Foundation diplomas in Czechia: An alternative path to an undergraduate degree

Students increasingly feel the pressure to achieve university-worthy results. But an alternative path to an undergraduate degree is available. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 06.07.2022 17:24:00 (updated on 12.06.2023) Reading time: 3 minutes

This article was written in cooperation with the Prague City University. Read more about our sponsored content policy here.

Over the past weeks, high school students have been cramming for exams, hoping to achieve university-worthy results. Many may not be aware that there's an undergraduate diploma that exists for those who aren't yet certain about what area of study they want to pursue.

Worldwide, foundation diplomas are growing in popularity, with many universities encouraging students to complete a foundation year before committing to a Bachelor’s degree. What is a foundation diploma and is such a qualification available in Czechia?

Foundation diplomas

Foundation diplomas are one-year introductory programs that help students explore their interests and abilities before committing to a specialized undergraduate degree.

These courses are designed to help students make the transition from secondary education to specialist education. In some cases, it can also be used as preparation for employment.

The "Foundation Year" is also open to students who do not have a high school diploma or Czech equivalent. Yet on completion of a foundation program, graduates qualify for university studies, making it an easier pathway into academia.

Prague City University 

Prague City University (PCU) offers two British-accredited foundation programs in English. PCU introduced these programs to the Czech market several years ago as they continued to grow in recognition and popularity in the UK and worldwide.

The Foundation Diploma in Business and the Foundation Diploma in Art, Design and Media Practice are both BTEC Pearson International level 3 programs developed in the UK and recognized as a valid progression route into undergraduate studies.

"We wanted to shine a light on the 'alternative path' that high school students and those without high school diplomas can take in order to gain university entrance," says Larissa Petryca, Marketing Manager at PCU.

She says the programs, which introduce students to many career specializations within their field of interest, allowing them to explore and discover their talents, are very popular.

Foundation Diploma in Art, Design and Media Practice

The first semester of this program introduces students to a new creative discipline every two weeks and pushes experimentation and development of skills. In the second semester the student’s focus shifts to fine-tuning portfolios and student’s determining their specialization. 

A strong portfolio is essential for selection into undergraduate Art and Design programs as selectors are looking for a high level of specialist knowledge and skills that are outside of a regular high school art program.

Students also present a weekly Friday Show exhibition in the first semester showcasing their project work in new areas of skills such as animation, painting, sound, interactive art, illustration, photography, sculpture, graphic design, and more.

In one year, the foundation program allows students to fully explore and master a full toolbox of creative skills before deciding where their talents lie with confidence. 

Foundation Diploma in Business

PCU’s Foundation Diploma in Business is a practical and comprehensive introduction to business studies before pursuing a Bachelor’s degree. At PCU, most Foundation Diploma graduates move into business programs but have also crossed into IT.

Over the course of one year, students are introduced to a wide range of topics, including management skills, marketing, HR, finance, presentation skills, event management.

Small class sizes ensure that students receive individual support from experienced international lecturers with solid business and academic backgrounds who help guide them on tasks, academic writing and assignments. 

Their teaching methodology is to engage students and encourage interactive learning with students regularly working in teams to problem solve real-life business scenarios which help reinforce their learning.

Study online

The Foundation Diploma in Business is also available online in a blended format, allowing students to learn from any location. The program is delivered via the Digital Campus, PCU’s online platform that has been refined and developed over the past 10 years.

During their year of study blended students also have the option to attend two residential weekends in Prague to meet with their lecturers and fellow students and to attend lectures and workshops. 

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