Unit Overview: Access to HE (Health Science Professions)

Here you will find further detail relating to all the Diploma units for Access to HE (Health Science Professions).


Ungraded Units

Academic Writing (Mandatory) 3 Credits

This is a mandatory unit which explains how to avoid plagiarism. The set of writing conventions relating to an essay can vary depending on the subject area. You will be asked to read the question carefully so that you know what the question is asking. In identifying the key words, you will be able to see what the main idea is behind the title. You will also  be able to demonstrate your ability to select relevant material and how to reference correctly.


Research Skills Project (Mandatory) 6 Credits

There are many different methods involved in research and you will be introduced to some of these. For example: Correlations, Experiments, Observations, Case Studies, Questionnaires and Surveys. You will be given the opportunity to develop your own piece of research in a standard report format.


Study Skills Level 3 (Ungraded)


Information Literacy Skills - 3 credits (Ungraded)

Information Literacy Skills help learners to understand the range and quality of available resources for academic work. Also, how to distinguish between reliable sources and non-reliable sources (which may not be valid - such as WikiPedia).


Exploring Health and Disease 3 Credits (Ungraded)

There are many diseases and consequently many causes of diseases. Identifying the prevalence of diseases comes with the notion of patterns in society where disease is prevalent. You will be looking at the nature of diseases and the changing patterns across society over time. By identifying diseases and causes, steps can be taken to reduce a disease. Public Health Agencies play a clear role in this. You will be given the opportunity to discover how effective these agencies are in promoting health.


Researching and Understanding Opportunities in Higher Education 3 Credits (Ungraded)

This gives you an opportunity to shine when you are invited for an interview at the university. You will research the university and look at the syllabus and the combination of academic and practical experience and delivery. You will address your own transferable skills and put them to use when writing your UCAS application. You can produce a practice UCAS form prior to submitting your application to UCAS. All the research relating to this unit needs to be contained in a portfolio. You can take this with you to demonstrate that you have carried out detailed research of the course that you have applied for.


Work Experience 6 Credits (Ungraded)

This is a useful unit to complete if you are in employment or work in the voluntary sector. You will be given an opportunity to put learning opportunities into practice and to demonstrate knowledge and skills appropriate to your place of work. You will evidence your ability to meet objectives through skills-related practice. This includes the organisation and how it meets the needs of the client base. You will be required to reflect on how you have contributed to the organisation through the work you undertake there.


Level 3 Graded Units



Human Circulation and Gaseous Exchange 3 Credits - (cannot combine with Body Structure and Function)

This unit covers the structure and function of blood and the transport system. Included is the heart and the cardiac cycle (with explanations associated with pressure changes), cardiac output and pressure changes. The unit also considers the essential features of the respiratory system's gaseous exchange and relates to the body’s defence mechanisms and their importance.


Microbiology 6 Credits

In this unit you will learn about the structure of micro-organisms as well as the functions of sub-cellular organelles and micro-organisms. You will explore the factors which affect the growth of micro-organisms and also evaluate some of the techniques used to culture and sub-culture bacteria and fungi. Finally there will be the opportunity to explore a topical issue in this field.

Cell Differentiation and Tissues 3 Credits - (cannot combine with Body Structure and Function)

This unit considers cell differentiation and the relationship between cells, tissues, organs and systems to include many systems e.g. the nervous system, respiratory system, digestive system etc. The key features of the epithelial cells, differences and locations are considered through diagrams and written form. The different organs are addressed in relation to tissue diversity.


Human Urinary System 3 Credits

This unit looks at homeostasis and the kidney as a homeostatic organ. You will be researching the kidney’s role in the balance of water, salt and pH and the effects of the environment on a cellular level. There will be an opportunity to give a detailed account of the kidney and illustrate its function in relation to the body. Kidney replacement is also a topical area. Malfunction diagnosis is a key consideration and point of investigation.


Body Structure and Function 6 Credits - (cannot combine with: Cell Differentiation and Tissues; DNA and Protein Synthesis; Human circulation and Gaseous Exchange)

This looks into the organisation and structure of the body considering tissue types and DNA. You will study the various blood components, the roles and relate this to the circulatory system as a whole. You will cover the blood flow within them and the dynamics of the heart in relation to the needs of the body, plus the differences between plasma and tissue fluid.


Nervous System 3 Credits

This introduces the basic structure and function of the nervous system including the peripheral nervous system the autonomic nervous system and its subdivisions. You will also be given the opportunity to expand upon your research and look at the nature of nerve impulses and the importance of action potential and the myelin sheath. You will also look at the principles of synaptic transmission, the direction of transmission and the effects of synaptic inhibition.


Musculoskeletal System 3 Credits

The skeletal system is the primary focus of attention in this unit where you will be given the opportunity to understand the function and structure of the skeletal system, the different joints and movement possibilities relating to joints. You will locate the regions of the spine and identify a number of bones in the human body. You will explore the muscle fibre action in detail and the mechanism involved in sliding filament theory.


Human Sex and Reproduction 3 Credits

This unit covers the structure and function of the male and female reproductive system. There is a focus on puberty and of the mammalian menstrual cycle where sequences of events involve hormonal changes. You will develop a broad understanding of Gametes and compare Oogenesis and Spermatogenesis. The process of IVF in understanding fertilisation is covered, along with methods of contraception and their effectiveness.


Genetic Inheritance 3 Credits

This addresses the understanding of genetic inheritance including simple Mendelian crosses where you will have the opportunity to demonstrate your understanding with illustrations and give a robust account of autosomal dominant recessive patterns and co–dominance. You will need to be able to draw and interpret a Punnett square and calculate probabilities for a variety of monohybrid or dihybrid crosses and recognise inheritance patterns. There will be an opportunity to research and understand the chromosomal basis of sex determination and explain the intra species variations as a result of features such as the environment.

Biochemical Molecules 3 Credits

In this unit you will learn about the structure and properties of carbohydrates, lipids (fats), amino acids and proteins. You will examine chemical bonding such as glycosidic bonds, peptide bonds, hydrogen bonds and covalent bonds. You'll also develop an understanding of how these chemical processes and structures are related to functions in living organisms.

Nutrition and Digestion 3 Credits

Here you will be given the opportunity to explore the components and function of a balanced diet. You will be directed towards looking at what happens when there are deficiencies of a particular nutrient and you will be given the opportunity to identify common forms of malnutrition. Whilst collecting your evidence you will be explore the Alimentary Canal, identifying and locating the structure and function of the Digestive System and the processes involved in the digestive process.


Endocrine System 3 Credits

The main theme in this unit is to develop an understanding of the hormone system and the endocrine glands. You will be looking at the principles behind homeostasis and feedback mechanisms involved such as blood sugar control. You will also look at the actions of hormones and the understandings of molecular processes in steroid and peptide action. You will be illustrating and giving accounts of the endocrine system and identifying the specific organs associated with the system. There will be an opportunity to discuss the medical use of synthetic hormones such as HRT.


DNA and Protein Synthesis 3 Credits (Cannot be taken in conjunction with Body Structure and Function

This unit involves the structure, function and replication of DNA. Nucleotide structure, double helix structure of DNA and the importance of base pairing and Hydrogen bonding is addressed. Comparisons are also made between the structure of RNA and DNA. The roles of nucleic acids in protein synthesis are also considered by looking at the process of m-RNA production and transcription, the role of ribosomes, m-RNA and t- RNA in translation.


Non-Infectious Disease 3 Credits

The topical area for this unit considers the nature of a range of non-infectious diseases including autoimmune, inherited and congenital disorders. The relationship between disease and life style (epidemiological factors) is an important combination where it is considered that diseases can have a multi–factorial cause. Epidemiological research has played a role in health promotional campaigns which have been introduced as part of health and wellbeing initiatives to attempt to reduce the incidences of diseases.


Defence Against Disease 3 Credits

This topical area covers the body’s non-specific defences against diseases and includes physical and chemical barriers. The body’s immune system covers specific immune responses such as the modes of action of phagocytes and lymphocytes; summarising the actions of B and T lymphocytes in fighting infection. Memory cells take part in establishing long-term immunity and this unit goes some way in explaining this and further more the molecular structure of antibodies to their function. Active passive natural and artificially-acquired immunity are discussed in detail and an understanding of how vaccination may control disease is discussed and ultimately how vaccines are produced. From this information, the effectiveness of different vaccines can be discussed: i.e vaccine for small pox and programmes aimed at controlling diseases such as measles, polio,TB, influenza, malaria or cholera. Further discussion is made on the current developments in clinical and medical application in relation to areas such as transplant surgery, allergies, auto–immune disease and other relevant fields.



Chemistry and Society (3 credits)

This unit looks at how chemistry has developed over time and how societies have become reliant on substances in every day life. You will also gain an understanding into the occurrence and use of a particular element.

Chemistry for Biologists (6 credits)

No matter which precise field of the Health Professions you intend to enter, you will need to have an awareness of the role chemistry plays in health and how that role is related to the field of the biologist. 

This unit starts ‘small’ with a basic knowledge of atomic structure, and builds steadily, covering organic compounds and how inorganic reactions would occur in a laboratory. You will learn how the rate of chemical reactions can be modified and the principles behind risk assessment - a vital part of the study of chemistry.


Finally you will learn how chemical and biological concepts are inextricably linked in theory by performing a written analysis of a chemical/biological resource.



Chemistry for Drugs and medicine (6 credits)

Doctors, whether in primary care or as specialists prescribe drugs and medicines every day.  Other Health Professionals e.g. Nurse Practitioners, Paramedics, Radiographers can also undergo specialist training to be supplementary prescribers.

This unit will introduce you to the chemistry behind drugs and medicines and enable you to understand the effects of medicines and drugs on the functioning of the body.  How drugs function is an important part, not only in the design of new drugs, but in the diagnostic testing of bodily fluids for the presence of drugs.  To combat resistance to e.g. bacterial invasion or find new treatments for diseases, new drugs are constantly being developed, tested, trialled and released and sometimes things go wrong.  Isomerism in drug action is covered here and linked to the Thalidomide tragedy. Computers are widely used in the design process of new drugs.  The concept of computer-aided drug design and a compound library are covered in this unit.



Diagnosis and management of physiological Disorders (9 Credits)

There are a range of physiological disorders identified here in this unit. You will be made aware of at least three different disorders in detail from the onset and the processes involved in the diagnosis of the disorder including the tests involved in identifying the disorder and remedies to address the disorder and the care strategies used to support the individual on recovery. The roles and responsibility of health care specialists is also important in the speed of recovery and palliative care.


Healthcare Communication (3 Credits)

This unit relates to communication between health care professionals and clients. Here you will be able to explore the different ways of breaking down barriers of communication and how some barriers are more difficult than others to eradicate. You will develop an understanding of the importance of listening skills and how empathy is a focal point of the client/nurse relationship. There are many forms of communication used to convey confidential information. There is a focus here to show how any breaches of confidentiality can have serious consequences.


Definitions of Health

This unit begins by exploring some of the concepts, theories and definitions of health. It will go on to look at the models of health which have dominated sociology since the mid-nineteenth century. You will learn about concepts of ill-health including models of disability, the sick role and iatrogenesis. The unit goes on to examine the roles of a national and international health organisation, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). You will learn about how patterns, causes and effects of disease in populations are studied, learning key terms like epidemiology and demography. You will go on to consider what Public Health Agencies and Local authorities do with this information in terms of planning public health strategies and working towards more preventative measures.




Psychological Disorders and Therapeutic Strategies (3 Credits)

Here we discuss an area of psychological investigation that relates to ‘abnormal ‘behaviour and psychopathological disorders, this is sometimes referred to as atypical behaviour. This unit covers explanations of what is considered to be ‘abnormal’ behaviour, it also considers a number of different perspectives that are used to explain a broad range of disorders including, depression, schizophrenia and eating disorders. The effectiveness of the various treatment and therapies is also addressed.


Child Development: Cognitive Development (3 Credits)

In this unit you will learn about the nature v nurture debate and how it relates to the development of human social and cognitive development. You will consider the development of attachments in infancy and their importance in future social relationships. You will also look at how children's thinking differs from that of adults and the changes that take place during development.


Key Aspects of Psychology (6 Credits)

This Psychology unit includes theoretical explanations of human behaviour and includes many examples; the Bio-psychological, Psychoanalytical, Behaviourist, Cognitive and Humanistic approaches. Each of these perspectives offer an understanding as to why we behave the way we do and you will have the opportunity to apply these ideas to show knowledge and understanding of psychological concepts in an everyday life context.


Bio-Psychology: Behaviour and Drugs (3 Credits)

This covers the central nervous system, Grey and White matter. You will be considering key concepts involved in nerve impulse transmission such as the all-or-none rule, sodium ion and calcium ion across membranes. You will be looking at a number of neurotransmitters and their role in behaviour and also the impact of drugs and the environment on behaviour and neurotransmitter levels.


Bio-Psychology: Behaviour and the Brain (3 Credits)

This involves the localisation and function of the brain. The different methods of investigating the brain are considered, whereby the strengths and weaknesses of those methods are addressed. You will be given the opportunity to look at the interaction between the brain and behaviour in an example of day to day living.


Mental Health (6 Credits)

In the areas of mental ill health, names are often given to a specific category to identify a group of signs and symptoms. Collectively these are seen as mental disorders and can include: Anxiety Disorders, Schizophrenia, Eating Disorders, Depression and Personality disorders. This unit will focus on understanding how society responds to people suffering from poor mental health as well as looking at how genetics and other factors are linked to mental health. It will also explain some of the strategies for coping and caring for people with mental health disorders. It will also consider the causes and treatment of psychological stress.


Stress and Eating Disorders (3 Credits)

In this unit, the focus is on the negative effects of chronic (long-lasting) stress. These may be purely psychological but stress also creates physical problems which can include: psychosomatic disorders (from psyche meaning mind and soma meaning body) and bodily disorders produced by the processes, such as psychological stress, of the mind. Such disorders can include stomach ulcers, digestive problems, raised blood pressure, eczema and other skin rashes, asthma and other allergic conditions. There is also increasing evidence that stress can be a causal factor in the development of eating disorders and we will examine this in some detail.


Aggression (3 Credits)

This topic will look at a number of explanations for aggressive behaviour. These are the biological approach, the behaviourist approach, the psycho-dynamic approach and the humanistic approach.  The unit also considers some of the ways in which aggression may be reduced.



Radioactivity in Medicine 3 Credits

The use of radioactivity in medicine has increased dramatically thus highlighting its relevance in modern Healthcare practices. To effectively utilise radioactive substances it is vital to gain an understanding of the physics of radiation. In this topic, radioactive decay and the penetrative powers of alpha, beta and gamma emissions will be discussed. Issues of safety are of paramount importance when dealing with radioactive substances and this aspect of radiation management will be fully explained. Finally the beneficial uses that radiation therapy can be put to e.g. when diagnosing and treating patients with cancers, will be highlighted and discussed.


Medical Physics Radiology and Medical Imaging 3 Credits

This is a highly relevant topic area that outlines the benefits of radiation as both a diagnostic and therapeutic tool in contemporary health management. Radiation for medical use encompasses both ionising and non ionising sources. The production and properties of x-rays will be discussed along with associated risks to both patient and staff of their use. Comparisons will be drawn between different types of ionising radiation and the suitability of the images that each type can produce. Non-ionising radiation will be discussed, the major focus being on ultrasound scanning. Here, safety precautions will be highlighted and also the use of ultrasound to produce a suitable medical image, compared to other imaging techniques. Finally, we look towards the future of current developments, discussing the evolution of MRI, CAT and PET scanners and how radiation use has revolutionised the field of medical imaging.