Rob Wignall, Access Diploma, UCA Rochester

Access to Higher Education Diploma in Art & Design UCA Rochester

Access to Higher Education Diploma in Art & Design

Course overview

If you're looking for a springboard to a degree course, a career change, or want to progress in your existing career, then the Access to Higher Education Diploma – Art & Design course at UCA Rochester is an ideal choice.

On this course, you’ll develop or rediscover the skills and confidence needed to succeed in the art and design world. You’ll be supported through individual tutorials, educational visits, a range of lectures, and opportunities to partake in live briefs and competitions.

Open to anyone over 19 years of age, this cours requires you to study with us for two days a week at our Rochester campus, normally experimenting in five disciplines – Fine Art, Fashion and Textiles, 3D Design, Lens-based Media and Visual Communications.

Throughout your studies, you’ll have your own dedicated studio space, and access to the same facilities as our undergraduate and postgraduate students.

The Access Diploma is specifically tailored to those re-entering education after a break, and the course will give you the chance to explore a range of art and design subjects while balancing other work or family commitments.

All staff members teaching this course are either active art and design practitioners or involved in research in their specialist fields, offering you a great opportunity to build relationships and learn directly from experts.

And because our Access Diploma is fully integrated with the other pre-degree and foundation courses on the Rochester campus, you’ll be working within a wider creative community where you can share ideas, techniques and project concepts. 

Length of study 1 year part-time
Campus Rochester
Entry requirements No formal qualifications
Course entry options Sept 2021, Sept 2022
Course details

Course details

The first part of your year will be spent delving into different areas of art and design, identifying your strengths and interests.

Introductory Stage
You’ll work on a project that covers a variety of disciplines across five pathways – Fine Art, Fashion and Textiles, 3D Design, Lens-based Media and Visual Communication. The aim of this stage is to develop your practical and conceptual skills, as well as introduce you to the broader area of art and design – helping you to identify your areas of strength and interest.


As the year progresses, you'll have more freedom to specialise. This helps you to grow as an artist and determines which creative direction your academic path and future career may lie in.
Specialist Studies
Engaging in a single project theme, you’ll specialise in one of the pathways explored in Stage 1, which will further nurture your skills and idea development. You’ll also acquire the verbal and written skills needed to present your ideas effectively and to engage in critical debate.

Final Project
Your creative and personal development will be realised by undertaking a final major project of your own choosing, culminating in a final exhibition.

Tuition fees
Currently, if you are an UK or EU student between 19 and 23 years old on the 31 August before your course starts, and studying for your first full level 3 qualification, you don’t have to pay any tuition fees.

If you do not meet the above criteria you will have to pay a tuition fee, the fee for 2021 entry has not been confirmed yet but once we have the details we will publish it here. As a guide the fee for 2020 entry was £3,928.

Additional course costs
In addition to the tuition fees please see the additional course costs for 2021 entry.

Further information
Find out more about our course fees and any financial support you may be entitled to:

These fees are correct for the stated academic year only. Costs may increase each year during a student’s period of continued registration on course in line with inflation (subject to any maximum regulated tuition fee limit). Any adjustment for continuing students will be at or below the RPI-X forecast rate.

See our Student regulations

Please note, syllabus content indicated is provided as a guide. The content of the course may be subject to change in line with our Student Terms and Conditions for example, as required by external professional bodies or to improve the quality of the course.


At UCA Rochester there are studio spaces for all pathways of the pre-degree and foundation courses; 3D workshops with machines for working a in range of materials with dedicated technical support; digital media suites with both Macs and PCs loaded with design software; specialist fashion studios for pre-degree students.


Pre-degree studios, UCA Rochester


Pre-degree studios, UCA Rochester


3D workshop, UCA Rochester


Pre-degree studios, UCA Rochester

Course connections

Course connections

After completing this course, most of our students progress to a degree course at UCA.

View all of our undergraduate degree courses


This course is part of our Diploma 2 Degree scheme which guarantees you a place on one of our undergraduate degrees after you have completed this course.

The process is simple and stress-free, letting you bypass lengthy application processes and avoid UCAS fees. There’s also no need for you to attend an interview.

More details about the scheme can be found on the Diploma 2 Degree pages.

Instead of further study you may also choose to progress directly into employment or do an apprenticeship in the industry.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

No formal qualifications are required. Entry is by interview and evidence of ability and commitment, in the form of a body of work or non-traditional portfolio.

Due to visa requirements, this course is not available to students that require a Tier 4 (General) visa. If you have another category of visa please contact us: to find out if you are eligible to study.

Don't meet the international entry requirements or English language requirements?

You may be able to enter the course through the following entry courses:

Pre-sessional English courses in the UK or China

UCA International Foundation courses

The UCA International College

For this course, you’ll be required to submit an online portfolio via your UCA Applicant Portal. Our course is designed to support anyone returning to education after a break. You may not have a traditional portfolio, or any previous formal art and design education, but wish to progress to higher education. We look for evidence of an interest in art and design and drawing skills. Further information on how to compile and upload your portfolio will be provided once you have applied. If you receive an offer, you’ll be invited to attend an Offer Holder Webinar where you can meet the course team and learn more about the course.

More portfolio advice

Apply now

UK applications

International & EU applications

Due to visa requirements, this course is not available to students that require a Tier 4 (General) visa.
If you have another category of visa please contact us: to find out if you are eligible to study.

If you're interested in joining Year 3 of this course, please contact our Admissions Team on +44 (0) 1252 892 960 or

When to apply:

Our deadline for applications is 31 March - if you can apply by this date then we guarantee to consider you. But, if we still have places available after this date, we'll consider late applications, too.

For more information visit our how to apply pages

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