Foundation degree

Foundation degree

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The Foundation Degree is a vocational qualification introduced by the government of the United Kingdom in September 2001, which is available in England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, Wales
Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain, bordered by England to its east and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. It has a population of three million, and a total area of 20,779 km²...

 and Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

. It is similar in level to the associate's degree
Associate's degree
An associate degree is an undergraduate academic degree awarded by community colleges, junior colleges, technical colleges, and bachelor's degree-granting colleges and universities upon completion of a course of study usually lasting two years...

 awarded in the United States, and in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 sits on the same level as the Higher National Diploma
Higher National Diploma
A Higher National Diploma is a higher education qualification in the United Kingdom. This qualification can be used to gain entry into universities, and is considered equivalent to the first or second year of a university degree course....

 (HND) and Certificate
Higher National Certificate
A Higher National Certificate is a higher education qualification in the United Kingdom.In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the HNC is a BTEC qualification awarded by Edexcel, and in Scotland, an HNC is a Higher National awarded by the Scottish Qualifications Authority...

 but below the Bachelor of Science
Bachelor of Science
A Bachelor of Science is an undergraduate academic degree awarded for completed courses that generally last three to five years .-Australia:In Australia, the BSc is a 3 year degree, offered from 1st year on...

/Bachelor of Arts
Bachelor of Arts
A Bachelor of Arts , from the Latin artium baccalaureus, is a bachelor's degree awarded for an undergraduate course or program in either the liberal arts, the sciences, or both...

/Bachelor of Laws
Bachelor of Laws
The Bachelor of Laws is an undergraduate, or bachelor, degree in law originating in England and offered in most common law countries as the primary law degree...

 level of education. Courses are typically two years full time study or 3 to 4 years part time study and are offered both by universities and colleges of higher education
A college is an educational institution or a constituent part of an educational institution. Usage varies in English-speaking nations...


Foundation degrees are intended to give a basic knowledge in a subject to enable the holder to go on to employment or further study in that field. They were designed in partnership with employers and further education colleges (FECs).

One of a number of important differences between the Foundation Degree and the Higher National Diploma is that it stands as a degree, and as such has a common value of 240 Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme
Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme
Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme is used by many universities in the United Kingdom to monitor, record and reward passage through a modular degree course and to facilitate movement between courses and institutions...

 (CATS) points in the UK Higher Education System, or 120 ECTS-credits in the European Credit Transfer System. By contrast, the HND can be recognised for entry to a degree course at as little as no credits, and as much as 240 credits, depending on the receiving institution and relevance to the subject.

A further important difference is that Foundation Degrees, as originally conceived, were to give students with substantial industry experience the opportunity to frame what they knew against appropriate academic perspectives, and were to be accessible by students 'in work'..

The Foundation Degree does not require commencement of a full Degree award upon completion in order to be recognised or validated.
However, it is possible to 'top-up' to a full Honours Degree award, which typically involves 1 year or more of extra study.

See also

  • Education in the United Kingdom
    Education in the United Kingdom
    Education in the United Kingdom is a devolved matter with each of the countries of the United Kingdom having separate systems under separate governments: the UK Government is responsible for England, and the Scottish Government, the Welsh Government and the Northern Ireland Executive are...

  • British degree abbreviations
    British degree abbreviations
    Degree abbreviations are used as an alternative way to specify an academic degree instead of spelling out the title in full, such as in reference books like Who's Who and on business cards...

  • University Foundation Programme
    University Foundation Programme
    The University Foundation Programme is a one-year intensive course that leads to entry to a wide range of universities in the United Kingdom. It is designed as an alternative to the conventional A-Level route, which takes two years to complete....

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