Access to Social Work: Access to HE Diploma | Level 3

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This programme aims to prepare mature students aged 19 and over for entry onto a higher education course. It’s ideal for those who did not gain the qualifications needed for university whilst at school or college.

This specialist social work pathway is a one year, full-time course that aims to prepare adult learners who want to study social work at university. You will study units that are relevant to social work including Developmental Psychology, Understanding the Welfare State and a specialist Social Work unit. Topics also include safeguarding, families and households.

Course Information

To progress on to this course, you will need GCSEs in English and maths and English at grade 4 or above. Equivalent qualifications may be considered.

If you don't meet the entry requirements for an Access to Higher Education (HE) course, we also have a selection of Access Foundation programmes that prepare you for our Access to HE courses.

Our Access Foundation programmes include our Access to Social Science Level 2 programme on which you can study GCSE English and maths alongside the Level 2 Access Certificate. Alternatively, there is the foundation GCSE programme that will support you to achieve passes in five GCSEs.


Units / Modules

Mandatory Units: (Ungraded)

  • Academic Writing (3 credits)
  • Information Literacy Skills (3 credits)
  • Researching and Understanding Opportunities in Higher Education (3 credits)
  • Research Skills (3 credits)
  • Reflective Practice (3 credits)

Academic Units: (Graded)

  • Key aspects of Psychology (6 credits)
  • Psychological Disorders (6 credits)
  • Developmental Psychology (6 credits)
  • Sociology: Concepts and Perspectives (6 credits)
  • Family (3 credits)
  • The role and responsibility of a Social Worker (6 credits)
  • Understanding the Welfare State (3 credits)
  • Safeguarding (3 credits)
  • Poverty in Contemporary Britain (6 credits)

Benefits / Skills

This course will give you the underpinning knowledge required for degree-level study in social work. In addition, you will improve your academic skills such as academic writing, researching, critical thinking, presenting and information literacy skills.

You will also develop skills valued by employers. These include teamwork, data analysis, time management and problem-solving skills. By the end of the course, you will also be proficient at using a range of word processing and spreadsheet software including Microsoft Office and Google Suite. For example, you will be able to use spreadsheets to analyse data.

Assessment Types

You will be assessed via range coursework including essays, reports, presentations and booklets. There will be an exam for ‘Poverty in Contemporary’ Britain in May.

Entry Requirements

You need GCSEs in English and maths at grade 4 or above. Equivalent qualifications may be considered. Additional requirements include a successful interview and demonstration of appropriate sector care values.

Career Progression

Students who successfully complete the Access to HE Diploma in Social Work can progress to university to study social work, youth work, working with families and young people and childhood studies. After university, students can move into specific careers including social work, youth work, adult guidance worker, family support worker, Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) and volunteer coordinator.

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Course Details


1 year

Study Type

Full time

Start Date


Course Code


Course Facts


This course can be funded using the Advanced Learner Loan. If you progress to university and pass your degree, Student Finance England will write off any outstanding balances. This means you may not have to pay anything for the course. You can find more information about Advanced Learner Loans on the government website. If you are aged 19 to 23 and do not already have a full Level 3 qualification, you may be eligible for a waiver entitlement and will not have to pay for the course.


This course will be delivered by an experienced team of Access to HE tutors, who have also taught on Humanities and Social Sciences, Psychology and Health Science Professions pathways.

Extra Curriculum

During the 2019/2020 academic year, 95% of students achieved the Humanities and Social Sciences Diploma, with around 90% of students progressing to university.

Health Science & Social Care
Leeds City College
Leeds City College