Online course details

Study options

Part-time: 1 year

UK fee

£2,520 (2023/24)

International fee

£2,520 (2023/24)

Course level


Start date




Online course description

The Foundation Certificate in Higher Education is an online 60-credit, level 3 foundation course designed to provide you with the English, Maths and study skills required in order to study at a higher education level.

Why should I take this course?

This course aims to provide you with the transferable skills, knowledge and competence required to gain an accessible route into higher education with the opportunity to progress on to undergraduate or postgraduate courses that require a higher level of English and Maths.

It bridges the gap for any students who do not currently hold the appropriate level or traditional entry qualifications in English and Maths to embark on their learning journey into higher education. It is also ideal for those who already have a wealth of experience and a range of qualifications but may not have previously studied at university level. This course provides you with an opportunity to learn level 3 maths and English while introducing academic study skills that will help you with future higher educational (HE) courses.

You may also be looking to refresh your study skills before taking the next step in education, looking to take this course as part of your continuing professional development (CPD) or to enhance your career employability.

Complete one 20-credit module and achieve a Certificate of Credit

You may wish to complete just one module to update your skills for undergraduate or postgraduate study or as part of your CPD and personal development. You can study all of the modules individually if you chose to but, if you do, they cannot be classed collectively as the Foundation Certificate.

Each 20-credit module can be completed as a stand-alone award and you will receive a Certificate of Credit upon completion in the following:

Access to our undergraduate and postgraduate courses

If you wish to complete a University of Derby Online Learning undergraduate or postgraduate course, we will accept this Foundation Certificate of Higher Education as evidence that you are able to perform at a suitable level of IELTS (International English Language Testing System) 6.0 which will improve your eligibility for a number of our courses, providing you have a IELTS 4.5 and meet all additional entry criteria.

Although this course is not classed as a GCSE equivalent, it will enable you to demonstrate your ability to study at English and/or Maths GCSE level. We recognise that, upon successful completion of this course, you are able to meet the academic requirements needed to study at higher education level for many of our undergraduate or postgraduate programmes, providing you meet additional criteria.

Preparing you for IELTS

If you are an international student, this course will provide you with the opportunity to develop the appropriate academic English language competences needed at Level 3, giving you ideal preparation for undertaking IELTS 6.0 testing at a local centre in your country. Although this course is not an IELTS qualification, you will have an opportunity to underpin your knowledge to complete the IELTS test.

Enhancing your personal development plan (PDP)

This course is also an ideal way to update your personal development planning (PDP). There will be opportunities for you to reflect on your progress and the learning journey within activities set in the academic skills module. The activities will help equip you with the required skills needed in the development of your digital literacy and communication skills and provide you with a foundation for future development in education. During the course, you will be directed to activities that will assist in developing your study and career plans, utilising digital tools and technologies.

The Foundation Certificate is an ideal course to undertake if you are new to higher education or if you want to refresh or improve your skills. The course also offers the opportunity for you to take individual Certificates of Credit in each of the skills – ideal if you do not need to refresh all of your skills.

What you will study

For the Foundation Certificate, you will need to study three core modules:

Alternatively, you can choose to complete individual Certificates of Credit in each of the skills.

We will advise you of your study plan when you are invited to enrol.

Please note that our modules are subject to change - we review the content of our courses regularly, making changes where necessary to improve your experience and graduate prospects.

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Discovering Online Learning Webinar: February 2023

Thursday, 16 February 2023 13.00 - 14.00

During this hour-long webinar, we'll take you through how online learning works and what you can expect as an online learner with the University of Derby Online Learning.

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How you will learn

Pace of study

We recommend about 20 hours of study per week to complete one 20-credit module over a 10-week trimester.

Assessment method

This course is assessed through 100% coursework with a range of methods, such as essays, research reports, presentations, group work and practical reports.

Student support and guidance

Whilst we encourage our students to become independent, life-long learners, we also recognise that offering the right support and guidance will help you to achieve your goals. There is a wealth of support available to you at the University, from your dedicated Personal Tutor and Online Learner Advisor, through to our:

All these services, and more, are available to you as an online student at the University of Derby.

Who will teach you

Lyndsey wearing a white top and black rimmed glasses, smiling.

Lyndsey Mollison
Programme leader

Lecturer in Mathematics - Teaching in Further Education and Higher Education.  As a lecturer, Lyndsey Mollison delivers GCSE Mathematics (resit) and Functional Skills Mathematics to Level 2/3 learners and Higher Degree Apprentices. She supports teams and individuals delivering Maths and English face-to-face and online at Buxton and Leek College and across the wider University.

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Entry requirements

You will require:

English language qualification

International/European students will:

If you are unable to take an English Language Test locally, you may wish to consider our Derby English Language Test (DELT), which is an online test in two parts: reading and writing, and listening and speaking. Take a look at our Derby English Language test (DELT) page for full course details, online exam dates and how to book.

Normally the entry qualification will need to be mapped to the UK equivalent course to ensuring access to the appropriate programme level (with a view to progressing to undergraduate level and achieving 60 credits at level 3).

When applying, it is essential that you submit the following:

Non-standard entrants

If qualifications do not match the standard criteria, it may be possible to access the course as a ‘non-standard’ entrant where there are equivalent/alternative qualifications. You will be required to submit evidence of work experience and have a discussion with the Academic Lead before being offered a place as a direct entrant to ensure that you have the necessary capacity for studying at level 3.

Fees and funding

2023/24 Fees for new entrants

Starting between September 2023 and August 2024.

 Per 20 creditsModulesCost
UK/EU/International £840 3 £2,520

About your fees

This figure would be the total cost of this course in the current academic year. However, please note that fees normally increase in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees, which is reviewed on an annual basis. The total fee you pay may therefore increase if your course lasts longer than one year.

However, please also note that you can receive a 5% discount if you either:

Flexible payment plans available

Choose from three payment plan options:

How to apply

Please look at our application deadlines before you apply.

Students should apply directly to the University.

Apply now

For support with completing your application, view our guide to the application process.

Documents to support your application

In order for your application to be assessed, you will need to provide the following documents when you apply:

*Documents not in English or Welsh must be accompanied by a certified translation by a professional translator/translation company. Each translation must contain:

A list of approved translators can be found on the UK Government website.

Please note: failure to submit any documentation when requested, may result in your application being withdrawn.

Application deadlines

All of our online courses have set start dates throughout the year. We require time to review your application and get back to you with a response before your course starts. Take a look at information regarding applying for an online course to see full details of deadlines and term dates.


This programme will allow you to develop an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the skills required to succeed in an undergraduate degree and higher education. You will develop a range of transferable skills through activities and module content that will also contribute to your continuing professional development.

Work-based skills

Through completing the modules within this course, you will gain a range of technical skills and job-related skills that will assist in developing your study and career plans through the use of digital tools and activities.

You’ll develop a broad range of practical skills that can be applied throughout your career, such as communication and interpersonal skills, study skills, numeracy and data collection, problem-solving and application, underpinned by academic knowledge.

Contact us

Contact the University of Derby Online Learning:

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