Access Course

Access to Higher Education Diploma: Business and Law

Course details

Study options

Full-time: 36 weeks

Course level


Start date



Derby Campus

Diplomas are offered to mature students over the age of nineteen. The intention of the course is that students will achieve a place on an undergraduate degree. This is a one-year Level 3 course taught over thirty-six weeks that prepares students for the rigours of level 4 study and beyond.

Most students do not have relevant Level 3 qualifications such as A-Levels or BTECs, so our Access course (which is regulated by the Quality Assurance Agency) gives students a ‘second chance’. We fully understand that many individuals who are returning to study after a length of time, may be low in academic confidence, but we have an enthusiastic and dedicated team to make sure that our students have the tools to successfully complete the course.

This gives students an excellent foundation in the knowledge and skills that successful applicants will need to pass the Access course. Most Access courses are taught in a college, but students can study with us in a university setting. 

Please check our entry requirements to see if you meet the criteria to start with us in September. If you are lacking in level 2 qualifications, we also offer a Pre Access course. This allows students to prepare for the Access course by taking English and Maths qualifications alongside other modules to give you an insight to Level 3 study.

Book your place at our next Access information event

90%of Access Diploma graduates are employed or in further study 6 months after graduationQuality Assurance Assessment (2021)

What you will study

You will cover Business, Law and Study Skills modules. Each of these contain content that will be transferable to your degree. In addition, it will enable you to develop skills that will help you transition into level 4 undergraduate study.

Introduction to Business Organisations

Through a series of case studies, you will gain an understanding of business objectives and analyse differing business organisations.

IT for Academics

This unit is designed to develop students’ skills in Information Technology, an important aspect of the study of business. You will also learn to enhance your academic documentation and presentations.

Business and The Economy

Business operates globally and penetrates multiple markets; therefore, it is vital that students understand the geopolitical scape. This unit will give you an understanding of economic principles, concentrating on growth, inflation and unemployment.

Marketing Tools

In this unit, you will study how a business brings its products or services to the marketplace. How sector analysis allows the product/service to be marketed to maximise its potential through its full life cycle.

Human Resource Management

The importance of recruiting the right staff with the relevant skills for not only the now of the business but also for its future needs is becoming more and more important so we will learn about the differing tiers of human resource management functionality.

Introduction to Financial Accounting

This unit will explore accounting so that students can gain an understanding of how businesses operate in a financial context. It is vital for business managers to have a fundamental understanding of finances if a business is to prosper.

Business Planning

In this unit, we will unravel business planning models, tying elements learnt on the Marketing, HR and Finance units, and learn the nuances of planning in differing sectors of the marketplace.

Understanding Actus Reus and Mens Rea

This module is designed to help students understand the difference between a guilty mind (mens rea) and a guilty act (actus reus), and how they can be applied in the study of law. This introductory unit introduces students to fundamental legal principles and general legal terminology pertaining to general civil and criminal law.

An Introduction to the Law of Tort

You may have already come across the familiar term ‘duty of care’ in daily life. During this unit, we delve into what this actually means and how it applies to you and those around you in everyday life. The law of tort is relatable and interesting for all as it applies to everyone. In this unit, we will also see how seemingly obvious outcomes do not come to fruition, such as lawsuits falling through even when the victim is innocent and arguably deserves justice or compensation.

Employment Law

This unit covers fundamental principles of employer and employee law and legal requirements of employment contracts.  Part of the unit covers legislation and case law on the application of equal opportunities, providing an ideal opportunity to focus on British values of respect and tolerance.

Introduction to Contract Law

This unit builds knowledge of fundamental principles of contract law. It develops an understanding and use of legal terminology specifically related to a range of legally binding contracts. The unit includes focus on elements and terms of legally binding agreements and covers remedies for frustrated or breached contracts.  

The Judicial System 

Clarifying the structure and jurisdiction of courts, this unit also covers the roles of contributors to the civil and criminal justice systems, i.e., the roles of other staff in addition to professional legal personnel. The unit builds on the previous units’ coverage of case law to study appeal grounds in greater depth, i.e., who can appeal a court’s decision? Where does the appeal go to? What grounds are needed for an appeal application? This unit provides ideal opportunities to focus on the values of democracy, the rule of law, and individual liberty.

Study Skills provides you with some essential skills necessary to complete your Access Diploma and progress onto undergraduate study and is regarded as increasingly important by degree programme admissions tutors. Study Skills is comprised of two units: Progression Skills and English for Academic Study. In your Study Skills lessons, we aim to provide you with a range of new skills or to give you the opportunity to develop existing skills.

Please note that our modules are subject to change - we review the content of our courses regularly, making changes where necessary to improve your experience and graduate prospects.

How you will learn

A diverse range of teaching and learning activities are used across each subject. Sessions are interactive and work to include student participation and student-led tasks. You will learn differently in each taught session, some sessions utilise group-work, others will focus on independent research and investigation. Scheduled teaching hours are led by your tutor who designs the learning accordingly to the group profile and therefore you will be exposed to a vast range of practises – this also helps demonstrate the techniques/strategies reviewed within the subjects

Wider enrichment takes place to supplement learning across the academic year. There are opportunities where guest speakers attend to deliver short talks from settings. You will also have access to the University of Derby’s library and on-site facilities for Further Education students.

How you are assessed 

You will be assessed through a range of different assessments that include essay writing, presentations, writing and academic posters. Assessments are explained within each unit and support is offered to scaffold your progress throughout the course. These are all designed to apply the knowledge, skills and behaviours from sessions (and wider reading/experiences) into areas of interest within education.

Entry requirements

You will need to be 19 years of age or above on 31 August 2024. Ideally, you will have achieved Mathematics and English GCSEs at grade A-C/9-4 or Functional Skills Level 2 in English and Maths but if you have grade D/3 or Functional Skills Level 2 in one of the subjects, you could study one GCSE alongside the Access course.

How to apply

Please look at our application deadlines before you apply.

If you're interested in this course you'll need to attend an Information Event.

At the event, you’ll be able to find out everything about the course, find out about fees and finance and get careers advice.


A degree in business can lead to many varied and exciting career opportunities for graduates. Some examples include marketing, project management, procurement management and sales. After graduation, you will have knowledge of different business sectors such as finance, and business functions, such as human resource management; all of which will have prepared you for employment.

Graduate schemes are popular with business graduates as they often lead to excellent career development in established organisations. For further information about your career prospects, you can contact our careers team at

Contact us

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Additional information about your studies

Teaching hours

Like most universities, we operate extended teaching hours at the University of Derby, so contact time with your lecturers and tutors could be anytime between 9am and 9pm. Your timetable will usually be available on the website 24 hours after enrolment on to your course.

Please note: Our courses are refreshed and updated on a regular basis. If you are thinking about transferring onto this course (into the second year for example), you should contact the programme leader for the relevant course information as modules may vary from those shown on this page.

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