Online courses to suit your lifestyle

Flexibility and support every step of the way

As the leading virtual college for Access to Higher Education, we bring everything you need for successful study direct to you - by phone, by email and online.

On this page, you can find out why we are the best choice for online learning, and key information about what it's like to study with us. For more detailed information, click through to our Courses, and take a closer look at the courses that interest you and if you have questions or require advice you can ring us on 0333 224 9451 or send an Enquiry. We'll be happy to help.

Specialising in Access to Higher Education Diplomas

For 25 years we have specialised in Access to Higher Education Diplomas and now offer a large choice of Access to HE subjects leading to many different careers in Health & Social Care, Social work, Teaching, Science, Sport, Construction, Business, Law, Public Services and Psychology.

We also offer online GCSEs, Functional Skills and Pre-Access Level 2 Awards (Progression Awards) in Maths, English and the Sciences.

If you are looking to demonstrate evidence of recent study in a specialist subject area, develop your existing career, broaden your knowledge and skills for personal interest or test out whether a particular career change is right for we also offer online Bespoke/Short courses.

Learner Success

Since 2010, around 4600 of our students have gone on to study at over 120 universities. In 2018, 741 students were awarded an Access to HE Diploma, between them gaining places at 120 different universities.

Highly Recommended

Some universities specifically recommend us as the best place to study the Access to HE diploma by distance learning. Many universities are keen to take applicants who have studied with us knowing that our students are self-motivated, disciplined learners who have already mastered the skills needed for independent study at university level.

Positive Student Reviews

The stories our students tell about studying with us are really inspiring. Many say that their vision of themselves and their career aspirations are transformed by their studies with us. Read some of their stories in What students say.

Fully Accredited

Our Access to HE courses and Level 2 Awards are fully accredited by recognised awarding bodies who are regulated by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA), the official regulator for Access to HE.

Our current examination boards for IGCSE and GCSE courses are AQA and Edexcel, which are both fully recognised by OFQUAL, the official regulator for GCSE qualifications and exams.

Consistently high quality standards

We receive excellent Moderation Reports from our awarding bodies, and we were held up as an example of best practice at the QAA conference to celebrate 20 years of Access to Higher Education.

Start your studies with us any time of the year

Unlike traditional colleges, where you are constrained by term times and course start dates, with DistanceLearningCentre.com you can start your studies with us at any time of the year.

Suited to your Lifestyle

Everything is achieved online and from the comfort of your own home, allowing you study when it suits you best.

Distance learning is the ideal way to study when you have a job and/or families to consider. Many of our learners hold down full-time or shift pattern employment whilst they are studying and learners with young children do not have the worry about childcare arrangements and costs as they would if attending a traditional classroom.

Easily take a break

We have a uniquely flexible approach to pacing your studies when life's priorities change. If you need time off to focus on these other priorities, you can take a study break and return when it suits you (although study breaks are not available for GCSEs). Going 'On Hold' allows you to save your study days and, if not arrears, take a break from your payments if on an instalment plan. Unlike a traditional college, where missing classes may result in you missing out on what is being taught, putting your studies 'On Hold' with DistanceLearningCentre.com means you pick up exactly where you left off when you restart as if you had never been away.

The 'On Hold' option is also extremely useful for armed services personnel if you are deployed where internet access is limited or your deployment does not give you the time to study.

The cost of doing an Access Diploma

The cost of doing an Access Diploma with DistanceLearningCentre.com is, on average, a third of the cost of studying an Access Diploma with other institutions. This makes studying with DistanceLearningCentre.com far more affordable to self-fund or obtain employer funding without the prospect of long term debt from student loans.

Spread the payments

To make it even more affordable we offer bi-weekly or monthly instalment plans and there are substantial reductions/special offers available when you study more than one qualification with us.

Full details of all our course fees can be found on our Course Fees page and are also listed within the course information for each specific qualification.

No Student Loan Debt

DistanceLearningCentre.com receives no government funding and our courses are not currently eligible for student loans or other types of student finance. By not using student loans you do not have the worry of paying back the original loan (plus interest) from your earnings once you have completed your course.

Alternative sources of funding are available

Armed forces personnel can apply for funding for our courses under the Enhanced Learning Credits Scheme (ELC) administered by the Enhanced Learning Credits Administration Service (ELCAS). As an ELCAS approved training provider for many years we offer the largest subject choice of Access to Higher Education Diplomas to the Armed Forces.

Many NHS staff, who have become learners with us, have successfully secured funding for their courses through their NHS Trust employer.

Private sector employers will sometimes consider paying for our courses as part of their training or continuing professional development schemes (CPD).

Some of our learners are also successful in securing (generally small) amounts of funding to pay towards our courses from local grant-making and other bodies.

Find out more about potential sources of funding on our Grants & Funding page.

Written by us

All of our courses are written by us and fully accredited by recognised awarding bodies who are regulated by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA). You also do not need any specialised software or equipment to study with us.

Simple access to learning materials

Whether you are using Mac or Windows operating system, you just need a computer, an internet connection, a phone, an email account and a word-processing package. Exams for Access to HE Diplomas take the form of assessments which are observed by your tutor, and for this you will need a (free) Skype connection, a microphone and a camera.

Anyone with basic IT, email and word-processing skills find it easy to access our online systems for administration, payment and learning and if you do have any problems we have a dedicated Technical Team to help you.

Well-written course material

All of our Course materials are written in Plain English and supplied in PDF format which you open with a password given to you by your tutor.

Have a look at these example materials taken from an Access to HE Diploma, Introduction to Cell Biology:

Achieve the best outcome for you

Our learners are from diverse backgrounds. Many have been out of education for some time, and are busy with work or family commitments. We know and understand that the idea of returning to a learning environment can be quite daunting. Our mission is to provide you with the maximum amount of support to ease you back into education and achieve the best possible outcome.

Expert advice

Our experienced advisors can help you identify the best course to meet your learning or career goals. If you are unsure about the type of course, subject, or options which are best for you, or have any questions about the planning and timing of your studies, or the enrolment process, they will be happy to help. Email Student Services or call us on 0333 224 9451.

Introductory and 'How to' units

All our Access to HE diplomas include Introductory and 'How to' Developmental units which are particularly useful if you have not been in a learning environment for some time. They help you return to an educational environment and develop skills for essay writing and referencing which in turn help you achieve the best possible outcome from your course.

First-rate peer support

Some people believe that distance learning can be a lonely experience and you miss out on the support you may gain from other learners if in classroom situation. This is not true.

Our Student Forum Our News Facebook Logo Twitter Logo

We have a lively Student Forum and a dedicated student Facebook Group both of which are specifically designed to allow our learners to communicate with their peers. Both sites provide you with a place to discuss your studies with learners studying the same course, receive help and advice if your tutor is not immediately available and a place to receive and give encouragement to and from your fellow learners.

Improve your understanding and skills

Our tutors will support you throughout your studies, by email, Skype and/or phone. They provide expert (but easy to understand) help and advice on your subject, and will assess your progress, mark your assessments, and give you feedback to improve your understanding and skills. All of our tutors are:

Fully Qualified

All tutors have at least a first Degree in their specialist subject as well as experience in a variety of adult education environments.


Our tutors know how to build confidence and skills among students who didn't have a great experience at school, or who have been out of education for some time. As well as providing expert teaching to develop your subject knowledge, you can expect your tutor to be friendly, reliable and supportive. They will help you plan and sustain your learning when work or family commitments intervene, keep you motivated if the going gets tough, and encourage and celebrate your achievement.

Meet our tutors >>>

As a UCAS Centre we are happy to assist you in the development of your university application

DistanceLearningCentre.com dedicates significant resource to the university application process and our UCAS Manager works closely with universities across the country to ensure that information on course entries is current. This allows for a clear understanding of current trends within Higher Education and enables relevant advice to be provided to our students. This includes up to date advice and guidance on entry requirements, personal statements, references and interview techniques.

The university application process can be daunting for students, particularly when faced with meeting assessment deadlines and striving to achieve the highest grades possible in your studies. Our service is aimed at providing you with the best possible chance of attaining your academic goals and achieving successful entry into university.

The following services have been tailored by our UCAS Manager and DistanceLearningCentre.com tutors are all trained and experienced in delivering these services across the college. You will therefore find that the assistance and guidance that you receive is consistent, thorough and professional. Throughout the university application process you can expect the following level of service:

  • Your tutor will check your personal statement and offer any advice necessary to ensure that it conforms to required conventions for your chosen degree. This is based on tutors experience and knowledge of degree programmes and university expectations.
  • The advice will also include feedback on presentation including content, spelling and grammatical errors.
  • Your tutor will provide you with an individually tailored reference.
  • On completion of your application form, a final review of the completed form will be undertaken and further feedback provided if necessary.
We will then submit your form and continue to offer advice and guidance as you receive offers for university places.