Foundation studies

Ara's foundation programmes are the stepping stones to further study or to a new career. They can provide entry level qualifications for more advanced study or can help you to learn something new - just because you want to.

You might take a foundation course if:

  • You don't meet the entry criteria for a particular programme of study;
  • You are returning to study after a period of time away from formal education;
  • You are seeking a change in career or study direction; and/or
  • You are an international student and/or permanent resident for whom English is a second language and you do not meet the English entry criteria for a programme of study.

We have assessed programmes and non-assessed courses:

  • Upon successful completion of an assessed foundation programme you are awarded a qualification. This will enable you to meet the Academic entry requirements for most diplomas and degrees at Ara.
  • Non-assessed courses help you to develop skills in subjects like computing, reading, writing and maths. You can learn for personal development and enjoyment or to help you decide what you would like to do next. You are not awarded a qualification at the end of non-assessed courses and there is no testing.

Please note: Completing a foundation programme does not guarantee you automatic entry into other programmes, as places may be limited, or other criteria may apply.

Where to start

Visit us at Ara's Foundation office in the Rakaia Centre on the Madras Street Campus. Here, we can help you:

  • Find out where to start your study
  • Find out what support is available
  • Get help putting together a programme or courses that suits you
  • Find out what skills and knowledge is required before you start
  • Get advice and answers to your study questions


At Ara the skills, knowledge and understanding you have gained through previous study and experience can be credited towards your chosen qualification. Instead of enrolling, you will be able to have your prior learning assessed through our Centre for Assessment of Prior Learning (CAPL).