Foundation Courses are usually for students who don’t meet the typical entry requirements for an Undergraduate Medicine degree, but still demonstrate academic potential. It’s just one of the various pathways to Medicine that you may want to consider when choosing a Medical School. Note: this content has not yet been updated for the 2022 A-Level results cycle. Please check with your preferred universities for the latest updates.

What Is A Foundation Medicine Course?

A Foundation Medicine Course is designed to prepare you for medical education, and it might be referred to as a ‘pre-clinical year’.

There are two main types of Foundation Courses:

  • Medicine with a Foundation Year: A 6-year course that normally begins with one year of science-based teaching, after which you can join the standard 5-year medical programme.
  • Extended Course: A 6-year course with teaching spread out over the entire six years, which means you’ll be taught the basics alongside the more advanced material.
  • Standalone Foundation Course: A shorter course taught over one to three years, designed to give you a foundation in science and boost your Med School application.

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Which Med Schools Offer Foundation Courses?

  • University of AberdeenGateway2Medicine
    A one-year course for Scottish applicants from widening access backgrounds. It guarantees students a place on year 1 of their Medicine programme, as long as they do well during the course and perform satisfactorily in the UCAT and MMI interview.
  • University of BristolGateway to Medicine
    A widening participation course for students who have the potential to become a Doctor but don’t meet the standard academic entry requirements to apply for the 5-year Medicine course. There’s also an International Foundation Programme Dentistry.
  • University of DundeeGateway to Medicine
    A one-year course designed to support you towards the 5-year degree course if you meet relevant criteria. As far as possible, what you study will be tailored to your personal academic needs and aspirations.
  • Edge Hill UniversityMedicine with Foundation Year
    This course is for students from the North West of England who have the potential and aspiration to become Doctors, but whose background means they are unlikely to meet the entry requirements for the 5-year course. You can transfer to the Medicine course if you pass all assessments and meet the course requirements.
  • Hull York Medical SchoolMedicine with a Gateway Year
    A widening participation initiative designed to facilitate access to Medicine for those from underrepresented backgrounds. On successful completion, you’ll automatically progress to their 5-year Medicine course.
  • Keele UniversityHealth Foundation Year for Medicine
    A gateway route into Medicine for students from some under-represented groups. Successful completion of the foundation year allows you to progress to the 5-year degree course.
  • King’s College LondonExtended Medical Degree Programme
    For students who are studying A-Levels or Access to Medicine at a non-selective state school, or who are participants of Realising Opportunities across England. You’ll receive an introduction to medical study with additional support in your first two years.
  • Lancaster UniversityMedicine and Surgery with a Gateway Year
    For candidates who are not eligible to apply directly to the Medicine and Surgery degree programme, and who fulfill widening participation criteria or have significant mitigating circumstances. The Foundation year will prepare you to progress onto the Medicine course.
  • University of LeedsGateway Year to Medicine
    A course specifically for students from widening participation backgrounds hoping to take their first steps into Medicine. You’ll move onto the 5-year Medicine course if you reach the grades required and complete the Gateway year.
  • University of LeicesterMedicine with Foundation Year
    For students who wish to study Medicine at the University of Leicester, but whose background makes it less likely that they will be able to meet the entry requirements of the 5-year course. You’ll progress to the Medicine course once you complete the Foundation year.
  • University of LiverpoolFoundation to Health and Veterinary Studies
    A ‘Year Zero’ foundation programme for Home/EU students which leads onto a variety of courses, including the 5-year Medicine and Surgery course. It is designed for adult learners and non-traditional students who have typically taken a break from studies.
  • University of ManchesterMedicine with Foundation Year
    This allows you to spend a year preparing for the 5-year Medicine course if you don’t have the appropriate science qualifications for direct entry.
  • University of NottinghamMedicine with a Foundation Year
    For students who want to study Medicine but don’t meet the typical entry requirements. The Foundation year gives you the benefit of small class sizes, and upon successful completion of the year, you will transition into the standard Medicine course structure.
  • Norwich Medical School (UEA)Medicine with a Gateway Year
    This Foundation course is designed for students whose circumstances or educational opportunities have prevented them from realising their academic potential. The Gateway year will equip you with the academic skills and knowledge needed to progress onto the 5-year Medicine course.
  • University of PlymouthBachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery with Foundation
    An alternative entry route into Medicine for able students whose education has been impacted by adversity. Students successfully completing the Foundation year will enrol directly onto the 5-year Medicine course.
  • University of SouthamptonMedicine BM6 Widening Participation
    This course is designed to widen participation in Medicine. For example, you may be able to apply if you or your parent/guardian receive benefits, or if you are the first in your family to apply for a higher education course.
  • St AndrewsGateway to Medicine
    This course is designed to promote the uptake of higher education, specifically the study of Medicine, among groups that are traditionally under-represented at university. It is open to students resident in Scotland. Those who pass the course will transfer into the six-year Medicine course.
  • University of Central LancashireFoundation Entry Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery
    Open to international students only, the Foundation year will provide you with the skills, knowledge and confidence needed to progress onto to the 5-year Medicine course.

Alternatives To Foundation Courses

Some other Med Schools offer standalone Foundation Courses, which are designed to boost your Medical School application. Some will even earn you an interview for Med School once you’ve finished. The following universities offer standalone Foundation Courses:

  • University of BradfordFoundation in Clinical Sciences/Medicine is a one-year course for students who wish to progress onto the BSc in Clinical Sciences or apply to Medical School, but do not have the science A-Levels or the entry requirements for direct entry. Clinical Sciences has a formal link with Sheffield Medical School. Several other Med Schools accept the Foundation Year, but you need to seek advice directly from the individual Med Schools about this.
  • University of BuckinghamCertificate in Medical Foundation Studies is a 9-month course for students who wish to study any of the university’s BSc (Hons) Allied Health or Health Sciences programmes, but do not meet the entry requirements and require additional prep. CertHE Medical Sciences (Pre-Med) is a one-year course developed for students who wish to enhance their application to Medical or Dental School. Graduates are awarded a Certificate of Higher Education (CertHE) in Medical Science qualification.
  • Aston UniversityPathway to Healthcare Programme is an 18-month course that you complete alongside your A levels. It’s made up of subject taster days, work experience and A-Level revision bootcamps – plus academic tutoring and specialist interview prep workshops. Students who complete the course will be eligible for a contextual Medicine offer from Aston.

A Foundation Course might be right for you if:

  • You didn’t take multiple/any science subjects at A-Level
  • You didn’t get top grades at A-Level
  • You didn’t get into Medical School the first time around
  • You meet some of the other specific eligibility criteria (for example, the contextual criteria for Widening Participation schemes)

If you have more than one science A-Level, you will be ineligible for some Foundation Courses, so check their criteria. Some courses will require you to have some level of science education to apply.

How Do I Apply For A Foundation Medicine Course?

You have to apply for a Foundation Medicine Course via UCAS, just like you would for a standard degree. But before you apply, make sure you check the criteria for each course.

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