Cms page top banner area

Access to Higher Education Diploma: Humanities and Social Science

Applications for the 2023/24 cohort are now open

Applications for the 2023/24 cohort are now open. Please click here to begin your application.

Excited to re-enter higher education but don’t have the A-Levels to get there? Our Access to Higher Education Diploma is London's only part-time evening Access course that offers you the chance to make a fresh start and provides a nationally recognised qualification, leading you straight to studying for a degree at university.

With us, you will study Literature, History, Sociology and Study Skills, earning you 60 Level 3 Credits over the course of the year -- equivalent to 3 A-Levels. Like others, our course is highly intensive and aims to build your knowledge, skills and confidence in order to be ready for degree-level study.

"As cliché-ridden as it is, the Access to Humanities course really did change my life and expand my horizons in that special way that education and first class teaching can."


Key facts about the City Lit Evening Access course

• One-year intensive evening programme validated by OCN London

• Course cost: £3,022 (Up-front payment of £199 required upon enrolment, with balance eligible to be paid off by the Advanced Learner Loan).

• The Advanced Learner Loan is cancelled upon successful completion of your higher education course. This means you don't have to repay it if you go on to complete a university degree.

• Teaching takes place every Tuesday and Thursday evening from 6- 9.15pm from September to June. 

• You are expected to attend all weekly sessions, complete 15 hours of additional preparatory work each week, and attend personal tutorials from 5-6pm, every 2-3 weeks

• We support learners through the UCAS application process in Study Skills and tutorials

• You will be expected to complete 20 written assignments throughout the year

"I am also very grateful for you and all the other teachers for the enthusiasm and support you gave to me and all the students. I must admit I couldn’t have asked for a better place to be doing the Access course!"


Is the course right for you?

Access courses are incredibly challenging and as a result, we  ask that you consider the following questions before applying:

• Will you be able to commit the appropriate amount of time? Our Access course requires intensive and committed attendance, as well as at least an additional 15 hours of weekly study outside of classes. Whilst it is not unknown for learners to complete this around full-time work, we feel it is imperative to let you know what to expect.

• Will you be able to manage your time and commitments effectively? You will be studying several different subjects at once, so it is also crucial that you can manage your time efficiently and are ready to commit to a high degree of independent work. This will need to fit around your existing work and family commitments.

• Do you feel confident about your writing ability? Whilst we provide additional Study Skills sessions to support your learning and success, it is important to note that you will be expected to complete up to 20 written essays throughout the year.

• Do you enjoy reading a range of texts, particularly regarding areas that you are not familiar with? Due to the course structure, you will need to be able to read and respond to a range of fiction and non-fiction texts outside of class hours and subsequently communicate information and ideas logically and effectively. 

If you were able to answer positively to all four questions, then we would definitely recommend that you apply and we look forward to receiving your application. 

Not sure that you can commit just yet, but still want to start working towards a degree? Sign up to one of City Lit’s other Humanities courses today as it will all support your UCAS statement when you are ready to apply.

"Definitely challenging returning to study at this level, but the structure of the course is fantastic and support from staff and other students has given me the opportunity to develop and succeed!"


Entry requirements

As a course designed for those who would like to study for a degree but left school without the usual qualifications, our requirements comprise of the following:

• English or Maths GCSE (or L2 equivalents demonstrated in your application and written assessment)

• Completing and passing our online application form, including the submission of extended written answers

• Passing an interview aimed at assessing your suitability for study

• Passing a written assessment aimed at assessing your timed writing

• Attendance to the course induction usually taking place during the evening, 1 week before the course begins.


What do City Lit Access students apply to study and where?

Students typically apply for degrees in the core subjects or related disciplines such as anthropology, education, philosophy, politics and sometimes languages. The following institutions are the most popular destinations:

• University of London (UCL, Queen Mary, Birkbeck, Goldsmiths),

• London School of Economics

• Nottingham University

• Queen Mary University

• University of Westminster

• University of Sussex

• University of Exeter

• University of Newcastle

• University of Brighton 

• University of Glasgow

Past students have also achieved awards and bursaries from the Helena Kennedy Foundation, OCN and the Open College Network. Learn more about their journeys here.



If you have any queries, please contact the Access team at You can also write to this email address to request a callback from the course coordinator.


How to apply

Applications for the 2022/23 cohort are now open. Please click here to apply.

If you have any questions, please email the Course Coordinator Fiona Nerberg at

Best of luck!

"I just want to make this clear: studying at City Lit was the best educational experience I've had. Thank you."