Built Environment Foundation

Foundation course

Clearing places are available on this course

UCAS code: K111

Start dates: September 2024 / September 2025

Full time: 1 year

Part time: 2 years

Location: Headington

Department(s): School of the Built Environment

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Our Built Environment Foundation prepares you to study at degree level. As well as make plans for your future professional education and career.

You will develop your understanding and problem-solving and gain other key skills in the design and development of cities. To help develop your practical skills our course combines:

  • theory and contextual case studies
  • field trips
  • live projects.

On completing your course, you can progress to one of the following degree courses here at Oxford Brookes;

If you want to progress to Architecture or Interior Architecture you must have an acceptable portfolio of artistic work.

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Built Environment Foundation

Why Oxford Brookes University?

  • Freedom to explore
    Get to know your preferences and explore the differences between various built environment disciplines before choosing which subject to study for your degree.
  • Interesting assessment
    You’ll be assessed through coursework such as individual and group presentations, critical commentaries and reflective journals, or exams. All programmes use live projects.
  • A breadth of expertise
    Benefit from being taught by a wide range of expert academics. With tutors spanning the range of built environment disciplines, your studies will be diverse and research-rich
  • Shape your own research
    Research the area of your programme you’re most passionate about. Create, manage and complete your own project while getting 1-to-1 guidance from an academic supervisor.
  • Open progression
    We uniquely focus on opening avenues for you by preparing you for progression on to any of our built environment degrees (see progression rules in further study). 
  • Free language courses

    Free language courses are available to full-time undergraduate and postgraduate students on many of our courses, and can be taken as a credit on some courses.

  • Study abroad

    You may be able to go on a European or international study exchange while you are at Brookes. Most exchanges take place in the second year. Although we will help as much as we can with your plans, ultimately you are responsible for organising and funding this study abroad.

Course details

Course structure

We have designed this course to;

  • give you a good introduction to university life
  • develop your problem-solving skills in the design and development of cities
  • to introduce you to subjects that will help you to your progress to one of the relevant built environment degree courses.

You'll sample degree subjects relating to the built environment and discover new areas of study, such as:

  • planning and urban design
  • environmental sustainability
  • construction management. 

We offer field trips and live projects to develop your practical skills. We'll ask you which degree you want to pursue to assess if you require additional support with a portfolio. But if your interests change, you can consider other degree courses.

Built Environment Foundation

Learning and teaching

You will learn in a lively and stimulating environment.

In Semester 1 you will take a range of modules to introduce you to studying at university. In semester 2 you will study all the different disciplines within the School of Built Environment and the School of Architecture. . This helps you clarify your further study choices here at Oxford Brookes.

We use a variety of teaching and learning methods, including;

  • lectures
  • seminars
  • workshops 
  • tutorials.


We will assess you through coursework,  in a variety of ways such as reports, quizzes, presentations and your digital skills. The coursework will be based on live projects and will work across the different disciplines with a final presentation in semester 2.  All our modules involve:

  • regular reading to prepare for lectures
  • problem-solving exercises. 

Field Trips

Field trips to London and across Oxford will introduce the live projects used in assessment. You will meet different professionals and understand first hand how projects develop and are managed. 

Study modules

Teaching for this course takes place face to face and you can expect around 9 hours of contact time per week. In addition to this, you should also anticipate a workload of 1,200 hours per year. Teaching usually takes place Monday to Friday, between 9.00am and 6.00pm.

Contact hours involve activities such as lectures, seminars, practicals, assessments, and academic advising sessions. These hours differ by year of study and typically increase significantly during placements or other types of work-based learning.

Year 1

Compulsory modules

  • Researching the Built Environment (15 credits)

    What topic fascinates you about cities and their development? Explore new research skills, how and where to collect data, review existing reports and write a research paper yourself. With this module, you are prepared for writing high quality reports with skills that will stay with you through-out your career. 
  • Study Skills & Professional Development for the Built Environment (15 credits)

    Who are the professionals in the built environment? What do they do and why are they needed? How can I start to make a career of my foundation studies? You will find your place in the built environment through this module, where you will learn to think critically about the built environment, appraise the built form and get introduced to the professionals in the field. 
  • Digital Skills for the Built Environment (15 credits)

    In this module, you will learn how to create 2D site layouts and simple 3D models of buildings using Sketch-up. You will also learn how the use of the internet, emails, online meeting skills and collaborative learning opportunities through platforms such as Zoom will support your studies. You will also be supported in learning how to use important word-processing and spreadsheets tools, which will remain integral to your studies throughout foundation and undergrad. 
  • Sustainability in the Built Environment (15 credits)

    What does sustainability mean for the built environment and what are professionals doing about this? In this module, you will be introduced to the sustainability mindset and explore issues that affect, or are affected by the built environment. You will learn how professionals in your chosen profession deal with the environmental problems of the past, today and the future. This module will bring you to date on how cities that are vibrant, just and safe can be re-created. 
  • Foundation Planning (15 credits)

    This module aims to introduce you to basic planning issues, mainly within the UK but also touching on global issues as well. You will develop a knowledge of what needs to be planned for and how planning impacts on society. The topics you will learn will link together themes in policy, theory and practice to give you a clear context within which planning operates and the interactions that take place. You will see how developments and cities are shaped by planning regulations, and also be able to connect how different disciplines within the Built Environment contribute to shaping the environment that we live and work in.
  • Introduction to Urban Design & Architecture (15 credits)

    Are you interested in studying and having a career in urban design or architecture? This module introduces you to the nature and role of urban design and architecture in the built environment. It aims to promote awareness of design considerations and approaches to the creation of good places having regard to the design process and stakeholders involved. You will carry out a site analysis drawing on the principles and concepts you will learn to develop, and data you would have collected during field trips. 
  • Introduction to Construction (15 credits)

    Our introduction to construction module introduces you to the key principles of construction and their application through real-life case studies of various kinds. The aims of this module are that, on completion, you should be able to understand the basic principles of sustainable construction from materials manufacture and transport through, construction, building occupation and use and ultimately to demolition. Each week different construction elements will be examined through lectures and seminars and a day-long field trip. You will ultimately be able to understand building construction and use from a more holistic and sustainable point of view.
  • Introduction to Real Estate (15 credits)

    This module introduces you to the full range of studies included within the BSc (Hons) Real Estate degree, including development, valuation, investment, agency and management of all urban real estate. It will identify both the similarities and differences with the other disciplines in these processes. Taking this module will give you solid support to complete your foundation course and move on to a successful completion of your preferred degree.  

Please note: As our courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the modules you can choose from may vary from those shown here. The structure of the course may also mean some modules are not available to you.


Foundation Built Environment is principally intended as a route to further study at degree level - and exists to develop and enhance academic skills. It will allow you to choose the most suitable area of degree specialism within the School, and make plans for the subsequent professional education that ensues. Various teaching and learning methods are employed - lectures, seminars, tutorials, and workshops - which will test written expression, presentation skills, independent learning, and working in groups. Underpinning this, students will access information from various sources and work to deadlines.

Successful completion of the Foundation course can lead you on to one of the following degree courses at Oxford Brookes. All of the courses will have specific progression rules which will be highlighted to you during your induction programme. We will also provide you with advice and guidance on how you can meet the progression rules.

Related courses

Entry requirements

Wherever possible we make our conditional offers using the UCAS Tariff. The combination of A-level grades listed here would be just one way of achieving the UCAS Tariff points for this course.

Standard offer

UCAS Tariff Points: 48

A Level: DD

IB Points: 24


Further offer details

We welcome applications from candidates with alternative qualifications, and from mature students.

International qualifications and equivalences

Tuition fees

Please see the fees note
Home (UK) full time

Home (UK) part time
£1,155 per single module

International full time

Home (UK) full time

Home (UK) part time
£720 per single module

International full time

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

Tuition fees

2024 / 25
Home (UK) full time

Home (UK) part time
£1,155 per single module

International full time

2025 / 26
Home (UK) full time

Home (UK) part time
£720 per single module

International full time

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

+44 (0)1865 534400


Please note, tuition fees for Home students may increase in subsequent years both for new and continuing students in line with an inflationary amount determined by government. Oxford Brookes University intends to maintain its fees for new and returning Home students at the maximum permitted level.

Tuition fees for International students may increase in subsequent years both for new and continuing students. 

The following factors will be taken into account by the University when it is setting the annual fees: inflationary measures such as the retail price indices, projected increases in University costs, changes in the level of funding received from Government sources, admissions statistics and access considerations including the availability of student support. 

How and when to pay

Tuition fee instalments for the semester are due by the Monday of week 1 of each semester. Students are not liable for full fees for that semester if they leave before week 4. If the leaving date is after week 4, full fees for the semester are payable.

  • For information on payment methods please see our Make a Payment page.
  • For information about refunds please visit our Refund policy page

Additional costs

Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course are detailed below.

Programme changes:
On rare occasions we may need to make changes to our course programmes after they have been published on the website. For more information, please visit our changes to programmes page.