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Combined Science Access to Higher Education Advanced (Level 3)

This one-year course will provide you with all the skills and knowledge in science you will need to progress onto a degree-level course.


I work part-time as an agency carer but I’ve always wanted to go to university to study pharmacy, which would enable me to give patients better treatment and make their lives more comfortable.

I really enjoyed chemistry, mathematics and the science practical exercises and conducting experiments were very interesting. For example in biology we checked the catalyst reaction on human tissue from the heart, lungs and kidneys and in chemistry we did experiments which assessed the synthesis of aspirin.

I also think the research work we did is going to be invaluable when I get to university.  Now I know how to research and reference correctly, which is very important at university and not something that is always taught at A-Level.

My tutors have been brilliant, when I decided to apply for a pharmacy course at university, I realised I needed to do chemistry and even though I was a little bit late, they helped me to catch up and complete the extra units that I needed. 

I’ve applied to do pharmacy at the University of Hertfordshire and I have an interview next week, so I hope I can impress them with everything that I’ve learnt on this course!

Rita - Combined Science Access to Higher Education Level 3
Next destination » BSc (Hons) Pharmacy at University of Hertfordshire

Entry requirements

This is a one year intensive course aimed at mature students (19+) without the standard qualifications to enter higher education.

GCSE English and maths is desirable; however, we may consider candidates without these qualifications, depending on an English and maths entry test, where you will need to demonstrate English and maths skills at Level 2, in addition to interviewing successfully.

It is very important to research the entry criteria of the universities you would eventually like to apply to. You will often need a minimum of GCSE English and maths, in addition to your Access qualification, for entry onto degree-level courses. We currently offer GCSE part-time courses, which you can enrol on alongside your Access course to gain these qualifications. Many university courses can be very competitive and it’s important to understand and fulfil the entry requirements prior to applying.  

Course content

During the course you will study the following units:

Core units

  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Research Project
  • Study Skills

Specialist units

  • Reproduction and Genetics
  • Microbiology
  • Nutrition and Digestion
  • Chemistry
  • Ecology
  • Practical Science Skills
  • Cells
  • Circulation & gaseous exchange
  • Homeostasis

Biology Pathway

  • Nervous System
  • Defence and immunity
  • Musculoskeletal Systems

Chemistry Pathway

  • The periodic table
  • Introduction to chemical reactions
  • Further physical and organic chemistry

Assessment methods

You will be regularly assessed through written, practical and oral assignments, project work and exams.


Access to HE Diploma

Further study and career options

On successful completion you can progress onto a degree-level course or further qualifications in your chosen specialist area.

Additional information

You will be required to attend College for two days a week on a Tuesday and Friday. The proposed times of the College day will 9.15am to 4.45pm. You will also be expected to study for approximately 15 hours a week outside of College. You may need to purchase books relating to the course.

Please declare if you have English and maths GCSEs and/or Functional Skills qualifications – this information is required (note: you will need to provide evidence prior to enrolment). Once we’ve processed your application you will be contacted by email.

Funding information

If you are aged 16-18, this course is not funded and costs £3,384. Alternatively we offer BTEC Level 2 and Level 3 courses that may be funded for 16-18 year olds. If you are aged 19 or over you may qualify for an Advanced Learner Loan to help you pay the tuition fees for this course. Alternatively, you can pay by instalments to help make the cost of this course more affordable. Find out more about your payment options and how your loan could be written off at

Course information & how to book

To apply online, select the 'Apply' button below. You will need to register an account and then you can follow the instructions on screen.

Please declare if you have English and maths GCSEs and/or Functional Skills qualifications – this information is required (please note: you will need to provide evidence prior to enrolment).

LengthStart DateFeesLocationCourse Code
1 year 11/09/2017 Launch our fee calculatorLaunch our fee calculator Cauldwell Street E2290

Apply Online

Additional Learning Support
If you have a specific learning difficulty or disability, are deaf or hearing impaired, our Additional Learning Support team are on hand to give you assistance whenever you need it.  Find out more.

Autism & Asperger’s Syndrome Support
At Bedford College, we are committed to developing the provision for students on the autistic spectrum, including Asperger’s Syndrome.  Find out more.

We have access arrangements in place to help students with disabilities or any other particular needs. Call us on 01234 291000 for more information.

Additional formats
Course information sheets are also available in large print and audio formats. Call us on
01234 291000 to order your copy.

Don't let money be a worry! Low-interest loans - study now, pay later

Advanced Learner Loans
If you’re aged 19 or over on the start date of your chosen course, you can apply for a loan to cover the tuition fees for some Level 3+ qualifications. There’s also nothing to pay back until you’ve completed your course and you’re earning over £21,000 per year!

» Visit the Advanced Learner Loans page for more information

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