Difference between access course and foundation course

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zx124
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Hi,
Is there any difference between an access course and a foundation course? I know that they are both one year courses that lead to going to university but I was wondering why they are classed separately and if there was any significant differences in content between them?

Thanks
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simplylldxo
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(Original post by zx124)
Hi,
Is there any difference between an access course and a foundation course? I know that they are both one year courses that lead to going to university but I was wondering why they are classed separately and if there was any significant differences in content between them?

Thanks
Access courses are commonly held at colleges (they are classed as Further Education) and the grading system is: pass, merit and distinctions. Access typically have more assignments but are smaller. You can't apply for Student Finance for funding but if you are 24+, you can apply for a 24+ Advanced Loan.

Foundation courses are held at universities and is classed as Higher Education. A foundation course is integrated with a degree; take University of Derby for example, they have foundation joint honours programme which guarantees you a place on a JH degree. The work is more university standard as you get bigger pieces of work but that means you get less. The grading criteria is percentages and you can apply for Student Finance for tuition fees, loans and grants.
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zx124
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Hi,
thanks for the information.
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simplylldxo
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(Original post by zx124)
Hi,
thanks for the information.
access courses are for the people who want to work with people e.g. Health, Teaching, Engineering, Technology etc where foundation courses are more for the academic degrees
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Ehd
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I went to the university that I had chosen to to discuss entry requirements (i am a mature student) as my aim is to do a degree in history.
I was told that I would have to achieve distinctions in ALL modules of a college based humanities access course if I was to stand a chance of getting a place, or to apply for their 4 year foundation degree in Arts & Humanities (can complete year 1 & then apply for history).
It made more sense to me to apply for a foundation degree. I get straight into the university environment, learn to produce work to their standards & I think that if I prove myself I will stand a better chance of getting onto one of their degrees as basically I'm already there. As I can chose a module from my chosen degree to work on in year 1 I will be familiar to the lecturers & that won't hurt either. Another bonus is that I get to apply for student grants & loans for the full 4 years so I don't have to worry about fees or whether the government is going to change their policies about loans in another 12 months.
Interestingly, they gave me the impression that OU qualifications aren't held in very high regard (that was another way I was thinking of getting into uni).
I start in September & feel like I've made the right choice.
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Tom_91
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Having just finished an access course in Humanities I think they are brilliant. They not only give the grades but train you ready for the demands of university. Help with Fee's and application is readily available and they are quick and if you work hard and have the aptitude lead straight to university.


The only issue is they are 9 months well just under and you have to totally keep on top of things or falter. Another issue is not all uni's understand them yet and are snooty or place unattainable conditions on your offer like all distinctions which is basically full A-A*.
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Snufkin
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The only real difference is that you need to take out a student loan for a foundation year, whereas you can do an access course for free if you're 23 or under (if you're 24 or over then you take out a loan for the access course, but it is written off if you complete a degree). Doing an access course means having a smaller student loan to pay back.

(Original post by simplylldxo)
access courses are for the people who want to work with people e.g. Health, Teaching, Engineering, Technology etc where foundation courses are more for the academic degrees
No, that is wrong. You can do access courses in academic subjects too.

(Original post by Ehd)
Interestingly, they gave me the impression that OU qualifications aren't held in very high regard (that was another way I was thinking of getting into uni).
Odd. I did an OU certificate and got into all the universities I applied to, including UCL and Edinburgh - two of the best and most difficult universities to get into in the country.
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simplylldxo
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(Original post by Samual)
No, that is wrong. You can do access courses in academic subjects too.
I'm aware of that but if you wanted to go into health or teaching you'd have to do an Access Course... I should know considering I've just done a HE course part of the University of Derby's Access and Further Education Centre.
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Snufkin
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(Original post by simplylldxo)
I'm aware of that but if you wanted to go into health or teaching you'd have to do an Access Course...
:confused: No you wouldn't.
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simplylldxo
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(Original post by Samual)
:confused: No you wouldn't.
you can't do Foundation courses for nursing, occupational therapy, diagnostic radiography, primary education.
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Snufkin
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(Original post by simplylldxo)
you can't do Foundation courses for nursing, occupational therapy, diagnostic radiography, primary education.
But you can do foundation years in science/other subjects and transfer into those degrees. I know for a fact that Durham has a foundation year for Primary Education, so other universities probably do as well.
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pinejuice
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i think the foundation year is more flexible in terms of what you can progress onto
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MrEFeynman
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You also have to take into account the difficulty of the degree you choose to do, and the quality of the university you want to study at.

At Durham Uni they required evidence of recent learning, to access their foundation year course. So I simply had to pass my access course, to be guaranteed a place on the foundation year.

I chose to study Physics at Durham Uni, and there is no chance of me entering the first year of a Physics degree there with an access course alone.
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Schadenfreude65
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(Original post by MrEFeynman)
I chose to study Physics at Durham Uni, and there is no chance of me entering the first year of a Physics degree there with an access course alone.
There are some (good) universities that will accept Access for Year 1 entry to Physics though - most of the London colleges, for instance.
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MrEFeynman
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(Original post by Schadenfreude65)
There are some (good) universities that will accept Access for Year 1 entry to Physics though - most of the London colleges, for instance.

I've lived in London before, and vowed never to spend any significant amount of time there again. Rents are a rip off, transport is overly expensive, and just about everything else is marked up in price.

I know thousands of students manage to get by living and studying in London. I am not willing to make the quality of life sacrifice, required to survive for the duration of a degree.

It is a fair point though.

Are you going straight into a degree now? Or are you still entering via a foundation year? It was you, wasn't it, who is planning to go into Nanotechnology?
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simplylldxo
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(Original post by Samual)
But you can do foundation years in science/other subjects and transfer into those degrees. I know for a fact that Durham has a foundation year for Primary Education, so other universities probably do as well.
Then again it'll depend on the uni. Derby don't allow students who want to go onto healthcare or teaching on the foundation course so you have to do Access.
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Snufkin
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(Original post by simplylldxo)
Then again it'll depend on the uni. Derby don't allow students who want to go onto healthcare or teaching on the foundation course so you have to do Access.
Exactly. Each university is different. Just because Derby doesn't allow students on foundation courses to enter healthcare degrees, it doesn't mean all universities will likewise prevent it. So why did you make such a sweeping statement?
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simplylldxo
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(Original post by Samual)
Exactly. Each university is different. Just because Derby doesn't allow students on foundation courses to enter healthcare degrees, it doesn't mean all universities will likewise prevent it. So why did you make such a sweeping statement?
It wasn't sweeping... they wanted to know the difference between Access and Foundation. That was a general overview of them.
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Snufkin
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(Original post by simplylldxo)
It wasn't sweeping... they wanted to know the difference between Access and Foundation. That was a general overview of them.
You made a very broad and generalised statement (which turned out to be false) based on one example, the University of Derby. That is a sweeping statement whether you accept it or not.
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Schadenfreude65
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(Original post by MrEFeynman)
I've lived in London before, and vowed never to spend any significant amount of time there again. Rents are a rip off, transport is overly expensive, and just about everything else is marked up in price.
Fair enough.

Are you going straight into a degree now? Or are you still entering via a foundation year? It was you, wasn't it, who is planning to go into Nanotechnology?
Yes, that was my original plan, though I changed my mind and decided to do astrophysics instead. I'm going straight into year 1 at Royal Holloway, which is part of University of London although it's outside the M25. I think I'll be doing my fourth year at UCL though, so I'll have to brave the crowds and pollution for one year.
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