Essex Pathways

Foundation year

Girl writing notes

Improve your skills before starting your course

With a foundation year at Essex, you can strengthen your academic skills and develop your confidence. You can write a winning essay, deliver a flawless presentation and research your subject like a pro.

choose us?

Guarantee your place on your chosen course if you successfully complete your foundation year at Essex
Strengthen your academic skills before you begin your undergraduate degree
University of the Year (Times Higher Education Awards 2018)
Female student jumping on the back of male student in a drama class
Three female history students in the library looking at photo resources
UoTY winners 2018

What's a foundation year (year 0)?

It's a pathway to starting your degree and can take up to a year to complete. It is designed to improve your academic skills and subject-specific knowledge, and fully prepare you for undergraduate study and life at university. 

Who is a foundation year for? 

It's for UK or EU students who want to go to university but don’t currently have the entry requirements to do so. A foundation year allows you to go to university by preparing you academically. Your foundation year is also known as ‘Year 0’. If you successfully complete your foundation year, you are guaranteed a place on your chosen degree. 

I applied for first year entry so why have I been offered a place on a foundation degree? 

If you haven’t quite met the entry requirements or aren’t predicted the grades for your chosen three year degree, we may offer you a place on our foundation degree. A foundation year is a step towards gaining your degree.

I applied for first year entry but am being offered the foundation year, what do I do now?

If you want to accept your new offer, log into your UCAS track and reply to the change of course within 5 days. This deadline starts as soon as you have received decisions from both your insurance and firm choices.

I don't know whether to apply for the first year entry or the foundation degree, what should I do?

Apply for one or the other. We will consider you for both the foundation degree and the three year degree regardless of which one you apply for.

Can I still get student finance for a foundation year?

Yes. If your degree includes a foundation year, you can still apply for student finance.

What are the fees for a foundation year? 

Fees for a foundation year in 2018/19 are currently £9,250. Fees may increase with each academic year of study. 

Where will I be based?

At our Colchester Campus. You may be based at our Southend Campus for years 1, 2 and 3 if your chosen undergraduate degree is based in Southend.  

Can I live in on-campus accommodation? 

Yes. Students are guaranteed accommodation for their first year, in this case Year 0. For the remainder of your studies you should seek accommodation in the private sector. 

The Students’ Union offers a property finding service called SU Homes. Their mission is to help students secure local, private accommodation. All the properties they work with in Colchester are accredited by Colchester Borough Council.

What do I learn during a foundation year? 

You will study topics related to your chosen degree, so that you have a basic understanding of the subject before beginning year 1. You also complete some academic study modules which aim to improve and develop your academic skills. 

Can I still study abroad if I do a foundation year? 

Yes, you will still have the option to study abroad if your chosen undergraduate degree has the option to. This means your degree will be an extra year in duration.

Can I still do a placement year if I do a foundation year?

Yes, you will still have the option to do a placement year if your chosen undergraduate degree has the option to. This means your degree will be an extra year in duration. 

What happens when I complete my foundation year?

Upon successful completion of your foundation year, you will automatically progress to year 1 of your chosen degree.

What support is available? 

We offer a lot of support for students. You can find out more by visiting our support pages.


Money matters. We offer a number of bursaries which you may be eligible to apply for as a foundation year student. 

Photo of Aaron smiling
"I had a good feeling so I followed my gut."

Meet Aaron, a BSc Computer Science (including foundation year) student.

Read more