Access to Higher Education (Medical Sciences) Course at Varndean College



Days:  Tues, Wed & Thurs
Times: Can vary between 8.40am - 4.10pm Exact times can only be confirmed nearer the start date.


Foundation Chemistry + Biology, Science in Society, Human Biology, Microbiology, Immunology and Infection Control, Maths, Individual Research Project


This course is popular with adults who have a vocational route in mind and need science qualifications to gain entry to the relevant course in HE. The course team offer a supportive environment for learners who may have not studied science since school. The course is primarily based around Biology (approx 50%), although you will also study the foundation principles of Chemistry (20%) and develop your Mathematics and Information Technology skills.  To be successful on this course, basic Maths skills are required and if you do not have a Level 2 qualifications in Maths, we will offer you advice at interview. 

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Your future choices at University

This course prepares you for a very wide range of both science and vocational courses. If you plan to apply for a vocational degree course, eg. physiotherapy, midwifery or nursing, we recommend strongly that you arrange volunteering or currently work in the health care sector.  Here are some examples of the degree courses followed by our students on completion of their Access programme. THIS COURSE WILL NOT HOWEVER PROVIDE ACCESS TO A DEGREE IN MEDICINE.

  • Sports Science
  • Nursing
  • Physiotherapy 
  • Environmental Science
  • Dental Nursing
  • Podiatry
  • Teaching/Education
  • Botany
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Nutritional Science
  • Paramedics
  • Forensic Science

Term one:

The first term’s work is designed to help you return to academic study.  The aim of the following units is, therefore, to give you an introduction to Foundation Biology; Foundation Chemistry; Human Physiology and Mathematics.


  • Cell structure
  • Biological molecules
  • Atomic structure
  • Chemical bonding
  • Global Warming
  • The Heart and Circulation
  • Breathing and gas exchange

You will also receive tutorial help and guidance with your application to university.

Term two:

The second term encourages the development of independent learning and the study skills necessary for success in HE through the study of the topic ‘Science in Society’.  You will study the impact of scientific research in the fields of Biology and Chemistry, on our lives. You will cover topics such as DNA technology and the impact of human activity on our environment.  Human Physiology, Mathematics and IT also continue this term.

Term three:

During the third term, you will practise your academic skills through an independent research topic and presentation of your findings. Your tutors will supervise you and support your choice of project.


The assessment reflects the skills that you will need at university and so it will be a combination of essay writing, report writing, end of unit tests and coursework assignments. You will work individually, in pairs and sometimes in groups. You will be encouraged to feedback and present your ideas to the group. Most units will be graded a Pass, Merit or Distinction. 


  Level Credits
Introducing Academic Study Skills 3 6


  Level Credits
Maths for the Natural Sciences: Number 3 3
Maths for the Natural Sciences: Algebra 3 3
Maths for the Natural Sciences: Statistics 2 3


  Level Credits
Extended Independent Academic Study (Scientific Project) 3 9


  Level Credits
Foundation Biology 3 6
Foundation Chemistry 3 6
Integrated Science Skills 3 3
Science in Society: Biology 3 6
Science in Society: Chemistry 3 6
Human Biology 3 6
Microbiology, Immunology and Infection Control 3 3


Courses subject to availablity and details subject to change

“My approach and engagement is entirely different - I want to be here! I would recommend a Varndean Access course to anyone who is returning to education.”

“I studied Chemistry to complement my existing Biology qualification and give a greater understanding of the interaction between the two subjects. I chose Varndean as it provided all the necessary science background required to apply to university.”

“I chose Varndean to follow a Science based Access course as the one here was the most in-depth, involved and varied. I thought this would give me the best foundation for going to university and my chosen career.” ”

“I chose Varndean because the Science course was tailored perfectly for the qualifications required to study Physiotherapy.”