Foundation Years

If you don’t have the grades for your chosen undergraduate course, you’re not sure which subject you’d like to take, or you’re returning to study after some time away, you may want to consider an integrated foundation year.

Why study a Foundation Year? 

Successfully completing this additional year not only guarantees your place on your choice of a range of linked courses, but also that you’ll be better prepared for university study.

The Foundation Year may be for you, if you: 

  • aren’t sure which subject you’d like to specialise in
  • don’t have the right combination of subjects for direct entry into Year 1
  • don’t meet the expected requirements for direct entry into Year 1
  • are returning to education after some time away.

You’ll learn essential skills and knowledge and also benefit from:

Foundation Years 

You can study a Foundation Year at Sussex in the following subject areas:

Can a Foundation Year set you up for success? Watch our video...

  • Video transcript

    I think we were quite similar when we came to Sussex.

    I applied for the Physics BSc and I didn’t do well enough in my A-levels.

    No, me neither!

    I got offered a Foundation Year because, like you, I applied for the BSc but I had never heard of a Foundation Year.

    When they offered it to me I thought, “Great! I can go to uni with a B and two Cs."

    A-levels was not my time at all. It wasn’t mine either!

    I chose the Foundation Year because I felt like I didn’t have the basic knowledge that I needed to start a degree.

    Sussex really set me up for that with the Foundation Year.

    During A-levels I just wasn’t getting it and I wasn’t sure why.

    I kept practising and I even had a private tutor and he said “You have the knowledge but you can’t seem to apply it when it comes to an exam.”

    I think we both suffer from stress during exams.

    We are definitely given a lot of support at Sussex.

    Especially from our Academic Adviser.

    Jackie has been great, hasn’t she?!

    She just listens. I know when I say some things it can be stupid and having her in the Foundation Year to support me gave me a lot of confidence.

    She said, “The grades you are getting right now are good enough to go onto a Masters.”

    “Oh! I’m actually quite good at this!”

    Yes, I feel much more confident.

    Both of us were struggling and now we are getting firsts.

    It wasn’t just Jackie, it was also the campus, it’s so beautiful.

    Especially in the summer. It always gets my mood up.

    And you can go just 10 minutes out and you’re here. At this beach.

    This is a lovely place to come, especially if you’re stressed from exams.

    There are also plenty of places on campus where you can go and relax.

    It’s so homely and welcoming.

    I just had a gut feeling. Weird as that sounds I felt, “This is the place where I will be more confident and find myself. I don’t want to be that shy person that was struggling so much at A-levels.”

    Look at me now! I can’t stop speaking!

International students

If you’re an international student from outside the EU and your first language isn’t English, you may want to consider our International Foundation Year instead. The course may be for you if: 

  • you don’t meet the entry requirements for direct entry into Year 1
  • English is not your first language.

The Foundation Year gave me the chance to get comfortable with university life and learn a wide range of multidisciplinary subjects.”Katie Savage
Social Sciences (with a foundation year) BA, now studying Geography BA

What happens after a Foundation Year

If you successfully complete your Foundation Year, you'll be able to progress on to a range of related (linked) subjects.

You’ll find details of your choice of progression routes on our Foundation Year course pages. You will move into Year 1 (just as completing Year 1 leads into Year 2, and so on). 

Life as a Foundation Year student

Many of our students find a Foundation Year is a great way to settle into University life and begin their undergraduate studies. Hear from some of our Foundation Year students below.

Meeting students on the Foundation Year helped me ease into university. I had a chance to understand the standard of work and organisation needed. This will give me an advantage throughout my university studies.”Kadija Khatun
Business, Management and Economics (with a foundation year) BSc, now studying Business and Management Studies BSc

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