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Built Environment Foundation

Foundation course

School of the Built Environment

Love them or hate them, towns and cities are the context within which most of us live, work and play.

What will you study

This course gives you the opportunity to progress onto built environment degree courses at Oxford Brookes University. We will develop your understanding and problem-solving skills in areas fundamental to the design and development of the built environment. Mixing theory and contextual case studies with field trips and live projects help develop practical skills. A multidisciplinary module taught over both semesters will help you to make further study choices.  

What next?

Successful completion allows you to progress to one of the Architecture, Planning, Real Estate and Construction BA (Hons) or BSc (Hons) degree courses. These all offer excellent career opportunities and professional qualifications with the CIOB, RIBA, RICS or RTPI.


Typical offers

UCAS Tariff points: 48

Available start dates

September 2019 / September 2020

Teaching location

Headington Campus

Course length

  • Full time: 1 year
  • Part time: 2 years

UCAS code


For full application details, please see the 'How to apply / Entry requirements' section.

  • The course provides a good foundation which will allow you to choose your area of study at degree level and make plans for your future professional education and career.
  • We provide a lively and stimulating environment in which to study. There is the possibility of progressing to a range of courses relating to the built environment at Oxford Brookes University.

Progression options include:

Progression to the BA (Hons) Architecture and BA (Hons) Interior Architecture is dependent on having an acceptable portfolio of artistic work in addition to passing the Foundation course.

The Foundation course is not designed to help students enhance artistic skills or prepare a portfolio, but does bring you up to the academic level required. Applicants wishing to progress on to architecture courses will therefore need to have a suitable level of artistic skills prior to joining the foundation course.

The course is designed to achieve two objectives:

  • to develop your understanding and problem-solving skills in areas which are fundamental to the environment, design and development of cities
  • to introduce you to a variety of subjects that, with the correct choice of modules, will contribute to your progress to one of the degree courses offered relating to the built environment.

Before the course starts you will be asked to choose which degree subject you are interested in pursuing so that we can ensure your programme of study is appropriate. However, the decision you make at this early stage does not commit you and, if your interests change during the foundation course, you may still be accepted on to other courses offered within the subject area.

You will need to achieve specific results on the foundation course to progress to some degree subjects so your preferred choice of degree cannot be guaranteed. However, other degree options will be available to you.

We are keen to encourage as wide a range of applicants as possible, including mature students, those unsure of their future career and applicants from abroad whose first language is not English.

The foundation course is an integral part of our undergraduate programme and therefore qualifies for a mandatory award. Normally you will complete it in one year studying full-time, or in two years studying part-time.

If you don't meet our formal entry requirements for our BA or BSc degrees, or if you didn't do as well at A-level as you had expected, there is no need to give up hope. This foundation programme could be just what you are looking for, as successful completion will guarantee you a place on one of our degree courses in the faculty.

Equally, if you want to return to study after working for a while, but lack confidence, this programme is designed to bring you up to speed. If you are an overseas student, or if your first language is not English, you will also find this course ideally suited to your needs as it will introduce you to our way of learning. In addition, you will find an excellent range of English language courses on offer at Oxford Brookes.

As well as offering you the chance of sampling the degree subjects relating to the built environment, the foundation course will give you a good introduction to university life. You will discover new areas of study you might not have considered before, such as Planning and Urban Design, Environmental Sustainability or Construction Management. Whatever your background, the foundation course will widen your horizons and open up a host of exciting career and life opportunities.

Study modules

Like all courses at Oxford Brookes, the Foundation is based around self-contained units known as modules. You can choose from a range of modules which aim to give you an idea of what the undergraduate subjects are about. There are several compulsory modules, including a student-centred module that focuses on understanding the built environment through a programme of visits, project work, seminar presentations and talks.

As well as modules in Environmental Science and Essential Built Environment Skills, you may follow others in Planning, Leisure, and Architectural History and Theory. The range of optional modules includes Foundation French, Foundations of Business and Word Processing and Spreadsheet IT Skills. For international students there are modules on academic writing, listening and speaking.

For those wanting to progress to Architecture or Interior Architecture it should be noted that the course is not designed to enhance your artistic skills and there is no teaching on the course that will help you prepare the portfolio necessary for application to these courses. 

Sample module list

As our courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the modules available may vary from those listed here.

  • Integrative and Contextual Studies*
  • Essential Skills in the Built Environment*
  • Environmental Science*
  • Introduction to Architectural History and Theory
  • Introduction to Spatial Planning
  • The Leisure Environment
  • Environmental Sustainability
  • Word Processing and Spreadsheet IT Skills

* indicates compulsory module

Study abroad

To find out whether you can study or work abroad while on this course, please email studyabroad@brookes.ac.uk

Free language courses for students - the Open Module

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.

Please note that the free language courses are not available if you are:

  • studying at a Brookes partner college
  • studying on any of our teacher education courses or postgraduate education courses.

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.

Teaching and learning

During the first semester you will take a range of modules which will introduce you to studying at university. In addition you will be involved in a multidisciplinary module which will extend over both semesters and which will help to clarify your further study choices within the school.

Various teaching and learning methods are used including lectures, seminars and tutorials. Lectures and workshops cover the principal themes and are attended by all students studying the module.

Approach to assessment

Coursework is set and most of this counts towards the module and towards overall assessment. All modules also require regular reading in preparation for the lectures and involvement in problem-solving exercises.

Tuition fees

Home/EU - full time fee: 2018/19: £9,250. 2019/20: £9,250.

Home/EU - part time fee: 2018/19: £750 per single module. 2019/20: £750 per single module.

International - full time: 2018/19: £13,150 2019/20: £13,410

Please note tuition fees for Home/EU students may increase in subsequent years both for new and continuing students in line with an inflationary amount determined by government. Tuition fees for International students may increase in subsequent years both for new and continuing students.

Oxford Brookes University intends to maintain its fees for new and returning home and EU students at the maximum permitted level.

Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course, if any, are detailed in the 'This course in detail' window above.

Questions about fees?
Contact Student Finance on:
+44 (0)1865 483088

Funding and scholarships

For general sources of financial support, see:

Typical offers

UCAS Tariff points: 48

A-Level: DD or equivalent

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

IB Diploma: 24 points


Applications are welcomed from candidates with alternative qualifications, and from mature students.

Specific entry requirements

A-Level: 48 points from 2 A Level or equivalent

GCSE: 3 passes including Mathematics and English at grade C / 4

Please also see the University's general entry requirements.

English language requirements

Applicants whose main language is not English should have Academic IELTS 6.0 with 6.0 in reading and writing, 5.5 in listening and speaking


An equivalent English language qualification acceptable to the University.

Please also see the University's standard English language requirements

English requirements for visas

If you need a student visa to enter the UK you will need to meet the UK Visas and Immigration minimum language requirements as well as the University's requirements. Find out more about English language requirements.

How to apply

International applicants

Apply direct »

For full-time study you can also apply through UCAS.

Terms and Conditions of Enrolment

When you accept our offer, you agree to the Terms and Conditions of Enrolment. You should therefore read those conditions before accepting the offer.

Credit transfer

Oxford Brookes operates the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). All undergraduate single modules are equivalent to 7.5 ECTS credits and double modules to 15 ECTS credits. More about ECTS credits.

Why Oxford is a great place to study this course

There can be few more exciting cities in which to study the built environment than Oxford. It is amazingly compact and full of contrasts, containing within a few square miles some of Britain's most expensive property, vibrant multicultural and student areas, 1960s housing estates, state-of-the-art architecture and new business parks. It is also one of the world's most visited cities, with a year-round tourist industry.

For those working in the built environment, Oxford poses a tremendous challenge as it strives to develop as a 21st-century city without losing its historic heart. Planners, architects and urban designers have to balance the pressure from developers wishing to build more shops, nightclubs and offices, on the one hand, with the need to preserve its green belt and ancient buildings, on the other.

Oxford is a vibrant city with plenty of attractions for its large student population, from theatres and cinemas to museums, art galleries and music venues. A bustling and stunning cosmopolitan city, Oxford has excellent shopping, restaurants, cafes, pubs and clubs.

General support services

Supporting your learning

From academic advisers and support co-ordinators to specialist subject librarians and other learning support staff, we want to ensure that you get the best out of your studies.

Personal support services

We want your time at Brookes to be as enjoyable and successful as possible. That's why we provide all the facilities you need to be relaxed, happy and healthy throughout your studies.

Career prospects

Foundation Built Environment is principally intended as a route to further study at degree level - and exists to develop & 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.

Further study

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.