Foundation degrees: what are they?

Foundation degrees are becoming increasingly popular. If you are unsure of whether you want to take on a full degree or if you want to work while you study, then taking a Foundation Degree is an ideal route for you. It combines academic and workplace skills and allows you to gain experience, both professional and technical, to enhance and further your chosen career. Foundation Degrees can take up to two years to complete for full-time students, and longer for part-time students. If you want to learn more about them, I’ve outlined the advantages and disadvantages below!


  • If you are working alongside studying, you can seek financial help from your employer, who may be able to fund part of your degree (this depends on your employer’s/company’s financial support policy, though).
  • You have the flexibility of studying part-time, which is useful if you have family and/or carer responsibilities and commitments.
  • Foundation degrees are all about practical work, putting what you have learned into practice.
  • Tuition fees are generally lower for these degrees than those for Bachelor’s Degrees, on average around £2000 cheaper.
  • You don’t always need A-Level qualifications to get onto a course – if you have relevant work experience you can study through a process called Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL). Contact the institution(s) you are researching to see if they offer this.
  • You can use your Foundation Degree as a building block to enter a Bachelor’s Degree if you decide by the end that you want to continue studying.
  • Classes tend to be smaller, and you, therefore, have more one-to-one time with your tutor.


  • Although fees are generally lower than those for Bachelor’s Degrees, Foundation Degree fees vary for each institution, so you must check with the institution/college you are thinking of applying to and see how much it would cost to study there.
  • Not all universities offer Foundation Degrees, check their prospectuses when choosing a uni.
  • You can’t study all subjects – some universities offer a selected number of subjects which you can study at foundation level.
  • Some people find it difficult to manage their time effectively and balance work, study, family, and other commitments.

Foundation degrees, like with any big decision, need a bit of research and looking into so that you can see if it is the ideal choice for your pursuit of Higher Education. Check out the UCAS website and your local universities/colleges to find out more about the application process and what subjects are offered to you so you can further your education and gain the necessary skills for your chosen career.

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