Course details

Study options

Full-time: 1 year

Course level


Start date



Kedleston Road, Derby Campus

The Foundation Pathways Programme is the foundation year with a difference. If you have been out of education for a while, it gives you the opportunity to build up your knowledge base and skills. Each pathway is relevant to a discipline of study, which students choose based on what degree they want to progress on to.

As well as improving your language and numeracy skills, you will develop confidence in writing essays and reports, undertaking research, analysing numbers, doing presentations, managing your time and working as part of a team.

Throughout this course, you'll be able to use the library, which has a large collection of books and journals, as well as different areas for group work and individual study. There is also plenty of IT equipment for use.

What you will study

English and Maths

Students who do not have relevant level 2 English and/or Maths qualifications will be encouraged to complete Functional Skills alongside the programme. 

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.

Kedleston Road, Derby Campus entrance

Undergraduate Open Days

The best way to find out if studying at Derby is right for you is to experience an Open Day. Get a feel for the city and campus, tour our first-class facilities and see where you could be living.

Book your Undergraduate Open DayBook your Undergraduate Open Day

How you will learn

A diverse range of teaching and learning activities are used across each subject. Sessions are interactive and work to include student participation and student-led tasks. You will likely learn differently in each taught session; some sessions utilise group-work, others will focus on independent research and investigation. Scheduled teaching hours are led by your tutor who designs the learning accordingly to the group profile and therefore you will be exposed to a vast range of practises – this also helps demonstrate the techniques/strategies reviewed within the subjects.


Wider enrichment takes place to supplement learning across the academic year. There are opportunities where guest speakers attend to deliver short talks, and also opportunities to meet with degree teaching staff, so you can learn about your undergraduate course. You will also have access to the University of Derby’s library and on-site facilities for Further Education students.

How you can be assessed

You will be assessed through a range of different assessments that include essay writing, presentations, writing and academic posters. Assessments are explained within each unit and support is offered to scaffold your progress throughout the course. These are all designed to apply the knowledge, skills and behaviours from sessions (and wider reading/experiences) into areas of interest within education.

Personal academic tutoring

Your personal academic tutor will work with you to help you get the most out of your time at university. Having someone to talk to about your academic progress, your university experience and your professional aspirations is hugely valuable. We want you to feel challenged in your studies, stretched but confident to achieve your academic and professional goals.

Find out more about personal academic tutoring

Entry requirements

For the Computing, Engineering and Science pathways you will need evidence of GCSE A-C (9-4) Maths.

For the Sports pathway, you will need evidence of either GCSE A-C (9-4) English Language or Maths.

For BusinessHumanities and Social SciencePsychology or the Law and Criminology pathways we would prefer applicants to hold GCSE A-C (9-4) English Language and Maths or Functional Skills Level 2 in English and Maths. If you do not already hold these qualifications, you will be required to take a literacy and numeracy assessment before we can offer you a place to check your suitability for the course.

English language requirements

IELTS: 5.5 (with at least 5.0 in each skills area)

How to apply

Please look at our application deadlines before you apply.

UK students

If you are interested in this course, please complete our form to receive more information including a presentation covering course details, fees, financing options, career insights, research opportunities, and guidance on career advice.

After you've completed the advice and guidance process, you can proceed with your application through the following methods:

  • Full-time students applying in September should apply for this course through UCAS or you can Apply directly to the University. for an undergraduate course if you’re not applying to any other UK university in the same year

Apply through UCAS

Apply directly to the University

International students

Full-time students applying in September should apply for this course through UCAS or you can Apply directly to the University. for an undergraduate course if you’re not applying to any other UK university in the same year.

Apply directly to the University


Once you've successfully completed the Foundation Programme you can choose from many degrees that the University offers.

What our students say

Amy Eldridge - Foundation Pathways Programme Student 2020/2021

"I completed the Psychology Foundation Pathway in 2021. Having been out of education for 24 years I cannot deny how nervous I felt starting my academic journey at the age of 41. However, it was the best decision I have ever made. Taking into consideration the pandemic, at that time, support was forthcoming from lecturers and the university.

The Psychology Pathway is not limited to Psychology, it covers Criminology, Sociology, Social Policy, and Academic Skills. All of which have been invaluable for the first year of my degree. Although initially, I aspired to study Psychology, the Foundation Programme opened avenues of thought for other subjects. Therefore, I chose to study Sociology at degree level, and I can honestly say without completing the Foundation Programme I would not have found my passion.

I am confident that my fellow Sociology students are tired of me saying “we covered this last year”. Yet they have taken full advantage of my citing and referencing skills and the criteria the University of Derby look for when marking.

I cannot recommend the Foundation Programme enough; it is hard work, but it pays off and has been vital for the first year of my degree. Without it, I believe I would not be achieving the grades I have, as I am predicted to finish Year 1 with the equivalent of a 2:1. Thank you so much to all the lecturers on the Foundation Pathways Programme your support and knowledge have been instrumental in creating a bright future." 

Hasheyehosh Sumbanowsky - Foundation Pathways Programme Student 2019/2020

"My experience on the foundation programme was a very pleasant and rewarding one, as I was exposed to areas of study I hadn't thought I was capable of studying before, such as Philosophy, Computing and Physics, and I am glad to have performed exceptionally well, thanks to the brilliance of both the lecturers' and my hard work, as well as access to the university's library resources and online learning portal (Course Resources on Udo).

I would recommend the course to any undergraduate, no matter their previous experience, as it not only helped me refresh and hone my academic skills (through the Study Skills module) but also prepared me fully for the rigorous expectations on the undergraduate degree programme!"

Rebecca Brock - Foundation Pathways Programme Student 2017/2018

"The Foundation Pathways Programme definitely paved the way for the success I have had since completing it." 

Contact us

Course +44 (0)1332 591080

If you need any more information from us, eg on courses, accommodation, applying, car parking, fees or funding, please contact us and we will do everything we can to help you.

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† Additional information about your studies

One year on the foundation programme, and a further three years on your chosen degree.


On successful completion of the Foundation Pathways Programme course and any English and/or Maths, if being studied, you can progress on to a range of degrees at Derby (subject to meeting the individual course requirements).  However, the course is not suitable for progression on to any NHS related, Social Work or Primary Education (BEd) degrees.)

For details on the Joint Honours degrees visit our Joint Honours webpage.

Teaching hours

Like most universities, we operate extended teaching hours at the University of Derby, so contact time with your lecturers and tutors could be anytime between 9am and 9pm. Your timetable will usually be available on the website 24 hours after enrolment on to your course.

Please note: Our courses are refreshed and updated on a regular basis. If you are thinking about transferring onto this course (into the second year for example), you should contact the programme leader for the relevant course information as modules may vary from those shown on this page.