Access to Higher Education (Humanities Combined with Social Sciences) Course at Varndean College



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


This course is popular with adults who have vocational aspirations to work in the Public Sector or those who wish to apply for degree courses in Social Sciences, Humanities, Globalisation and International Relations/Development.  Key themes such as social class, poverty and inequality run throughout the core units of this course.  You will have the opportunity to engage in topical and academic debate.  The emphasis is on teaching you the relevant academic skills that you will need to be a successful student at university

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Your future choices at University

The following list reflects the destinations chosen by students in previous years:

  • Social Work
  • Teaching/Education
  • Social Policy
  • Mental Health
  • History
  • Politics
  • International Relations
  • Development Studies
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Archaeology
  • Anthropology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Therapy
  • Research

Term one:

The first term’s work is designed to help you return to academic study, building on the transferable life skills and work experience you may well have.  You will investigate academic research in relation to social issues such as poverty, inequality and mental health.

  • The History unit will offer opportunities to discuss different representations of poverty in the 19th and 20th centuries and how successive governments define poverty.
  • The Sociology unit will focus on inequality in society and different theoretical perspectives and explanations of  why people have such different life chances.
  • The Psychology unit will investigate how mental health is defined and treated.
  • The Academic Skills unit will introduce and offer you opportunities to practise note taking skills, critical reading skills, essay writing and research skills. There is an emphasis on reflective learning that will differentiate between your existing skills and experience.
  • Tutorial will focus on support and guidance with university applications.

Term two:

The second term encourages the development of independent learning and study skills for HE through the following units:

  • The History unit investigates the changing role of women and in particular how the Industrial Revolution affected home and work.
  • The Sociology unit studies the theoretical explanations of social class.
  • The Psychology unit will look at how society influences our behaviour
  • The Study Skills unit will focus on the appropriate interpersonal skills needed as a university student.
  • Tutorial help for university interviews is available.

Term three:

The third term offers you the opportunity to practise your academic skills through an independent Psychology research project and your Study Skills tutor will help you prepare a seminar presentation about your research work in progress. Your tutors will supervise you and support your choice of research project. You will also write essays on a popular protest movements in History and Crime and Deviance in Sociology.


The assessment reflects the skills that you will need at university so will be a combination of individual essay writing, timed essays, research tasks, presentations and group work.  Most units will be graded a Pass, Merit or Distinction.


  Level Credits
History: Changing Role of Women 3 6
History: Popular Protest in the 19th and 20th Century 3 3
History: Poverty in the 19th and 20th Century 3 6


  Level Credits
Independent Academic Study (Humanities and Social Science) 3 6



  Level Credits
Mental Health - Definitions and Treatments 3 3
Social Psychology 3 6
Social Enquiry: Crime and Deviance 3 6
Sociology: A Classless Society? 3 6
Sociology: Equal Opportunities 3 3



  Level Credits
Critical Thinking 3 3
Introducing Academic Study Skills 3 6
Reviewing and Planning for Future Study and Work 2 6



Courses subject to availablity and details subject to change

“Varndean has the best run Access Course. I have enjoyed learning how to write critically and debate in class - skills I will need at university.” 

“It has opened up new roads for me which I thought were previously closed.”

“Studying on the Access course at has proven to be the perfect route for an adult learner to re-enter education and study. The support and camaraderie of my fellow students have made the course one of the most rewarding experiences of my life and I would highly recommend it. With the help and guidance of the tutors, I am now confident and fully prepared to begin the next phase of my life at university.”

“The staff are the most enthusiastic I have ever been taught by and I feel very well supported.”