This course is closed to international applicants for 2023 entry.

Course overview

The foundation year entry route is for talented UK students who do not meet the usual criteria for our degrees (see Personal Circumstances below). It is an opportunity for you to develop key skills before progressing to a choice of 22 courses. These skills include communication, critical thinking, teamwork, and digital capability.

Our dedicated foundation year tutors will support you throughout the year and help you develop as a learner. This ensures you have the necessary skills, knowledge and confidence before you start your chosen degree. Teaching sessions vary, including lectures, seminars and interactive digital media workshops. You will also meet tutors from your chosen degree.

You will be a full member of the University of Nottingham from the outset, with all the experiences and opportunities this offers.

When you successfully complete the Foundation Year, you are guaranteed automatic progression to your chosen undergraduate degrees in the Faculty of Arts.

For more information on our teaching, research and what it's like to study with us see the Foundation Arts webpages.

What do past students say about the Arts Foundation Year?

"Despite arriving at Nottingham with less than perfect A-level results I have gone on to achieve first class marks so far during my time at university. The catalyst for that change is not only the support networks, but also the variety of assessment methods. I admit that I hate exams! But I discovered that in essays I perform really well. Because the foundation year has a really wide variety of different assessments, you can find your niche and start to improve yourself." Calvin, a past Arts Foundation student

Why choose this course?

Thrive as a student

Gain the skills and confidence during the foundation year to thrive as an undergraduate

Great support

Benefit from dedicated foundation year tutors

No need to worry

You'll progress automatically to your chosen BA course upon successfully completing the foundation year, there's no need to reapply

Build employability

Develop your employability through integrated professional competencies training during the foundation year

Choice of 22 degrees

This Foundation Year qualifies you for a choice of 22 undergraduate degrees. Only five require specific subjects at A level or equivalent. 

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2023 entry.

UK entry requirements
A level BCC

Please note: Applicants whose backgrounds or personal circumstances have impacted their academic performance may receive a reduced offer. Please see our contextual admissions policy for more information.

Required subjects

Progression routes requiring specific subjects

Some of our progression routes require subject-specific qualifications:

Modern language options

The following language courses require specific language qualifications:

  • BA French Studies with Foundation Year - Required subjects: French at A Level
  • BA Modern Languages with Foundation Year - Required subjects: At least one of French, German, Russian or Spanish at A level.
  • BA Modern Language Studies with Foundation Year - Required subjects: At least two of French, German, Russian or Spanish at A level.
  • BA Modern Languages with Translation with Foundation Year - Required subjects: One of French, German, Russian or Spanish at A Level.


  • BA Music with Foundation Year - Required subjects: A Level Music. Grade 5 Theory ABRSM, LCM, Trinity or Rockschool may be accepted in place of A level music.

English, History

For applicants for History (V10F), English Language and Literature (Q39F), and English (Q30F) with Foundation Year: if you do not have History or English A Levels you should write about your interest in these subjects in your personal statement.

IB score 26

English language requirements

You will need to meet one of the following:

  • GCSE English language at level 4 (grade C)
  • IELTS 7.0 (no less than 6.0 in any element)

Personal circumstances

This course is part of the University’s commitment to widening participation. As well as meeting the academic entry requirements (BCC), you must have attended a UK state school/college and meet at least one of the following personal background criteria:

  1. you live in an area where people are less likely to go to university – check your postcode
  2. you are the first generation in your family to enter higher education
  3. you will be over 21 years old when you begin your course
  4. you have spent more than three months in local authority care (for this criterion you do not need to have attended a state school)
  5. you have refugee status from the Home Office
  6. you need to study in the East Midlands (for example for family, cultural or financial reasons)
  7. you provide long term care of a sick or disabled family member

Where relevant you should include reference to 5, 6 and 7 in your personal statement, or provide this information via when you submit your UCAS application.

Alternative courses for EU/International students

This course is not available to EU/international students. Instead, you may consider the Business, Law and Social Sciences Foundation Certificate. This is offered through the University of Nottingham International College in partnership with Kaplan International Pathways.

Mature Students

At the University of Nottingham, we have a valuable community of mature students and we appreciate their contribution to the wider student population. You can find lots of useful information on the mature students webpage.

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

Teaching methods

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Workshops
  • Practical classes

How you will be assessed

Your six foundation year modules are assessed using a wide variety of methods. Each module has two or three assessment points. For example, our Critical Thinking and Reflective Learning module is assessed by an essay (50% of the module mark) and a reflective learning portfolio (50% of the module mark). These modules will prepare you for undergraduate assessment and allow you to develop a broad range of skills.

Assessment methods

  • Essay
  • Examinations
  • Group coursework
  • Poster presentation
  • Presentation
  • Portfolio (written/digital)
  • Reflective review

Contact time and study hours


You’ll have at least 12 hours of timetabled contact a week through lectures, seminars and workshops. Your tutors will also be available outside these times to discuss issues and develop your understanding.

The Foundation Year team's commitment to high levels of commitment to teaching and learning was recognised within a Lord Dearing Award in 2021.

One-to-one tutorials

You will have 5 general progress tutorials as well as individual module-focussed tutorials.

Study abroad

Once you have progressed to your destination degree, you will be able to participate in the University of Nottingham study abroad schemes. The following destination courses include a Year Abroad:

See School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies Year Abroad programme

For all other destination courses, students may participate in any relevant University of Nottingham Study Abroad programme.


Work experience gives you the skills and experience that will allow you to stand out to potential employers and is a crucial part of becoming 'workplace-ready'.

You also have access to a wide range of work experience and volunteering schemes through the:

Study Abroad and the Year in Industry are subject to students meeting minimum academic requirements. Opportunities may change at any time for a number of reasons, including curriculum developments, changes to arrangements with partner universities, travel restrictions or other circumstances outside of the university’s control. Every effort will be made to update information as quickly as possible should a change occur.

What our Foundation Year students think of their course

Students from our Foundation Year course share what it's like and the benefits it brings.


You will take 120 credits-worth of modules split as follows: 

Compulsory core modules – all students follow the same programme.

If you are progressing to a modern language degree you may take 20 credits of modules in the Language Centre in place of The Project.

Important Thinkers through History

In every field of the arts and humanities there are significant people who have contributed to the intellectual and cultural development of humanity. In this module you’ll consider a selection of these ‘important thinkers’, drawn from different disciplines across the Faculty of Arts, across a broad sweep of history and representing a variety of cultural and geographical contexts.

Critical Thinking and Reflective Learning

This module will introduce you to key skills and practices for university work and help you make the transition from school, college or work to undergraduate study. Critical thinking and reflective learning are skills that are essential for thriving on your chosen degree course but they’re also important for developing thoughtful, responsible citizens who contribute effectively to society.

Language and Culture

Language and culture are both fundamental aspects of any arts and humanities degree. In this module you’ll develop an analytical and critical approach to English as well as an understanding of the potential challenges and benefits involved in studying other languages and cultures.

Media, Communications and Society

This module will analyse the relationship between media, communication and society. The module will allow you to explore how communication occurs and engage with different kinds of reading and texts. You will also assess the positive and negative impacts of communication through a wide range of media.

Narrative and Creativity

This module will introduce you to academic theories about narrative and creativity. You’ll also encounter various forms of narrative and ‘storytelling’ to help you consider the role of narrative and creativity in different contexts. This will include exploring the role of creativity and story in society generally, reflecting on your own ‘stories’, and developing your own creativity in a variety of ways.

The Project / Language Centre modules

Extended projects or dissertations are a key feature of many university courses, especially in the final year. This module will help you develop the skills required to design, research and produce a major piece of work for assessment, using media (written and/or other) appropriate to your chosen topic.

If you apply to go on to a modern language degree you may study in our Language Centre in place of taking ‘The Project’ module.

Exception: If you are joining the BA Russian Studies and enter the Foundation Year with A Level Russian, you will take The Project module, and follow the post A Level pathway on the degree. 

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on Monday 17 October 2022.

Fees and funding

UK students

Per year

*For full details including fees for part-time students and reduced fees during your time studying abroad or on placement (where applicable), see our fees page.

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you may be asked to complete a fee status questionnaire and your answers will be assessed using guidance issued by the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) .

Additional costs

All students will need at least one device to approve security access requests via Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). We also recommend students have a suitable laptop to work both on and off-campus. For more information, please check the equipment advice.

There are no extra compulsory fees to be paid as part of your course beyond your standard tuition fees. Essential course materials are supplied and recommended reading is available from our libraries.

Scholarships and bursaries

There is a wide range of funding available to support you while studying at university. This includes:

  • Government loans and grants
  • University of Nottingham scholarships and bursaries

Home students*

Over one third of our UK students receive our means-tested core bursary, worth up to £1,000 a year. Full details can be found on our financial support pages.

* A 'home' student is one who meets certain UK residence criteria. These are the same criteria as apply to eligibility for home funding from Student Finance.


Evidence shows that students commencing their university study at foundation level achieve the same levels of undergraduate degree as their fellow direct-route students, which in turn leads to the same wide range of career options.

In addition to your study we recommend that you participate in at least some of our cv-enhancing programmes which include:

You will also be able to take advantage of the wide range of services offered by our dedicated Faculty of Arts careers team within the Careers and Employability Service.

More information about subject-related careers opportunities from our Careers and Employability Services.

Average starting salary and career progression

78.9% of undergraduates from the Faculty of Arts secured graduate level employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual salary for these graduates was £24,169.*

*HESA Graduate Outcomes 2019/20 data published in 2022. The Graduate Outcomes % is derived using The Guardian University Guide methodology. The average annual salary is based on graduates working full-time within the UK.

Studying for a degree at the University of Nottingham will provide you with the type of skills and experiences that will prove invaluable in any career, whichever direction you decide to take.

Throughout your time with us, our Careers and Employability Service can work with you to improve your employability skills even further; assisting with job or course applications, searching for appropriate work experience placements and hosting events to bring you closer to a wide range of prospective employers.

Have a look at our careers page for an overview of all the employability support and opportunities that we provide to current students.

The University of Nottingham is consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain’s leading graduate employers (Ranked in the top ten in The Graduate Market in 2013-2020, High Fliers Research).

Dummy placeholder image
" The Foundation Year improved my essay-writing skills immensely. On arrival to university, having to write essays seemed quite daunting but the Critical Thinking and Reflective Learning module was key for my development. "
Franklyn Ogosi, BA Theology and Religious Studies (with Foundation Year) Graduate

Related courses

Important information

This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.