Degree courses with foundation years

What is a foundation year?

A foundation year forms part of a four-year degree and provides the understanding and basis needed to embark on the full degree, for those that have had a break in study, have qualifications other than A levels for consideration or did not get the grades they hoped for in their A levels.

We have been running foundation programmes for over 25 years with an outstanding record for retention and success. We invite applications from those that have a break in study, or have qualifications other than A levels for consideration.

Why choose a four-year degree with a foundation year?

Foundation pathways at the University of Plymouth offer students from a variety of backgrounds and skill sets an avenue into a wide variety of degrees that have traditionally been out of reach.

In our experience, the additional foundation year gives students the opportunity to grow academically and personally in a university environment. This allows students more time to reinforce and complement existing understanding and perform to their full potential over the course of the four-year degree. 

Science courses with foundation years

Preparing for success

Our aim is to prepare you for success in your degree and help you on your way to becoming a skilled and employable science graduate. In return we require a commitment to study and proactive contribution to the programme.

The foundation year comprises compulsory components in key skill areas, including mathematics plus optional modules (chemistry, biology, physics and statistics) to align with your chosen degree programme.


Our foundation classes are predominantly coursework centred and are integrated into our full degree programmes, being taught by leading academics in their respective fields. As a result, our foundation students perform very well and go on to be some of the best performing students throughout the degree programmes.

Classes and networks on campus

During the foundation year, students enjoy both focused discipline specific teaching and classes with other students across the suite of science foundation programmes. This provides a natural environment to network across departments, in addition to the benefits of being based in a city-centre campus university.

Support your studies with a humanities foundation bursary

The School of Humanities and Performing Arts would like to reward those applicants who show a significant commitment to studying with us. Therefore all applicants holding a valid offer for either of the three humanities foundation courses will be eligible to receive a bursary of £500 which will be automatically deducted from their tuition fees upon enrolment onto the course in September 2018. Valid for the following courses:

Management, law, criminology, sociology, international relations, politics or tourism

Your route into study with the Faculty of Business

The management, government and law foundation route is designed to help you find the best possible direction for your studies and to provide the grounding necessary to progress with your chosen course.

Management, Government and Law 

Foundation year experience

The best part of the course for me was the confidence it gave me. I wasn't sure getting into university was something I'd be able to do. It's an immense sense of achievement.

Harry talks about the foundation year and how it prepared him for a degree in robotics, engineering or mathematics.

Feedback on foundation years at Plymouth

  • Ç “A really excellent refresher as someone returning to education after a few years”
  • { “Tutorials on scientific writing and referencing were really helpful”
  • Ç “Our chemistry tutor is very positive and encouraging, responds quickly and is great fun in labs and lectures”
  • { “The maths tuition went from basic to steadily more advanced in a very easy to follow way”
  • Ç “Study skills sessions were useful to explain what is expected of us and how to complete any work to university standards”
<p>Joseph Tripp</p>
“It does make the minimum time in a course four years, which I was worried about before I started talking to people who had been at uni longer than me, they all conveyed the same thing: university and getting the education you want is not a race.” – Joseph Tripp's blog
Graduate profile - Blair Gordon
“The foundation year was a fantastic experience as it allowed a smooth transition into university meant I hit the ground running when it came to starting the first year of the mechanical engineering course.” – Mechanical engineering graduate Blair Gordon shares his story