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The Foundation Centre

Frequently Asked Questions

+Can Foundation students apply to any of the colleges?

Foundation Students can apply for any college that accepts undergraduate students (Ustinov has postgraduates only). When applying via UCAS applicants can select a preferred college, but this does not guarantee acceptance, there is a random allocation process and each college has a prescribed number of foundation student places. 

Colleges provide an excellent environment in which to become involved and meet fellow students, even as a mature learner or as a student who lives at home. 

+How can I find out more about what to expect in my degree following the successful completion of the Foundation Programme (year 0)?

Why not attend a pre-application open day? Pre-application open days are the best way to discover all you need to know about Durham University. With representatives from all relevant academic and support service departments, and opportunities to explore college options, the open days provide our prospective undergraduates with the full experience of Durham University.

+I've reviewed the modules but I want to know how intense the foundation year is? Are the modules difficult to grasp without having prior knowledge?

You do not require prior knowledge and the course is designed to be accessible to learners with a wide range of backgrounds and experiences. Each module has been developed especially for our students by our dedicated and experienced team. The courses are challenging, they are preparing you for study at an elite university, but we have years of experience helping students go on to graduate with Durham University degrees. If you are prepared to put in the work, we will give you a lot of support and help so you can realise your potential

+I’m shy around new people; will I struggle to make friends and integrate?

There are many opportunities and activities to become involved in both Foundation Centre and broader university life. Whether you want to volunteer for charity work, stage a play, sing in a choir, or play in a college sports team, you will find many ways to join in, mix with different people and simply try something new. By trying out new activities you might even find that you develop a passion for something you had never even considered before! And if joining a club or society at University-level seems a bit daunting, you can become involved in many of the activities in the smaller setting of your college instead. These opportunities do extend to mature students and are also to be found in the open and inclusive classroom environments that are promoted within the university generally and Foundation Centre in particular. 

+I’m thinking about attending one of the university Open Days, what should I expect?

If you are thinking about applying to Durham University, a great way to explore the wealth of opportunities on offer is to come and visit us. We host a number of campus-wide open days and visit options throughout the year. The Open Days and taster sessions are designed to provide advice on applying and student finance information within a friendly and informal atmosphere. There will also be one-to-one Information, advice and guidance available.

+Is there a typical foundation student?

The short answer is no. There are many mature students from the north east region of England, but our students represent a full range of ages, from 18 to over 60, a mix of genders, nationalities, regional identities and a very diverse range of prior work and educational experiences. 

The 'typical' foundation student could be you. 

+Is there an option for students to change their degree progression route during the foundation year? For example, from Chemistry to Physics?

In some cases this is a possibility, although each situation is dealt with individually using prescribed procedures.

+To successfully complete the foundation year, do I need to sit exams? Is there a specific grade or score I need to achieve in order to achieve progression into first year?

Each module is composed of coursework and tests. Tests take place in January and May/June. You need to pass 50% overall in each module to progress on the degree programme. On some routes there are 'compulsory pass components' within a module.

+What are the English language requirements for students with English as an additional language? Am I required to sit an IELTS exam?

If English is not your first language please use our online enquiry form to find information about your eligibility for the foundation year programmes. 

+What are the entry requirements for Foundation Year programmes?

Applications for Foundation Centre courses should be made via UCAS.

The entry requirements depend on which course you are applying for. Please look at the programme list and click through for the entry requirements.

We strongly advise all applicants to complete the online enquiry form once they have read the entry requirements for their chosen course, so that we can provide information, advice and guidance tailored to your personal circumstances The entry criteria for the foundation year are necessarily more complex than for direct entry to year one.

+What is the workload like? Do foundation students have a busy schedule?

You will study 120 credits worth of modules per year (part-time students will study 6 modules per year). Modules are worth either 10, 20, or 30 credits. A year is divided into two teaching blocks which run over 3 terms: Michaelmas (10 teaching weeks), Epiphany (8 teaching weeks), and Easter (3 teaching weeks and a 4 week test period). Each teaching week will usually contain 18 hours of classes and we expect you to study for an additional 18 hours per week outside class (9 hours of classes and 9 hours of additional study for part-time students). If this seems overwhelming, don’t worry. Foundation Students still have time for a home life, with many Foundation students opting to take part in societies and college socials or continue with their family and life commitments alongside their studies.

+What modules would I study in the foundation year?

The list of Foundation Year programmes are available here. Please click on the relevant programme to find which modules you would study. The list is here:

+Will I be able to work part-time?

Durham University recommends a maximum of 12 hours of part-time work whilst studying at an undergraduate level. The maximum number of working hours recommended is for guidance only. It is your responsibility to assess the academic pressures and demands of your subject discipline and prioritise this over any part-time work. To help you find part-time work and explore other opportunities, Durham University operates a Careers Centre. The Careers, Employability and Enterprise Centre works extremely closely with the Foundation Centre to ensure that students receive information and vacancies relevant to their needs. Students are able to attend presentations and workshops from a wide range of employers from all sectors. They are also able to attend sessions arranged by the Careers Centre on subjects including CV writing, interview preparation and gaining work experience and attend the wide range of fairs organised for Durham University Students.

+To progress onto year one of the degree programme, will I need to re-submit a UCAS application?

Foundation Year courses are fully integrated with Durham University degrees, counting as year 0 of an undergraduate degree programme. After successful completion of the Foundation year, students move directly onto the first year of their degree, without further UCAS application. This also means that students have access to all the opportunities and funding that's available to all undergraduate students at Durham University