UCR - University Centre Reaseheath
University Centre Reaseheath

Access to Higher Education Diploma (Land Based Studies)

If you have a thirst for knowledge and the motivation to achieve the qualifications you need for degree level study, we can support you on your academic journey.

Our flexible Access to Higher Education Diploma is a nationally recognised qualification designed for ambitious students like you wanting to gain the knowledge, confidence and grades needed to study at university.


Course Overview

Our Access to Higher Education Diploma is a great option for those who, although do not hold the relevant or formal academic qualifications, have the passion and motivation needed to study a degree to secure a graduate-level career.  

By studying a wide variety of land based units at UCR, you will be well prepared to study a degree and progress to employment in areas such as Environmental Conservation, Animal Welfare, Sustainable Agriculture and many more. 

Course Features

Career Options

The Access to Higher Education diploma is a full Level 3 qualification which prepares you for study at university level. Following completion, many of our students progress on to degrees in areas such as:  

Leila Chew, Access to Higher Education Diploma

“Access to HE has given me a whole new career path and I absolutely recommend it to anyone looking for a life change.

“After completing the Access to HE Diploma at UCR in 2021, I progressed onto a Veterinary Medicine and Surgery degree with a foundation year at Keele University which I am really enjoying.

“Studying at University Centre Reaseheath was great for me; I had been out of education for 15 years and did not have the A-Levels I needed for university, so I wouldn’t have been able to study my degree without it. When I started my daughter was only 6 months old which was an extra challenge, however with support from my tutors I was able to succeed.”

Course Information

You will study a variety of subject areas at an advanced level in preparation for higher education.

Ungraded compulsory units (15 credits):

  • Independent research
  • Using spreadsheet software
  • Preparing a written assignment
  • Preparing for Higher Education admission interview
  • Conservation and sustainable development


Graded units (45 credits):

  • Body systems and homeostasis
  • Canine behaviour and training
  • Animal behaviour and welfare
  • Animal health and husbandry
  • Farm animal husbandry
  • Principles of ecology
  • Equine health
  • Garden design
  • Plants and the impact of the environment
  • Planning a successful business
  • Ecology, ecosystems and environmental management
  • Environmental issues


Students will study 11 graded units from the above.

Units may be subject to change due to awarding body criteria.

The course is designed for people who have been out of education for some time.

Teaching is carried out in the form of accessible lessons, assignment workshops and practical activities. Students are assessed on their coursework through presentations, essays, practicals, research projects and reports.

Students will be able to access course timetables for the academic year in September.

Timetables are subject to change, but most students can expect to spend 3-3.5 days per week on campus.

Tuition Fees

As a student at UCR, you will have two main costs to meet; your tuition fees and living costs.

The 22/23 fee for Access to HE (Land based Studies) is approx. £5197, but you may be entitled to full funding or an Advanced Learner Loan. You can find out more about this below. Maintenance loans are not available for Access to HE courses, so you will also need to meet your living expenses. 

Equipment Costs

Students should have a pair of steel toe-capped boots/wellington boots in order to undertake practical activities on the zoo, farm and outdoors (from approx. £30).

Apply directly through Reaseheath

Maths or English at GCSE Grade C/Level 4 or above. 

Students will be assessed on interview.

September 2023
September 2024

Full-time: 1 year

Advanced Learner Loan

The Advanced Learner Loan could help you study on a course or support you in a change of career.

Tuition fee loans are now available to those aged over 19 years old and who wish to study at Level 4, to provide a clear route to develop high-level technical and professional skills.

Find out more in the dropdown below.

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Useful Information

Here you will find useful information about the services and support available at University Centre Reaseheath. Click to expand each item:

The Advanced Learner Loans could help you study on a course or support you in a change of career.

Tuition fee loans are now available to those aged over 19 years old and who wish to study at Level 4, to provide a clear route to develop high-level technical and professional skills.


Advanced Learner Loans have been introduced to help you pay for some or all of your tuition.

  • You don’t pay back a penny until your income is over £27,295 a year
  • No credit checks and a low interest rate
  • Your household income isn’t taken into account
  • Enhanced employability – fast-track your career


Who can apply?

To qualify for a loan you need to be:

  • Starting a relevant course on or after 1st August 2022
  • Aged 19 or over at the start of your course
  • Resident in the UK for the past 3 years
  • A UK national or having “settled status” in the UK
  • You can still apply for a loan if you are unemployed


When you can apply?

You can apply for an Advanced Learner Loan (formerly known as the 24+ Advanced Learning Loan) from May 2022 for courses starting on or after 1st August 2022.

Please do not apply until you have received your Learning & Funding Information Letter from the college.


How do I apply?

Visit Student Finance England.



Once you have successfully completed a degree, following your Access to HE Diploma, the Advanced Learner Loan that you owe for your Access to Higher Education Diploma will be written off.


Please note:

  • Any loan(s) you have taken out for your degree will still need to be repaid.
  • If an applicant is aged 19-23 and this is their first full Level 3 qualification, they will be entitled to full funding (without needing the Advanced Learner Loan). You can find out more information about this on the Reaseheath College website.

University Centre Reaseheath is committed to providing additional financial support to those who need it. To find out about the bursary schemes available, visit the Reaseheath College additional financial support page.

For students to get the best out of their time at University Centre Reaseheath, we must both recognise that we owe obligations to each other. These obligations are set out in our UCR Student Contract. Before you accept an offer of a place at University Centre Reaseheath, it is important that you read these contract conditions. If you are going to be living in Halls of Residence, you will also need to read the Student Accommodation Licence Conditions. Both of these contracts can be found here.

Click here to view the University Centre Reaseheath Student Protection Plan.

All UCR students are given the opportunity to apply for residential accommodation. First year students are guaranteed accommodation and this offer is made to all applicants who live more than a reasonable daily travelling distance from Reaseheath (providing you have applied before the UCAS equal considerations deadline. For full details on our halls of residence visit our accommodation page.

We have a team of dedicated professionals on hand to offer you support. These include our Student Services Team, Inclusive Learning Team, Library and Learning Resources Team and the Reaseheath Careers Service. You can find more information on the support provided at Reaseheath on our support page.

University Centre Reaseheath is proud to welcome international students. For more information, please visit our international students page.