What are: Foundation year courses?

Foundation year courses (not to be confused with foundation degrees) are year-long courses that are designed to prepare you to study a particular undergraduate degree.  They are usually taught in universities, or sometimes colleges. As well as teaching you the academic skills you need for your future studies they will also prepare you for the type of learning that happens at university.

When do I take them?

Foundation years are taken after you have completed college or sixth form qualifications like BTECs or A-Levels. They are taken before you start a full undergraduate degree course at university.

How long do they take?

It is unusual for a foundation year to take any longer than that, but some part time students might take longer Did you know(sometimes up to two years) to complete their foundation course.

Who are they for?

Foundation year courses are designed to prepare you for study at university. Some people take them if they have not quite got the right qualifications for a full degree (for instance, they didn’t get the A-level or BTEC grades they expected), but they are also perfect for students who feel that they are not quite ready for degree-level study, but who want to start their university studies.

They are also great if you are returning to study and feel you need some help to get up to speed with the demands of learning before embarking on a degree.

Where will they take me?

Most students who study a foundation year course will go on to study for an undergraduate degree in the same area as their foundation year course – this is often at the same university, and sometimes the courses are linked together, so there is no need to worry about if you'll get onto the next stage if you pass the foundation year.

Foundation YearsWhere do I study them?

Most foundation year courses are taught in universities. However, some are taught in colleges, particularly in the art and design field.

How much do they cost?

Foundation year courses usually cost a similar amount to a year of study on undergraduate degree. The good news is that students studying foundation degrees are eligible for student finance, so you don’t have to worry about finding the money to finance your studies up-front. It might be that you’d prefer to live away from home at your university or college as well, so it is always worth considering these costs when thinking about foundation years too.

Where can I find out more?

You apply directly to universities for foundation year courses, so it is worth checking the websites of individual universities for the most up to date information. Middlesex University lists all of its foundation year courses on the website alongside the relevant undergraduate degree courses. The Brightside trust also has a useful section on foundation year courses.