Access to HE Diploma (Art and Design)

This programme has been designed to allow you to experiment with lots of different media and skills.

An Access course is for mature students (19+) who have been out of full-time education for one or more years and would like to go on to higher education but do not have the formal qualifications needed.

The broad experience on the Access to HE: Art and Design Level 3 Diploma enables you to understand what you are really good at and helps you decide what you want to specialise in when you progress to higher education.

This insight will help you choose the right future career path.

19+ Advanced Learner Loan: If you are aged 19 or over, and you want to study an Access to Higher Education programme, you may be eligible to apply for an Advanced Learner Loan to cover your tuition fees.

Student Finance England will write off any outstanding Advanced Learner Loan balances you owe for an Access to HE programme, if you go on to complete a higher education/university level course. This means you do not have to repay it. If you don’t go on to study a higher education/university level course, you won’t need to start paying back the loan until you earn over £25,725 per year. Contact us for more details.

Level 3 Entitlement fee remission: If you are aged 19–23 and this will be your first eligible, full Level 3 course, then you may be able to do this course for free.

Remember: If you go on to study at university and complete a degree, the loan for your Access course is written off by the government.

During the programme, you will take part in several internal exhibitions and work alongside specialist lecturers, who will help guide you throughout the course.

Towards the end of your programme, you will have the opportunity to choose a subject specialism and complete a final major project.

In addition you will be able to access careers advice from specialist members of staff and you will be carefully guided through the UCAS process. Staff will also advise you on developing your portfolio.

Units covered include:

  • drawing
  • visual language
  • digital art
  • 3D art and design
  • graphic communication
  • mixed media
  • photography
  • textiles
  • printmaking

This programme is taught through a range of approaches designed to provide you with the opportunity to develop your technical and conceptual skills.

The programme will help develop your skills in a range of areas, including drawing, media, digital art, photography, printmaking and textiles as well as your critical and analytical skills.

Your communication, personal and study skills will also be improved through a common core programme. There will also be the opportunity to gain GCSEs in maths or English.

You will benefit from socialising in an educational environment and working collaboratively on specialist projects. All of this is excellent preparation for higher education.

You will be assigned a personal tutor who will agree performance targets with you and support you to achieve these targets. Your tutor is also the first port of call for any pastoral issues. Our committed team of staff and careers specialists will also guide and support you with your higher education choices and applications.

You will work on projects that develop your time management skills, research abilities and factual writing skills. These transferable skills are relevant to all areas of creative arts and will prepare you for both higher education and the world of work.

You will be given assignments to work on at regular intervals throughout the year. The teaching team will help guide you through all of the assignment requirements.

Many of your tutors are practising artists and designers bringing current industry practice to the classroom. What you can expect from the team is enthusiasm and commitment, individual guidance to help you progress and achieve, help with working on your individual strengths, extensive guidance for application to higher level courses, help with building a varied portfolio of work and help with exploring careers within the creative industries.

To be eligible for a place on this programme, you must have a GCSE at grade 4 (C) or above in English and maths, or a Functional Skills Level 2 qualification.
Please note: If you wish to go on to study a medicine degree, most universities require five GCSEs, including English, maths, and science at grades 7–9 (A–A* equivalent).

Applicants are advised to contact their university of choice to confirm the criteria. Some degrees require that you have some relevant paid or voluntary work experience, and this will also be checked at interview. Applicants must be aged over 19 and have been out of full-time education for a year.

You will have a numeracy and literacy assessment to check your suitability to study at Level 3 and may have the opportunity to re-take either a maths or English GCSE alongside this course.

If you don’t meet the entry criteria, don’t worry! We have a range of one-year, Pre-Access courses available to help you get started.

There is also a wide range of support available at the college for students, including financial support.


Why City of Oxford College?

  • Clear routes of progression with qualifications ranging from foundation level to degree level!
  • Industry experienced teaching staff give you the responsibility and independence you need to take charge of your own future.
  • 150+

    courses available

  • £8m

    we’ve invested £8 million into our Technology campus

  • 80+

    years of teaching experience

View our facilities