Is a foundation course right for my child?

Is a foundation course right for my child? Medical foundation courses are another route into medicine. A medical foundation course may be just what your child needs if there’s something missing from their application, but they still dream of becoming a doctor. They just need that little push!

Author: Zayra Morales

You are here:

Table of Contents

Is a foundation course right for my child?

Medical foundation courses are another route into medicine. A medical foundation course may be just what your child needs if there’s something missing from their application, but they still dream of becoming a doctor. They just need that little push!



Medical foundation courses are designed to prepare your child for a medical degree at a medical school. They are sometimes also known as a pre-clinical year.



Medical foundation courses are generally designed for students who have a good academic record, but who lack a science background. There are also other medical foundation courses that are intended for students whose academic record may not be quite so strong. If one of these conditions applies to your child but they still have a desire to study medicine; medical foundation courses provide an alternate route of entry. Make sure you check the medical foundation courses carefully though, as some have prerequisites such as living in a certain part of the country.

Medical foundation courses are often a more relaxed and friendly way to start off a career in medicine, and many students report feeling more confident and prepared for a medical degree at the end of it.




There are two types of medical foundation courses. The first is a year tagged onto the beginning of a medical degree, to make it into a 6-year course. The first year provides a base of science learning, to help your child catch up with the other medical students on the course who will have taken some sort of science A Level.

The second type is an extended course, where the course still lasts six years but the basic science teaching methods will be mixed in with the normal medical teaching.



The medical schools that offer medical foundation courses are as follows:

1. Cardiff University – Medicine with a Preliminary Year (MBBCh)

Cardiff offers their foundation course based on the requirement that students applying have demonstrated high academic knowledge. Despite not being able to meet the subject-specific entry requirements, Cardiff still allows applicants onto their medical foundation courses.


2. Keele University – Health Foundation Year for Medicine

Keele’s medical foundation courses have been available since 2006. Keele University, in their Health Foundation Year for medicine, provides core training for those who come from non-scientific backgrounds to access a pathway into medicine.


3. King’s College London – King’s International Foundation

One special aspect about the King’s College medical foundation course is that they are tailored towards the needs of international students. They offer a guaranteed place on a King’s undergraduate degree upon completion.


4. University of Dundee – Gateway to Medicine (MBChB)

This is a one-year medical foundation course which aims to ‘support students towards progressing onto the five-year course.  This foundation course grants you a Certificate of Higher Education in Life Sciences (CertHE).


5. University of East Anglia – MBBS Medicine With a Foundation Year

UEA’s medical foundation courses promise to give a hands-on experience through rigorous training. They take pride in training students in modern practices of medicine from the very start of the course. Once completed, students have the opportunity to go on to study UEA’s five-year MBBS programme.


6. University of Bradford – Foundation in Clinical Sciences/Medicine

Similar to the medical foundation courses offered by the other universities, the course at the University of Bradford has partnered with the University of Leeds to provide students a one-year foundation course before entry to Leeds’ medical school.


7. University of Leicester – Medicine with Foundation Year (MBChB)

The University of Leicester provides an integrated foundation year which prepares students for the main medicine course. As a little stepping stone, this foundation course promises a personalised pastoral support alongside your studies.


8. University of Liverpool – Foundation to Health and Veterinary Studies (Year 0)

In addition to providing medical foundation courses, Liverpool’s courses also act as pathways to other Health-related fields, such as Veterinary Science, Nursing, and Dentistry.


9. University of Manchester – MBChB Medicine (6 years, including foundation year)

Manchester’s course acts as preparation for their five-year MBChB course. It offers you the chance to study abroad, and intercalate (study another subject) as part of your degree.


10. University of Nottingham – Medicine with a Foundation Year BMBS

Like many other universities across the UK, Nottingham’s medical foundation course provides automatic progression onto their BMBS Medicine course to students who undertake their foundation medicine year.


11. University of Sheffield

Sheffield offers contingent entry to their medical school if you complete the University of Bradford’s Foundation Year.


12. University of Southampton – BMBS Medicine and BMedSc (BM6, widening access) (6 years)

Having ‘achieved national recognition as an example of best practice’, Southampton’s course ‘involves studying for an extra year on their ‘foundation’ course before joining Year 1. The unique aspect of this course is that you will also be studying alongside students on the BM5 and BMedSc programme.


 13. University of St Andrews – International Foundation Programme for Medicine

This is a specific international foundation programme directed at developing core medical competencies. St Andrews’ medical foundation courses claim to have a high 90% yearly pass rate.


Medical foundation courses often have similar entry requirements to medicine, such as interviews and admissions tests, to explore your motivation for studying medicine, so it’s still a good idea to continue to prep for these courses like any others.


Whilst you may not need the A-Level grades like those expected for Cambridge Medicine, demonstration of a good practical knowledge of medicine is a must.



Your child is eligible to apply to medical foundation courses if they didn’t take sciences at A Level, or if they don’t meet the usual grade requirements for medical school programmes.

Your child can also apply if they previously applied to medical school but didn’t get in whatever the reason that might have been. They may have missed out because they weren’t quite at the right level, for example. There are also some other specific eligibility criteria for places like Kings College London that a student may meet, such as if your child went to a state school from age 11 onwards.

As previously mentioned, different medical foundation courses have different criteria, so be sure to check each one to see if your child is eligible to apply. Don’t waste time applying to somewhere that won’t accept the application!


It’s also important to note that not every one of the medical foundation courses guarantee a place on their medical degree after completion – they can be very competitive programmes. However, even if your child doesn’t get a place at that medical school, having the experience will make them an attractive prospective student for other medical schools!

Need Help Getting into a Medical Foundation Course?

UniAdmissions offer packages to help you gain access to the foundation course of your dreams. Whatever university you are thinking of applying to, our Non-Oxbridge medicine packages are tailored to cover aspects of the application depending on the requirements of each university.

Our customised packages are delivered by medical experts who will provide one-to-one and group support to secure your chance of a place to study foundation medicine at university.

Take a look at what’s included on the course >>>

Further Guidance When Applying to Medicine

Visit our blog to discover more fun tips and information for applying to study medicine at university. Written by the medical experts and from those who are (and have) studied medicine at University, you can read some real-life experiences from those who’ve lived it. Discover guidance on which university is best for the subject you want to study, interview tips, the latest news surrounding admissions, and much more….

Book An Expert Application Consultation