What are foundation degrees?

Foundation degrees are designed by universities in association with employers, and combine academic skills and knowledge with workplace performance and productivity. The flexible study methods they employ make them well suited to people already in work, unemployed people or those wanting to embark on a career change.

A foundation degree usually takes two years full-time to complete (or longer if you are studying part time), allowing you to gain professional and technical skills within a shorter time frame than a full degree. At the end, you can reconsider your career options and then decide whether to use it as a step towards further professional qualifications or to do an honours degree.

Entry requirements vary, but many institutions prefer relevant work experience or employment history to academic qualifications. Some require A-levels or Level 3 vocational qualifications as standard. Foundation degrees are well regarded by employers, who see them as heavyweight vocational qualifications because they equip students with real skills and experience as well as knowledge.

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.