Course details

Study options

Full-time: 36 weeks

Course level


Start date



Derby Campus

Course description

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 graduation**Quality Assurance Assessment (2021)

What you will study

You will cover Information Technology, Computing, Level 3 Maths and Study Skills. Each of these contains content that will be transferable to your degree. In addition, this course will enable you to develop skills that will help you transition to Level 4 study.

IT for Academic Study

The purpose of this unit is to develop your basic IT skills to prepare you for academia. Students will learn how to use programs to increase the efficiency and accuracy of their work.

Advanced Word Processing

This unit is the first exploration into the Microsoft Office package. The purpose of this unit is to develop students’ skills in Microsoft Word, the word processing program, and create formal letters.

Advanced Spreadsheets

Using Microsoft Excel, students will learn how to create and manage spreadsheets and create formal reports.

Web Design and Production (Double Unit)

This unit enables students to study web design, and you will learn how to design and produce websites, tapping into the contemporary use of searching for and sharing information.

Digital Portfolio

This will be your final unit of the year where you create a portfolio of all your year's work on the module.

File Management and Security

This unit will enable students to learn the foundations of file management and security in computing; how to organise data and keep it secure.

Introduction to Computer Architecture

You will learn some of the fundamental processes and characteristics that all modern computers have in common. You will learn the origin of the binary system and how computers use it to perform calculations, and you will learn what takes place inside the computer’s various components.

Database Applications

On this unit, you will learn the fundamental skills which allow you to manage data, such as names, addresses, sales records, stock information and air pollution levels.

Java Programming

Everything from a game on a smartphone to the control system in a nuclear power station uses rules and processes that somebody has written in advance. You will learn how to create computer programs – how to manipulate and process data and make decisions based on their results.

Local Area Networks

In this module, you will gain an understanding of local area networks; how and why they are used and how they are relevant to studying computing.

Sequences and Series

This unit will involve investigating patterns in number sequences and solving problems using number series.

Advanced Mathematics

This unit will introduce some fundamental ideas in algebra, geometry, graphs and calculus.


This unit will be looking at trigonometric ratios in triangles, graphs and equations.

Exponentials and Logs

This unit will explore powers of numbers and problem solving, including growth and depreciation.

Big Data

This unit will investigate how to analyse and transmit extremely large data sets.

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 likely 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, and engagement with the University of Derby departments. One example is working in the Virtual Reality Lab in our computing faculty. 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

Fees and funding


There are two types of financial support you may require for this course.

Tuition fees

The cost of the course will be between £3,000 and £4,000 depending on the Diploma.

If you are aged over 18 years of age on the first day of the academic year, whether you will have to pay for the cost of your course or not depends on criteria such as age, eligibility for discounts, and whether you live in the UK, European Union (EU) or overseas.

When you have enrolled, our Fees Team will check if you and your course are eligible for any fee remission or discounts (not to be mistaken with the Further Education Bursary Funds), or whether you will need to personally finance the course.

Further information on tuition fees

Bursary funding

A means tested Bursary may be available to learners on this course to help with Transport costs, Childcare, Equipment, Kit, Uniform, Books, Professional memberships etc.

Further information about bursary funding

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.


After completing your access course, you can progress to a degree in any discipline relevant to the study of computing. Some examples include:

A degree in computing can lead to many varied and exciting career opportunities for graduates. Some examples include cyber security, information technology, computer games development and testing, and data science. After graduation, you will have a comprehensive knowledge of computer science which will have prepared you for employment.

There are also multiple graduate traineeships available for graduates of computing subjects, leading to excellent career development with established organisations and start-up companies.

For further information about your career prospects, you can contact our careers team at

Find out more about our careers service

Contact us

Course +44(0)1332 591080

If you need any more information from us, eg on courses, accommodation, applying, car parking, fees or funding, please contact us and we will do everything we can to help you.

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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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