Access Programme

Structure and Content

The Access Programme is offers three strands for you to choose from, all designed to help you prepare for undergraduate degree-level study.

Access students in a classroom

Teaching in 2023/2024

All teaching for this year's part-time Access Programme will take place on campus at the University of Edinburgh's Centre for Open Learning (COL).

The centre is located on the University's Holyrood Campus.


The Access Programme has three strands. Which strand you study on depends on whether you intend to progress to Art and Design-based degree programmes (Access Art and Design), degree programmes in Humanities and Social Sciences (Access Humanities and Social Sciences) or a degree programme in Languages (Access Languages and Cultures).

The strands within the Access Programme have been specifically designed to ensure you have the best possible start to your university learning experience. As each strand progresses, their academic, individual study and assessment requirements will gradually become closer to those you will experience in your first year of degree level study.


If you are uncertain which strand would suit you best, please contact Admissions at

Timetable and Teaching

You will need to have around 20 hours each week that you can dedicate to your studies. This includes around 6-7 hours for in-person classes, time for other meetings and activities, and time for studying independently, preparing for classes and working on your assignments.

You will be taught like any other university student, but with more time to discuss topics, and with more support. Teaching will include pre-recorded lectures, in-person tutorials and, for Art and Design students, studio-based practical classes.

Please see the current timetable and rooming info below for 22/23 students. Please note, 23/24 scheduling will be confirmed in July and will look very similar to the below examples.

Access Timetable 2023/24

Access Rooming 2022/23


You will have to complete coursework during the year in the form of essays, reflective writing, presentations, exams and artwork for the Art and Design strand. The programme has been designed to help build your confidence and we’ll give you the chance to practice coursework and learn from feedback before we give you formal marks and grades.

Throughout Semester 1 you will receive helpful feedback on your work and at the end of the semester, we will review your work and attendance to agree if you are ready to progress onto Semester 2. In Semester 2, you will receive marks and grades for your coursework which will count towards your final course grades.

Additional activities

All Access Programme students will also have to complete an online learning journal over the course of their studies. This will allow an opportunity for reflection and allow tutors to provide tailored advice and support.

Time will also be allocated for guidance. This may involve online one-to-one meetings and talks from Admissions on submitting university (UCAS) applications, etc.

In addition to the scheduled learning, students will need to ensure they make time for independent study. This will involve time preparing for classes and working on assignments and the online learning journal.