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Access to Higher Education

Do you dream of a career change or going to university?

Choose your Course

If the answer is yes, then our Access to Higher Education Programme could be the ideal route for you!

The QAA Access to HE (Higher Education) programmes are aimed at adult students (19 and over) who would like to study at university, but who currently don't have the qualifications they need, such as A Levels.

The Access to HE Diploma is accepted as an entry qualification by universities throughout England, Wales and Scotland. Access to HE Diplomas at East Durham College are validated and certificated by awarding body Ascentis.

Watch Our Access to HE Video!

Want to know what Access to Higher Education is all about? We've put all the information you need to know in this useful video; give it a watch and find out how you can unlock your path to university!

Level 3 Access to HE Diploma

At the Peterlee Campus the Level 3 Access to HE Diploma is available on an evening basis and three career pathways are available: Science, Humanities and Nursing & Midwifery.

Timetabling on Access courses allows students to attend on a flexible basis to fit around work and family commitments. Our evening classes usually run on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

So, whether you’re looking to change job, return to work, boost your career prospects or gain a full Honours degree, our courses offer a route into higher education for people of all ages and backgrounds.

Examples of Degree Courses Former EDC Access to HE Students have gone on to Study:

Ancient History - Applied Psychology - Biology - Biological Sciences - Childhood Studies - Computer Science - Computer Game Design & Production - Criminology - Early Childhood Studies - Electronic & Electrical Engineering - English & Creative Writing - Midwifery Studies - Nursing Studies (Adult) - Nursing Studies (Child)- Nursing Studies (Learning Disabilities) - Nursing Studies (Mental Health) - Paramedic Science - Pharmacy - Podiatry - Primary Education - Psychology - Psychology with Counselling - Social Work - Sociology

Ofsted Report 2021

East Durham College was delighted to been graded as ‘GOOD’ following a rigorous four-day, full inspection by Ofsted in September 2021; with an outstanding rating for behaviour and attitudes.

The Ofsted report highlighted the positive work that goes on in the Adult and Access to HE provision at the College, saying:

"Leaders and teachers ensure that adults can follow well-sequenced learning programmes... that help them to gain or progress in employment. The careful sequencing and expert delivery of the curriculum in access to midwifery and nursing enables adults to progress to universities to study higher education programmes that lead to careers in skills shortage areas within the NHS."

The Access to Higher Education Diploma: Key Statistics Report

Every year the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) collect data about the Access to HE Diploma and students that complete the qualification. Check out the latest details at

Funding & Advanced Learner Loan 

The Access to HE Diploma is funded for students aged 19-23 without a current level 3 qualification. Those aged 19 and above can apply for the Advanced Learner Loan to cover the course fees and, if you successfully complete your subsequent HE course, the loan will be written off.

This film, by Student Finance England, shows the journey that a learner may go on if they choose to study an Access to Higher Education Diploma funded by an Advanced Learner Loan.

Please visit the Advanced Learner Loan page of our website for more details.

Details on all our Access to HE pathways, run at the Peterlee Campus in County Durham, can be found below.

Available full time and/or part time course(s) for 2022/2023 are listed below:

The full time and/or part time course(s) listed below are available to apply for to be studied during the next academic year - 2022/2023.

Employment Stats & Facts In This Sector

HE Facts Infographic