Information for Universities


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Access to HE Diploma Specification

The New Access to HE Diploma was developed during 2013-14 in partnership with 13 HEIs and 24 Access to HE Providers.   During the academic year 14-15, Certa (as the AVA) worked with both providers and HEIs to ensure the new diplomas were fully embedded.   The main changes are that full-time students can only achieve 60 credits which will include 45 graded credits and 15 ungraded or level 2.   The majority of the ungraded credits will be taken from study skills units.  The AVA has the under-mentioned approved Access to HE Diplomas available.

Diplomas include:

  • Art and Design
  • Business
  • Business and Enterprise
  • Business and IT
  • Business and Law
  • Business and Management
  • Business Studies
  • Computing
  • Contemporary Dance
  • Counselling
  • Creative Arts
  • Digital and Creative Media
  • Education Professions
  • Engineering
  • Forensics and Criminology
  • Health and Social Care
  • Health and Wellbeing
  • Health Professions
  • Health Science Professions
  • Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Land-Based Industries
  • Law
  • Midwifery
  • Nursing
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Paramedic Studies
  • Physiotherapy
  • Radiography
  • Science
  • Sport and Physical Activity
  • Sustainable Construction and the Built Environment
  • Dance (subject to validation)
  • Urban Dance (subject to validation)


Access to HE Toolkit


Access to HE included within ABB+ Population

QAA has reported that Access to HE students recruited to HE who have achieved the Diploma at the grades required will not count against the student number controls set for HEIs by HEFCE.  For the Access to HE Diploma the required grade achievement for inclusion in the ABB+ population is defined as “Overall Pass – must include 45 credits at level 3, of which 30 credits must be at distinction and 15 credits at merit or higher”. 

Liaison with HEIs

Certa holds a Licence from QAA to be an Access Validating Agency (AVA).   This means that Certa is responsible for ensuring the quality of the provision, for the security and safety of the Award of Credit and for the confirmation of the achievement of the Access to HE Diploma.   As part of our remit we work closely with HEIs in a number of ways:

  •  Access to HE Committee

The Access to HE Committee is part of our governance structure which oversees quality assurance of the AVA for Access to HE provision and advises the Board on strategy for Access to HE provision.  The Committee meets four times a year.   The AVA ensures that the membership of the Access to HE Committee has a good balance of FE and HE representatives expertise.  The Committee appoints a Chair  (presently from the University of Leeds) and other members include representatives from: the University of Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam University, the University of York and the University of Bradford. The Access to HE Committee makes final ratification of any major decisions affecting the Access to HE Diploma.

  •  External Moderators

External moderators are appointed by Certa to each Access to HE Diploma for each provider.   The EMs are appointed for their expertise in curriculum areas and are often referred to as “forensic investigators” as they ensure that the provider is following the correct procedures as specified by the QAA and ensure integrity of the Access to HE Diploma.  Many of our EMs are existing or recent university lecturers who bring with them a wealth of experience and commitment to ensure quality is maintained.

  •  Developing Access to HE Diplomas

Providers who wish to develop Access to HE Diplomas are required to work in partnership with HEIs to ensure that the content of the Diploma is relevant to the university degree the learner wishes to progress on to.   As part of the development process, a provider must show that consultation has taken place with HEIs.   In addition any Recognition Panel held must be attended not only by the submitting provider but the organisation’s HE contact.   Other HEIs are also invited to the Panel to give input within their areas of curriculum expertise.  Access to HE Panels must have at least two HE representatives.