School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics

BEng (Hons) Civil Engineering with Foundation Year

UCAS tariff 32 - 48
UCAS course code H203
Institution code P60

4 years

(+ optional placement)
Course type


Location Plymouth

Do you want to become a civil engineer but lack the normal entry requirements for one of our honours degrees? Perhaps you've shown evidence of good academic potential but don’t have sufficient qualifications or have been out of formal education for a while. This four-year degree route incorporates a foundation year that is broadly equivalent to mathematics and physics A level and includes a project and introductory engineering topics.

Civil Engineering with Foundation Year

Key features

The foundation year is an integral part of the extended degree and you will benefit from experienced university lecturers. Whilst completion of the foundation year will not lead to a separate award or qualification in its own right, you will be able to confidently progress to courses within our suite of civil engineering courses. 
  • In the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), also known as the Shanghai Ranking we are eighth out of 50, and the highest ranked UK university, for Marine/Ocean Engineering.
  • Progress onto the first year of a professionally accredited civil or civil and coastal engineering degree course, guaranteed provided you pass the foundation year at the required level.
  • We have an established track record of students progressing from the foundation year to success in their chosen degree course. 
  • Gain a gentle introduction to mathematics and science, essential for success on our civil engineering courses.
  • Benefit from material specifically for civil engineering students including an appropriate project in term two.
  • Students in engineering, science and the arts have access to a range of specialist equipment and innovative laboratories in our new engineering and design facility.
  • Learn from our professionally qualified teaching staff and researchers. You’ll be taught by some of the same tutors who will teach you later in the degree. 
  • Our friendly staff operate an open door policy and tutors are more than happy to discuss your work and offer assistance.
  • Discussions with your lecturers allow you to make an informed choice about which degree to select towards the end of your first year of study.
  • The foundation year is an integral part of the extended degree. Completion of the foundation year will not lead to a separate award or qualification its own right but will provide access to Year 1 of your degree.

Course details

  • Foundation year

  • The course comprises four themes: civil engineering, mathematical methods, applied mathematics (mechanics), and physics. You can expect about 15 hours of contact per week and will be studying independently for at least the same amount of time. Your assessment will be in the form of coursework assignments, in-class tests and examinations at the end of each of the two semesters.

    Core modules

    • Civil Engineering (CIVL050)

      This module provides an introduction to the civil engineering profession and to the types of careers open to graduates in this discipline. Relevant transferable skills are also introduced to support a group project which aims to develop an appreciation of the knowledge and skills required for progression to the civil engineering degree programmes.

    • Mathematical Methods I (MATH051)

      This module is intended to show how mathematics is a fundamental part of the world of engineering, science and computing as well as of the world around us. Assuming a base of GCSE grade C, the lectures and assessments are designed to lead to an understanding of the application of mathematics to GCE A Level grade C and above.

    • Mathematical Methods II (MATH053)

      This module is intended to show how mathematics is a fundamental part of the world of engineering and science as well as of the world around us. It extends the mathematics taught in MATH051 to include complex numbers, differential equations and numerical methods.

    • Applied Mathematics (MATH058)

      This module provides an introduction to applied mathematics. The focus of the module is on the use of mechanics to solve basic problems of an engineering and scientific nature in the real world. Topics studied are: modelling; forces; vectors; kinematics in one and two dimensions; Newton's laws; moments and energy.

    • Physics I (PHYS050)

      This module provides an introduction to physics and its applications in science and engineering. This module assumes little previous knowledge of physics.

    • Physics II (PHYS051)

      This module continues the work in Physics I, providing an introduction to physics and its applications in science and engineering.

Every undergraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the course aims, the course structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest course structure and may be subject to change:

BEng Civil Engineering With Foundation Year Programme Specification September 2024 3797

The modules shown for this course are those currently being studied by our students, or are proposed new modules. Please note that programme structures and individual modules are subject to amendment from time to time as part of the University’s curriculum enrichment programme and in line with changes in the University’s policies and requirements.

Entry requirements

UCAS tariff

32 - 48

A levels: a minimum of 2 A levels. Excluding general studies.
BTEC: 18 Unit BTEC National Diploma/QCF Extended Diploma: PPP 
12 Unit BTEC National Certificate/QCF Diploma: MP
BTEC National Diploma modules
If you hold a BTEC qualification it is vital that you provide our Admissions team with details of the exact modules you have studied as part of the BTEC. Without this information we may be unable to process your application quickly and you could experience significant delays in the progress of your application to study with us. Please explicitly state the full list of modules within your qualification at the time of application.
All Access courses: pass Access course (any subject) (including GCSE English and mathematics grade C/4 or above or equivalent). For candidates that do not have a science or technology background please contact: for further advice.
T level: As a University we will continue to review T level qualifications as more information becomes available in the next couple of months.
International Baccalaureate: 24 overall– English and mathematics must be included. 
GCSE: mathematics and English at grade C/4 or above. 
Mature students with appropriate work experience are encouraged to apply. For those who do not meet the requirements, please enquire for further details.  
We welcome applicants with international qualifications. To view other accepted qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary.

Fees, costs and funding

Student 2023-2024 2024-2025
Home £9,250 £9,250
International £16,300 £18,100
Part time (Home) £770 £770
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per 10 credits. Please note that fees are reviewed on an annual basis. Fees and the conditions that apply to them shown in the prospectus are correct at the time of going to print. Fees shown on the web are the most up to date but are still subject to change in exceptional circumstances. More information about fees and funding.

Tuition fees for optional placement years

The fee for all undergraduate students completing any part of their placement year in the UK in 2023/2024 is £1,850.
The fee for all undergraduate students completing their whole placement year outside the UK in 2023/2024 is £1,385.
Learn more about placement year tuition fees

How to apply

All applications for undergraduate courses are made through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). 
UCAS will ask for the information contained in the box at the top of this course page including the UCAS course code and the institution code. 
To apply for this course and for more information about submitting an application including application deadline dates, please visit the UCAS website.
Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via our how to apply webpage or email

Progression routes

From this course, you can progress onto:
Progression is also possible to our other engineering degrees and good performance in the first year entitles you to transfer to the second year of our MEng courses.

Virtual subject webinar

Tuesday 28 May, 16:00–17:00
Find out more about this programme by attending our virtual subject webinar. The virtual webinar will give you an overview of the programme and the opportunity to ask our academics any questions you may have. 

Babbage Building: where engineering meets design

"The building provides a state-of-the-art setting to inspire the engineers and designers of tomorrow, making it the ultimate place to bring together students, academics and industry in an environment that not only benefits them but also society as a whole." – Professor Deborah Greaves OBE
Situated on the western edge of our city centre campus, the landmark new facility is home to the School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics and offers additional space for the School of Art, Design and Architecture.
New Engineering and Design Facility
Ajen Limbu, MEng (Hons) Civil Engineering

Ajen Limbu, MEng and BEng (Hons) Civil Engineering graduate

"The lecturers really wanted to invest and build our potential for industry and postgraduate studies. This support was very motivating and essential in building my professional and technical foundation."
After graduating, Ajen went on to become a Structural Dynamics Engineer for the Ministry of Defence.
Cliff Francis graduated with a BSc (Hons) Civil Engineering with Foundation and went on to work at Balfour Beatty
"Following a break from education for a couple of years, I decided to pursue a career in Civil Engineering. The University of Plymouth offered a degree in Civil Engineering that really interested me, as well as providing a foundation pathway for me to fill the gaps missing in my A-Levels to meet the entry requirements. The foundation year brought me up to speed, helped me transition back into education and provided me a really solid foundational knowledge when I started the bachelors degree. It also exposed to me to other engineering disciplines and enabled me to be sure that Civil Engineering was the right course for me."
Find out more about Cliff's path to becoming a civil engineer and how his career has developed at the Institution of Civil Engineers.
Cliff Francis, BSc (Hons) Civil Engineering with Foundation

University features in film celebrating Plymouth’s engineering prowess

The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) presents Engineering Plymouth. A film celebrating how civil engineers have helped to shape Plymouth over the last 500 years. The film tells the story of Plymouth through its engineering milestones. From laying the foundations for a new town to the introduction of the Great Western Railway and the impressive Royal Albert Bridge. Through the Blitz bombs and on towards new horizons – Robotics, artificial intelligence and the use of drone technology – we see how engineers are tackling problems and safeguarding the future for generations to come. 

The Tamar Engineering Project

Are you inspired and fascinated by the potential of technological and engineering advancements? Do you want to make a positive difference to the world around you?
The Tamar Engineering Project is for ambitious students who want to embark on a career in engineering and who have shown potential for high academic achievement at A level, but whose background or personal circumstances may be a barrier to university study.
Learn if you are eligible for this scholarship at the University of Plymouth through the Tamar Engineering Project 
Successful applicants will receive:
  • £3,000 per annum towards living costs for the duration of the taught element of their degree (usually three years)
  • £1,500 fee waiver per annum
  • one-to-one mentoring from an industry expert.
Gemma Maynard
COAST Laboratory, Marine Building

Facilities and resources

From dedicated computer laboratories to a wealth of electronic information, you’ll benefit from a range of facilities and resources that will help your learning and development.
Our facilities include our £19 million Marine Building and dedicated engineering laboratories equipped with industry standard software.


Meet our school technical staff 

Our technical staff are integral to the delivery of all our programmes and bring a diverse range of expertise and skills to support students in laboratories and workshops.
athena swan bronze

Athena Swan Bronze

The School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics was awarded an Athena Swan Bronze award in October 2020 which demonstrates our ongoing commitment to advancing gender equality and success for all.

This is Civil Engineering South West 2016

This short film by the Institution of Civil Engineers showcases the South West 2016 shortlisted projects and celebrates the fantastic civil engineering work happening in the region.
It features some of our very own graduates: Dominic Primmer, Katy Toms, Jon Petherick and Tom Whitmore.
*These are the latest results from the National Student Survey. Please note that the data published on Unistats is updated annually in September.