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Course overview

The foundation year is for talented UK and EU students who do not meet the usual criteria for our degrees. 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 ability.

Our dedicated foundation 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, interactive digital media workshops and trips. You will also meet tutors from your chosen degree. 

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

When you successfully complete this course, you are guaranteed progression to undergraduate degrees as follows:

More information

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

Why choose this course?

  • Small group teaching
  • Dedicated foundation tutors
  • Guest lecturers from a range of degree subject areas
  • Automatic progression to BA upon successful completion 
  • The Project module helps you develop as an independent researcher
  • Language options and year abroad available on specific courses 

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2021 entry.

UK entry requirements
A level offer BCC
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)
  • TOEFL iBT 100 (no less than 20 in speaking and 19 in each other element)

Additional subject requirements

A few of our Foundation pathways require a specific subject at A level:

  • Music with Foundation Year BA - Required subjects: A Level Music. Grade 5 Theory ABRSM, LCM, Trinity or Rockschool may be accepted in place of A level music. 
  • French Studies with Foundation Year BA - Required subjects: French at A Level
  • Modern Languages with Foundation Year BA - Required subjects: At least one of French, German, Russian or Spanish at A level.
  • Modern Language Studies with Foundation Year BA - Required subjects: At least two of French, German, Russian or Spanish at A level.
  • Modern Languages with Translation with Foundation Year BA - Required subjects: One of French, German, Russian or Spanish at A Level. 

Alternative qualifications

Applications with alternative level 3 qualifications are encouraged. Please contact to discuss these.

This course is part of the University’s commitment to widening participation. As well as meeting the academic entry requirements (BCC), you will typically meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • be from the first generation in your family to enter higher education
  • need to study in the East Midlands (for example for family, cultural or financial reasons)
  • attend a school or college without a strong tradition of progression to higher education
  • attend a school or college with a low average A level score
  • live in a deprived home location
  • be (or have been) a refugee
  • be (or have been) in local authority care (looked after)
  • over 21 years old ("mature student") when you begin your course 
  • other disadvantaging/extenuating circumstances (we consider these on an individual basis)

Details relating to certain criteria are generated through your UCAS application. Where appropriate you may also choose to include relevant details on your personal statement or contact us directly. 

International students

This course is for UK students only. International students who want to take a course to prepare for a Faculty of Arts subject degree should 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.

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

Teaching methods

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Workshops
  • Practical classes
  • Field trips

How you will be assessed

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. 

One-to-one tutorials

You will have five general progress tutorials as well as individual module-focused 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:


You will take 120 credits of modules split as follows: 

  • Compulsory core modules (120 credits) – all students follow the same programme. 

Language students 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.

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 may change or be updated 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 the latest information on available modules.

Fees and funding

UK students

Per year

International students

To be confirmed in 2020*
Keep checking back for more information
*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 starting your course in the 2021/22 academic year, you will pay international tuition fees.

This does not apply to Irish students, who will be charged tuition fees at the same rate as UK students. UK nationals living in the EU, EEA and Switzerland will also continue to be eligible for ‘home’ fee status at UK universities until 31 December 2027.

For further guidance, check our Brexit information for future students.

Additional costs

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

The University of Nottingham offers a wide range of bursaries and scholarships. These funds can provide you with an additional source of non-repayable financial help. For up to date information regarding tuition fees, visit our fees and finance pages.


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

79.4% of undergraduates from the Faculty of Arts secured graduate level employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual salary was £23,106.*

*HESA Graduate Outcomes 2020. 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).

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" The Foundation Year has 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. Now as I approach the final year of my BA degree, I can see that I am reaping the benefits of my Foundation Year. "
Franklyn Ogosi, BA Theology and Religious Studies (with Foundation Year)

Related courses

The University has been awarded Gold for outstanding teaching and learning

Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) 2017-18


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.