Foundation Degree in Engineering
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Engineering is at the heart of the built environment, and plays a central role in every aspect of our working and personal lives – from electricity generation and transport networks to smartphones and bicycles. If you’re working in engineering-related employment at a technical level and would like to climb the career ladder, this foundation degree is for you. It applies the study of engineering fundamentals like energy, design, manufacturing, materials, mechanics and structural analysis, to the solution of real-life problems. It also supports you in personal development planning and work-related issues – such as health and safety and project management, building on your existing skills and experience. The Foundation Degree in Engineering combines traditional academic skills with the needs of your workplace, and can be considered a step up from an apprenticeship. It also provides a route to an honours degree in engineering, or to our popular Open degree – paving the way to many new career opportunities.
The programme of study for this foundation degree is also offered as the
Diploma of Higher Education in Engineering (W11). The diploma of higher education might be of particular interest to those living and working in Scotland.
Fees and facts
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Flexible, part-time study through
Foundation degrees are nationally recognised qualifications focusing either on a particular job or profession; they combine work place learning with academic study. Designed and developed with external partners, you must be working either as a paid employee or as a volunteer in a related work setting.
A foundation degree is equivalent to two thirds of an honours degree. They aim to enhance the professional and technical skills of staff within a profession or those intending to go into that profession.
You can use a foundation degree to:
change careers or progress your current career, gain technical and professional skills, gain professional recognition, achieve a full honours degree through further study.
Most of our foundation degrees are also offered as diplomas of higher education for those living and working in Scotland.
You must be currently working in engineering-related employment to study this qualification.
There are no formal entry requirements, but we offer two pathways through this qualification, depending on your experience and confidence with mathematics.
Career relevance and employability
There are many occupations in which engineering knowledge and skills are highly valued, and often essential. Whatever field of engineering you currently work in, this foundation degree will enhance your career prospects by helping you develop and demonstrate a sound grasp of engineering principles, the ability to apply them, and an awareness of the surrounding issues.
The Foundation Degree in Engineering includes two work-based modules which guide you through activities and projects that are closely linked to your workplace. There’s a strong focus on professional development planning, and you’ll be well prepared for further study at Level 3 should you wish to progress to a full honours degree. You’ll also develop a wide range of transferable skills, with particular emphasis on:
information handling and numeracy
IT and communication
analysing and solving problems
planning and organising.
There’s more information about how OU study can improve your employability in the
OU’s Employability Statement from our Careers Advisory Service. You can also read or download our publication and look at our OU study and your career subject pages to find out about career opportunities.
Choose a pathway and register
Pathways allow you to specialise or choose particular topics that interest you. You will need to choose a pathway before registering.
You can choose from several pathways to your qualification depending on the amount of time you wish to commit to studying, and your mathematical level at the start of the course. To help determine your mathematical level, visit our
Maths for Engineering website.
If you are confident with algebra and trigonometry then you should be ready to start the standard pathway. However if you are less confident with algebra and trigonometry; or if you’ve not previously studied mathematics to an advanced level; or if you’ve not studied it for some time and need to refresh your skills, then we recommend the gentle start pathway.
Credit for previous study elsewhere
If you have already completed some successful study at higher education level at another institution you may be able to transfer credit for this study and count it towards this qualification. If you wish to apply to transfer credit you must do so as soon as possible, and before you register for this qualification.
If you are awarded credit for study completed elsewhere, you may find that you need to study fewer OU modules to complete this qualification. This may also mean that the next start date and the maximum time limit for this qualification are different to those shown above
Credit Transfer site for more information and details of how to apply for credit transfer.
The learning outcomes of this qualification are described in four areas:
Knowledge and understanding
Practical and professional skills
Read more detailed information about the learning outcomes, and how they are acquired through teaching, learning and assessment methods.
On successful completion of the required modules you will be awarded a Foundation Degree in Engineering entitling you to use the letters FD (Open) after your name.
As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the following regulations:
These regulations are also available on our
Essential Documents website.
If you have a disability
Choosing the qualification that’s right for you is very important. Depending on your disability, long-term health condition, mental health disability or specific learning difficulty, you may need to consider any challenges posed by:
the learning objectives: for example, to gain an honours degree in a language you must be physically able to speak the language
how the modules are taught: for example, some of our science qualifications require that you complete laboratory work
any work-based competency requirements.
Choosing the right qualification can be a complex mix of the subject requirements and the support you may need. To help you assess whether the qualification you are interested in will work for you, further advice is available from:
You will need a computer with internet access to study for this qualification. For most OU qualifications a Microsoft Windows (new since 2007),
Apple Mac (OS X 10.6 or later) or Linux computer should be adequate. However, some qualifications require more specific IT equipment, in which case you
will need additional software to use an Apple Mac or Linux computer. A detailed technical specification for your modules will be made available when you
register. Please note, technical specifications do change over time to match computer developments and the way we teach.
The Open University is the world’s leading provider of flexible, high quality distance learning. Unlike other universities
we are not campus based. You will study in a flexible way that works for you whether you’re at home, at work or on the move.
As an OU student you’ll be supported throughout your studies – your tutor or study adviser will guide and advise you, offer detailed
feedback on your assignments, and help with any study issues. Tuition might be in face-to-face groups, via online
tutorials, or by phone.
For more information read
Distance learning explained.