About Your Certificate

Your Certificate: Security

In September 2018, we changed our Access to Higher Education Diploma certificate and unit transcript designs to make each document more secure.  The security features that you will find on your certificate include:

  • Microtext and numismatic design – when you look at your certificate, you will notice an intricate design in the paper, including fine lines and text.  These makes the certificate paper extremely difficult to replicate.
  •  UV detailing – our certificates include detailing that can only be seen under UV light.
  • Heat reactive spot on reverse of certificate – this cannot be replicated by colour copying or laser printing.
  • Toner secure paper – the paper is designed to lock in the original details printed by Certa, providing protection against the text being altered at a later date.
  • Audit number, unique learner number, certificate number and award date – these details are recorded in Certa’s database, meaning that we can quickly and easily verify whether a certificate is genuine – a service we offer for free.

Your Certificate and the Access to Higher Education Diploma: Explanatory Notes


Certa is a trading name of Open College Network Yorkshire and Humber Region (OCNYHR).  Open College Network Yorkshire and Humber Region is licensed as an Access Validating Agency (AVA) by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) to develop, quality assure and award Access to HE Diplomas.  As a condition of the licence, AVAs are required to ensure that, as a part of the development process, subject experts from higher education are involved in advising on the appropriateness of the proposed Diplomas, in order to confirm that new Diplomas provide a suitable preparation for higher education in the subject or progression route indicated.

The Access to HE Diploma is:

  • A Level Three qualification, regulated by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA)

  • A credit-based qualification, operated in accordance with the terms of the Access to HE credit specification
  • A unitised qualification, based on the units of assessment
  • A graded qualification, as determined by the Access to HE Grading Scheme.

Achievement requirements of the Access to HE Diploma:

a)   The total credit achievement is 60 credits
b)   Of these 60 credits, 45 credits must be achieved at Level Three from graded units (which are concerned with the academic subject content) and
c)   The remaining 15 credits must be achieved at Level Two or Level Three from units which are ungraded.


A common unit specification applies to all units within all Access to HE Diplomas.  The unit specification provides required information in a standard template.

Credit Value

A credit is a way of measuring and valuing learning.  One credit represents 10 hours of notional learning time.  As the Access to HE Diploma consists of 60 credits, this represents 600 hours of notional learning.  Units may carry a credit value of 3, 6 or 9.

Grading of Level Three Units

Students who achieve an Access to HE Diploma will receive 45 graded credits of the 60 total credits.  Grades awarded will be ‘Pass’, ‘Merit’ or ‘Distinction’.  Achievement of the remaining 15 ungraded Level Three or Level Two units will be recorded on the credit transcript with grades being left blank.

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

Students can gain exemption from, or credit for, a limited number of units of a named Diploma through RPL.  Credits will not exceed 50 percent of credits.  RPL is not graded.

Further information on the Access to HE Diploma can be found at accesstohe.ac.uk