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Course overview

If you do not meet the requirements for direct entry on one of our undergraduate healthcare degrees, our Health Sciences Foundation Certificate may be the route for you.

Our one-year programme develops your academic reading, writing, critical thinking, communication and subject-specific skills to prepare you for progression onto one of the following undergraduate programmes.*

*Progression is subject to successful completion of the programme and successful at interview. If you decide to leave the University after successfully completing the Foundation Year, you will exit the programme with a Foundation Certificate in Health Sciences.

Why choose this course?

  • Our Foundation Certificate is fully integrated with your chosen undergraduate health professions programme
  • Start your BSc with greater confidence and improved skills from experiencing a year of university already
  • Be part of our student community from day one, with access to all student facilities

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
Required subjects

GCSE English language/literature at 4 (C), GCSE Maths at 4 (C), GCSE Science at 4 (C)

We do not consider graduate students or international/EU applicants for this programme.

This course is suitable for:

  • students who have studied subjects which do not allow direct entry to a degree programme
  • students where their predicted grades are below those needed for direct entry to their chosen degree programme
  • Mature students choosing to return to higher education

If you have studied alternative qualifications (for example, BTEC and Access courses), we will consider this on an individual basis. Please contact us to make an enquiry.

Please note, we are not expecting any work experience to have taken place or be ongoing after March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Your application for 2021 entry will not be negatively affected if you’ve been unable to complete work experience you had planned.

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

The Foundation Certificate will be delivered over the full academic year. We adopt a blended learning approach using a variety of teaching and learning strategies.

Teaching methods

  • Case-based learning
  • Discussion group
  • eLearning
  • Lab sessions
  • Seminars

How you will be assessed

Assessment methods

  • Essay
  • Group project
  • Poster presentation
  • Presentation
  • Verbal exam

Contact time and study hours

You can expect approximately 14 hours of teaching contact time per week. You will also be expected to carry out independent self-guided study.


Foundations in Biosciences

This module will provide the opportunity for students to explore important aspects biosciences that form the foundation to a range of undergraduate healthcare courses. In the context of healthcare the biosciences consists of anatomy, physiology, genetics, microbiology and biochemistry.

This module will introduce these subject areas and provide a background to enable students to enter a range of degree programmes within the School of Health Sciences.

Laboratory and project work forms a vital component of the module, allowing students to develop analytical, team working and problem solving skills. This module will form the foundation to other biosciences modules within the programme.

Biological Communications, Digestion and Nutrition

This module is designed to provide a baseline level of biosciences knowledge and understanding to support the transition from foundation level to a degree in health sciences. This module builds on the knowledge gained from the foundation to biosciences module.

The module considers:

  • The structure and gross anatomy of the nervous and endocrine systems
  • Compares the role of nerves and hormones in the body
  • The importance of homeostatic control and negative feedback loops within the body
  • The structure and function of the digestive system
  • The process of excretion
  • The importance of nutrition and diet in relation to health
Body Systems, Energy and Metabolism

This module is designed to provide a baseline level of biosciences knowledge and understanding to support the transition from foundation level to a degree in health sciences. This module builds on the knowledge gained from the foundation to biosciences module.

The module considers:

  • The structure, gross anatomy and function of body systems; including muscular, skeletal, reproductive and immune systems
  • The impact of disease, disorders and genetic conditions on health
  • Energy and metabolism in the body
  • The impact of exercise on the cardiovascular, respiratory and skeletal systems
Professional and Personal Development

This module will consider Learning theory and how learners learn. It will support students in developing academic writing, study and presentation skills. It will consider the interpersonal skills, values, resilience and reflection required for professionalism in healthcare. The multi-faceted role of the healthcare professional within community organisations and how to support the multi-cultural and ethnically diverse healthcare user.

Foundations in Health Psychology

This module is designed to provide a baseline level of Health Psychology knowledge and understanding to support the transition from foundation level to a degree in health sciences.

The module considers:

  • Context and Perspectives in Health Psychology including the Biopsychosocial model of Health
  • Chronic Conditions
  • Promoting Health, Wellbeing and Health Related Quality of Life
  • Understanding, Predicting and changing Health Behaviours
Health Science Portfolio

This module is designed to introduce you to the evidence base in health and the importance of evidence based professional practice. It will allow you to develop the ability to search and understand relevant research. It will enhance independent learning, group collaboration, communication and presentation skills.

This module is available in the autumn and spring semesters.

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

Not available for course*
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 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

As a student on this course, you should factor some additional costs into your budget, such as printing, alongside your tuition fees and living expenses. You should be able to access most of the books you’ll need through our libraries, though you may wish to purchase your own copies or more specific titles. If you resit any assessments, you are required to cover the costs.

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.


Our Foundation Certificate in Health Sciences prepares students for degree-level study at the University of Nottingham. The pathway is designed to allow progression to your desired undergraduate degree within the School of Health Sciences.

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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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.