Access Programme

Structure and Content

The Access Programme is comprised of two strands designed to help you prepare for degree-level study.

Teaching

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. You will also benefit from meetings with your personal tutor and numerous educational visits throughout the year, in addition to your scheduled classes.

You will be taught like any other university student, but with more time to discuss and with more support. Classes will include lectures – where a tutor explains a topic often to a larger group; tutorials – where ideas or questions are discussed; and, for Art and Design students, practical work in the studio.

Strands

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

Access Humanities and Social Sciences

Access Art and Design

Available to study in the day or evening Available to study in the day only

Access Humanities and Social Sciences students take both Access Humanities and Access Social Sciences courses. Students who wish to progress to undergraduate study in Business, Psychology or Social Work will also be required to take Access Statistics.

Access Art and Design students will take Access Art and Design and either Access Humanities or Access Social Sciences.
  • Access Humanities courses will introduce you to a wide range of subjects including Classics, History, History of Art, Literature and Philosophy and will allow you to develop the skills and understanding you will require for successful degree study in the Humanities.
  • Access Social Sciences courses will introduce you to subjects such as Politics, Psychology, Social Policy and Sociology in order to allow you to better understand the work of social scientists and gain the skills required for successful degree study in a wide range of Social Science degree areas.
  • Statistics course will build students’ skills in evaluating the authenticity and reliability of data, in designing survey questions and collecting, analysing and presenting data of their own.
  • Access Art and Design courses aim to help students develop and refine their skills in art and design, allowing them to develop their portfolios and prepare them for the transition to the wide range of art and design degree programmes.
  • Access Humanities courses will introduce you to a wide range of subjects including Classics, History, History of Art, Literature and Philosophy and will allow you to develop the skills and understanding you will require for successful degree study in the Humanities.
  • Access Social Sciences courses will introduce you to subjects such as Politics, Psychology, Social Policy and Sociology in order to allow you to better understand the work of social scientists and gain the skills required for successful degree study in a wide range of Social Science degree areas.

Visit Access Humanities 

Visit Access Social Sciences

Visit Access Statistics

Visit Access Art & Design Courses

Visit Access Humanities

Visit Access Social Sciences

If you are uncertain which strand would suit you best, please contact Admissions at COL.Access@ed.ac.uk.

Timetable

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

We have designed a teaching timetable which will give you a good idea of your typical week's schedule. 

Location

Most classes will be held at the University’s Centre for Open Learning (COL), situated on the Holyrood Campus. COL provides a safe and friendly environment, with excellent facilities and expert staff. You will also visit other parts of the University (e.g. Central Library) and will receive advice and guidance on this once you are on the Programme.

Assessment

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 Personal Tutors to provide tailored advice and support.

Time will also be allocated for guidance. This may involve one-to-one meetings with Personal Tutors, guided visits to the University Library, talks from Admissions on submitting university (UCAS) applications, etc.

Throughout the year, we will organise a number of activities, such as trips to the theatre, gallery visits, film screenings, etc. We also encourage students to engage with University societies and clubs. These activities are intended to complement studies, to broaden horizons, encourage full engagement with campus life, and build a sense of belonging.

In addition to the scheduled classes, 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.