled me to pursue my new career and I'd highly recommend Derby College to others interested in going into nursing.

Read More about Christopher Cooke

Sonia Meakin

Sonia Meakin

A career in midwifery for Sonia

It’s tough to return to education but Derby College makes it so easy and it is a very structured and supportive environment, which is just what you need.

Read More about Sonia Meakin

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Course Information Last Updated On: May 12, 2022 3:53 pm