Literatures, Languages & Cultures

Foundation levels - what they mean

Find out what level of Open Languages study will suit you best.

Foundation 1

This is the entry level for Open Languages study.

Foundation 1 courses are for absolute beginners with no previous knowledge of the language.

If you are taking a Foundation 1 course in a European language, you can expect to have reached the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference) level A1/1+ by the end of the course.

Foundation 2

This is the next level up from Foundation 1.

Foundation 2 courses are for students who have some previous experience of the language, either gained through Foundation 1 or through, for example, studying the language in high school.

For European languages, Foundation 2 courses start at CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference) level A1/1+ . This is roughly equivalent to having a GCSE or National 5 in the language, which involves studying it at high school for approximately three years. By the end of the course, you can expect to have reached CEFR level A2/1.

For other languages - or if you’re just not sure what level you’re at - please do contact the course organiser to find out if Foundation 2 is the right level for you.

Foundation 3

This is the next level up from Foundation 2.

Foundation 3 courses are for students who have successfully completed Foundation 2 courses or who have reasonable previous experience of the language, for example by studying it at high school for around four years; in the UK, that typically means to Higher or AS level.

For European languages, Foundation 3 courses start at CEFR level A2/1. By the end of the course, you can expect to have reached CEFR level A2+.

For other languages - or if you’re just not sure what level you’re at - please do contact the course organiser to find out if Foundation 3 is the right level for you.

Good to know! Undergraduate students who pass the Foundation 3 course and wish to continue with the language for credit can enrol in the SCQF level 8 course for  the next academic year.

Who to contact 

Who to contact depends on what language you'd like to study. We've listed available languages below (correct for the 2020/21 academic year).

We're currently working remotely as a response to COVID-19, but we're still here to help.

We are working Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm. We can’t answer any calls at this time, but you can email us and we'll get back to you as soon as we can.

The University will be open and ready to teach at the start of the new academic year in September 2020.

Arabic

imes@ed.ac.uk

French

french@ed.ac.uk

German

german@ed.ac.uk 

Icelandic

scandinavian.studies@ed.ac.uk 

Italian

italian@ed.ac.uk

Japanese

asian.studies@ed.ac.uk

Spanish

splas@ed.ac.uk 

Help! I’m too advanced for these courses!

If you have studied your chosen language to Advanced Higher, A Level, or IB level, you will be too advanced in your learning to take Foundation courses. If you’re an undergraduate student wishing to study the language for credit, you can take one of our SCQF level 08 courses instead, which involves learning about culture as well as language.

A language as an ‘outside subject’ in Years 1 and/or 2 is a great primer if you are preparing for a Year Abroad and/or wanting to live or work in another country after university. We teach a wide range of world languages and cultures, including various options in Asian Studies, Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, European Languages and Cultures, and Celtic and Scottish Studies.

Find out more about outside subjects in literatures, languages and cultures

Where to next?

Take me back to information about Open Language courses