Foundation degree

A foundation degree is a combined academic and vocational qualification in higher education, equivalent to two thirds of an honours bachelor's degree, introduced by the government of the United Kingdom in September 2001. Foundation degrees are available in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, offered by universities, by colleges that have their own foundation degree awarding powers, and by colleges and employers running courses validated by universities.

Foundation degrees must include a pathway for graduates to progress to an honours degree.[1] This may be via joining the final year of a standard three-year course or through a dedicated 'top-up' course. Students can also transfer to other institutions to take a top-up course or the final year of an honours course. It may also be possible for students to join the second year of an honours course in a different but related subject.[2]


The need for intermediate higher education qualifications that combined vocational and academic elements was recognised in the Choosing to Change report on 1994 and by the Dearing Report in 1997, while the 1999 Delivering Skills for All report recommended the establishment of two year vocational associate degrees. They were trialled in 2000, at which point the government expected 80% of the future expansion in higher education to come from foundation degrees.[3] Foundation degrees were formally launched in 2001 and the first students enrolled at the start of the 2001/2 academic year.[4]

While foundation degrees expanded initially, particularly taking market share off other sub-degree qualifications such as Higher National Diplomas, overall enrollments have declined since 2009. Although the number of students studying foundation degrees at colleges has continued to increase, this has not been sufficient to offset the fall in university courses. This has been blamed on a number of factors, including the introduction of student number controls that limited the number of students universities could recruit in a year rather than the total number on courses, in 2009 and the closure of the Foundation Degree Forward quango, set up to promote foundation degrees, in 2011.[5]


Foundation degrees are not general degrees but are focused on specific professions. There are no generally-set entry conditions: commercial or industrial experience may be more important in gaining a place than formal qualifications, and experience is always taken into account.[6] They are intended to give a comprehensive knowledge in a subject to enable the holder to go on to employment or further study in that field. They are normally offered by universities and further education colleges working in partnership.[7] They are also offered by some companies (in partnership with an awarding body) as training for employees, e.g. McDonald's in partnership with Manchester Metropolitan University.[8]

Foundation degrees are at Level 5 in the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications, below bachelor's degrees at level 6.[7] Courses are typically two years full-time study or longer part-time, and it is often possible to 'top up' to a bachelor's degree with a further year of study.[6] They are at the same level as the older Higher National Diploma (HND) and Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE);[9] however, they have a different emphasis and can only be awarded by institutions that have received research, taught or foundation degree awarding powers from the Privy Council.[10]

According to figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency, over half of foundation degree graduates are in further study six months after graduating, many presumably 'topping up' to a bachelor's degree, and more than 60% are in employment (there is an overlap of slightly over 20% who are both working and studying). Less than 2.5% of foundation degree holders are unemployed six months after graduating.[7]

See also


  1. ^ "Foundation Degrees FAQ". unionlearn. Trades Union Congress. 9. Proceeding to honours degree study. Retrieved 25 January 2017.
  2. ^ Caroline Green (2015). "Your foundation degree... what next?". TARGETjobs. Further study options with a foundation degree.
  3. ^ "Foundation degrees start small". Times Higher Education. 14 July 2000.
  4. ^ "Foundation Degree Task Force Report to Ministers" (PDF). September 2004. pp. 6–7, 10.
  5. ^ Ben Verinder (24 March 2015). "The downfall of foundation degrees?". Wonkhe.
  6. ^ a b "About Foundation Degrees?". UCAS. Retrieved 20 January 2016.
  7. ^ a b c "Options with your foundation degree". Prospects. June 2016. Retrieved 20 January 2017.
  8. ^ "What does a McDonald's Foundation Degree involve?". McDonald's. Archived from the original on 15 March 2015. Retrieved 26 January 2016.
  9. ^ "What qualification levels mean". Retrieved 20 January 2016.
  10. ^ "Degree awarding powers and university title". Quality Assurance Agency. Retrieved 20 January 2017.
Banbury and Bicester College

Banbury and Bicester college is a further education college in Oxfordshire, England. It has two campuses – one in Banbury and one in Bicester.

Ben Stawski

Ben Stawski (born 5 June 1990) is a male badminton player from England. He graduated from Loughborough College with a Foundation Degree in Sports Science in 2010. In 2009, he won bronze medals at the European Junior Badminton Championships in boys' team and mixed doubles event.

Blackpool and The Fylde College

Blackpool and The Fylde College (B&FC) is a further and higher education college in Blackpool, Lancashire, England.

Facilities include four main campuses located across the Fylde Coast, all of which have recently undergone or are currently undergoing major redevelopment.The college is an Associate College of Lancaster University and offers full and part-time further education, higher education and vocational courses along with apprenticeships. From September 2016 the college also holds its own foundation degree awarding powers.The sites in Fleetwood form a specialised Nautical campus, which teaches courses for merchant seafarers and offshore workers. The maritime courses are taught in association with Liverpool John Moores University rather than Lancaster University.

British degree abbreviations

Degree abbreviations are used as an alternative way to specify an academic degree instead of spelling out the title in full, such as in reference books such as Who's Who and on business cards. Many degree titles have more than one possible abbreviation, with the abbreviation used varying between different universities. In the UK it is normal not to punctuate abbreviations for degrees with full stops (e.g. "BSc" rather than "B.Sc."), although this is done at some universities.

City College Plymouth

City College Plymouth is a tertiary institution and further education college in South West England offering a range of technical, professional and vocational qualifications, Apprenticeships, Access to Higher Education and Foundation Degree courses, plus professional and bespoke training to local employers.

The College is a partner college of the University of Plymouth, who support their Foundation Degree provision.

The college was formerly known as the Plymouth College of Further Education and was officially renamed on 1 January 2007.

Foreman of Signals (Information Systems)

A soldier selected for Foreman of Signals training must be a SNCO Class 1 Communications Systems Engineer. They will normally hold a foundation degree Military Information Systems. On completion of the course, the soldier is promoted to Staff Sergeant if the rank is not already held, and assumes the appointment of Foreman of Signals and awarded a BSc Management Information Systems. The holder of the appointment can be promoted through the ranks in line with current military policy from Staff Sergeant, to Warrant Officer Class 2, then Warrant Officer Class 1. To distinguish the appointment the suffix of (FofS) is used (i.e. SSgt(FofS) WO2(FofS), WO1(FofS)).

Further education

Further education (often abbreviated FE) in the United Kingdom and Ireland is education in addition to that received at secondary school, that is distinct from the higher education (HE) offered in universities and other academic institutions. It may be at any level in compulsory secondary education, from entry to higher level qualifications such as awards, certificates, diplomas and other vocational, competency-based qualifications (including those previously known as NVQ/SVQs) through awarding organisations including City and Guilds, Edexcel (BTEC) and OCR. FE colleges may also offer HE qualifications such as HNC, HND, Foundation Degree or PGCE. The colleges are also a large provider of apprenticeships, where most of the training takes place in the apprentices' workplace with some day release into college.

FE in the United Kingdom is usually a means to attain an intermediate, advanced or follow-up qualification necessary to progress into HE, or to begin a specific career path, e.g. accountant, engineer or veterinary surgeon. It is available to students over 16 at colleges of Further Education, through work-based learning, or adult and community learning institutions.

In the United States and Canada, the term continuing education has a similar meaning.

Graduate diploma

A graduate diploma (GradD, GDip, GrDip, GradDip) is generally a qualification taken after completion of a first degree, although the level of study varies in different countries from being at the same level as the final year of a bachelor's degree to being at a level between a master's degree and a doctorate. In some countries the graduate diploma and postgraduate diploma are synonymous, while in others (particularly where the graduate diploma is at undergraduate degree level) the postgraduate diploma is a higher qualification.

Milton Keynes College

Milton Keynes College is a general further education and training college, serving the Borough of Milton Keynes. It also serves the surrounding areas (northern Aylesbury Vale, south Northamptonshire, north west Bedfordshire and north east Oxfordshire). It also provides tertiary education to Foundation Degree level. Its degree-level courses are validated by the Open University and the University of Bedfordshire.

New College Durham

New College Durham is a further and higher education college and a sixth form college in County Durham, England. It was founded in 1977 as a result of a merger between Neville's Cross College of Education and Durham Technical College.

Until 2004, the college operated on two main sites near the city of Durham: Neville's Cross and Framwellgate Moor. The site at Framwellgate Moor opened in 1957 and was extended in 1970; the site housed the bulk of the college's further education (FE) provision, whilst the Neville's Cross site, an ex-college of education site built in the 1920s, housed most of the higher education (HE) provision. In 2002, the college was given planning permission to build a new £37 million campus at Framwellgate Moor. Construction work began in 2003 with the new buildings being constructed around the old buildings. When the new buildings were completed, work began to demolish the old site at Neville's Cross. The construction work was completed in September 2005, whilst the landscaping was finally completed in October.

In the academic year 1999-2000, the college enrolled 8,270 FE students, of whom 1,877 were full-time, and 1,934 HE students, of whom 675 were full-time. Business and management was offered on the Neville's Cross Campus until 2004.

In 2011, the College became one of only two in the country to be granted Foundation Degree Awarding Powers. These can be converted to bachelor's degrees via a "top up" year, with the degrees validated by Teesside University, Sunderland University and Leeds Metropolitan University.

Plumpton College

Plumpton College (previously known as Plumpton Agricultural College) is a Further and Higher education college in Plumpton, East Sussex, England, with courses in a variety of land based and related subjects. The college provides a range of full-time and part-time land-based courses, FE courses to Foundation Degree and BSc courses. The College degree courses are provided in association with the Royal Agricultural University.The main site of the College is in Plumpton, with out-centres elsewhere in East Sussex at Netherfield, Flimwell and Robertsbridge. The Principal of the college is Jeremy Kerswell.

The range of courses cover all land-based provision including Agriculture, Horticulture, Floristry, Greenkeeping, Hard Landscaping, Equine, Agricultural and Horticultural Machinery, Metalsmithing, Animal Care and Veterinary Nursing, Countryside Management, Forestry and Arboriculture, Sports (Outdoor Education), Wine and Viticulture, and Rural Business Management.

The college was visited by The Princess Royal in March 2008 to open a new Children's Rural Education Centre marking the Year of Food and Farming.

Somerset College of Arts and Technology

Bridgwater and Taunton College is a community college based in Taunton, in the county of Somerset, England. It was formed in 1974 after the merger of Somerset College of Art and Taunton Technical College. The college provides further and higher education courses, as well as a variety of part-time courses for adult learners. Qualifications offered include NVQ, BTEC First Diploma, BTEC National Diploma, GCSE, degrees and Foundation Degree.

Stafford College

Stafford College is a large provider of further and higher education based in Stafford, England.

The college campus is on Earl Street in Stafford Town Centre. Qualifications taught include a wide range of A-levels, with additional choice offered through the Stafford Collegiate, which is a collaboration between Stafford College and other local education providers. The College also offers vocational subjects, often in industry-standard facilities. Music technology students learn in a suite of recording studios; beauty therapists gain skills in the Stafford Beauty Academy, which is a working salon open to the public. Workshops exist for students of Motor Vehicle, Trowel Occupations, Construction Plant, Plumbing and on-campus restaurants provide experience for students training in hospitality subjects.

In 2004 the College built a new sports hall providing teaching facilities for students on sports-related subjects and recreational opportunities for other students. The following year it opened the Broad Eye building (named after the Broad Eye Windmill, located just across the road from the college), a dedicated centre with studio facilities for art and design subjects.

Stafford College offers higher education courses in partnership with Staffordshire University. Subjects offered at HND and Foundation Degree-level are increasing and current information can be obtained from the College prospectus or its website. At present, Foundation Degrees include subjects such as: Fine Art, Illustration, 3D Design, Graphics & Digital Design, Photography, Fashion, Computing, Sustainable Communities, Small Business & Salon Management, Early Childhood Studies, Education (Teaching Assistants), Leadership & Management and Social Science.

University of Nottingham Medical School at Derby

The University of Nottingham Medical School at Derby was opened in September 2003 by Dr John Reid, then Secretary of State for Health. It is part of the University of Nottingham and is located in the nearby city of Derby in the East Midlands of England. It offers a four-year Graduate Entry Medical (GEM) course (initially for 90 students) as well as a 3-year Undergraduate Medical Physiology and Therapeutics degree (available as a 4-year foundation degree) as well. It is currently led (2015- ) by Professor John Alcolado.

The medical school is attached to the Royal Derby Hospital and houses a lecture theatre, anatomy suite and clinical skills teaching facility. Additionally, students have assigned problem-based learning base rooms.

Entrance to the GEM course is via the GAMSAT examination followed by a structured interview process. Competition for places is fierce, with usually over 1200 students applying for the 90 places. The course accepts people from both science and non-science degree backgrounds.The course consists of a one and half year pre-clinical phase which is centred on problem-based learning cases. Following successful completion of this course students then join with the five year course students for a two and a half year clinical phase.

University of the West of England, Bristol

The University of the West of England, Bristol (UWE Bristol) is a public research university, located in and around Bristol, England, which received university status in 1992. In common with the University of Bristol and University of Bath it can trace its origins to the Merchant Venturers' Technical College, founded as a school in 1595 by the Society of Merchant Venturers.The university is made up of several campuses in Greater Bristol. Frenchay Campus is the largest campus in terms of student numbers as most of its courses are based there. City campus provides courses in the creative and cultural industries, and is made up of Bower Ashton Studios, Arnolfini, Spike Island, and Watershed. The institution is affiliated with the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and validates its higher education courses. Frenchay Campus and Glenside Campus are home to most of the Faculty of Health and Applied Sciences, with a further Adult Nursing cohort based at Gloucester Campus. Hartpury Campus provides training in animal sciences, sport, equine, agriculture and conservation.

The university is ranked among the top 25 higher education institutions in England for its graduate employment prospects. Recent figures show 96% of recent graduates are in employment or further study, with 78% in professional roles. Last year the university celebrated its highest ever student satisfaction levels, with 87% of students indicating they were happy with the quality of their course.

In 2018 the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) awarded the University of the West of England with Gold rating, which is awarded for consistently outstanding and of the highest quality found in the UK Higher Education sector. It is only one of four universities in the UK to have a University Enterprise Zone providing space for over 70 businesses, and the largest UK robotics lab.

Wesley College (Bristol)

Wesley College, Bristol (formerly Wesley College, Headingley, Leeds, until, in 1967, the institution united with Didsbury College, Bristol, and was renamed) was a theological college in the Henbury area of Bristol, England. It was the oldest provider of theological education for the Methodist Church of Great Britain and the core institution of the South West Regional Training Network of the Methodist Church, where its partners were the South West Ministerial Training Course (SWMTC), based in Exeter and STETS in Salisbury. It was also involved with ecumenical education.Although established to prepare people for ordained ministry in the Methodist Church, and this was still a significant part of its work with an emphasis particularly on pre-ordination students who were studying part-time, the College programme became much more widely based. The teaching staff came from a wide range of Christian backgrounds. Student ministers worked alongside other students of theology, bringing a wider experience of life into the learning environment.

Wesley College provided a wide range of units in Christian theology, validated by the University of Bristol, most of which were open to lay people as well as those preparing for ordination. After 2008 the College offered a Foundation Degree (FdA) in Mission and Ministry validated by St. Mary's University College (Twickenham).

The College was a member of the Bristol Federation for Theological Education, where its partners were Bristol Baptist College and Trinity College, Bristol. As well as housing one of the most extensive theological libraries in the country, the College possessed an extensive archive with many unique documents and artefacts dating from the 17th and 18th centuries, many of them related to the Wesley family.The College was an important international research facility with students from Australia, United States, South Korea, India and Africa. Wesley College had a formal Graduate Research Agreement with Hyupsung University, South Korea and established exchange programmes with the Tamil Nadu Theological Seminary, South India, the United Church of Zambia Seminary at Kitwe and the Reutlingen Seminary, Germany.

All its courses were open to students from any denomination and the College was building a reputation for lay theological education including the nationally recognised Pastoral Carers' Course and partnerships with other religious denominations or bodies including the Roman Catholic Diocese of Clifton and the Benedictine Downside Abbey. The College also attracted students from the Anglican, Baptist, Pentecostal and Holiness traditions.

The last College Principal prior to its closure in 2010 was Rev. Dr. Jonathan Pye who was also Honorary Research Fellow in Medical Ethics in the University of Bristol and a recognised teacher in the University of Bristol and the University of Wales, Cardiff. Dr Pye has lectured extensively in the UK, USA and Canada, South Korea and Australia.

Wigan and Leigh College

Wigan & Leigh College is a state General Further and Higher Education College based at five locations in the towns of Wigan and Leigh in Greater Manchester, England, United Kingdom. Currently there are 500 staff members employed, and more than 8,000 students enrolled in full-time or part-time courses. The college's programmes of study include: General Certificate of Education (GCSEs), BTEC First Diplomas, Advanced Level (UK), National Diplomas, Higher National Diplomas, Apprenticeships, Foundation Degree and Degree courses.

Wigan & Leigh College was formed in April 1992 through the merger of Wigan College of Technology (formerly Wigan Mining and Technical College) and Leigh College.

Wigan & Leigh College have been leading the way since 1857 and have a long standing history of providing high quality academic technical and vocational education. Wigan & Leigh College has four Centers of Excellence in Sport, Creative Arts, Engineering and Health and Social Care.

Wigan & Leigh College won FE College of the Year in 2018 (North West Educate Awards)

Levels of academic degree

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.