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Access to HE Art and Design

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This one-year course is ideal for those interested in a future career within the Creative Arts. The OCN Access to HE courses at RuTC is designed specifically to meet the needs of adult learners in preparation for progression to higher education.


This is a practical studio-based course which will provide a thorough grounding in the fundamental principles of most art and design practices. You will have support to create a portfolio for application to higher education and creative practice employment, with specialist assignment options.


Specialist pathway options are available in:

Visual Communication: graphics, illustration and photography
Spatial Design: interior design and architecture
Object Design: crafts (ceramics, jewellery, fashion and textiles) and product design
Fine Art: printmaking, painting, sculpture and installation Your study programme will develop your practical skills and creative thinking through a process of contextual research, discussion, exploration and experimentation, problem solving, review and analysis.

This is an intense course with integrated academic skills to prepare you for higher education study including reading and understanding texts, note taking and essay writing.

You will receive tutorial support in the development of your personal work and portfolio production and in the HE application process including UCAS. There is a studio fee of £100.00 a year to pay upon enrolment that will help to subsidise the cost of the range of practical resources that you will have available to use during the year.


Access to Higher Education programmes are designed for students who are aged 19 and over as of 31 August. However, if you are 18 on the 31 August please contact us by clicking the enquire button below so that we can discuss your options.


 Suggested timetable.





Start date W/C 18/09/2023


On site

On site


End Date W/E 05/07/2023

5:30pm – 8:30pm

5:30pm – 8:30pm

5:30pm – 8:30pm

5:30pm – 8:30pm

Please note this is a course for adults (19+). Click here for courses for 16-18 year olds.


  • Course details, fees and dates

    Course Code ACRADE/RTA/1

    Start Date Monday 16 Sep 2024

    How long is the course? 32 weeks

    What time does the course start? 5:30PM

    What time does the course end? 8:30PM

    When does the course run? Mon, Tues, Weds & Thurs

    How much does the course cost? Tuition fee £3,928 Exam fee £0 Certification fee £100 Materials fee £100 = Total fee £4,128

    Is this course eligible for an Advanced Learner Loan? Yes

    Is there a registration fee? Yes

    Are concessions available? No

    Examining Body OCNLR

    Is an interview required? Yes

  • What will I study on this course?

    The course will cover key skills within art and design which include 2D and 3D visual language, using a sketchbook to record and develop ideas and working to a project brief. The projects have options which focus on the development of specialist skills in a preferred discipline. Your developing portfolio will include your problem solving and practical skills in a range of media and materials. All learners will have full inductions and the flexibility to work in our dedicated workshop studios which include ceramics, 3D model making, print, photography and textiles. There is an emphasis on the development of practical skills through application and exploration.

    As a return to education course there is a supportive study skill component which prepares you for Higher Education including a research project and essay. You will have a specialist Tutor who will work with you on your Higher Education applications and portfolio preparation. Previous students have been successful in securing places to study a range of subjects including Architecture, Interior Design, Product Design, Photography, Graphics and Fine Art.

    The Access to HE course is an intensive one year programme and you will need to be available to attend all your scheduled classes which will be a minimum of 3 days in college a week. Your life skills in time management, planning, prioritising and meeting deadlines will be key factors in ensuring success.

  • Are there any materials or resources that I need to bring to the sessions?

    As the course progress you may want / need to purchase specialist materials and equipment based on your own preferred discipline.

  • What is expected of me at this level?

    This is an intensive course and you will be expected to have good attendance and complete independent study outside of lessons. At the start of the qualification you will be given a course calendar with a series of coursework submission dates which you will be asked to meet at regular intervals throughout the year.

  • Entry requirements 

    You will need GCSE grade C/4 or above in English Language, or a Level 2 Functional skills English qualification. You will need to present a portfolio of work at your interview, which demonstrates your artistic skills. 

    Applicants with overseas qualifications will be invited for an assessment in English and Maths.

    Please check the entry criteria for your preferred university before applying.

  • What experience would help me be suitable for the course?

    Experience of some practical work in the area or a personal interest in the subject would be beneficial. You would also be required to do some basic reading around the subject to ensure that the course is suited to you.

  • How will I be taught?

    You will learn about your subjects through practical projects, which will expand both your technical and creative skills. You will be encouraged to develop your study skills including research, analysis and presentation of your creative thinking process. You will have access to practical workshops and art studios but also classroom based activities and computer rooms.

  • How will I be assessed?

    There is no examination on this course. You will be assessed for each unit through assignments and coursework. The grading on the course is either level 2 (GCSE equivalent) or level 3 (GCE Advanced level). Unit work is graded at Pass, Merit and Distinction. Completing coursework to the submission deadline is an important grading factor.

  • What qualification will I get?

    On successful completion of 45 credits at Level 3 and 15 credits at level 3 or 2, you will be awarded the Access to Higher Education Diploma in Art and Design.

  • What skills will I gain as a result of doing the course?

    The course will prepare you for Higher Education course and interview. You will also develop a range of specialist skills including; creative thinking process, design development, practical skills in both 2D and 3D and creative analysis skills. In addition there will be opportunity to develop Level 2 Maths and English skill, study skills, academic practice, employability and relevant IT skills.

  • What can the course lead to?

    An Access qualification is recognised by universities and other institutions providing Higher education courses as an entry requirement. The successful completion of the course will enable you to apply to higher education to study for a degree or professional qualifications within Creative Arts and Media. You will be supported through the UCAS process and guided towards selecting the appropriate course.

    Currently Richmond upon Thames College has links with London College of Communication, London College of Fashion, University Arts Bournemouth and Southampton Solent. The College currently runs a highly successful Higher National Certificate and Diploma course and would welcome access students. Richmond upon Thames College was one of the first to successfully pass the Higher Education Review process – a review process that is applied to all HE providers (see our website Higher Education for further details).

    Career opportunities in the Creative Industry include: Interior Design, Visual Communication, Design in Digital Media, Fashion (including marketing and styling), Multimedia, Photographic Practice, Design Management, Costume, Print, Advertising, Branding, Product Design, Furniture Design, photojournalism, Film/ Theatre sets and costume design, Architecture, Graphic Design ,Marketing and Education.

  • How do I join the course?

    Please complete and submit an application form by clicking the 'apply' button at the top of the page. Once your application has been processed, you will be invited for an interview. At the interview you will be required to show evidence of relevant skills (eg any certificates) and a strong commitment to study.

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