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    Review of Maynooth University’s Foundation Certificates Programme (2002-2014)

    Fitzsimons, Camilla and O'Neill, Jerry (2015) Review of Maynooth University’s Foundation Certificates Programme (2002-2014). Project Report. Maynooth University.

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    This report is the product of research commissioned by the Access Office at Maynooth University. It reviews the three Foundation Certificates (FCs) - in Science, in Engineering, and in Finance, Economics and Venture Management. The Maynooth University FCs are tailor-made certificates that offer mature students a formal pathway to science-based Higher Education (HE) undergraduate studies. They do this by introducing participants to key subjects, with particular emphasis on mathematics. They also acclimatise students to university campus life and support the development of core study skills. Although there is diversity in undergraduate progression across the three certificates, the delivery model is based on shared curricular contents that encompass a range of maths, science and study skills modules. The FCs are specifically targeted at adults seeking entry to undergraduate studies within the Faculty of Science and Engineering and offer an alternative pathway to traditional admission. Foundation Certificates guarantee successful participants a space on designated undergraduate programmes once a certain grade is reached. This research, based partly on student and staff experiences at Maynooth University, affirms the importance of targeted, supported entry routes to third level as a way of extending equality of opportunity for those who might not otherwise attend. The qualitative findings highlight the sometimes life-changing impact of student participation on the programme. Stories were shared of enriching educational experiences, renewed employment opportunities and, for some, progression to postgraduate studies. The influx of mature students which the FCs enable, not only supports individual progression, it also benefits the wider student population through the infusion of a broader range of life-skills and experiences into campus life. Whilst the majority of FC students progress to undergraduate studies within Maynooth University (54%), there are some challenges to be considered. Amongst these are high non-retention rates, both at FC and undergraduate level, and limited subject choices for FC participants. More broadly, there is also a growing trend within access provision for alternative modes of delivery other than the single-institution model which has, to date, been the most common (Murphy, 2009). This requires Maynooth University to consider such changes in determining future development of the FCs.

    Item Type: Monograph (Project Report)
    Keywords: Review; Maynooth University; Foundation Certificates Programme; 2002-2014;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Education
    Item ID: 15696
    Depositing User: Camilla Fitzsimons
    Date Deposited: 21 Mar 2022 15:26
    Publisher: Maynooth University
      Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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