The College of West Anglia

Pre-Access Courses

Our pre-access courses allow you to experience studying again without the commitment of signing up to a full access course. So if you wish to get back into education or are looking for a change in career why not consider studying a pre-access course at UcWA?


Access to Higher Education

CAmbridge Access Validating Agency

Access to Higher Education courses provide the opportunity for career progression and further study at undergraduate level, including full honours degrees, foundation degrees and Higher National Certificates or Diplomas. Many Access students go on to succeed at university and beyond, with a large number pursuing new careers and seeing changes in their lives they had previously never thought possible.

Access courses are for anyone aged 19 and over who want to gain a level 3 qualification. They run over the course of a year, from September to June, and are designed for people who would like to study in higher education but left school without the qualifications needed to progress to university.

You will achieve an Access to Higher Education Diploma which is validated by the Cambridge Access Validating Agency and recognised as meeting the entry requirements for university.

Access to Medicine and Dentistry

Our Access to Higher Education: Medicine and Dentistry diploma is designed for adults who, for one reason or another, have not had the opportunity to study towards a degree or diploma, or have achieved in other areas and now wish to retrain to become a doctor. It may also be suitable for people who have previously taken a degree in a non-science subject and now want to retrain.

If you already hold a degree, then acceptance for the course will be dependant on degree classification. University medical schools do not usually accept students with a recent degree below grade 2:1. If you are in the latter category and in doubt, we advise you to check entry requirements with specific universities. Our course is well established and is recognised by 20 medical schools, with a separate pathway for those who wish to train in dentistry.

The dentistry pathway encompasses the same core subjects as medicine, with an additional subject option - 'the mouth in health and disease'. This unit involves study of the underlying principles of examination, diagnosis and treatment and includes periodontics and prosthetics. Students intending to progress to dental schools would benefit from taking this additional unit.

Before contacting us, please check the course page. Click here for more information.

Success Story

Tirion Miles

Access to Higher Education – Humanities & Social Sciences

Tirion is currently studying BA (Hons) British Sign Language and Deaf Studies at the University of Central Lancashire after successfully completing the Access to Higher Education – Humanities and Social Sciences course at the College of West Anglia (CWA). She chose to study an Access course as she wanted to study at university but didn’t have the required qualifications. After some research she decided to study an Access course in the evening at CWA rather than a foundation year at university as it allowed her to still work locally.

Tirion said: “I’m really pleased I decided to study an Access course at CWA. At first I was worried about working full-time and studying but with a bit of concentration it was easy to manage. Ultimately the course lead me where I wanted to go and I am extremely happy.”


Sev Lanckmans

Access to Higher Education: Medicine & Dentistry

Sev studied Access to Higher Education: Medicine and Dentistry at the King’s Lynn campus and is now studying Medicine at Brighton & Sussex University, with plans to specialise in anesthetics.

Sev said: “I didn’t do as well as I should, or could, have in my GCSEs so didn’t take my education any further. After a few years, I decided it was time to make a change. I wanted to work towards qualifying as a doctor, so going to college was the first step, and CWA is one of a limited number of colleges in the UK to offer an Access to Medicine course, which can be used to apply for University. I loved the broad spectrum of sciences covered, and the amount of practical work involved in the course. Plus, I had some amazing tutors who were really patient with me. I can’t thank them enough!”