Access to HE Diploma (Social Sciences)

Study level: Access courses
Two students talking on the stairs at CU Scarborough, in front of a mural of Scarborough beach.

The Social Science Access course sets out to offer adult returners a coherent, integrated and supported year of study in psychology and sociology. Learners will gain the knowledge, awareness, skills and confidence necessary for successful entry into a relevant undergraduate degree.

Year of entry



CU Scarborough (Scarborough)

Study mode



1 year full-time

Course code


Start date

September 2024

Course overview

Access programmes are designed for students who have not had the opportunity to access higher education via traditional routes. Our course will give you the opportunity to attain some of the tools you will need to complete one of our degree programmes. As well as some subject-specific knowledge, we will prepare you in the fundamentals of study skills, numeracy and literacy.

  • Quickest route to Higher Education.
  • No end-of-year exams.
  • Mapped to match with modules taught on psychology, sociology, politics and law degree programmes.
  • Open learning environment.
  • Student Finance England will ‘write off’ any outstanding Advanced Learner Loan balances you owe for an Access to HE course once you complete an eligible higher education course (subject to SFE requirements). For more information visit the Advanced Learner Loan website.
  • Successful completion of this course guarantees you an interview on any CU Scarborough degree course.

Accreditation and professional recognition

This course is Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) regulated.

What you'll study

You will study a range of modules from psychology, sociology, social policy, history and law. Your final module will be an extended project on a topic of your own choice. You will also develop your study skills including literacy, researching and referencing which will provide you with a foundation for your learning in subsequent years.


  • Crime and Deviance provides you with the opportunity to study the key theoretical perspectives related to these interlinked yet discrete topics. Furthermore, the various social contexts in which deviant behaviour can develop are useful in gaining an insight into the extent to which social construction underpins social concepts of deviance. Examination of police statistics, Crime Survey England and Wales and victim surveys will provide opportunities to explore the ways in which different crimes are recorded and the social impact crime data reports.


  • The initial approach should allow you to grasp the basic concepts behind the perspectives without becoming embroiled in technical language. You should also be given the opportunity to place the subject matter in context, so that you can distinguish it from political and moral discourse. You should grasp that the language of psychology is an attempt to discern the key factors in human functioning and cognition without recourse to personal judgements about individuals.


    • Understand key areas of child development.
    • Understand major theories of children’s psychological development.
    • Understand different childrearing styles and their developmental effects.


    • Be able to work within the conventions of a specific subject.
    • Be able to demonstrate extensive subject-specific knowledge.
    • Be able to construct sustained argument in an extended piece of work.
    • Be able to present work in form/s consistent with the conventions of the specific subject, including an appropriate form of academic citation.


    • Understand a variety of different texts.
    • Understand the purpose and content of texts.
    • Understand how authors use form and style to achieve their purposes.
    • Understand some of the ways in which context can affect meaning.


    • Understand the significance of the essay title in determining the content.
    • Be able to plan and structure essays.
    • Be able to write in an appropriate style.
    • Know the conventions for acknowledging sources.


    • Understand the available progression opportunities.
    • Understand own skills in relation to chosen progression route.
    • Understand the stages of the application process.
    • Know how to prepare for an interview.


    • Speak to an audience.
    • Listen with understanding.
    • Respond to questions.
    • Engage in discussion.
    • Understand strengths and weaknesses of oral presentation.


    • Use grammar in accordance with the rules of Standard English.
    • Use punctuation according to the conventions of standard English.
    • Use paragraphs.
    • Follow main rules of syntax.
    • Spell correctly.


    • Understand definitions of terrorism.
    • Understand the impact of globalization on terrorism.
    • Understand how globalisation technologies have improved the capability of terrorists.
    • Understand how states have combated terrorism.


    • Understand the problems in defining abnormal and normal behaviour.
    • Understand the different psychological explanations given for the cause of a particular mental illness.
    • Understand the different approaches for treating a particular mental illness from different psychological perspectives.


    • Understand the nature and extent of disabilities in society.
    • Understand the issues relating to the provision of funding for people with disabilities.
    • Understand legislation relating to issues of disability and social inclusion.


    • Understand key factors that influence the supply and demand of social housing in Britain.
    • Understand key changes in housing tenure in the 20th century. 3. Understand the development of housing policy in Britain since 1980.


    • Understand elements of the key Children Acts since 1989.
    • Understand the rationale for the introduction of key safeguarding policies since 2004.
    • Understand ways to promote welfare of children and increase their protection.


    • Understand how the concept of the family has changed over time and across cultures.
    • Understand contrasting sociological theories of the family.
    • Understand the contribution of feminist theorists to a sociological understanding of the family.
    • Understand the changing and diverse nature of the family in modern society.


    • Understand the relationship between society and human behaviour.
    • Understand the macro and micro sociological perspectives.
    • Understand sociological explanations for social inequality.


    • Understand consensus and conflict approaches to the role of the education system in society.
    • Understand the effects of internal school processes on educational achievement.
    • Understand how social factors can affect educational achievement and employment prospects.


    • Understand the meaning of health promotion and health education.
    • Understand the role of the media in promoting health.
    • Understand the theoretical principles involved when promoting health.


    • Understand the factors determining attachment.
    • Understand the significance of theories of attachment.
    • Understand the impact of deprivation and privation on children.
    • Understand the effects of childcare provision on preschool children.


We regularly review our course content, to make it relevant and current for the benefit of our students. For these reasons, course modules may be updated.

How you'll learn

The access course offers an opportunity for students to study for a Level 3 Diploma.

The CU model of delivery focuses on one module at a time, allowing you to focus on the in-depth content of the subject. Lectures are delivered by subject experts using a variety of methods to reinforce the concepts of the topic from traditional lectures, group work, worksheets, case studies and research activities.

Our timetable purposefully mirrors school timetables, avoiding Mondays and Fridays on campus, which tend to coincide with teacher training days.

Teaching contact hours

Our Access to Higher Education courses run over 36 weeks. Attendance on campus is required 9:30am – 2.30pm (including a half-hour lunch break) on a Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. You will also have the option to attend optional sessions including time with a progress coach or to meet with staff for advice and feedback.

Guided and independent study

Throughout your studies, you will be expected to spend time in guided and independent study to make up the required study hours per module. You’ll be digging deeper into topics, review what you’ve learned and complete assignments. This can be completed around your personal commitments. As you progress through your studies, you’ll spend more time in independent study.

Online learning

As an innovative university, we use different teaching methods including online tools and emerging technologies. So, some of your teaching hours and assessments may be delivered online.


This course will be assessed using a variety of methods which will vary depending upon the module. Assessment methods may include:

  • essays
  • group work
  • presentations
  • projects
  • coursework.

The Coventry University Group assessment strategy ensures that our courses are fairly assessed and allows us to monitor student progression towards achieving the intended learning outcomes.

Entry requirements

Typical offer for 2024/25 entry.

Level 2 qualifications in Maths and English are preferable but not mandatory for commencing the Access course. Level 2 qualifications in Maths and English can be acquired alongside the Access course as they are a pre-requisite to progress onto universities.

As part of the application process, an interview and a literacy and numeracy assessment will be required so that our tutors are satisfied that you can benefit from the course and be able to cope with the future requirements of studying in higher education.

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Are you eligible for the CU Support Scheme?

We believe every student should have the opportunity to dream big, reach their potential and succeed, regardless of their background.

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Fees and funding

2024/25 tuition fees.

Student Full-time Part-time
UK £3,022   Not available

You may qualify for an Advanced Learner Loan. Visit the Advanced Learner Loan website for full information and to check your eligibility. If you are eligible and awarded an Advanced Learner Loan, and successfully complete an eligible Higher Education course, the outstanding balance from your Access course could be written off.

The University will charge the tuition fees that are stated in the above table for the first Academic Year of study. The University will review tuition fees each year. For Home Students, if Parliament permits an increase in tuition fees, the University may increase fees for each subsequent year of study in line with any such changes. Note that any increase is expected to be in line with inflation.

For International Students, we may increase fees each year but such increases will be no more than 5% above inflation. If you defer your course start date or have to extend your studies beyond the normal duration of the course (e.g. to repeat a year or resit examinations) the University reserves the right to charge you fees at a higher rate and/or in accordance with any legislative changes during the additional period of study.


Our purpose-built campus building is arranged around an open central atrium that includes IT suites and study spaces.

The onsite library stocks essential and recommended reading and over 115,000 eBooks. The building also includes areas for career guidance and study support services, a café, a prayer room and social areas. Next to the campus is Scarborough’s leisure village. This complex includes an Olympic Legacy swimming pool, sports hall, fitness suite, all-weather pitches and the Scarborough Athletic football ground.

Careers and opportunities

On successful completion of this course, you will have the underpinning knowledge and academic skills to be able to apply for a range of degree courses at a variety of universities.

Further study

Successful completion of this course will guarantee you an interview for any degree programme at CU Scarborough. You could also progress on to a degree at other institutions, such as psychology, subject to meeting their specific entry criteria.

The access course can allow you to progress on the following types of degrees at CU Scarborough:

You could potentially obtain a place on the following degree programmes with Coventry University subject to you meeting additional entry requirements. Please see individual course web pages for more information.

How to apply

  • Access courses are designed for students who haven’t had the opportunity to access higher education, so formal qualifications are not mandatory. If you’re interested in an Access to HE course you’ll need to apply to us directly by completing our online application form.

    Once your application form has been processed you’ll receive the outcome of your application via the email address you provided.

    Apply now

    If you'd like further support or more information about your course get in touch with us today.

  • Coventry University together with Coventry University London, Coventry University Wrocław, CU Coventry, CU London, CU Scarborough, and Coventry University Online come together to form part of the Coventry University Group (the University) with all degrees awarded by Coventry University.


    The majority of our courses have been formally recognised by professional bodies, which means the courses have been reviewed and tested to ensure they reach a set standard. In some instances, studying on an accredited course can give you additional benefits such as exemptions from professional exams (subject to availability, fees may apply). Accreditations, partnerships, exemptions and memberships shall be renewed in accordance with the relevant bodies’ standard review process and subject to the university maintaining the same high standards of course delivery.

    2UK and international opportunities

    Please note that we are unable to guarantee any UK or international opportunities (whether required or optional) such as internships, work experience, field trips, conferences, placements or study abroad opportunities and that all such opportunities may be unpaid and/or subject to additional costs (which could include, but is not limited to, equipment, materials, bench fees, studio or facilities hire, travel, accommodation and visas), competitive application, availability and/or meeting any applicable travel, public authority guidance, decisions or orders and visa requirements. To ensure that you fully understand any visa requirements, please contact the International Office.

    3Tuition fees

    The University will charge the tuition fees that are stated in the above table for the first Academic Year of study. The University will review tuition fees each year. For UK (home) students, if Parliament permit an increase in tuition fees, the University may increase fees for each subsequent year of study in line with any such changes. Note that any increase is expected to be in line with inflation.

    For international students, we may increase fees each year, but such increases will be no more than 5% above inflation. If you defer your course start date or have to extend your studies beyond the normal duration of the course (e.g. to repeat a year or resit examinations) the University reserves the right to charge you fees at a higher rate and/or in accordance with any legislative changes during the additional period of study.


    Facilities are subject to availability. Access to some facilities (including some teaching and learning spaces) may vary from those advertised and/or may have reduced availability or restrictions where the university is following public authority guidance, decisions or orders.

    Student Contract

    By accepting your offer of a place and enrolling with us, a Student Contract will be formed between you and the university. A copy of the current 2024/2025 contract is available on the website. The Contract details your rights and the obligations you will be bound by during your time as a student and contains the obligations that the university will owe to you. You should read the Contract before you accept an offer of a place and before you enrol at the university.

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