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Foundation Courses for UK Students

Durham University’s Foundation Programme has been delivering high quality academic preparation for undergraduate study at Durham University since 1992. It provides entry to a wide range of degree subjects for learners from some under-represented groups in higher education (check Eligibility), who need a year 0 course in order to be prepared for undergraduate studies.

Foundation Programme courses are fully integrated elements of Durham University degree programmes and students are full members of the university. This means they become members of a college and enjoy full access to the extensive extracurricular opportunities within the university right from day one.

Students who successfully reach the progression standard by the end of the foundation year automatically gain entry to year one of their registered degree course without the need for a further UCAS application.

The majority of our students are from non-traditional university backgrounds. Many are from the North East of England, though all regions of the UK are usually represented. Foundation Programme staff are experts at teaching foundation level courses and are engaged in a wide range of scholarship activities, adding to the body of knowledge within their respective discipline areas and in the field of learning and teaching.

What is a foundation year? 

There are many types of foundation year. At Durham, the foundation year is a 'year 0' element of an undergraduate degree programme that is designed for students from some under-represented groups in higher education, who have the potential to achieve the standard for admission to Durham, but who, as a result of educational disadvantage or disruption, do not have the level of attainment or access to qualifications required for entry to a Durham University course.

All Foundation Programmes are delivered by a dedicated team of academic tutors from Durham’s Centre for Academic Development (DCAD). Each year the Programmes provide places for around 100 students and supports them to progress to Level 1 study in 33 academic subjects from every academic department in the University. Foundation students matriculate fully into the university, including becoming a member of one of the 17 colleges open to undergraduate students.


Which degree courses are available with a foundation year? 

Many degree courses are available 'with foundation'. Discover if the subject you wish to study has a foundation year by searching the University’s course database. This will enable you to see if your chosen degree subject is available with a foundation year. You can also use the University’s course database to find out more about the course content, the entry requirements, and other relevant information about our courses.

The list of courses for 2024 entry with Foundation is available below.

Foundation Programme for Arts and Humanities courses

Foundation Programme for Business courses

Foundation Programme for Science courses

Foundation Programme for Social Science courses

What is studied in foundation year? 

Each of the available degree courses has a defined foundation year. Students study modules that add up to 120 'credits', learning both core general academic skills and subject-specific content that will enable them to enter and thrive in year one of their degree subjects. You can find more about foundation programme modules here.

Foundation Programme also organises (subject to staff availability and funding) educational field trips to Beamish, Howarth, Newcastle and Czech Republic

What is the cost of the foundation year? 

The tuition fees for a foundation year are the same as years one to three of undergraduate study. However, there is a number of scholarships available to Foundation Programme students that offer a financial support to eligible applicants including Undergraduate Scholarships and North East Scholarships.

If you think the foundation year may be for you and if you think you may be eligible, please see our how to apply page.