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The Foundation Programme

Eligibility to Apply for the Foundation Year

By design the eligibility to apply for the foundation year at Durham is based on broad criteria and each applicant is judged on an individual basis against the criteria that can be found below. The aim of the year is to allow access to Durham University degree programmes for those who are not eligible for direct entry, but it is not a 'back door' for learners who have not met the grade requirements for direct entry. Applicants should apply in the admissions cycle for the year in which they want to enter the university; deferrals are allowed only in extreme circumstances.

You are unlikely to be eligible if:

  • You are currently studying for A Level, IB or equivalent qualifications that would allow direct entry into your chosen degree programme as a year 1 student. If this describes your position, please apply directly for year one entry, or if your grades are below those required, apply to an alternative institution.
  • You have completed A Level, IB or equivalent qualifications that would allow direct entry into your chosen degree programme within the last three years and are not a 'conversion student' (see below).
  • You have a very low level of English language ability.

If you think you fall outside of the above criteria, please read the information below. These are the criteria used by the Foundation Programme to judge eligibility to apply.

We welcome applications from:

  • UK and EU citizens (or equivalent legal status).
  • Mature learners (over 21) with no formal qualifications*.
  • Mature learners (over 21) with A-levels (or equivalents) which were obtained more than three years ago.
  • Young learners (under 21) with adverse circumstances which could not be mitigated by their academic provider (evidence will be required). Please read our Mitigating Circumstances Policy to see if you are eligible for consideration within this category.
  • Young learners (18 to 21) who have not engaged in post-16 education, but whose experience since leaving full-time education may have helped to equip them for further study.
  • Learners with strong A-level (or equivalent) results in subjects that are not suitable for direct entry to their chosen degree subject (conversion students).
  • EU learners who have not had the opportunity in their home country to study qualifications suitable for direct entry to their chosen degree course at Durham University (evidence of English language proficiency will be required).
  • Non-native English speakers with suitable IELTS (or University recognised equivalent).

*Some programmes require GCSE Maths at grade C.

Formal qualifications are not normally required for UK students. Evidence of academic qualifications is required for EU students. It is desirable for candidates to have achieved a C or greater in GCSE Maths (or equivalent).

For further details, please see The Foundation Programme's admissions policy.

If, having read all of the above, you consider that you may be eligible for the foundation year, please contact us using the 'how to apply' pages. Applicants that are eligible are assessed through a formal process that considers both the merit and potential of each applicant.