Access courses

If you have been away from study for some time, or don’t have the usual entry requirements for a HN or degree, we have a range of access courses for you to choose from.  Access courses introduce you to higher education study and provide you with the skills to successfully complete a HN or degree qualification.  Many also have subject - specific content so you will be studying the subject of your interest during the access year.  You can see how access courses fit into the , and how they link to other university courses.


Access to UHI Degree Studies (PESS)*

Available from any UHI college, or study from home.

This will introduce students to the process of planning, implementing and evaluating skills acquisition and competence in areas of Learning and Study Skills, Communication Skills and Team Working Skills.  This course is a SCQF level 7 module which is being offered online to students across the Highlands and Islands to give entry qualifications to a number of UHI degree courses. Successful achievement of this course guarantees entry to BA Health Studies, BSc Rural development Studies and BA Child and Youth Studies.

* personal effectiveness and study skills


Archaeology and Local Studies

Available at Lews Castle College UHI.

Archaeology and Local Studies is a course which can be taken to provide extra qualifications to access the UHI’s archaeology degrees, and is a first year module in some degrees.  It is also open to anyone who’s just interested in learning more about the archaeology of their area, and archaeology generally. It will involve:

  • 2 hours per week taught classes for 10 weeks
  • Taught via video conferencing
  • Assessment: students will be expected to prepare and present a project based on their classes and their own research, with support from the tutor. 
  • Teaching material, links and readings will be made available through the UHI virtual learning network, on which students will be registered, and help in learning to use the computer resources will be given. 
  • In total the course should take 200 hours work to complete, and is worth 20 credits.

For further information contact Dr Mary MacLeod at


Access to History degree programmes

Available to study from home.

The University has approved some courses provided by the Distance Learning Centre * as an access route into our range of history degree programmes.  Access to Higher Education diplomas in the English, Social Sciences or Law streams are approved as suitable entry requirements. You may study these courses from home.  Upon successful completion, the diploma is equivalent to three A - levels, and as such suitable for entry to higher education institutions. 

* the Distance Learning Centre is an external provider.


Access to Humanities

Available at Perth College UHI

If you would like to get the benefits a Higher Education can bring, this course is for you. As well as proving your academic credibility, it will develop the skills you need to progress to a wide range of HNC, HND or degree courses.  Core skills are an essential part of this course and you will study IT, communications, numeracy and personal development planning. You will also take SQA Higher subjects relevant to your future study and intended career, choosing a minimum of three from English, psychology, history, politics and sociology.  The course allows progression to any of our range of undergraduate history degrees, and BA Social Sciences degree.


Access to Music and Sound NQ

Available at Perth College UHI

This practical-based course aims to introduce the knowledge required to follow a career path within the music industry. It will develop the skills needed to progress onto other music and sound engineering courses as well as offering the opportunity to take part in a high-energy performance experience as part of your studies.  You will learn about performance and song writing, digital audio equipment and recording. This course prepares you for further study in your chosen area of expertise.


Access to Nursing and Midwifery

Available at Perth College UHI

This course is particularly useful for adults who have been out of full-time education for at least three years and who want to enter a degree programme in nursing or midwifery.  Once you are accepted by Perth College UHI and have a successful second interview, you may be offered a conditional place in nurse training at the School of Nursing, University of Dundee, in Adult Nursing or Mental Health Nursing.


Access to Science, Technology and Health-Related Degrees

Available at Perth College UHI

This one – year course provides an ideal introduction to a career in science, technology, biotechnology or in health-related studies.  As well as an excellent grounding in a variety of scientific fields, it will also give you the skills and knowledge you need to have before you can go to university.   This course allows progression to other courses at Perth College UHI, including HNC in Applied Sciences or Pathway to Medicine.  Further study at other universities in science, technology, environment or health-related science fields may also be possible.


Access to Christian Theology

Available at Highland Theological College UHI or study from home.

The access course may be used as an entry route before embarking on the BA Theological Studies programme. Course modules include: Study Skills for Theology, Biblical Theology, Introduction to Systematic Theology, Introduction to the History of Christianity and Introduction to Pastoral Theology.


NC and NQ access courses

Almost all UHI colleges have a wide selection of NC (National Certificate) and NQ (National Qualification) courses.  NC and NQ courses are first level courses.  As such no previous knowledge of your chosen subject is required.  The typical entry requirements for an NQ or NC course is 3 or 4 Standard Grade passes at a level 3 or above, however for some NQ and NC courses no formal qualifications are required.  They are usually made up of three National Unit Credits and an external assessment.  One Unit Credit is equivalent to 40 hours of learning.  Most will require one year of study.  On successful completion of the course students can choose to progress on to either a Higher National Certificate (HNC), Higher National Diploma (HND), or degree course with UHI.  Please check the website of your chosen to find out which NC and NQ courses are available, and which HN or degree courses you may progress onto upon completion.



Non–certificated study

If you already have the usual entry requirements for your chosen course, but need to brush up on your study skills to work at higher education level, UHI has a dedicated online study skills course you can take.  Skills 4 Study is available on our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) to Blackboard], and covers all the essential skills needed for successful study at university.  There are no exams or tests, and you may study this non – certificated course at any time, and at your own pace, online.  Simply visit the VLE and click on ‘Course catalogue’ and ‘Induction’.  Skills 4 Study will appear on the list.