Key Facts

Course Title: General Foundation Year
Course Duration: 1 year full-time, 2 years part-time or bite-size study package
Who Can Apply: UK or EU students, who wish to take a stand-alone Foundation Year programme
Funding: Self-funded (no loan available from Student Finance England)
Fees: Read more about fees
Progression: During the year, you may apply through UCAS for a place on a Keele degree (with the exception of Medicine, Physiotherapy or Social Work.) Applications may also be made to other UK universities for any course except Medicine or Physiotherapy.
Mode of Study: A mixture of lectures, tutorials, seminars, workshops, placements, computer classes, computer exercises, field trips and laboratory classes together with independent study and revision.
Website: Our webpage
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The General Foundation Year is a stand-alone course which can be studied full-time over one year, part-time over two years or as bite-size packages. The programme comprises a mixture of subject-based study and generic academic development, individually tailored to your aspirations and interests.  The choice of modules is made in consultation with the Foundation Year Centre Manager.

The independent nature of the General Foundation Year provides those wishing to continue in higher education with the freedom to apply to a university of your choice on completion.  Throughout the year support is available in making UCAS applications to courses at Keele (with the exceptions of Medicine, Physiotherapy and Social Work) and other universities (except for Medicine or Physiotherapy).  At the end of the course successful students will receive a Certificate in Foundation Year Studies, which has been accepted by many universities for entry onto honours degrees.

Course Routes

There are over 300 different combinations of subjects to choose at Keele. The full list of honours courses can be found in the prospectus or at (  Applications can also be made to a wide variety of degree programmes at other universities.

Entry Requirements

For 2018 Entry

A broad range of qualifications and experience is considered for entry.

You should have at least:

- 64 UCAS points ( made up from, for example, A levels, BTEC National qualifications or the International Baccalaureate)


- GCSE English Grade C, or

- IELTS 5.5 (including at least 5.5 in all subtests), or

- acceptable equivalent qualifications


GCSE mathematics at a minimum of Grade C is compulsory for students taking a mathematics module during the Foundation Year. An equivalent level 2 numeracy or scientific qualification will be considered on an individual basis.

Other qualifications, e.g. Access to HE Diplomas or NVQ level 3, and relevant work experience will be considered on an individual basis.

Please note: All non-native English speaking students are required to undertake a diagnostic English language assessment on arrival at Keele, to determine if English language support may help you to succeed with your studies.  An English language module may be compulsory for you during your Foundation Year.

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) is considered on a case-by-case basis and those interested should contact the Programme Director.  The University's guidelines on this can be found at

How to Apply

Applications for full-time places are through UCAS (course code Y004).  You should include your subject preferences in your personal statement.  Those interested in the part-time route should apply directly to the University using the Part_Time_GFY_Application_Form.  Those interested in the bite-size study package should contact the Foundation Year Centre either by telephone or email.

Anyone wishing to pursue a Keele degree in Health is advised to apply instead for the Health Foundation Year.  The course is not open to any students intending to apply for Medicine or Physiotherapy.


Teaching and Assessment

The programme will be delivered through a mixture of lectures, tutorials, seminars, workshops, placements, computer classes, computer exercises, field trips and laboratory classes.  In addition, you are expected to undertake a large amount of independent study and revision.  Not all students will experience all of the following modes of teaching.

Lectures are normally 50 minutes long and consist of a member of staff talking to the whole class with the aid of PowerPoint presentations, whiteboards and other visual aids.  Many lectures involve only teaching by the lecturer, although there is usually opportunity to ask questions.  However, some lectures are more interactive and may involve activities for you to undertake.

Tutorials and seminars are small group sessions with a member of staff.  Usually there is much more participation by students in these than in lectures.  There is often opportunity for you to suggest the topics to be discussed, to ask questions and even to lead part of the session.  Tutorials and seminars usually support the material delivered in the lectures; seminars often allow you and/or staff to introduce supplementary material.

Workshops are small group sessions based around an activity.  These may be individual or group activities.  A member of staff facilitates the session but the learning comes largely through the undertaking of the activity.  Some workshops will complement the material delivered in the lectures rather than build on it directly.

Laboratory classes provide opportunity for you to perform experiments and other practical work under supervision.

Field trips allow you to carry out supervised investigations outside the class room.

During placements students have the opportunity to observe professional practice.

In computer classes you complete tasks using a wide variety of computer applications.  Members of staff are available to provide guidance.

Independent study includes revision, wider reading around the subject, preparation and writing of assignments, preparatory reading, preparation for seminars and tutorials, and developing skills to complement the material delivered in class.  Reading lists are provided to help you direct your reading.

Assessment Methods (Not all students will take every type of assessment)

Unseen closed and open book examinations in different formats test your knowledge and understanding of the subject. Examinations may consist of essay, short answer and/or multiple choice questions.

Essays and reports allow you to demonstrate your ability to articulate ideas clearly using argument and reasoning skills and with close reference to the contexts and critical concepts covered in the modules. Essays also develop and demonstrate research and presentation skills (including appropriate scholarly referencing).

Class tests taken either conventionally or online via the Keele Learning Environment (KLE) assess your subject knowledge and your ability to apply it.

Research projects test your knowledge of different research methodologies and the limits to and provisional nature of knowledge. They also enable you to demonstrate your ability to formulate research questions and to address them using appropriate methods.

Oral and poster presentations and reports assess your individual subject knowledge and understanding. They may also test your ability to work effectively as members of a team, to communicate what you know orally and visually, and to reflect on these processes as part of your own personal development.

Portfolios may consist of a range of different pieces of work but routinely include a requirement that you provide some evidence of critical reflection on the development of your own learning.

Peer assessment - in some cases you will be involved in peer evaluation of other students’ work, particularly in group work.  This helps you to take responsibility, improve your performance, and reflect on both your own work and that of others.

Course work assignments consist of short written pieces completed in your own time and provide the opportunity to test a range of deeper learning concepts; you are expected to make use of a variety of source material, as well as your lecture notes and text books etc., to complete these assignments.

Laboratory reports – structured pro formas and full laboratory reports are formal summaries of work carried out in the laboratory.  They test your understanding of the practical aspects of the programme and develop the skills necessary to enable you to present and analyse your results, as well as explain the rationale behind an experiment, describe an associated replicable methodology and draw valid conclusions.

Contacts & Further Information

For further information, please contact

Jill Griffiths
Admissions Officer
Foundation Year Centre
Keele University
Staffordshire, ST5 5BG

Tel:  01782 733763


Additional Costs

There will be additional costs for textbooks, inter-library loans, potential overdue library fines and printing.

Students taking a mathematical or scientific module will require an approved calculator.

Students taking the module 'Education in Practice', which involves a placement in a school, will be expected to fund their own travel in that regard.

Students working in the chemistry and biology laboratories will be required to wear protective equipment.  These can be purchased from the University for a total cost of about £15.

Students taking the module 'Exploiting the Earth' will be required to provide a £10 deposit with regard to the field trip, returnable on attendance.

We should like to emphasise that students on the GFY will not have access to any financial support through Student Finance England.  The course fee can be paid directly to the University in instalments. Please also note that there is no entitlement to Disabled Students Allowances (DSA) and therefore you may need to fund any required support yourself.

Our Course Information Documents (CIDs) are designed to give you all of the details you need to make an informed decision about what and where to study.

General Foundation Year Course Information Document 2017-18

You will take a combination of modules to a total of 120 credits: core modules, those related to your intended degree programmes after your Foundation Year and some free choice.  Modules are worth 10, 15 or 20 credits.

The core module is either Academic Development (10 credits) or Academic Development for Vocational Students (20 credits), in the case of students who have not taken A levels, the International Baccalaureate or an Access to HE Diploma.

Modules related to particular subjects are taken on an individual basis, as appropriate to your intended subsequent study.  Since this is a one-year programme designed for students who will not necessarily continue their studies at Keele, the specific combination of modules you will take is very flexible and my be influenced by the Universities to which you intend to apply.  Please see the list of subject-specific Foundation Year modules available to General Foundation Year students.

Additional modules can be taken to bring your total module credit value to 120.  These can be in any subject available at Foundation level and modern foreign languages, subject to timetabling constraints and room capacity.