Foundation levels

If you have a career in mind and need the qualification to get there, but don’t meet our entry requirements for a full degree, you should explore one of our foundation level courses.

You can use these courses as an alternative route if you have never had the opportunity to study at A-level/BTEC or if you have changed your career plans since studying for your last qualification.

You’ll get all the benefits of being a University of Derby student, plus extra support to help build your knowledge, skills and confidence.

We offer three different foundation routes:

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Book your Open Day

The best way to discover if studying at Derby is right for you is to visit an Open Day. You can find out more about our foundation courses at any of our Open Days.

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Degrees with foundation year

If you have the enthusiasm for exploring your subject area but not all the skills needed to succeed as a student at degree level, you could consider a course with foundation year. This is an integrated four-year course that starts by introducing you to the foundation elements of study at university.

Foundation years are offered across a range of subjects - use our course search to find one that suits your ambitions.

"I have benefited from the foundation year as it was a nice step into university after struggling with A-levels. It also helped me prove to myself that I could do well and gaining the Dean’s Award has really boosted my confidence."
Katie Alberici, BSc (Hons) Psychology with Foundation Year

Arts Year Zero

While employment in the UK creative industries is growing at four times the rate of the UK workforce as a whole, there are fewer opportunities for young people to study arts subjects at school. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t follow your passion for the arts at university.

Derby’s Year Zero route is for students with an interest in the arts but who don’t meet degree level entry requirements.

This covers disciplines within art and design, creative and performing arts, 3D creative skills and digital studio practice.

"Coming from the Year Zero has prepared me for the workload and to understand what is expected of me. There is also a lot of technical information to understand which comes hand in hand with Interior Design, which we have touched base on already."
Jade Leeson, Arts Year Zero and BA (Hons) Interior Design

Foundation degrees and HND

Our two-year foundation degree courses with Higher National Diploma provide you with the skills needed to work in the associated industry. Your experience will be similar to a normal degree, taught on campus by University of Derby staff, using the same facilities.

Once your course is complete, you can choose to go straight into employment or transfer onto the final year of a bachelors degree in a related subject.

These courses are identified as FdA (Foundation in Arts), FdSc (Foundation in Science), FdEng (Foundation in Engineering), and HND (Higher National Diploma).

Entry requirements

Entry requirements for the University of Derby are specific to each of our foundation levels subjects. Search for the course you're interested in and then look at the entry requirement information.

We'll look at any relevant qualifications and experience you already have when making a decision about your application.