The Access to Higher Education Diploma (Osteopathic Sciences and Health Care) course is a one-year further education programme which leads to a nationally recognised award.

It is designed specifically, but not exclusively, for students with little or no scientific background, and is ideal for those who wish to pursue a career in osteopathy or a related healthcare discipline, but aren’t yet ready to undertake a degree programme.

The course will help develop the knowledge and skills needed to continue on to study osteopathy (or related subjects) at undergraduate degree level. There is a strong emphasis on the biological and physical sciences, as well as an introduction to patient interaction and psychology. Other units include osteopathic professionalism, English, mathematics and study skills.

Key course features

  • The Access programme enables you to develop the knowledge and skills needed for successful study of osteopathy or a related healthcare discipline at undergraduate degree level.
  • There is a strong emphasis on the biological and physical sciences, as well as an introduction to sociology and psychology. 
  • Units on English, mathematics, communication and study skills ensure that you have a sound basis for further study.
  • The course is delivered in a manner that allows learners to work and study. 
  • The programme is validated by LASER Learning Awards so successful students will gain a nationally recognised award which is an acceptable entry qualification in colleges and universities throughout the UK.

Entry requirements

  • GCSEs at grades A-C, including Mathematics and English Language.

The UCO is committed to a policy of inclusion, actively seeking to widen participation and to increase opportunities for high-calibre students with the aptitude and potential to undertake a degree in osteopathy. Students from diverse ethnic and social backgrounds, UCO-leavers, mature ‘second career’ applicants and students with a range of seen and unseen disabilities are all warmly welcomed. Every application to the UCO is considered on its own merits.

Additional entry requirements

All students must agree to comply with our Student Terms & Conditions and other Policies and Procedures.

Progression routes

  • Students who successfully complete the course can apply for the UCO's Master of Osteopathy course. Students who go on to enrol on our 
  • The Access to Higher Education Diploma is also a nationally recognised qualification and may be accepted as an entry level qualification by colleges and universities throughout the UK.

Course structure & delivery

The course comprises of a number of units as outlined below. Units with higher credit values typically involve more contact hours and assessments.

English Language Skills 2 3
Mathematics for Healthcare 2 6
Academic Study Skills 3 6
Chemistry for Healthcare 3 3
Biomolecules for Healthcare 3 3
Cell Biology 3 3
Physical Basis of Human Structure & Function 3 3
Musculoskeletal System 3 6
Human Body Systems 3 6
Neuro-Endocrine Control Systems 3 3
Ethics & Practice of Osteopathy 3 6
Communication Skills for the Clinical Environment 3 3
Professional Studies for Healthcare 3 6
Infection and Immune Response 3 3
Ethics and Practice of Osteopathic Healthcare 3 6


Classes run on Friday evenings and Saturdays across term time with a weekend clear of study every three to four weeks. 

Unit information

For more unit information please contact us.

Assessment & feedback

For details of the specific tasks and assessments for each unit please contact us. You will also normally be provided with additional assessment briefs for coursework. These will indicate precisely what is required of you, how you will be graded and details of how and when the assessment is due to be submitted.  

Mode of study


Dates & duration

September start, 1 year


University College of Osteopathy
275 Borough High Street
London SE1 1JE 

Teaching may on occasion be delivered at other sites as required.

Award & awarding body

Access to Higher Education Diploma, LASER Learning Awards

Professional body accreditation


Facilities & resources

Students have access to a variety of resources at the UCO to support learning. These include a recently refurbished library with an extensive collection of osteopathic recources, an ergonomic IT suite, spaces for group and independent study, practice rooms, a student union and common room, and the UCO Clinic. Students also have access to our virtual learning environment (VLE) and Anatomy TV.

Read more about our facilities and resources.

Support for students

The UCO has a dedicated Student Support team who are on hand to provide advice and guidance on a range of issues, including learning and welfare, budgeting and finance, disability and dyslexia, pastoral care, bereavement and personal issues, as well as counselling. Find out more.

Costs & financial support

The course fee for all students (Home/UK, EU, international) for the 2024-25 academic year is £1,420. Fees for students enrolled on this course from September 2024 are not payable until the end of the academic year, when a payment plan by direct debit will be set up. Students who enrol on the M.Ost course in 2025-26 will not be liable for this fee.

More details on course fees, discounts and payment plans for this course, as well as a copy of our Course Fee Policy, can be found on our course fees page.

Students should be aware that there may be some additional costs to consider when budgeting for the course. 

There may be financial support available to you depending on your circumstances. Details can be found on our Financial Support page.

How to apply

Applicants should download and complete the course application form on this page and return it to

For more information about how to apply and to read a copy of our Admissions Policy & Procedure (including our Complaints Process) visit our How to Apply page.


Please note that while the University College of Osteopathy makes every effort to run courses as advertised, courses are subject to change or cancellation if enrolment targets are not met.

Courses are typically approved for a period of five years from the point of approval to the point of periodic course review. During this period it may be identified that modifications to a course would enhance the provision. As part of this process current students shall be consulted on any proposed change and current and prospective students shall be notified of any change.

Open days

Discover the UCO for yourself at one of our regular open days...