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studying a foundation course

A foundation course or foundation year sets you up for an undergraduate degree course. Not to be confused with a foundation degree, which makes up part of an undergraduate degree, a foundation course lasts one year and is often added to the start of an undergraduate degree. It can also be a standalone course if you’re wanting to study a creative subject.

Imagine you’re an architect and you want to build your future home. In order to do this, you need good, solid foundations to support it. Similarly, your future career needs strong foundations too, and a foundation year does just that.

why study a foundation?

Studying a foundation may not have been the plan you had intended when you started to look at degree courses, or maybe you’re not sure about whether university is the right place for you. That aside, a foundation year helps you build a good base to get you up to speed for degree-level study and gives some grounding in the subject you’ve chosen if you didn’t take it at A Level.

By doing a foundation year, you’ll have more experience than students who have come straight from school or college. You’ll be used to the way university works and hopefully have a more focused and mature attitude to your studies.

is it really for me?

A foundation course is a great choice if you fall into one of the following categories:

where can i do a foundation?

Most universities are offering foundation years integrated into a degree course (making it a four year course). You can search for them using the UCAS website.

Many of our HEON partner institutions located in Surrey and Hampshire offer foundation courses. Take a look at the links below

art foundation courses

Many art and design degree courses require applicants to have a foundation diploma. This will enable you to discover particular disciplines such as 3D design, film or photography which you might not have been able to do in school. A foundation also allows you to develop your art portfolio. You can apply directly to the university or college to do this course. Read Joe’s blog about his experience of studying a foundation and watch a day in the life of Gabby, a foundation student at UCA Farnham.

do I have to pay for a foundation?

If your foundation year is part of your degree course (and not a standalone art foundation course), you will have to pay tuition fees. However, like in any other year of a degree, you will receive a loan to cover your fees that you don’t have to pay back until you leave university and earn more than £26,576 a year. Some universities offer a reduced course fees for foundation years, for example Royal Holloway offers a 10% discount off the standard UK/EU tuition fees for year 1 of their course:

It’s also worth checking if there are extra bursaries for students studying a foundation year, for example at the University of Surrey, foundation year students who meet set widening participation criteria may be eligible for the Full Surrey Award.

If you do an art foundation course and you are under 19, there are no fees as this will count as further education. However you won’t be able to get a loan or grants for living costs. If you’re over 19, then the fees will depend on your chosen institution. For example, at UCA the 2019 fees for the Foundation Diploma were £4,290.

chat to current foundation students

Why not speak to some current students about the course? It is recommended to use Mozilla Firefox as a web browser to access these pages: