Access to Higher Education Diploma (Social Science and Health) - Health Studies Course Online | learndirect

Access to Higher Education Diploma (Social Science and Health) - Health Studies


Under the broad umbrella of social science, the fundamental focus is on human relationships and the way they interact with society.  A continuing issue is making certain that each and every community has access to the healthcare they need.

If you want to take a further look at today’s health issues and the impact society and social factors have on healthcare, you can do so with the Access to Higher Education Diploma (Social Science and Health). This qualification is a flexible substitute to A-levels for students interested in pursuing a social science or a health-related degree.

You can begin your studies at university once you have successfully finished your course. A degree in social science or a health-related course will prepare you for a range of different career paths. A significant amount of students go on to work in a social care or health setting, in roles such as housing services adviser, health adviser or community support worker. By pursuing this path, you can effectively make a difference in the private, public or voluntary sector.

Check your new qualification is right for you

We strongly recommend that you contact the university, or teaching institution, you wish to attend and check that the entrance criteria for the degree course you aspire to can be met by this qualification. University admissions policies differ so it’s worth making sure you have the right course for your particular needs.

How does the course work? 

You’ll learn online from home, fitting in assignments around family life or a full-time job and taking the initial step towards an exciting new career.  As there are no term dates, you can sign up and get started at any point throughout the year, and you have anything in between 6 and 18 months to complete your study.
With easy to understand course materials, you can make the most of the interactive content we provide. Our innovative online learning environment is a hub of information. Stay in touch with learndirect tutors via email, phone or by using the online portal.  Additionally, you can connect with likeminded students.

In order to successfully complete your Access to HE Diploma (Social Science and Health), you will need a learning plan to manage your own time effectively. You’ll receive regular deadline reminders from us to help you get a step closer to the university of your choice.



Module 1: Preparing to study

On completion of this unit you will:

  • Understand how study is organised and planned.
  • Understand how to apply theories of learning in relation to personal approaches to learning.
  • Understand a range of constraints upon study.
  • Understand the importance of assessment feedback.

Module 2: Academic writing skills 

On completion of this unit you will:

  • Be able to write with relevance in responding to an academic task.
  • Know how to interpret and discuss concepts and debates in responding to a set, academic writing task.
  • Be able to summarise for academic purposes, selecting key points, information or central ideas.
  • Understand the role of reference, allusion and paraphrase to avoid plagiarism.

Module 3: Preparing a written assignment   

On completion of this unit you will:

  • Understand how to use key information sources.
  • Understand why sources are acknowledged and referenced.
  • Understand a range of reading strategies.
  • Understand note-making methods.
  • Understand how to plan draft and produce a written assignment.

Module 4: Independent research 

On completion of this unit you will:

  • Be able to plan a piece of research on an approved subject area.
  • Be able to collect research material from different sources.
  • Be able to use data to substantiate an argument.
  • Be able to record sources of information.
  • Be able to present research findings.

Module 5: The origins of the welfare state

On completion of this unit you will:

  • Understand what is meant by the term social welfare.
  • Know the purpose of the 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act and its effects on society.
  • Explain and discuss early twentieth century Liberal Reforms and their effect on society.
  • Recognise the significance of the Beveridge Report.
  • Recognise the social problems which the Welfare State attempted to address.

Module 6: Progressing to Higher Education

On completion of this unit you will:

  • Understand potential next steps in education.
  • Understand key sources of information relevant to HE application.
  • Understand personal HE opportunities.
  • Understand the financial implications of further study.
  • Know how to apply for a course.

Module 7: Approaches to health   

On completion of this unit you will:

  • Understand how definitions of health and ill health are socially constructed.
  • Understand different explanatory models of health and ill health.
  • Understand the different ways in which people respond to illness.
  • Understand contrasting sociological perspectives on health.

Module 8: Equality and diversity within health care   

On completion of this unit you will:

  • Understand equality and diversity within health care.
  • Understand the rights of the individual in a health care setting.
  • Understand the impact of equality and diversity legislation for health care.

Module 9:  The history of the National Health Service

On completion of this unit you will:

  • Understand the reasons for the rise in public provision of health care between the mid19th century and 1948.
  • Understand the background to and the founding principles of the National Health Service as part of the introduction of the Welfare State.
  • Understand the political trends which have shaped the National Health Service since 1948.
  • Understand the ethos of the contemporary National Health Service.

Module 10:  Contemporary health issues   

On completion of this unit you will:

  • Understand the ethical considerations for health care professionals
  • Understand current contemporary health care issues
  • Understand the rationale for health care resource allocation

Module 11: The roles and responsibilities of health care professionals  

On completion of this unit you will:

  • Understand the changes to the roles and responsibilities of health care professionals
  • Understand the role of professional bodies for health care professionals
  • Understand the current multidisciplinary approach to health care
  • Understand the influence of health care professionals on health care policy

Module 12: Introduction to psychology   

On completion of this unit you will:

  • Understand the importance of research in psychology
  • Understand the main approaches in psychology
  • Understand ethical issues in psychological research

Module 13: The Brain & nervous system   

On completion of this unit you will:

  • Understand the major sub divisions of the nervous system
  • Understand the structure and function of glial cells and neurons

Module 14: Introduction to cognitive psychology   

On completion of this unit you will:

  • Understand research in an area of cognitive psychology
  • Understand how the findings of research into cognitive processes can be applied to real-life issues

Module 15: Abnormal psychology   

On completion of this unit you will:

  • Understand the difficulties faced by psychologists in the definition and diagnosis of abnormal behaviour.
  • Understand a psychological disorder.
  • Understand therapy used to treat people with psychological disorders.

Module 16:  Introduction to sociology

On completion of this unit you will:

  • Understand the sociological approach and its distinction from common sense and other social sciences.
  • Understand basic concepts in sociological explanation.
  • Understand contrasting sociological perspectives.
  • Understand concepts and perspectives relating to a specific social institution.

Module 17: Sociology of health

On completion of this unit you will:

  • Understand concepts and models of health.
  • Understand the social construction of health and ill health.
  • Understand alternative approaches to health.

Module 18: Poverty & health

On completion of this unit you will:

  • Understand definitions of and explanations for poverty and health.
  • Understand approaches to poverty and health.
  • Understand the approaches to the social distribution of health chances.

Module 19:  Social factors in health care

On completion of this unit you will:

  • Understand sociological factors influencing the relationships between patients and health professionals
  • Understand the role of social motivational factors in health and ill health.
  • Understand the significance of social support networks in health care and maintenance.


If you wish to start your Access to Higher Education Diploma right now, you should hold a GSCE in maths and English (or equivalent) at grade C or above. It is a common requirement for entry to most universities and degrees. However, you can also have a relevant NVQ at level 2 if you wish to study a related degree at university.
Access to Higher Education Diplomas have been designed to help learners follow their academic aspirations and get them into their choice university. You must be mindful that each university has its own admission criteria, and some may even differ from course to course. These can include, but not be limited to: 
A certain number of credits passed with a merit or a distinction.
A face-to-face interview at the university
Literacy and numeracy assessments provided by the university. 
Course-related work placements or work experience
GCSE Grade A – C in Maths and English (or equivalent level 2 such as Functional Skills/Key Skills etc.) Or a full level 2 NVQ qualification in a related subject.
Students wishing to gain entry to higher education at the end of this Diploma should conduct some preliminary research on the admission criteria as soon as possible, to avoid disappointment. Each learner is responsible for researching the entry criteria and ensuring they meet the requirements. learndirect is not able to accept responsibility if anyone completing an Access to HE Diploma fails to secure an offer from a higher education institution. 


A range of units make up this qualification, with an assignment at the end of each. You will submit your work to your tutor for marking and tailored feedback. You must acquire 60 credits in total in order to achieve the Access to HE Diploma in Social Science and Health. Of these credits, 45 will be taken from graded units which focus on academic content. The remaining 15 come from ungraded units included to help you advance your study skills.

The approximate amount of time required to complete the course is 361 hours.


Open College Network West Midlands Access to Higher Education (Social Science and Health)

On successful completion of the Open College Network West Midlands Access to Higher Education Diploma (Social Science and Health) you will receive a QAA recognised Access to HE Diploma at level 3 (QAA ref: (40008861).This course has also been assigned 60 credits.

Open College Network West Midlands

Open College Network West Midlands is a national Awarding Organisation, regulated by Ofqual, the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) and Qualifications Wales, to develop and award nationally recognised qualifications.

Open College Network West Midlands work in partnership with employers, training providers, colleges, universities, schools and voluntary and community organisations to offer vocational credit-based qualifications, Access to Higher Education Diplomas and quality assured Customised Accreditation that enables learners gain employment or to progress into further learning and Higher Education. Open College Network West Midlands also Quality Endorse organisations internal training and skills delivery.

Your Access to Higher Education Diploma and the way it is delivered within our innovative learning platform is designed to give you the best possible chance of fulfilling your dream of studying at university. Higher Education Degrees confirm to any employer your intellect, motivation and ability to work independently to succeed not just in your area of specialism but also life itself. A higher education degree is a gateway qualification that will allow you to apply 1,000's of graduate programmes as well as setting you apart from those who don't have a degree.

Need proof of your English and Maths skills? Want to catch up and learn more English and Maths? You can for free when you sign up to this learndirect course.

Get your NUS Extra card

All professional development students are eligible for the NUS Extra card, which gives you access to over 200 UK student discounts with brands like Co-op, Amazon and ASOS. Apply and find out more at

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