Broaden your knowledge

Our innovative courses allow you to explore your interests, whether they are in society and culture, or science and engineering.

Develop study skills

Return to education, get academic and personal development support to aid your transition to degree-level study.

Progress to a degree

After the course, you'll be able to progress to one of our undergraduate degrees, joining a top 10 UK university (QS World University Rankings, 2025) with access to outstanding teaching and facilities.

Foundation Years at Bristol

These courses are for you if:

  • you want to study for a degree but do not have the qualifications needed to apply for other courses,
  • you have had an unconventional path in education,
  • you are interested in a subject area but are unsure what degree you would like to study.

Develop the skills and confidence to progress to an undergraduate degree, with the opportunity to find out more about subjects in the arts and social sciences, or science, engineering and mathematics.

"We have incredibly rich discussions. Our ages range from 19 to over 70, so you can imagine the different experiences that each of us brings to an issue."

Callum, Foundation Year in Arts and Social Sciences

Career prospects

On satisfactory completion of the Foundation Year in Arts and Social Sciences, you can progress to an undergraduate degree in the Faculty of Arts or the Faculty of Social Sciences and Law.

Similarly, students on the Foundation Year in Science, Engineering and Maths can progress to a non-clinical degree within the Faculty of Science, Faculty of Engineering or Faculty of Life Sciences.

We cannot guarantee progression to your first choice of degree as it will depend on your attainment in parts of the course, but where we cannot offer your first choice, we will do our best to offer a suitable alternative.

Both courses lead to a Certificate in Higher Education that can also be used to apply for relevant degrees at other institutions or for personal or professional development.

We also offer tailored academic and personal skills development to help you prepare for degree-level study and beyond.

Course structure

You will be introduced to a range of study skills that are essential for studying a variety of subjects at undergraduate level. Both courses offer pathways for you to direct your route of study and contain mandatory and optional units depending on the pathway you choose.

For the Foundation in Arts and Social Sciences, you can choose between Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. Classes are condensed to support students with caring and work commitments. A normal week may include two or two and a half days spent attending the University with up to eight hours of taught seminars, with a minimum of ten hours of independent study.

For the Foundation in Science, Engineering and Technology, you can choose either a Chemistry or Physics pathway. The number of days per week spent on campus will depend on your pathway and may be spread across the week, with typically ten hours in taught seminars and an expected minimum of ten hours of independent study per week.

A welcoming and diverse community

There is no typical foundation year student. It is the diversity of prior experience, background, interests, and motivations that helps to make our foundation courses so vibrant and supportive.

Whether you left school a long time ago with few or no qualifications, spent time away from a formal career to care for family members, or are considering returning to a new field of education after spending time working in a specific industry, we are looking for people who can demonstrate their potential to succeed and who are motivated to complete the course and continue to further study.

Each application will be judged on its own merits, and we are actively looking for students from a wide range of ages and educational, ethnic, and social backgrounds.

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