Access to Higher Education SCQF 5 (Online Virtual Classroom) NQ

What is special about this course?

Do you need highers to pursue your chosen career or study path? Did you miss out on Highers at school and want another chance to achieve your ambitions. 

Access to Higher Education is a full-time course that gives you the chance to develop your dreams into definite career plans whatever they are.

Access to Higher Education is for both school leavers and adult learners who wish to return to education but who might not have achieved entry requirements at school.

Access to Higher Education offers you a personal planning session, as part of your interview, to help you decide which qualifications are best for you to take in your route to your future goals.

Access to Higher Education is an opportunity to choose 3 subjects from a range of subjects at National 5 (SCQF level 5) and Higher (SCQF level 6). We offer you three different routes into higher education: a science route, a humanities route or a pick and mix route, made of both science and humanities. This will take you on your journey to higher education or it will help prepare you for any profession. It's really up to you.

Access to Higher Education is an excellent way to prepare for higher education and future employment.

During your course, we introduce you to using a range of digital technologies, which will help you get the most from your course and at the same time develop your digital skills. Find out more about key computing skills and essential student skills

Entry requirements

  • Three passes at National 4 level.
  • Adult returners do not require any formal qualifications but must demonstrate the ability to work at SCQF level 5. Entry to the course for all students will be decided after a face-to-face interview with the course leader. We’ll be inviting you by email to attend course information sessions between now and the start of your course. We’d urge you to come along if at all possible.

The choice of some elective courses may be subject to availability.

You will select three from the following list of National 5 (SCQF level 5) qualifications listed below. Please include your preferred National options on your application. 

    Applicants can select three courses (only one option per day)

    Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday
    National 5 Maths National 5 Business Management National 5 Psychology National 5 Physics
    National 5 Computer Science National 4 Maths National 5 English PC Passport Units (level 5)
        National 5 Environmental Science  
        Cyber Security (level 5)  

    3 core units

    Core units are independent learning experiences supported by your lecturers online and in person, in study sessions. These are a required part of your Access to Higher Education course. Success in these units will ensure your journey to your final exams.

    • Research and Study Skills will teach you how to conduct effective research and evaluation
    • Core Skills Information and Communication Technology will give you confidence in using electronic systems to support your academic work.
    • Presenting Information will help you bring together your learning and present it effectively and professionally.


    Internet connection and a suitable device with headphones, microphone and camera (minimum spec) is required. Please email us if you have any concerns about connectivity or equipment.

    How will I study my course?

    • Full Time
    • Online

    You normally need to commit to 18 hours per week (2-3 days) of learning time consisting of timetabled learning and personal study.

    Timetabled learning will take place in an online virtual classroom where you connect and interact with your lecturer and classmates using video, voice and text chat. You will also complete flexible self-directed study which you can do at a time convenient to you.

    You will be assessed through a combination of practical tasks and open and closed-book assessments throughout the year. You may have to attend a college centre or other exam centre for some of these – we can discuss this with you upon application.

    How long will my course last?

    34 Weeks

    Where can I study my course?

      • Study from anywhere including your local campus or centre

    Start date

    Late August/early September


    Find out more about fees, fee waivers and funding options.


    Students may qualify for bursary, EMA or childcare funding.

    What can I do on completion of my course?

    Successful students will be able to progress onto other courses at UHI North, West and Hebrides or other colleges and universities and have enhanced employment prospects. You may also wish to progress onto our Access to Higher Education SCQF 6 course.

    Is there more information available online?

    QR Code - scan to visit course page

    You can use the above QR code to connect directly to the course details.

    I chose this course to help me get back into studying before hopefully going onto a university course next year.  I've really enjoyed my three Highers but I think the most useful module was the Study and Research Skills because they taught me how to learn properly again!  It's really helped boost my confidence.  I would definitely recommend the course for anyone who wants to go back to Uni but maybe hasn't studied in a while. 

    Charmayne Fraser 

    Apply for Access to Higher Education SCQF 5 (Online Virtual Classroom) NQ

    I want to start in 2024/25

    We are delighted that you are thinking about studying at UHI North, West and Hebrides. UHI North, West and Hebrides operates a fair and open admissions system committed to equality of opportunity and non-discrimination. We consider all applications on merit and on the basis of ability to achieve, without discrimination on grounds of age, disability, gender identity, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity status, race, religion and/or belief, sex, sexual orientation or socio-economic background. We welcome applications from all prospective students and aim to provide appropriate and efficient services to students with disabilities.