Should you do a UK foundation year?
Here’s our full guide about foundation programmes in the UK. We address some common questions about the foundation year and we have curated a list of foundation programmes offered by a number of top UK universities.
Table of Contents
What is the Foundation Programme?
The foundation programme is a one-year pre-university course designed to bridge the gap between secondary school and university entry. It is the equivalent of any other pre-university qualifications such as A-levels and International Baccalaureate, although it may not be as widely accepted as other qualifications.
Foundation programmes will prepare you for a specific field of study – a Foundation in Arts may prepare you for a number of social science subjects while a Foundation in Business may include Business-related modules that will help you grasp the basic concepts of the subject. These courses will also equip you with the necessary skills for academic research, writing, and presentations.
The foundation year is also an alternative entry option for those who do not meet requirements for a degree programme with their A-level results. For example, those who do not meet the minimum requirement of AAB for a university programme may be allowed to enrol in the same course under a foundation year entry.
This foundation programme is a pre-university course, not to be confused with the UKFPO foundation programme for UK medical school graduates. For more information about the foundation programme for medical students and how to progress to become a doctor, check out our Complete Guide to Studying Medicine in the UK which goes into great detail about this subject.
Foundation or A-levels?
A-levels will take two years to complete while foundation programmes are only a year long. Additionally, for those who have already made up their mind about what degree they intend to do, the foundation programme will prepare them best for the specific course. A-levels will be more suited for those who are still undecided about which degree they want to pursue.
The caveat about taking a foundation course is that if you change your choice of degree programmes later on, your foundation programme may not be transferable to a different university or to a different discipline compared to A-levels. This is entirely subject to the discretion of each university so it is strongly recommended for those who are sure about which degree they want to do later on. Also do take note that not every course or university will have a foundation year programme.
Who is the Foundation Year for?
The foundation course is most suited for:
- Those who want to get a year ahead
As the foundation programme only takes a year of studies rather than two for A-levels, it can save a lot of time. A graduate of a 3-year degree programme with a foundation year will complete their studies by the age of 22-23 or so.
- People who are sure about the degree of choice
The foundation course will be tailored to your degree of choice, which makes you a better-prepared student for undergraduate studies, but it also means you might have less flexibility to change courses halfway through.
- Those who don’t meet entry requirements with their A-levels results
This could be either due to taking different subjects than what is required or not meeting the minimum grades.
UK Foundation Courses
The following is a list of institutions that offer a foundation course as either an entry option for an undergraduate programme or as a standalone preparatory course. While this is not an exhaustive list, our picks feature a balanced mix between the university’s performance in university rankings and entry requirements.
Foundation Courses for Pharmacy
Foundation Courses for English
Foundation Courses for Economics
Foundation Courses for Medicine (Gateway)
- Cardiff University
- Edge Hill University
- Keele University
- King’s College London
- University of Bradford
- University of Bristol
- University of Buckingham
- University of Central Lancashire
- University of Dundee
- University of East Anglia
- University of Leicester
- University of Manchester
- University of Nottingham
- University of St Andrews
Foundation Courses for Business
Foundation Courses for Accounting
Foundation Courses for Law
How to Apply to do Foundation Year In The UK?
Step 1: Choose A University
The first step is to look for popular and high-ranking Universities in the UK that offer courses you are interested in. Refer to the table above to start your search. Here are some things to consider when applying:
- Employability/Graduate prospects
- Entry requirements
- University Ranking
Step 2: Preparations
Once you have narrowed down the search to your top five universities, the first step is to prepare necessary documents and forms. This includes school leaving certificates, exam results, the UCAS application form and a written Personal Statement, among other documents that may be required.
Step 3: Submit UCAS Application
Full-time foundation programme applications also go through UCAS too – it’s no different from the application process for undergraduate programmes.
The application process for UK universities differs from local universities as applications go through an organisation known as UCAS, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service. UCAS handles all admission applications to UK universities, including those submitted by international candidates like you.
To ensure a better chance of getting accepted, it is important that you prepare all the necessary documents and fill out all forms correctly. We also recommend that you apply for multiple universities simultaneously to ensure that you get your preferred offers. Read our full guide on UCAS here.
More about UCAS
The entire application process might be daunting and lengthy for some, so let us help you. Make a free appointment with us today for professional assistance in submitting applications to your preferred UK universities.
Foundation Course Entry Requirements
Entry requirements for foundation year programmes are generally lower than the requirements for undergraduate programmes. Specifically for foundation programmes, you will need a school leaver’s certificate or a document that proves you have completed the equivalent of the UK’s higher secondary school level. In addition to this, you may need the following to be able to enrol at a foundation programme:
- English Language tests – such as IELTS or TOEFL.
- Criminal records declaration (DBS/Disclosure Scotland for Scottish Universities).
- Health checks.
- Entrance interviews.
- Personal statement. This is a supporting document and part of your application to a UK university. Usually, you will write about what you hope to achieve studying at the course, what you plan to do after graduating and why you are applying for this specific university.
Frequently Asked Questions
A foundation year is a pre-university programme that bridges the gap between secondary school and undergraduate studies. It is a one-year programme that covers all the basic information needed for a specific undergraduate programme.
This largely depends on the university and the course. It typically costs around the same as a year of undergraduate studies, which could be anywhere between £12,000 for non-lab disciplines such as social sciences, all the way up to £24,000 a year or more for competitive courses such as medicine.
Applications for full-time study in foundation programmes still go through UCAS as with any application for undergraduate studies.
In addition to a school leaver’s certificate, you may also require English language tests, criminal record declarations, health checks, entrance interviews and submission of a personal statement.
Get Free Foundation Year Application Assistance
If you would like a free consultation on any step of the application process, contact us today or come visit us at our office in Mont Kiara, Kuala Lumpur. Book an appointment with us now!