Want to ease into higher education with a year-long course?

An Access to Higher Education Diploma is a one-year Level 3 qualification that prepares learners without traditional qualifications for study at university. Over 98% of our Access to Higher Education students progress onto a university course.

It’s a fantastic option for those who are looking to earn formal qualifications, change careers or get the most from the career path you are currently on.

Successful completion of an Access to Higher Education course will give you the equivalent to three A-levels and is worth between 44 and 148 UCAS Tariff points. It is an intensive learning course, with a lot of challenges as well as a lot of rewards and will provide you with everything you need for your chosen university course.

These courses are designed to improve your confidence, as well as further your study skills. Some examples include Business, Law, Computer Science, Health, Science and Criminology.

What can I expect?

We have a range of Access course options, and they are mostly taught at our Longbridge (Bournville College) campus, with three available at our Bordesley Green campus. Over 98% of our Access to Higher Education students progress onto a university course.

We have close links with universities, especially in Birmingham and Warwick, and we will help as many students as possible gain a place in their chosen institution. Our students love the close and supportive environment of South & City College Birmingham, and each of our tutors are invested in your future career.

To ensure you can complete the course, we will take the time to meet you and discuss your goals and qualifications to date before you start.

Is there financial help available?

Under new government rules, anyone aged 24 and over who starts a Level 3 or 4 course in England is eligible to apply for an Advanced Learner Loan. This is ideal for Access to Higher Education students as it doesn’t need to be paid back if you then go on to successfully complete your chosen degree.

Does SCCB do University Level as well?

With our dedicated University Centres, excellent links with employers, and industry standard facilities, studying a university or higher level course with South & City College Birmingham is a viable alternative to university. We are a destination of choice for hundreds of higher education students who live in Birmingham, Worcestershire, Sandwell and surrounding areas.

Our courses are run in partnership with well-established universities such as the University of Birmingham, Birmingham City University, De Montfort University, Newman University, and we also have Pearson (Edexcel) Higher National Certificates and Diplomas, all partnerships that are highly regarded by employers.

See our University Level coursesRead more

Qualifications explained

Qualifications explained

Choose a level

Choose a level

  • Entry
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6

Entry Level qualifications can assist you in developing your abilities, expanding your knowledge, and increasing your confidence. They’re called ‘certificates’ or ‘awards,’ and they’re available to anyone who wants to earn a recognised qualification. There are no entry requirements. They are available in three different sub-categories, which get progressively more difficult: Entry Levels 1, 2 and 3.

Please note: If you are an International student you can only study from Level 3 and above. 

Level 1 qualifications are the first formal rung on the numbered system of qualifications. They are frequently studied at secondary school in Years 10 and 11. If you’re looking for an introduction into general work and practical hands-on activities, these foundation level courses allow you to gain skills that will help you to earn a job or qualification. Examples of Level 1 qualifications include GCSEs at grades 3, 2 or 1 (previously D, E, F or G), Level 1 Functional or Essential Skills, or Level 1 ESOL.

Please note: If you are an International student you can only study from Level 3 and above. 

See level 1 courses

These qualifications are a step up from Level 1. They provide a more in-depth understanding of a subject. Examples of Level 2 qualifications include GCSE grades 9, 8, 7, 6, 5 or 4 (previously grades A*, A, B or C), Level 2 awards, diplomas, or certificates and intermediate apprenticeships.

Please note: If you are an International student you can only study from Level 3 and above. 

See level 2 courses

If you’re planning on going to university, you will need Level 3 qualifications. Study at this level is more advanced, as it prepares you for your future career or further and degree level study. Examples of Level 3 qualifications include: A and AS Levels, Access to Higher Education Diplomas, Advanced Apprenticeships, T Levels and BTEC Level Award/Certificate/Diploma and Extended Diplomas.

Please note: If you are an International student you can only study from Level 3 and above. 

See level 3 courses

A Level 4 qualification could be seen as the equivalent of the first year of a bachelor’s degree. Examples of Level 4 qualifications include: Higher National Certificate (HNC) Certificate of higher education (CertHE), Accounting AAT Diploma, and Higher Apprenticeships.

See level 4 courses

A Level 5 qualification is equivalent to the second year of a bachelor’s degree. Examples of qualifications at Level 5 include: foundation degrees, Higher National Diploma (HND), Chartered Institute of Personnel Development Intermediate Certificate in HR Management, and DET in Post-Compulsory Education and Training.

See level 5 courses

Level 6 refers to qualifications gained at degree level. Examples of Level 6 include: a bachelor’s degree with or without honours, or a degree apprenticeship.

See level 6 courses

Events & Open Days

We run several events throughout the year that allow you to explore your options both in-person and online.

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