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Nursing & Healthcare Professions (Midwifery) Access to Higher Education Advanced (Level 3)

This is a one year Level 3 intensive course aimed at mature students (19+) without the standard qualifications to enter higher education. You will focus on developing core skills and knowledge in health, social sciences and science.


I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do when I left school and I actually enrolled on a Holistic Therapy course at Bedford College, but then I decided to get a job in a completely different industry and worked full-time as an estate agent.  However, I still didn’t feel that I had found the right career path. I had always wanted to be a midwife, but I had thought, because I didn’t have any A-Levels, that I wouldn’t be able to go to university.  However, when I looked into it in more detail I discovered that the Access course offered me an alternative route to progress on to a Midwifery degree.

I’ve been really surprised but I’ve actually found the science part of the course very interesting – we went into quite a lot of detail and conducted experiments. Our science tutor was very supportive and happy to go over things again with us if we needed.  We also received a lot of help with our UCAS applications in fact, quite early on in the course, we had an entire lesson covering how to apply and we went through the entire UCAS application process, including the personal statement.

It’s been an intensive course, I had at least one assignment a week to complete so I needed to be organised and up-to-date with my work.  This has helped prepare me for university, where I’ll be expected to undertake independent study all the time.

Overall, I’ve really enjoyed the course and I think it’s helped me mature.  At the start of the course a year ago, I was terrified at the prospect of starting university, whereas now I’ve got a place to study midwifery at the University of Hertfordshire and I can’t wait to go!

Lizzy - Nursing & Healthcare Professions (Midwifery) Access to Higher Education Level 3
Next destination » BSc (Hons) Midwifery at University of Hertfordshire

Entry requirements

You must be aged 19 or over to apply and will need to have English Language and maths GCSE at grade 4 (GCSE Grade C) or above or equivalent Level 2 qualifications. Applicants may be accepted on the Access Diploma with one of these, subject to a successful interview and entry test to show you are working at level 2. You will have to gain the other level 2 during the same year to progress to university. If your first language is not English will need an IELTS score of 5.5 or higher.

You will also need to have good IT skills as all of your assignments will be carried out using either Word, Excel or PowerPoint. You can undertake IT Skills classes at our Learning Centres.

It is very important to research the entry criteria of the universities you would like to apply to. You will need a minimum of GCSE English and maths, in addition to your Access qualification, for entry onto degree-level courses. We currently offer GCSE and Functional Skills which you may be able to 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.  

Work experience (paid or voluntary) in a health care setting will improve your chances.

Course content

During the course you will study the following units:

Core Skills

  • English
  • Maths
  • Research Project
  • Study Skills

Health and Social Science Units

  • Introduction to Psychology
  • Sociology of Health
  • Developing Professional Practice
  • Health Promotion 
  • Understand Mental Health

Specialist Nursing & Midwifery units:

  • Cells, tissues and organs
  • Blood and Circulation
  • Homeostasis
  • Nutrition and digestion
  • Reproductive biology
  • Disease and defence
  • Mendelian and genetics
  • Drugs and food additives

NB: units subject to change.

Assessment methods

You will be regularly assessed throughout out the course via a range of methods, including written, practical and oral assignments, as well as project work. To enable you to be successful on the course you will need to be able to use IT to produce essays, reports, presentations and statistical data.


Access to HE Diploma Healthcare Professions

Further study and career options

You will be required to attend College for two days a week on a Monday and Thursday (Nursing Pathway) and Wednesday and Friday (Midwifery Pathway). 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 some of which will be online learning. You may need to purchase books relating to the course.

Additional information

On successful completion of this course you can apply to university to study nursing or midwifery and a range of other healthcare courses. The College has especially good links with the University of Bedfordshire. We will also support you while you complete your university application.

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).

Pay by instalments

The College offers an instalment plan for Further Education and Higher Education courses to students where the total amount payable at the point of enrolment is £200 or more. Within the scheme there is an ability to pay up to 6 instalments, depending on the length of the courses and the final payment must be paid at least a month before the end of the course.

Funding information

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 more affordable. Find out more about your payment options at

If you complete one of our Access to Higher Education courses and use an Advanced Learner Loan to pay for your tuition fee, the Student Loans Company will write off the balance on the Advanced Learner Loan if you then go on to complete an undergraduate course.

18 year olds may apply and will need to have English Language and Maths GCSE at grade C (4) or above or equivalent level 2 qualifications before the start of the course and be subject to a successful interview. Successful applicants will be in college for 2 days per week and will also be required to undertake additional studies up to 50 hours (which will support in providing valuable experience to include in UCAS applications aiding progression to Higher Education). If you are successful you may qualify for a free place. Alternatively we offer Level 2 and Level 3 courses that may be funded for 16-18 year olds.

Course Information & How to Apply

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

LengthStart DateFeesLocationCourse Code
1 year 13/09/2021 Launch our fee calculatorLaunch our fee calculator Cauldwell Street BBK187

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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 £25,000 per year!

» Visit the Advanced Learner Loans page for more information