Access to Degree Studies
Start date: August 2024
Duration: Two semesters
Mode of study: Part-time
Delivery: On-campus and online classes on Monday and Thursday evenings
Class time: Two 3-hour classes each week
Independent study: 6-10 hours per week
Fees and funding
Course fee: £575 (2024-25)
SAAS part-time fee grant may be available - find out more on the SAAS website.
Access to Degree Studies is a gateway to a vast range of undergraduate courses at the University of Stirling including:
- Social Sciences, including Education, Social Work, Criminology, Sociology and Social Policy
- Arts and Humanities which includes Business Law, Digital Media, English Studies, Film and Media, Heritage and Tourism, History, Politics, Journalism Studies, Law, and Politics
- University of Stirling Management School including Business Studies and Marketing (for Accountancy and Economics, please apply to the Access to Science Studies course)
There are many combinations of the above courses available, for example History and Politics or Professional Education and English Studies.
Access to Degree Studies gives you a firm foundation of academic skills, subject knowledge and learning experiences, allowing you to select from a large number of degree options. This means that you can start the Access Course before deciding which degree course you would like to take.
For entry to Nursing or Paramedic Science degrees, please see Access to Nursing Studies.
For entry to Biological and Environmental Sciences, Accountancy, Economics, Geography, Computing or Conservation, please see Access to Science Studies.
The course offers a supportive learning community where you will gain the necessary academic and numerical skills as well as essential scientific knowledge needed for degree study.
As an Access student, you will have full entitlement to all the Student Services and campus facilities offered to our undergraduate students.
Who is eligible for the Access to Degree Studies course?
This course is open to anyone who has not studied at university level before and does not have enough entry qualifications and experience required to apply successfully for undergraduate study. Students should have been out of formal education for a minimum of three years.
We welcome applications from all students including:
- Care experienced students
- Young or adult carers
- Members of the armed forces community including those currently serving in the armed forces and service leavers/veterans
- Refugee and asylum seekers
- Disabled students - adjustments for disabled applicants, including those with learning difficulties such as dyslexia, can be put in place before the course starts. Please contact the Course Director for more information.
If you have specific circumstances you wish to be considered, such as your existing qualifications, or whether you can be regarded as a mature student please contact the Course Director, Dr Sarah Galloway at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To apply for the Access for Degree Studies course, you must upload your current CV and a short personal statement explaining why you want to take the course.
Our admissions team will review your application. If we decide that Access to Degree Studies is the right course for you, we will then ask you to complete a short written task.
Literacy and numeracy skills
If you think that your literacy or numeracy skills might hold you back from joining the Access to Degree Studies course, you could consider engaging with some adult learning first.
For information about adult learning in the Forth Valley area you can contact:
- Falkirk Council adult learning
- Stirling Council learning and employability
- Forth Valley College for courses in Core Skills Literacy or Numeracy
Please email email@example.com if you have questions about your qualifications or experience.
Course structure and content
Everyone will study six modules in the Access to Degree Studies course. Each module is equivalent to 10 Credits (SCQF).
In Semester 1 all modules are mapped to SCQF level 5 or 6, and in Semester 2 all modules are mapped to SCQF level 7.
During the course, everyone studies two Learning Strategies modules. These modules cover knowledge and skills crucial to becoming a successful university student. These include:
- Effective time management
- Critical thinking
- How to do research
- Essay and report writing
- Effective learning methods
- How to develop your knowledge to perform well in presentations, class assessments, assignments and exams
- How to use the library effectively
All students have their own Personal Tutor for individual support and guidance.
|Semester 1, August - December
Learning Strategies 1 (SCQF Level 6)
You will learn about, discuss and practice a range of study skills, particularly related to academic writing. All Access students take this module, allowing you to work alongside and learn from students interested in studying a wide range of subjects.
Choose two of the following modules:
Introduction to Social Science (SCQF Level 6)
Key concepts in Social Science are introduced through the discussion of themes such as the family, schooling, the media, and culture. There is plenty of discussion and opportunities to research topics of interest to you.
Introduction to Psychology (SCQF Level 6)
This module introduces key terminologies, probing questions about how we learn, remember and think. There is a short introduction to clinical psychology covering topics such as anxiety and phobias. You will gain generic academic skills helpful for the study of a range of degree subjects.
Mathematics (SCQF Level 5)
This module is ideal for anyone who has previously found maths challenging. There are plenty of resources to assist your skills in mathematics. The workshop style approach to the classes and the friendly atmosphere enables students to learn in a supportive environment.
|Semester 2, January - May
Learning Strategies 2 (SCQF Level 7)
This online module focuses on key areas for developing independent study in preparation for studying an undergraduate course at the University of Stirling. The topics include:
Choose two of the following modules:
Sociology, Theory and Application (SCQF Level 7)
Key theorists in Sociology are introduced and their ideas put to work in the interrogation of contemporary society. There is a balance between lectures and discussion, extending your academic reading, speaking and writing skills.
Education (SCQF Level 7)
Education is a vehicle for exploring ideas drawing from Social Policy, Sociology, Politics, Psychology, and Philosophy. There are opportunities to share and learn from the experience of others, and to extend your skills in academic writing, presenting and research.
Environmental Science (SCQF Level 7)
You will learn about the Earth’s environment and how science enables a greater understanding of it. There is a holistic understanding of the environment, known as an ‘Earth systems’ approach, where you can understand the connections between the oceans, atmosphere, land, and associated life forms, as well as extending your skills in writing and research.
Course dates and times
There are two semesters:
- Semester 1 - Starts mid-August to the first week in December
- Semester 2 - Starts in the second week in January to mid-May
Classes take place between 18:30 and 21:30 as follows:
- Monday (Introduction to Psychology/Education)
- Wednesday (Introduction to Social Science/Environmental Science)
- Thursday (Mathematics 1/Sociology Theory and Practice)
Most classes are taught face-to-face on campus. We also have some online classes, allowing you to gain confidence with the University’s virtual learning environment, Canvas.
You must attend two 3-hour classes and undertake 6-10 hours of independent study each week. Attendance is mandatory from the start of the course. Do not book holidays during semester time and set time aside each week for independent study.
We follow the Stirling Council schools calendar for mid-term breaks (this differs from the rest of the University).
The course starts with a mandatory online Welcome Week. During Welcome Week, you will attend Welcome Night where you will meet your lecturers and find out about the University’s support services for students. You will also have an online induction meeting where you will begin familiarising yourself with Canvas, the University’s virtual learning environment.
In June, there is a Celebration of Success evening at the end of the course. Family and close friends are invited to come along and join in the celebration of your achievements. We also give out our Access Achievement Awards, including the prestigious Jim Bradley Award, to students who have succeeded highly and contributed greatly to our learning community.
Teaching and assessment
The course offers a blend of in-person teaching and online learning. Coming onto campus for classes will help you to become familiar with the facilities and start to feel like you are a part of our Stirling community. You will gain valuable experience of studying with other students online via Canvas, becoming fully prepared for contemporary university life.
Classes, whether online or in-person, are opportunities to question, debate, discuss, and learn individually and in groups.
Access to Degree Studies course offers you opportunities to practice and gain confidence in taking a wide range of assessments, preparing you for university life. This includes essays, multiple choice tests and short answer questions. During class, you will also be able to discuss questions with your lecturers and other students in a supportive environment.
All subject modules include more than one assessment, allowing you to demonstrate your progression within that subject. There is also a final assessment in early December and early May.
What equipment do I need for the course?
- A laptop or desktop computer. A computer is essential for attending classes online and working on your assignments. Study will not be possible via mobile phones or tablets.
- WiFi access. A reliable WiFi signal is essential. When on campus you will have access to free University WiFi.
- Headphones and webcam. You must have headphones and webcam to hear and see your lecturer and the other students when attending classes on-line.
If you have problems in accessing the necessary technology and/or WiFi, and live in the Stirling Council area, you can contact their Digital Inclusion team at firstname.lastname@example.org for advice and assistance. The University also has a free laptop loan scheme.
We recommend that you find a quiet space for study. It's important that you have time for study without any distractions. You may make use of local council libraries, or the University library and study areas.
5 stars for Teaching, Employability, Research, Internationalisation, Facilities and Inclusiveness
BA English Studies
Read Alan's storyThe Access course provided me with a route to my chosen degree as I did not achieve the qualifications I required at school. I have now completed the full circle and returned to the university to support people, like me, from Scotland and Widening Participation backgrounds, hoping to access Higher Education.
BA (Hons) Philosophy
Read Ryan's storyI came back to education because I wanted to make a real difference in the community. Having a full-time job whilst completing the Access course was challenging but knowing that the course was going to help my future made everything worthwhile.
MSc International Conflict and Cooperation
Read Maitland's storyI always wanted to go to University but chose to join the Police Force instead. The Access Course has not only given me the opportunity and the ability to start and finish a degree, but it has also given me a passion for helping other students.