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Adults Access to Higher Education (19+)

Access to Higher Education Diploma - Medicine

This is a Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) recognised qualification that is currently accepted by numerous UK medical schools as an entry qualification to medicine.

Course Video - Access to Higher Education - Medicine

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  • Course Description

    This course started in 1993/94 and has since sent over 300 students to UK medical schools. It is for those who seek a route into medicine having either already achieved academically in other areas or who are seeking to make a greater contribution in this discipline.

    About a third of students are health service professionals (e.g. nurses and paramedics). The remaining students come from a wide variety of backgrounds. We suggest that applicants must be familiar with and have experience of the National Health Service (NHS).

    Some 80% of our students received offers, although progression is subject to achieving distinctions in all the subjects as the standard qualification for entry to 4 and 5 year degree programmes.

    Amongst subjects studied are biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics and medical geography. You will also complete a project on an area you wish to specialise. There is an examination and assignment for each subject. In addition, students also have to complete the project report. There will be around 19 hours of lectures, seminars and practicals every week. You will also need to undertake 20-30 hours study per week outside your class times.

    You will be required to take UKCAT (UK Clinical Admissions Test). However, medical school entry requirements do vary and you may be required to take BMAT (British Medical Admissions Tests).

    We advise all prospective applicants to do their own research to get an idea of their likely acceptability for medicine before they start the course. This is best done by looking at medical schools' websites or prospectuses.

  • Entry Requirements

    You must be aged 19 or over on 31st August in the year you begin the course.

    You will also need:

    • GCSE Grade 6 (B) or higher in English, Maths and Double Science (66/BB), plus at least 2 more at Grade 4 (C) or above

    • We do not accept adult literacy/numeracy courses in lieu of GCSEs because medical schools don't.
      Qualifications over and above GCSE standard do not negate the need to have the required GCSEs

    • A minimum of six months relevant health care or NHS experience. Relevant experience needs to encompass direct patient contact (washing, dressing, feeding etc) and should either be on-going work experience or gained within the last year. Administrative roles are not classed as relevant experience

    Applicants with degrees

    Applicants with a lower second class (2.2) undergraduate degree or below will not be considered for this course. Graduates who wish to undertake graduate entry at medical school/university may be required to have other qualifications. Please refer to the entry requirements of your intended medical school before applying.

    Applicants with Level 3 qualifications (including A-Levels)

    Applicants who have completed a Level 3 course (including A-Levels & Baccalaureates) in the last three years will not be considered.

    International student If you need a student visa to come to the UK to take this course then unfortunately we cannot accept your application. If you do have 'settled' status and do not require a student visa to come to or stay in the UK, we can accept your application but will need to see your passport and any relevant immigration documents as evidence of your right to stay in the UK prior to arranging your college interview.

    Equivalent qualifications to GCSEs will be considered with a NARIC statement of comparability, which you will have to obtain before we can process your application. More information can be found here.

    If English is not your first language, we will require you to have IELTS score of 7 (or equivalent) to join the course. Please visit their website for further information.

    Your application will not be considered if you do not meet the entry requirements.

  • Course Fees
    Age Cost
    19+ £3,350

    Fee information

    All our Access to Higher Education courses have a course fee which could be waived if you are aged 19-23 at the start of your course and have not completed a level 3 (or above) course before.

    Otherwise, you could also consider applying for the Advanced Learner Loan to cover the cost of the course. If you complete an Access course and then progress onto and complete a degree (with us or elsewhere), you will not be required to pay back the remaining amount of your Advanced Learner Loan!

    Advanced Learner Loan Information

    Learners with an active Education, Health & Care Plan

    If you are aged 19 - 24 at the start of your course and have an active Education, Health & Care Plan (EHCP), any course up to and including level 3 will be fully-funded by the government. This means you will not have a course fee to pay and any equipment considered essential to complete your course will be provided by the college.

    Please note the information on this page was correct at the time of publication but is subject to change due to factors beyond our control.
  • Additional Information

    What qualification will I achieve?

    The access certificate is validated by the Cambridge Access Validating Agency ( It is preparation for higher education and is a nationally recognised qualification for medical schools. (We advise all prospective applicants to do their own research into the medical schools of their choice to ensure they accept the course before enrolling with us).

    How is my course assessed?

    There will be an end examination in each subject. Assignments will also be set throughout the course. In addition students have to complete a project.

Starting 06/09/2021

King's Lynn


Duration 1 year

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Lexy Marchant

Science (Forensic) - Level 3

Lexy chose to study at CWA for its great facilities and its relaxed and friendly atmosphere. She is currently studying Biomedical Science at university.

"Going to CWA opened the door to university for me. I worked really hard to achieve what I wanted and if it wasn’t for my amazing tutors, I wouldn’t be at uni today, doing the subject I love. I learnt a lot more about microbiology than a lot of people at 6th form and then when I got to uni, I realised I knew a lot more than most undergraduates.

Lexy added, "CWA has helped me realise my potential. It made me reach for goals higher than I ever thought I was capable of. It solidified my love for science, something that I will always have with me and this has opened many doors and given me a breadth of skills I can use in any setting."

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