Access Courses

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copyright Kevin Krebs

Access courses offer a route into higher education (HE) for those who wish to return to education some time after having left school, or who have few or no formal qualifications and would like to go to university. The courses are designed for mature students (21 years or older) with applicants ranging from those just out of the education system to people of retirement age and beyond.

Access courses aim to provide students with the knowledge and skills needed in order to continue their studies at university. Most courses teach students to give presentations, write essays/reports, undertake research and work collaboratively in groups. They also provide students with individual guidance and support. Access courses usually start in September and can be completed in one year (full-time) or two or more years (part-time). Most courses can be studied during the day or evening.

When choosing access courses, students should make sure that the course is QAA nationally recognised and that universities consider it as a legitimate qualification of equal standard to Level 3 qualifications such as A-levels. To find out whether an access course is QAA nationally recognised, visit the Access website.

Currently in Britain, there are no nationally recognised access courses specifically in anthropology. Students who are interested in studying anthropology at university can undertake access to HE courses in related subjects such as sociology, psychology or social sciences. See the Access website for more information. Before enrolling in a particular access course, students should check with university admissions offices in order to make sure that the course meets the criteria required for studying anthropology at university.

If you would like to study anthropology but do not want to enrol in a year-long access course or an undergraduate degree, then possible solutions are: part-time continuing education courses, or short courses offered by university anthropology departments.

Get involved in anthropology through the RAI’s Education Outreach Programme

image © Nafisa Fera

The RAI’s Education Department organises events, activities, and contests as well as produces teaching and learning materials for anyone interested in learning about anthropology. Take a look at the many ways to get involved with like-minded people who are passionate about the subject:

  • Become an RAI member: take a look here for all the benefits associated with joining the RAI.  
  • Attend an event: take a look at our events page for a list of various anthropological events which take place nationally. 
  • Take part in discussions by joining us on Twitter @DiscoverAnthro and our Facebook Group
  • Sign up to our E-Newsletter and keep up to date with anthropological news, events and activities
  • Become a volunteer: the RAI’s Education Department is always looking for enthusiastic individuals to help out with our outreach events such as the London Anthropology Day. If you are interested in volunteering email the RAI’s Education and Communications Officer.
  • Apply for an internship: interns form an essential part of the RAI’s Educational Outreach Activities. If you are interested in becoming an intern for the RAI’s Education Department email the RAI’s Education and Communications Officer with your CV and a cover letter. A minimum of two months is required in order to be considered. For further information about volunteering at the RAI visit: