Full Time Learning loan

Access to Higher Education Diploma - Social Sciences

Designed especially for mature students who have had a break from their studies (of 1 year or more), an Access to Higher Education Diploma will enable you to bridge the gap between your current qualifications and a degree-level course or develop the skills and knowledge for a new career.


This diploma could link to careers in Social Work, Youth Work, Social Research, Psychology or Museum work. Degree in a related social studies, history, or politics area.

Entry Requirements

  • Aged 19 or over

  • Had at least a one year break from education

  • Either GCSE Maths or GCSE English Language at grades A*-C (or grade 9-4)

Course Content

This Access Diploma = 60 credits (45 graded and 15 ungraded) You will choose 3 of the below subjects.

Level 3 academic graded subjects

This is always a favourite with Access students who go on field trips whenever possible. Forget what you thought of Geography at school – ours is not the same! Units include: Tourism, Population, Rivers, Villages and Towns and The Weather.

Government & Politics

Learn how political and social issues affect all of our lives. Government and Politics considers how people make, preserve and amend the general rules under which we live. Social Policy is concerned with the study of social services and the welfare state, relating to poverty, health and education. Units include, Britain’s controversial role in the EU, the extent to which welfare should be provided and discussions on the effectiveness of the coalition.


The first part of the course looks at Germany in the 1920s and 1930s, particularly the rise of Adolf Hitler, his racial and foreign policies and the lives of women and children in the Nazi State. You will then study American history, including the Civil Rights Decade and the Vietnam War. You will also study contrasting periods in

British History: the English Civil Wars, Britain in the 1960s and the ‘Thatcher Decade’.


The overall theme of this subject is understanding human behaviour. Units include: Introduction to Psychology and Research Methods, Developmental Psychology, Social Psychology, Cognitive Psychology and Atypical Psychology.


Sociology is the study of society from a variety of different theoretical perspectives. You will study families and households - roles, relationships and recent changes. Other Units include the Sociology of Health, Crime and Deviance, Education and Poverty and Welfare.

Mandatory ungraded subjects
Study Skills & Basic IT

All students must attend a Study Skills class for one hour a week; this is normally followed by your Tutor Hour and you will have the same tutor for both.

Basic IT will allow you to update your computer skills while adding credit towards the Access Diploma. All units in this section are compulsory.


Monday 9am-2.30pm

Plus two or three other days depending on subject choices (Usually finish before 2pm)

Costs and Resources
Paying for your Access Diploma with the Advanced Learner Loan

Advanced Learner Loans are for people aged 19 or over who want to complete a qualification course at level 3, 4, 5 or 6 (Including the Access to Higher Education Diploma). Loan eligibility doesn’t depend on your income and there are no credit checks.

You can apply for a loan from June 2020 to pay your tuition fees for courses starting from August 1st 2020. You will pay nothing back until you have finished your course and are earning over £26,575 per year.

Get your Access Diploma for free if you go on to complete a higher education course!*

Student Finance England will ‘write off’ any outstanding Advanced Learner Loan balances you owe for an Access to HE course once you complete a higher education course. This means you don’t have to repay it.

* The higher education course must be eligible for student finance.

Click here for more information or to apply for the Advanced Learner Loan.

Contact information:

Email: alison.boam@newcollege.ac.uk Phone: 01793 732826

Further Information:

How to apply

  1. Complete an application form Apply online
  2. Apply by Post

Return postal form to:

Alison Boam

New College Swindon New College Drive Swindon

Wilts SN3 1AH

  1. Hand in an application form at the New College reception

Hard copies of the application form can be downloaded here, picked up from the New College reception or you can request a form using the contact details below.

  • Start Date: 01/10/2020
  • Day and Time: Email: access@newcollege.ac.uk
  • Duration: 1-2 years
  • Venue: QD
  • Fee: £3,020
Apply Online