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Cardonald Campus
Start Date
28 Aug 2023
Qualification Type
Course Type
1 Year (August to June)

Applications Closed

Access to Health and Biological Sciences is a paramedic access science course. It is run in partnership with the Scottish Wider Access Programme (SWAP) and is for adults who are considering returning to education, after a break of at least three to five years. The course will introduce you to a range of science subjects to develop the skills, knowledge and understanding required for the first year of a Health Science-related degree programme at university or HNC course at SCQF Level 7.

SWAP negotiate university places at various universities for students successfully completing their SWAP course.

The course is accepted by partners in lieu of other entry qualifications and includes intensive guidance to develop confidence and core skills.

What will I learn?

During this Access to Health and Biological Sciences course, you will study:

  • Biology (National 5 and Higher units)
  • Chemistry (National 5 and Higher units)
  • Maths (National units)
  • Physics (National 5 and Higher units)
  • Communications

Find out more about the Access to Health and Biological Sciences course.

Entry requirements (minimum)

  • There are no formal entry requirements, but you should typically have had a break from full time education of three years if you have previously studied at Nat 5/ Int 2 level, or five years if you have previously studied at Higher / HNC level. You must be able to demonstrate an aptitude for science and show that you have a good knowledge of career path you wish to follow.
  • Higher ESOL at A/B will be required for candidates whose first language is not English. 
  • Relevant experience and a good understanding of the healthcare sector will be required to gain a place on one of the Allied health progression routes. (e.g. Physiotherapy, Paramedic science, Oral Health Science etc.) 
  • Life skills, experience and maturity are important factors that will be considered with your application.
  • Communication and numeracy skills are essential. An entrance test will be used to confirm communication and numeracy skills are at the right level. An additional core skills test may be required.
    Your personal statement is key to supporting a successful application as places on the course are limited. Please ensure you detail all relevant work/life experience and the reasons you wish to study this course.
  • A reference will not be required as standard, but may be requested as part of the application process.

For further information about the Scottish Wider Access Programme (SWAP), please visit the SWAP website.

Employer and industry links

This course is designed for university progression, all partner universities have very strong links to employers and industry.

Jobs and further study

  • First year entry onto a range of specialist Allied Health degrees at Glasgow Caledonian University including Physiotherapy, Podiatry, Occupational Therapy, Oral Health Science and Paramedic Science. Please note that the level of Physics on this course is not sufficient to progress to Optometry, Orthoptics, Diagnostic Imaging or Radiotherapy and Oncology.
  • First year entry to Biomedical Science degrees at Glasgow Caledonian University, University of Strathclyde and University of West of Scotland.
  • First year entry to various life science and biological science-based courses at the University of Glasgow, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow Caledonian University, University of the West of Scotland and the University of Stirling.
  • University of Glasgow will consider students who have performed very well on the SWAP course for their Bachelor of Nursing Honours degree. Applicants considering Nursing are advised to consider the emphasis on Science in this course.  The college also offers Access to Nursing which may be more suitable most applicants to nursing.

Successful completion of the SWAP course also allows progression to HN Science courses at Glasgow Clyde College including:

  • HNC Applied Science
  • HNC Applied Science (Enhanced course in partnership with the University of Glasgow)
  • HND Applied Biological Science
  • HND Industrial Biotechnology

These can lead to a range of employment such as laboratory based work after 1 or 2 years or university progression into Year 2 or 3 of Scottish degree programmes. We have strong employer and industry links through our HN courses, several students having gained employment directly.

A full list of current progression routes can be found here on the SWAP website.

It is important you make sure this course is accepted for the specific programme you want to progress to. If you are unsure, please contact us to discuss your options. Every student has a different background; previous experience or qualification can widen options further.

Making an application

For courses starting in August, you can make up to two applications.

Applications are made to a course and a first choice of campus. If the course is oversubscribed at your first choice you will be automatically considered for alternative sites and may be made an offer without a further application.

I've applied — what happens next?

When you apply 

You will receive an automated email confirming that we have received your application (remember to check your junk/SPAM folder if you do not hear from us after submitting your application). We will be in contact as per the following stages: 

  • Stage 1: Review of Application - initially your application will be reviewed and if successful, you will be invited to attend an online Information session where you will find out more about the course.  At this stage we will look at your past education, personal statement, relevant experience and your chosen career path.  It is therefore important that your application form is completed fully.  We may suggest alternative courses at this stage if you do not meet the SWAP eligibility criteria or if this course does not match with your career plans. 
  • Stage 2: Numeracy and Literacy Test - you will be sent a link to allow you to complete an online literacy and numeracy test which you must complete prior to interview – this test is used to ensure you have the necessary skills in order to succeed on the course.  If necessary, alternative courses may be discussed with you at this point. 
  • Stage 3: Interview - you will be invited to an Individual interview which will take place on campus at some point between February and June depending on when you apply. 


You will be informed of the outcome by email within 10 working days after the interview. There are four possible outcomes: 

  1. Unconditional offer: you have met all the entry requirements and your place is guaranteed 
  2. Conditional offer: your place is secured, pending meeting the entry requirements 
  3. Waiting list: you have met all entry requirements, however, the course is full. If any spaces become available, you may be contacted. 
  4. Unsuccessful: you have not met the entry criteria or did not meet the necessary level at the skills test. You can call the Student Advice Centre to discuss alternative options. 

Once an offer is received, you must reply within 14 days or risk losing your place. If a place is unavailable at your first choice of campus, you may be offered a place at one of our other campuses and you must respond to this within 14 days. 

Once you have accepted your offer, you will be sent further details such as joining instructions, induction date and funding information. 

More questions? Contact us about this course

0141 272 3267