Return to study pathways
Most of our courses require some evidence of recent study. This can be used in combination with existing qualifications as part of your application. The accepted amount of time passed since completing your last qualification varies for each course and is outlined in individual course admissions statements.
This section is for mature students who may not currently meet level 3 entry requirements, or have not undertaken study in the last five years.
The Access to HE Diploma is a popular pathway into study for mature students. Find out more about our Access to HE requirements here.
Meet entry requirements with an Access to HE course
What is it?
- Access to Higher Education Diplomas are a widely accepted level 3 qualification.
- Typically, they take one-year to complete full-time and can be studied at a further education college or via distance learning online for some courses.
What are the benefits?
- Enrolling on an Access to HE Diploma is an opportunity to get back into education in a supportive college environment with other mature learners.
- Funding is available in the form of an Advanced Learner Loan.
- You can apply for up to five courses and universities as part of your university application.
- If you enrol on an Access to HE Diploma and live locally, you could be eligible to take part on the University of Bristol’s widening participation programme, Access to Bristol. You could receive a guaranteed offer/ interview.
Tips for choosing an Access to HE course
- You'll need to choose a subject pathway which relates to the course you would like to study at university.
- You can check entry requirements for Access to HE students on individual course pages. Please check the entry requirements for the course you are interested in before you enrol on your Access to HE course.
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to check the suitability of your Access to HE Diploma for your chosen degree.
Local Access to HE providers
Providers in Bristol and the surrounding area include:
- Bath College
- Bridgwater and Taunton College
- City of Bristol College
- South Gloucestershire and Stroud College
- Weston College
Additional requirements to be aware of
- Some of our courses have GCSE requirements as a condition of entry. These can be found at the bottom of each course page.
- Make sure you check both GCSE and Access to HE entry requirements for the course(s) you are interested in.
- Many colleges give you the opportunity to undertake GCSEs alongside or before starting your Access to HE Diploma.
Apply to courses with few formal entry requirements
If you do not have standard qualifications, or have no prior qualifications, then you may wish to consider the following courses:
- Foundation Year in Arts and Social Sciences (Cert HE) (apply directly to the University)
- BA English Literature and Community Engagement (apply directly to the University)
- BSc Physics with a Preliminary Year of Study (apply through UCAS)
- BSc Chemistry with a Preliminary Year of Study (apply through UCAS)
The advantage of taking these courses is that you are in the university environment from the start of your learning. Therefore, you learn from university lecturers and have access to university facilities.
Funding may be available for these courses (subject to eligibility). Speak to our Student Funding Office for more information.
Applying with existing A levels and BTECs
- A levels and BTECs are accepted for all of our courses. Most of our courses require three full A-levels for entry.
- The accepted amount of time passed since completing your last qualification varies for each course.
- You can view evidence of recent study requirements in individual course admissions statements.
- If you are applying with exisiting level 3 qualications such as A levels, your grades should reflect the typical offer stated on individual course pages.
- For some courses, you'll need to meet additional requirements such as GCSE grades and/or work experience. Read our application advice for mature students.
- If you are doing distance learning A-levels, and are applying for a science undergraduate course, you may be asked to complete the experimental modules.
Open University Units and Access Modules
We consider Open University units, providing they satisfy course entry requirements. We may ask for specific OES scores in particular units, or for an additional A-level, to satisfy subject requirements. We generally expect a minimum of 120 credits at Level 1 in a relevant subject.
The Open University Access modules are a different qualification to the Access to HE Diploma. Some of our courses will consider these modules for entry to the University. Please get in touch before applying as each case will need to be assessed on an individual basis.