Access to Degree Studies


Stirling is a place where ability – not background – is valued. We want to help you redefine your potential, and our Access to Degree Studies programme is the perfect place to start.


Key informationPathwaysEnquire

Key information


Qualification: Access degree
Start date: Mid-August
Course Director: Dr Dalene Swanson

Fees and funding


Course fee: £490 (2018/19)
Find out how to apply for SAAS funding

Why Access at Stirling?


The Access to Degree Studies programme at the University of Stirling is specifically designed for students aspiring to undergraduate studies at university, but have not, for whatever reason, acquired the necessary high school credits for entry or these may be out of date.

The one-year Access course acts as a bridging programme that prepares students for entry to university as well as academic study and life at university. The programme has three pathways – Science, Nursing, and Social Science (General), that offer entry into various disciplines that prepare students for rewarding careers in Sociology, Criminology, Social Policy, Social Work, Psychology, Education, Nursing, Business Management, Environmental Management, Science, Mathematics, Biology, Sports Studies, Sports Management, and Politics. It also offers opportunities for entry into other courses such as Media Studies, Economics, Law, and many more interesting subjects and professional careers.

Students can choose four subjects from a range on offer depending on which pathway they are registered in. Two further Learning Strategies modules are required courses. Access students need an overall average of 50% or above for all six courses to gain entry into an undergraduate course of study at the University of Stirling.

The Access programme begins in mid-August each year before the start of the standard university academic year, and culminates in a ‘celebration of success’ evening in June of the following calendar year for those that have been successful.

Over the years, the Access programme at the University of Stirling has successfully enabled many students to gain entry into undergraduate study, and some have gone on to successfully complete postgraduate study up to doctoral level. Some now tutor on our programme themselves.

What pathways do you offer?


The Access to Degree Studies at the University of Stirling offers three pathways.These pathways are:

  • Science,
  • Nursing
  • Social Science (General)

For Nursing, students need to complete Introduction to Science, Human Biology, Mathematics, and Data Skills. For Science students, these options are also available as well as the further option of taking Environmental Management.

For the Social Science / General pathway, students can choose Introduction to Social Science, Sociology, Politics, Business Management, Education, Psychology, Social Psychology, but may also a Science course, such as Environmental Management.

For each of the three pathways, Learning Strategies I and II are required courses, taken once in each semester. Students are required to take six modules, and the two Learning Strategies modules are included in this amount.         

How and what will I learn?


Students will learn introductory content of a number of subjects that will facilitate their knowledge about courses they may take in undergraduate study or careers they may wish to go into. They will gain knowledge, insights, and skills that will assist them when in undergraduate study, including how to learn in a higher education academic environment. This means they will also learn how to produce academic arguments, write academically, learn with others, facilitate their own learning and the learning of their peers.

The focus of the study is less on content learning and more on critical and academic thinking and argumentation. Seminars are not lecture-style but an opportunity to question, debate, discuss, and learn individually and collaboratively with others. Assessment includes essay writing, presentations, group discussions, problem-solving exercises, and short learning tasks. In most subject areas, there is a 1.5 hour exam at the end of the semester that forms part of your course work requirements. Co-operative learning and class participation and engagement is a necessary criterion for success in this programme.

For those needing academic or personal support, there are various services available at the university, mostly available through the Student Hub. These include Student Services, the Careers Office, Student Programmes, Student Learning Services, Student Support Services, The Union and Inclusion offices, and the Library. If you suspect you may have dyslexia, you can be tested on campus at Support Services, and support and accommodations may be available to you throughout your university career.

A number of Access students and undergraduate students have availed themselves of this service. Students are encouraged to participate in university events and feel part of the university student community. Many Access programme year groups form informal study groups to support and encourage each other as well, which often increases the enjoyment and fulfilment felt in the programme. 

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