Foundation years

Thought you couldn't study for a degree? You can - with a foundation year.

Does any of this apply to you? You:

  • don’t have the necessary UCAS points for your desired degree
  • studied different subjects to the course entry requirements
  • need to create a portfolio for an art/music/architecture/drama-based degree
  • come from a different academic environment from the UK and need additional English language training
  • have been out of education for a while and want to ease back in in a supportive environment.

A foundation year can be the solution.

A foundation year is a year of study before an undergraduate degree, with a combination of subject-focused topics relevant to your chosen degree and more general skills such as thinking critically, maths and ICT. At ARU you’ll have tuition from foundation-level specialists dedicated to helping you make the step up to degree-level studies and be part of the ARU community from day 1, so you’ll know what to expect when you move onto your degree.

What is a foundation degree?

A foundation year is not the same as a foundation degree. A foundation year leads on to a standard three year* degree course, from which you graduate with a BA (Hons), a BSc (Hons) or a BEng (Hons). A foundation degree is a qualification equivalent to two years of a three-year degree – you’ll graduate with a FdA or FdSc and you usually need A levels to get onto the course.

*There are a small number of foundation year degrees with the foundation year studied full-time for one year and the degree studied part-time over more than three years.

As a foundation year student, you're a university student from the day you register. You'll be taught on campus, with small class sizes, and have access to all University facilities. You'll study full-time, and will usually have 12-16 hours face-to-face teaching every week.

  • If your degree is studied in Cambridge, your foundation year will be at ARU College*, a branch of which is part of the main ARU Cambridge campus.
  • If your degree is studied in Chelmsford, your foundation year will also be at ARU College*, a branch which is part of the main ARU Chelmsford campus.
  • If your degree is studied in Peterborough, your foundation year will continue at ARU Peterborough.

You will need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grade 3 (or grade D) or above.
  • Evidence of two years post-GCSE study at Level 3 – for example one A level grade E, or at least two years of employment (with a CV and reference letter), or a combination of the two.

Other qualifications from across the world are accepted. Please see a list of equivalent qualifications published by ARU College.

  • If English is not your first language you will be expected to demonstrate a certificated level of proficiency of at least IELTS 5.5 (Academic level) or equivalent English Language qualification, as recognised by Anglia Ruskin University.

Yes. If a degree course accepts International students, then the foundation year will also.

Once you have successfully completed your foundation year you will progress seamlessly to the first year of your bachelor’s degree. There is no need to reapply.

If you study the Public Health foundation year degree, after finishing your foundation year you may opt to transfer to a Nursing or Operating Department Practice degree instead of continuing onto the Public Health degree.

Hooray - you can get a student loan for the entirety of your course. If you get funding from Student Finance you may be able to apply for some additional grants and allowances too. Find out about fees for your course on our Tuition fees page.

Your accommodation options are the same as for students on the degree without a foundation year. Find out more about our accommodation.

We don’t offer a stand-alone foundation year course - foundation years are linked to your chosen degree course and you can expect to study with us for four years overall (a small number of courses last for five years). You can apply for student finance for your entire course, including the foundation year.

Yes, you can find out about all our degree courses at an Open Day.

Find degrees with a foundation year