SWAP Access to Allied Health Professions SCQF 6 (Online Virtual Classroom)

What is special about this course?

Explore your path to a rewarding career with the Scottish Wider Access Programme (SWAP)

This exciting new programme is designed for mature students who have been out of education for some time and wish to pursue a career in the Allied Health Professions (AHP). Whether considering a career change or having experience as a support worker, this programme provides the qualifications needed for a degree in: 

  • Oral Health
  • Podiatry
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Physiotherapy
  • Paramedic Science
  • Midwifery 

This programme covers essential topics such as Values and Principles, Human Development and Behaviour, Mental Health, Health Promotion, Physiology, Neurobiology, Immunology, and Mathematics for Science. Allied health professionals, the third largest clinical workforce in NHS Scotland, enhance health and wellbeing, signpost additional services, and work in various settings including community environments, hospitals, and schools. Opportunities also exist in research, education, and leadership, making AHP roles diverse and impactful within the NHS.

Recognised entry route to leading universities

SWAP is a fantastic opportunity for those with few or formal qualifications to advance to higher education. It is recognised by UHI, Napier, Robert Gordon, Stirling, and Queen Margaret Universities as a suitable entry route for AHP degrees.

Entry requirements

Formal qualifications are not usually required to apply for a SWAP access programme. The skills and knowledge gained through employment or personal experience are valued and considered.

A SWAP programme could be for you if:

  • You don't have any qualifications above SCQF level 5 (Standard Grade, Int 2, GCSE or equivalent) and have been out of full-time education for at least 3 years; OR
  • You already have qualifications at SCQF level 6 or higher (Highers, A Levels, HN) and have been out of full-time education for at least 5 years;
  • You can commit to college on a full-time basis;
  • You aim to progress to study at university or to college to do an HNC/D.

Non-eligibility factors:

  • Adults who do not have pre-settled or settled status/indefinite leave to remain in the UK would not normally be eligible. International students are not eligible.
  • Students who have already successfully completed a SWAP programme are not normally eligible.
  • Students who already hold a university degree (Ordinary or Honours) are NOT eligible.
  • Students who have previously studied at university, but did not complete their degree due to illness or personal circumstances, may be considered but the SWAP Office should be contacted for guidance on this before applying to college.

Students from the rest of the UK not currently living in Scotland must contact SWAP before applying, to discuss eligibility.

Potential learners will be invited for an interview with one of our Health and Social Care team to assess suitability for the course, which will also provide an opportunity for them to ask any questions they have about the course.

You will study:

  • Values & Principles
  • Human Development and Behaviour
  • Social Influences
  • Health Promotion
  • Introduction to Basic First Aid
  • Health, Safety and Protection Issues in Care Settings
  • Understanding of Mental Health and Mental Illness
  • Human Cells
  • Physiology and Health
  • Neurobiology and Immunology
  • Introductory Biology
  • The Human Body
  • Prep for HE
  • Communication NC
  • Literature 1
  • Mathematics for Science 2


Students need a reliable Wi-Fi connection and a suitable device with a camera and microphone (such as a laptop or PC) to access the course.

How will I study my course?

  • Full Time

Online Virtual Classroom

You will learn online through timetabled classes in a virtual classroom with your lecturer. You’ll use our virtual learning environment to access resources, complete assessments, and chat with your lecturer and classmates.

Commitment is required for 14 hours of timetabled study per week: Tuesday morning, and all day Wednesday and Thursday. Additionally, 16 hours per week of independent study is expected.


The course includes both open and closed-book assessments. Students living near one of our campuses or centres are expected to attend in person for closed-book assessments. For those not living near a campus or centre, alternative arrangements will be made.

How long will my course last?

1 Academic Year

Where can I study my course?

    • Study from anywhere including your local campus or centre

Start date



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

What can I do on completion of my course?

Successful completion of this course will allow you to apply for entry to the following degree programmes:

  • UHI – Oral Health Sciences, Nursing
  • Napier University – Midwifery
  • Queen Margaret University – Podiatry, Occupational Therapy, Paramedic Science, Nursing
  • Robert Gordon University – Midwifery, Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy, Paramedic Practice
  • Stirling University – Paramedic Science, Nursing

Allied health professionals form the third-largest clinical workforce in NHS Scotland. They assess, diagnose, and treat individuals of all ages to improve health, wellbeing, and quality of life. AHPs also guide patients to additional services for further care and support. AHPs can work in various settings, including community environments, GP practices, hospitals, patients' homes, prison services, and schools.

AHPs also engage in research and development to inform practice and improve services, facilitate learning to support the education and development of others and take on leadership roles to manage teams and services.

The opportunities for AHPs within the NHS are vast. Whether drawn to clinical practice, research, education, or leadership, a career in the Allied Health Professions can be both fulfilling and impactful.

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.

Apply for SWAP Access to Allied Health Professions SCQF 6 (Online Virtual Classroom)

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.