The information below is designed to provide support for Higher Education Admissions Tutors.

If you can't find the information you're looking for, contact Victor Morgan, Access to Higher Education Manager.

What are the benefits of the new All Wales Access to Higher Education Diplomas?

The new Diplomas will:

  • improve standardisation and comparability across the Access to Higher Education Diplomas
  • ensure greater response to national priorities
  • comply with the new QAA specification for Access to Higher Education Diplomas.

Where can I find information about the new QAA specification for Access to Higher Education Diplomas and the UCAS tariff?

Visit the QAA website.

Access to HE: Information for Higher Education Admissions - Presentation Slides

Access to HE Diploma: Toolkit for HE admissions staff

Has the target group changed?


The new Diplomas are designed for learners who, because of social, education or individual circumstances, may have achieved few, if any prior qualifications and learners who wish to attend university as part of a career change.

What are the new Access to Higher Education Diplomas?

There are 16 Diplomas.

Each Diploma has been developed collaboratively with Welsh further education colleges and universities.


What is the qualification structure for the new Diplomas?

15 credits from the non-academic subjects e.g. communication, mathematics and/or study skills.  

These credits will be at Level 2 or ungraded Level 3.


45 credits from academic subject areas graded Level 3.

Each qualification has rules of combination that specify what modules (groups of related units) can count towards the Diploma.

When will the new Diplomas be available?

From September 2014, learners registered on Access to Higher Education courses will follow the new specifications. 

Prior to September 2014, learners registered on part-time courses will complete their studies using the ‘old’ specification.

How will the changes affect university ‘offers’?

Learners undertaking the new Diplomas will achieve 45 graded Level 3 credits.

It will therefore only be possible for offers to be based on 45 Level 3 grades.

What are the arrangements for accepting alternatives to GCSE achievement?

GCSE alternatives are only available where GCSE achievement is not a requirement for future entry into the profession. 

Subject areas currently requiring GCSE achievement include:

  • Social work
  • Speech and language
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Podiatry
  • Teaching (in England)

*This is not a definitive list. Learners and centres should contact admissions tutors for further guidance.

If learners intend to study and/or work in England during their career they are advised to achieve GCSE grade B in maths and English and grade C in science. 

BA (QTS) and PGCE Degree Programmes

WELSH Higher Education Institutions will accept 12 Level 2 credits in maths and English/communications plus three Level 3 credits as an alternative to the GCSE grade B requirements. 

Science entry requirements are GCSE grade C and 12 credits at Level 2 in science subjects are acceptable alternatives.

Other Degree Programmes

In most cases, 12 credits at Level 2 in maths and English/communications are acceptable alternatives where there are overarching entry requirements of GCSE grade C in maths and English.

Some of these credits may be achieved within the Access to Higher Education Diploma, but as Level 2 credits are limited in the new specification learners may have to achieve additional credits via the Skills for Further Study qualifications*.

(*Achievement of these units will be certificated separately to the AHE Diploma certificate.)

Please note, individual centres and Higher Education Providers can agree alternative arrangements.

Learners should contact admissions tutors in the early stages of their study to confirm the entry requirements of individual Higher Education Providers

How can I (or my team) contribute to or propose changes/additions to the new Diplomas? 

We regularly meet with staff from Higher Education Providers to gather feedback on existing Diplomas and discuss ideas for new Diplomas.

Alternatively, contact Victor Morgan, Access to Higher Education Manager.