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Higher Education and Access to HE Courses

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Gain the qualifications and training you need to get into university and secure great career opportunities

At Richmond upon Thames College we offer a niche set of courses for those interested in changing their career path, preparing for and getting into university or advancing in their current careers. Our access courses attract students of ages 19-70 and are taught in an engaging and holistic way in order to give our students all of the knowledge and skills they need to make that career transition.

The College offers a wide range of niche Higher Education courses in graphic design, engineering and construction, early years and IT, as well as numerous Access to Higher Education courses in art and design, sports science, health science, social science, business and accounting.

Types of higher education and access to HE courses available

  • Access to HE Diplomas

    If you would like to study for a degree but do not have the qualifications you need, then an Access to Higher Education course could be a great option for you. Access to HE courses attract a diverse range of students, and there is no upper age limit.

    An Access to HE Diploma is a nationally recognised qualification which allows for an individual without traditional qualifications to gain new transferrable skills, start a new career path or study at university. 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 our This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. so that we can discuss your options.

    The Access to HE Diploma is widely recognised by UK universities, many of which actively encourage applications from students who have achieved this qualification. Most Access to HE courses can be completed in one year.

    You may qualify for an Advanced Learner Loan. These loans help learners aged 19+ to pay for their course including access to HE diplomas.

    Below is a list of Access to Higher Education courses currently available to you at Richmond upon Thames College.

  • Foundation Degrees

    If you are interested in pursuing higher education opportunities but are unsure about taking on a full degree for three years or you may not have the entry requirements for an undergraduate degree, then a Foundation Degree may be an appropriate option for you.

    Foundation Degrees are nationally recognised qualifications. They allow students to gain transferrable academic skills and practical, first-hand knowledge in a shorter timeframe than a traditional degree. Foundation Degrees have been created in partnership by universities, further education colleges and employers. They attract A Level leavers and mature students.

    Upon successful completion of a Foundation Degree, students will have the opportunity to ‘top-up’ to a full honours degree by doing a further year of study.

    You may qualify for an Advanced Learner Loan. These loans help learners aged 19+ to pay for their course including foundation degrees.

    Please find the Early Years Foundation Degree at RuTC below.

  • Higher National Certificates and Diplomas (HNCs and HNDs)

    If you would like to study a practical subject at a higher level but do not have the entry qualifications required for a degree course, then a Higher National Certificate or Diploma may be for you. HNCs and HNDs are nationally recognised qualifications that allow students to progress their studies and learn new relevant skills for the workplace and career advancement.

    These qualifications are highly valued by employers, universities and professional bodies. You can also choose to 'top up' an HND or HNC with extra studies at a later date, in order to convert your HNC/D to a full bachelor's degree. HNC/Ds usually takes one year to complete full-time or two years part-time.

    You may qualify for an Advanced Learner Loan. These loans help learners aged 19+ to pay for their course including HNCs and HNDs.

    Below is a list of HNC and HND courses available to you at Richmond upon Thames College.

  • Level 3 Foundation Diploma ‘Pre BA’

    If you are interested in studying Art and Design further but may not have any previous academic Art or Design experience, Richmond upon Thames College offers the UAL Level 3 Foundation and Extended Diploma in Art and Design.

    The Foundation and Extended Diploma has been designed to provide individuals with a broad range of academic and vocational art and design skills. The courses allow for a student to gain knowledge and understanding to then progress to degree level study in Art and Design, or into entry-level employment.

    The UAL Art and Design (Pre BA) Level 3 Foundation and Extended Diploma enables individuals to develop both a professional portfolio of work showcasing a range of creative disciplines and themes, as well as develop their academic independence and enable them to demonstrate strong communication skills. It is a relatively new qualification created by the University of Arts London Awarding Body, who are also the UK's largest provider of the Diploma in Art and Design.

    You may qualify for an Advanced Learner Loan. These loans help learners aged 19+ to pay for their course including the 'Pre BA' offered by RuTC.

    See the Art and Design Foundation Diploma course at Richmond upon Thames College below.

Student Finance England (SFE)

The Student Finance England full-time undergraduate application service for AY 2019/20 is now open. New students should apply online at

SFE will contact continuing students in due course to prompt them to apply. The deadline for submitting applications to ensure funding is received in time for course start dates are:

24 May for new students

21 June for continuing students.

Reasons to do an HE or access course at Richmond upon Thames College:

  • In November 2017, Ofsted rated RuTC as GOOD in all areas including Adult Provision
  • Flexible part-time or full-time study that fits around your work/ lifestyle
  • Various funding options available depending on your age, employment status and qualifications
  • Classes are small, allowing for ample one-to-one tutorials with teachers
  • The students are diverse, better preparing you for a diverse world of work
  • Great support services for those with counselling, study and learning needs
  • A big, easy-to-access campus with great facilities
  • Strong work-related emphasis and links to employers
  • A great track record of student success

Study something you enjoy, improve your future career prospects and develop essential study, presentation and employability skills. Enrol on a Higher Education course or apply for an Access course for September.

RuTC Ofsted GOOD website graphics overall effectiveness

Leaders, managers and teachers plan and design adult programmes carefully and effectively to ensure that they meet the needs of the community.

Teachers successfully support students to overcome barriers to employment and learning. As a result, the majority of students progress to higher level learning or employment.

Teachers and staff support adult students well to develop the skills they need to progress towards their individual goals. Ofsted 2017

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