Cert HE in Combined Studies with a Foundation Year

The CertHE Combined Studies with Foundation Year is a part-time course designed for adult learners who do not have the standard entry qualifications required for most Higher Education courses.


How to apply

To study this course you will need to apply through our online application form.

Programme code: ACEU85H

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Foundation year

Students initially study our foundation programme, part-time, over two years. Successful completion of the foundation year guarantees progression onto our CertHE in Combined Studies, although many students use this course as preparation for further degree level study, either at the University of Sheffield or another institution.

The reasons for studying the part-time programme vary. You may want to:

  • build your confidence and update your study skills before starting on full degree course.
  • get a taste of more than one subject area before deciding which particular academic route to follow. 
  • gain subject area knowledge in order to support an application to a specific degree programme.
  • continue onto our part-time CertHE programme.

Level 1

On successful completion of the foundation year you will study 120 credits over two years. These modules are chosen from core modules offered by the Department for Lifelong Learning and a variety of Level 1 modules from across the University.

You will engage in a range of learning activities outside of class time which are designed to develop and assess your learning over the duration of the programme.

The programme would suit you if you:

  • Have a general interest in developing you academic skills.
  • Are looking to gain a University award which can help with career prospects or progression.
  • Want to try out higher education study without committing to a full degree.
  • Would like to spend more time familiarising yourself with a range of subject areas before committing to a specific degree programme.

Programme details


Over the course of your foundation year you will study a variety of modules that equate to the value of 120 credits. You can check the foundation year programme structure for more information on these modules.

Learning and teaching methods

During the course a number of teaching methods may be used, including:

  • Lectures and seminars
  • Problem solving classes
  • Field studies
  • Independent study
  • Skills and subject-based tutorials
  • Group work
  • On-line activities
  • Revision workshops
  • Laboratory sessions

Programme length 

It will take you two years to complete the part-time foundation level of the programme. At this point, you can either progress to level one of the Cert HE, which takes a further two years to complete part-time, or you can apply to transfer to other degree level studies.

What happens after the foundation year?

Successful completion of the foundation level of this programme guarantees direct progression through to Level 1 of our part-time CertHE Combined Studies.

Alternatively some students decide to apply for a place on a full-time or part-time degree at the University of Sheffield (or elsewhere). Anyone applying to a degree at the University of Sheffield, who is predicted an overall grade of 60 or more at the foundation level of this course, is guaranteed an interview with the department concerned in order to assess whether they are suited to their chosen course. We offer you advice and assistance when considering your options for higher level study and offer guidance on the application process.