Types of qualification

We offer a range of undergraduate qualifications at Birmingham City University, giving you a number of opportunities to step into higher education.

Foundation years/Year 0 courses

Foundation years are a great option if you have the talent, ambition and potential to thrive at Birmingham City University but want a little more flexibility and choice than a standard degree.

Foundation years (sometimes called Year 0 courses) are perfect if you don’t meet the entry requirements for a particular degree course, as they enable you to reach the requirements by developing your learning to an appropriate standard ready for the first year of your degree.

Most of our undergraduate courses now have a foundation pathway, to help you on your journey to your dream course.

Find out more about foundation years

Foundation degrees

If your qualifications are slightly below those required for direct entry onto a Bachelor’s degree, Foundation degrees may offer an alternative route to a full undergraduate degree.

They are often vocational courses, usually equivalent to the first two years of a three-year Bachelor’s degree. After completing a Foundation degree, you may be able to take a ‘top-up’ Bachelor’s degree to gain the full undergraduate degree qualification. Our Foundation degrees include Early Years, ICT and Health and Social Care.

Franchised courses with our partner colleges

Franchised courses are Birmingham City University programmes taught in a supportive college setting. Most of the teaching (in the first two years at least) takes place in college but everything about it is assessed and approved by the University. Most of these courses are HND or HNC qualifications.

  • You are welcome to visit BCU’s campus any time you like to access our library, sports facilities, computer rooms and speak to any of our staff about your studies.
  • Your teaching will be based on campus at the college, which means that you will also have access to support from college tutors and advisors.
  • Lots of our students find that the additional support in college helps them build confidence and even more skills ahead of transferring to study on campus with the University.
  • You will still be incredibly close to BCU, located in Birmingham and easily able to move between the two places.
  • At the end of your studies, you will walk across the stage at our graduation ceremony with a degree from Birmingham City University.

Certificate/Diploma in Higher Education

These are similar to HNC and HND qualifications in terms of levels of study achieved. They can potentially be ‘topped up’ to a full Bachelor’s degree in a related subject area.

Higher National Certificates/Higher National Diplomas

Higher National Certificates (HNC) and Higher National Diplomas (HND) are vocational qualifications which often include practical elements as well as theory. It is often possible to ‘top up’ these qualifications to a Bachelor’s degree through further relevant study.

Bachelor’s degree

This is a full undergraduate degree qualification. Bachelor’s degrees normally take three or four years to complete on a full-time basis - they can also be studied part-time.

Bachelor’s degrees can have different award titles depending on the subject and nature of the course.

  • Bachelor of Science (BSc) qualifications have a particular scientific approach.
  • Bachelor of Arts (BA) qualifications are often more arts and humanities-focused.
  • Bachelor of Education (BEd) courses are a particular type of teacher training degree course, but there are also BA courses which lead to Qualified Teacher Status.
  • Bachelor of Law (LLB) courses are qualifying law degrees aimed at those who wish to become solicitors or barristers.

Most Bachelor’s degrees can be studied ‘with honours’ – depicted in the award title as BA (Hons), BSc (Hons), etc. The honours element indicates a higher level of academic achievement.

What should you do next?

Find a course

We offer an extensive selection of more than 100 courses, spanning a wide range of subjects for you to explore.

Find a course

Come to an Open Day

Expert academics, state-of-the-art facilities and an inclusive student community - there's so much going on at Birmingham City University. Be at the heart of it all at one of our Open Days.

View our upcoming Open Days

Download one of our helpful Guides

Our guides contain expert advice and guidance designed to help you before joining university.

Follow us on social media

Follow our social media channels to stay up-to-date with everything that's going on at BCU.