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Access to Higher Education

University Centre Somerset, part of Bridgwater & Taunton College, has developed a comprehensive Access to Higher Education offer that supports mature students to reach their ambition of gaining the qualifications required to study at a higher level.

The majority of our learners who have completed an Access to HE Diploma with us have gone on to successfully gain a place studying at the University of their choice.

What is an Access to HE Diploma?

Access to HE provides students with the skills, knowledge and qualifications necessary for progression on to University-level courses. This route provides excellent study skills in specific subject areas, giving our students the confidence to succeed.

How are the courses delivered?

We deliver three Access to HE Diplomas at our Taunton campus. We also deliver a Distance Learning Access to HE Diploma that can be studied at home, at your own pace. For more information, please email distancelearningteam@btc.ac.uk.

How much does it cost?

The course fees are stated on each course overview page on this website. If you are over 19 and require an Advanced Learner Loan to cover the course fees, the Access loan could be written off on completion of a degree level course. If you are aged 19-23 at the start of the course, and do not hold a full Level 3 qualification, you could be fully funded for your Access course. For further information or guidance, please contact us on 01278 441233 or email studentsupport@btc.ac.uk.

Which subjects can be studied?

We currently offer the following Access to HE Diplomas. Click on the links to find out more:


Courses normally run for one academic year, from September to June.

For our Distance Learning Access courses, start dates are flexible and learners can learn at their own pace. Typically, these courses take one year to complete.


The Access to HE Diploma provides students with the necessary grounding to progress on to Higher Education courses. The majority of UK Universities will accept an Access to HE Diploma as an alternative to A Levels and other, more traditional routes.

University Centre Somerset delivers:

  • Excellent teaching from outstanding staff, combined with extensive tutorial support
  • A variety of exciting resources
  • Speakers from University of Bristol, University of Plymouth, Bournemouth University and UWE Bristol to advise on the application process for university, your course choice and how to write a personal statement for UCAS
  • Outstanding achievement rates
  • A variety of teaching styles: discussions in small groups and as a class; seminar style work; lectures; note making and assignment writing
  • Support from tutors and lecturers
  • Feedback from current students tells us the atmosphere in the classroom is friendly and helpful, the relationships between students and staff are excellent with the right blend of formality and informality.

If you are looking for an Art & Design course to prepare for entry to a creative degree at university, please see the one-year UAL Foundation Diploma in Art & Design, offered at our Taunton campus.