Step Up to Higher Education

Study options


University Foundation Certificate

Key facts

Study option:
10 Weeks
Start date:
10 May 2023

The Step Up to Higher Education (HE) course is perfect for students who want to return to education and develop the key academic skills needed for university level study. This course has been specifically developed for pre-degree learners who are joining us on a range of our undergraduate level courses here at Staffordshire University London.

From day one you will get to grips with the crucial skills needed in HE, including attending and preparing for lectures and seminars, gathering research, note-taking and personal reflection.

The course is designed to develop your academic writing, referencing, research and critical thinking skills, all of which are key to success in HE. At the same time, the course develops the individual confidence of each learner. Our specialist and friendly course team have extensive experience helping students achieve their academic potential, working with hundreds of students over the years. Many learners who complete the course progress on to foundation or degree level study at the University. Students can go on to study Games Design, Computer Science, Esports and more.

This course also gives you the opportunity to try taster sessions in various subjects, and our tutors will provide you with the guidance and support needed when making a decision on your next step.

On successful completion of study, we will issue the following award: University Foundation Certificate Step Up to Higher Education

Part-time study

The course is studied part-time, 8 hours a week for 10 weeks.

Course content

This course is taught by friendly and experienced tutors including subject-specialist academic staff, study skills tutors, library and IT specialists, ensuring that you develop the key skills needed for HE. Within your first week, you will be assigned a personal tutor who will nurture you, provide feedback and develop your academic skills throughout the programme.

The course leader for the Step Up to HE programme will be your main personal contact throughout, helping you find your feet and offering guidance, advice and tuition on your learning development and possible future study routes that may be open to you.

This course consists of two separate modules which are designed to introduce you to a variety of skills and provide a firm academic foundation to build on.

Module 1: Skills Know-How: Review and Development

This introductory module will help you as a learner to reflect on your existing life, work and pre-existing learning experiences to date, enabling you to develop a firm sense of self-belief to support your transition to further study. This module will get you to grips with key Higher Education topics such as reflective practice and applicable learning theories. Coupled with this to further supplement your learning development as a student, you will also be gently introduced to the processes of carrying out research, reading and referencing at a University level. The overarching ethos of this introductory module is to help you understand yourself more as a learner, while allowing you to aptly apply various theoretical concepts to your own personal and professional practice. At its heart, this module will enable you to see the links to your own past experiences in relation to learning, alongside realising the importance your past experiences play in facilitating your future success at University. In terms of assessment, you will be supported in writing a 1,500-word self-reflective assessment which will hone your writing skills ready for University-level study. You will also be supported and guided on the effective use of IT in a digitally focused Higher Education environment.

Module 2: Research and Evaluation

Within this concluding module, you will build upon and hone the skills you have gained and developed within Module 1 in a subject area of your choice. You will get the chance to choose one of the subjects taught at degree level at our London campus and explore the discipline in order to help you decide what to pursue as an undergraduate. The areas for specialism are: Computer Science, AI, Cyber Security, Concept Art, esports or Games. As part of this module you will get the chance to meet some of the academics who deliver the content and will have specific lecturers tailored to your choice. You will also be introduced to the digital library team who will show you how to use the resources to research your chosen subject area, giving you some insight into what will be expected of you as an undergraduate.

Through a mixture of lectures, seminars and workshops we will demonstrate the skills needed to think critically and by the end of the module you will feel confident in your approach to enquiry and feel comfortable with a range of complex theoretical areas. We will teach you how to use data to support an argument, how to cite academic sources, how to research effectively, how to be objective and how to present this information visually to a target audience. You will learn how to respond to an essay question via an animated Power Point presentation. You will learn about the importance of design, the use of colour and the concepts of page hierarchy in being able to deliver a clear message.

Our London campus caters for professional level digital skills so you will be working on high spec computers, and as a student on our Step Up to HE programme, you will have access to all our facilities and equipment housed in our games labs, in our esports arena, in our art studio, and in our data junction.

You will be assessed in three areas: a 10-minute presentation, a 10-minute verbal reflection and a 500-word diary of learning. The diary will be a record of your learning and will be used to identify areas for further development, improvement and areas which you have excelled in over the duration of your studies, all of which should help you in your decision about applying to join us as an undergraduate in September.

Throughout the programme, students will be able to attend timetabled assignment support sessions. There you will get one-to-one support, feedback opportunities with experienced course tutors; these sessions will improve and develop your academic skillset and confidence to succeed within a Higher Education setting.

Academic year

We have course intakes taking place on the following dates:

Wednesday 10th May until Friday 21st July 2023

Attendance is required on a Monday and Tuesday, 10am-2pm.


The tables provide an indicative list of the modules that make up the course for the current academic year. Each module is worth a specified number of credits. Our teaching is informed by research, and modules change periodically to reflect developments in the discipline. We aim to ensure that all modules run as scheduled. If for any reason a module cannot be run we will advise you as soon as possible and will provide guidance on selecting an appropriate alternative module.

Year 1 compulsory modules
Year 1 compulsory modules
Digital Research, Analysis And Presentation - (Module 2) 20 credits
Skills Know-How: Review And Development (Module 1) 20 credits

Entry requirements

Applicants must be able to demonstrate written English equivalent to ESOL level 2.

We value your experience as well as formal qualifications, so our entrance requirements are flexible. You may have qualifications including CSEs, O Levels and GCSEs – or you may have a range of work-based, or other skills and achievements.

We particularly value life experience and anyone who is interested in progressing on to the course is invited to enquire and contact us at



This programme is very successful in supporting individuals to achieve their future goals. Many learners who have successfully completed the Step Up to HE Certificate move onto a wide range of degree courses at Staffordshire University.

Teaching and assessment


Teaching approaches can include formal lectures, group work, tutorials/practical sessions, seminars, workshops, directed and self-managed study, and research projects. Each of these will be used on your modules so you get the chance to learn as effectively as possible.


There are two types of assessments: practice (also called formative) or formal (also called summative).

Practice assessments do not count towards your final mark. These are your chance to test your understanding and learn how to improve for the real thing.

Learning support

Your course tutors will provide lots of support. But you can also take advantage of our Academic Skills team, who can help you with:

  • Study skills (including reading, note-taking and presentation skills)
  • Written English (including punctuation, grammar)
  • Academic writing (including how to reference)
  • Research skills
  • Critical thinking
  • Revision, assessment and exam skills (including time management)

Additional support

If you have additional needs like dyslexia or a sensory impairment, then our Student Inclusion Services are here to help make sure nothing stands in your way.


We know that it’s important for you to be able to gauge your progress. So, your tutor will give you feedback on any practice assessments you do.

We usually give you feedback on formal assessments within 20 working days, but the format will vary for each module.


The course is free of charge for students progressing on to study at Staffordshire University London and our associated partner colleges. Tailored and individualised guidance on Student Finance is available during the course to support students progressing onto undergraduate programmes at Staffordshire University London. 


Location Award Study option Start date Apply Link
Staffordshire University London University Foundation Certificate Part-time 10 May 2023 Apply now

Rules and regulations

If you are offered a place at Staffordshire University, your offer will be subject to our rules, regulations and enrolment conditions, which may vary from time to time.

Students of Staffordshire University enter into a contract with us and are bound by these rules and regulations, which are subject to change. For more information, please see: University Policies and Regulations

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