Access Level 3 Diploma In Foundation Studies

Access Award in Foundation Studies. A course for mature returners to education to return to study and progress to University or Higher Education. We would encourage you to apply as early as you can and to make an appointment with SERC Careers service to ensure you are applying for the most appropriate course.


Academic Year: 2023/24
Course Code: 10005
Campus: Bangor, Downpatrick, Lisburn, Newtownards, Ballynahinch, Newcastle
Study Type: Full-Time
Education Level Further Education
Department: Access to HE

Alternative Years

You are viewing the 2023/24 version of this course, it is also available in the following years:

View 2024/25 Course
Course Overview

Perhaps you think you've missed your chance at University because you didn't get the qualifications needed to apply when you were at school.  Or you're stuck in a job you don't like because you lack the educational qualifications to change? Maybe you've lost your job, had a break from employment and want to change direction but don't know how to go about that change, or even what the change of direction might be.  Or, perhaps, you're employed in an employment sector you love, but can't get any further than the position you're in now because you lack the necessary educational qualifications.

Access Diploma in Foundation Studies can help you with all of the above dilemmas. It is a Level 3 ( A Level equivalent) academic qualification, validated by Queen's University Belfast, specifically tailored to the needs of adults who must be out of full-time education for at least two years. The course is concerned with improving knowledge and skills, with personal and academic confidence the eventual aim. Following completion of the Diploma year, of progression to HE courses in universities and colleges both here and in England, Scotland and Wales. 

The course is a two year course which runs on a daytime full-time basis of 15 hours spread over 4 days or on evening full-time basis with a mix of face to face and blended learning.   The full-time course is free to the student with the only cost being examination fees incurred if you need to study additional qualifications such as GCSE Maths or English. 

 Days/times may be subject to change. 

The first year, called the Access Award pathway consists of three modules in Social and Biological Science with compulsory modules of Study Skills and Foundations in Biology and can include subjects such as Psychology, Sociology and a Level 2 Mathematics module called NICATS Maths. 

The Access Diploma (Progression) in the second year completes the Access suite by undertaking a further three modules relating to career path aspirations.  These may include Foundations in Chemistry, Further Chemistry, Further Biology, American and Irish Literature, Classics and Modern Literature, Politics, Sociological Research Methods, Applied Psychology, Law and Pure Mathematics.

You have been out of full time education for two or more years and you want to gain entry to Higher Education programmes, such as university.

A range of knowledge and academic skills through subjects specific to the route you want to undertake. Skills in Science, Social Science, Humanities or Mathematics. 

The development of your personal and academic confidence through the debate and discussion you will be involved with and the enrichment activities such as guest speakers.

Successful completion of Year 1 Access Award enables you to progress to the Access Diploma where you will complete the Access suite by undertaking a further three modules relating to career path aspirations.

These may include Foundations in Chemistry, Further Chemistry, Further Biology, American and Irish Literature, Classics and Modern Literature, Politics, Sociological Research Methods, Applied Psychology, Law and Pure Mathematics.

Entry to all programmes also includes successful performance at interview and in Literacy and Numeracy assessments. 

Full Time course - you should be out of Full-Time education for a minimum of 2 years.  

Evening provision has a requirement that the student does not have additional learning requirements outside of the Access course, in order to manage the workload on the student. This can be discussed and advice given as part of the application process.

Available Sessions

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Alternative Years

You are viewing the 2023/24 version of this course, it is also available in the following years:

View 2024/25 Course

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Terms & Conditions

Students will be required to comply with SERC's Terms & Conditions of study.

We strive to ensure the description of courses on SERC's website and in publications is accurate. However, for various reasons there may be occasions when the College may need to change arrangements or be unable to deliver classes due to circumstances such as reduced funding. If there are insufficient numbers applying for a course it may not be viable to deliver the class.

Further Education

Further Education

If you have just completed your GCSEs, Further Education is most likely the option for you. FE covers qualifications from entry to higher level qualifications such as Awards, Certificates, Diplomas, NVQ, BTEC and Apprenticeships.

Explore Further Education