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Foundation Programme Structure

Each academic subject delivered by Foundation belongs to a faculty group (sometimes referred to as a ‘Hub’). Each faculty group studies its own combination of modules, which provide 120 academic credits.  

The Foundation Programme provides 20 hours of taught content and 10 hours of tutorial or small group seminar support for every 15 credits. We also expect our students to engage in a further 70 hours of self-directed study (including assignments and tests) for every 15 credits they study. This is broadly in-line with the majority of academic departments across Durham University, although individual variation does exist between departments. The following modules are studied in the Foundation Programme. 

The Concepts, Methods and Theories (CMT) modules 

Each faculty group (Arts & Humanities, Business, Science, and Social Science & Health) have a dedicated ‘Concepts, Methods and Theories’ module worth between 30 and 60 credits depending on programme. These modules are topic driven and multi-disciplinary. They aim to provide students with a broad insight into a range of key knowledge in their discipline cluster, how such knowledge is created, understood and applied, and how it relates to and influences our wider understanding. 

The Maths modules 

Science, Business, and Social Science students study 30 credits of Maths appropriate to their progression degree. This is delivered across 3 modules, which are calibrated against A Level, but tailored to meet the specific requirements of Durham’s undergraduate courses. Social Science students study the Maths 1 module, focusing predominantly on algebra and descriptive statistics, with the pass point calibrated to GCSE grade A; Business students study the Maths 2 module, focusing on advance algebra and analytical statistics with a pass point calibrated to AS grade A; Science and Economics students study the Maths 3 module, focusing on higher pure and applied mathematics with a pass point calibrated to A2 grade A. Some students also receive further, specialised maths as part of their Advanced Scholarship in HE module. The Arts & Humanities programmes do not study maths; instead, their CMT component is broader to emphasise the other skills they will be expected to use on their degree programme. 

The Scholarship in Higher Education (SHE) module 

All students study between 15 and 30 credits of academic skills module, called Scholarship in Higher Education. This module is deliberately designed to expose students to key academic skills across the disciplinary spectrum, providing them with a tool kit of knowledge and skills to support successful learning in UG study, including: theories of learning; epistemology and the ownership of ideas; critical and reflective thinking styles; academic writing styles; plagiarism and a range of academic referencing practices; and a range of quantitative and qualitative research methods. 

The Advanced Scholarship in Higher Education (ASHE) module 

Finally, all students study 30 credits of Advanced Scholarship in Higher Education module. This module allows students to complete a piece of individual academic research. The module allows students apply their knowledge and skills and to engage with their community of practice in their chosen discipline. 

Programme Level 

The programme is aligned to (but not validated as) FHEQ Level 4. Some A Level content is delivered, predominantly within Maths and the Physical Sciences routes, to ensure expectations and presumed knowledge for Level 1 modules are met. The majority, however, is neither A Level content nor delivered utilising the pedagogic philosophy of A Level study; rather, it is multi-disciplinary and designed to develop deeper learning skills, epistemological maturity, metacognition, self-regulated learning, and self-efficacy. 

Completing the Programme 

Students need to pass each module they study with an overall module mark of 50% to qualify to progress to their next year of study at Durham University. No further application is required; progression from Foundation Year to Level 1 is automatic for successful students. A Foundation Certificate is available for students achieving over 40% in all modules.