Open Foundation is a free program offered at the University of Newcastle for people aged 20 plus who do not qualify for direct entry into a university degree.

Change your life with Open Foundation

Always wanted to go to university? Unsatisfied with your career? Perhaps you want to become more qualified to get ahead in your current job?

Whatever your reason for pursuing a university degree, Open Foundation provides you with the opportunity to change your life.

Nicole, completed Open Foundation 2013, Now studying a Bachelor of Midwifery

Open Foundation is a free pathway program offered at the University of Newcastle for people who do not have the qualifications required for direct entry into an undergraduate degree program.

Not only is Open Foundation designed to help you gain entry, it helps you develop the skills needed for successful study at a university level. We want to give you every chance to succeed, regardless of your background or level of previous education and to help you there are no tuition fees to complete the program.

To be eligible for a place you must be:

20 plus

turning 20 years of age or more in the year of study

Map of Australia

an Australian citizen or permanent resident currently living in Australia

Why go to uni?

The decision to go to uni is a big one and will open doors to an exciting future.
Everyone has different reasons for pursuing a university education. Here are a few to get you thinking...

Better jobs, better pay and greater career possibilities

Uni gives you the qualifications to get the job that you really want. Having a degree means you are likely to earn over 40 per cent more across your lifetime1 and be able to choose from a wider variety of careers.

Choice and opportunity

Choose your course, your timetable and pursue your interests outside of uni. Try new things, get involved, grow, learn and have fun. Going to uni can open doors to opportunities that you didn’t even know existed.

Follow your passions

Maybe you’re passionate about the environment, you love to draw, or perhaps science really fascinates you. Uni allows you to explore your interests and passion and turn them into a fulfilling career.

Your passport to the world

Most degrees are internationally recognised - which means you could live and work overseas. But don’t wait until you graduate - with our international student exchange program you can complete part of your studies in one of 21 countries around the world.

1 Smart Australians Report, October 2012, The National Centre for Socal and Economic Modelling.

Flexibility to suit your lifestyle

Studying at university requires a significant commitment of your time, so we offer three flexible delivery options to choose from in order to best balance your study with work, social and family commitments.

Part-time Face-to-face

Part Time Face-to-face

1 year (2 semesters)

Newcastle (Callaghan) and Central Coast (Ourimbah)

Intensive Face-to-face

Intensive Face-to-face

6 months (1 semester)

Newcastle (Callaghan) and Central Coast (Ourimbah)

Online Anywhere, anytime

Online Anywhere, anytime

1 year (2 semesters)

All you’ll need is access to a computer with a fast internet connection

Your guaranteed pathway to a UON Degree

Upon successful completion of Open Foundation, you will be guaranteed early entry into selected degrees at the University of Newcastle. Early offers will be made before the end of December in the year you study.

You’ll also be able to use your final grades from the program for competitive admission to all other UON degrees (excluding Medicine). Your application is free of charge and made directly to the University.

Please note: A small number of degrees may require a UAC application due to additional admission requirements.

More about degrees at UON

Open Foundation is recognised as an entry qualification for many universities around Australia, as well as NSW Police Force recruitment and training programs. For more information about eligibility, we recommend you contact your preferred University.

What you'll study

Going to uni is a journey of discovery. You’ll learn new things and have exciting new experiences. Uni is not like school, you’re in charge of your own learning and can choose subjects that work best for you.

What you'll study

We're here to support you

We’ve been offering Open Foundation for over 40 years, so it’s safe to say we know what we’re doing. We have experienced academic and support staff to ensure your transition to university is as smooth as possible.

Making it work

  • joanne-mccarthy

    “I had always promised myself that I would go to University. I hadn’t studied for 18 years and wanted to test myself first. I enrolled in Open Foundation and really enjoyed it.”

    Joanne McCarthy, 2013 Gold Walkley award winning Journalist and Open Foundation graduate.

  • alex

    “Open Foundation helped me to develop the skills I needed for university life. It’s free, but most importantly it enabled me to gain entry into my degree of choice.”

    Nick, Bachelor of Environmental Science and Management, Central Coast campus

  • Sarah

    "I loved every minute of studying Open Foundation at the Central Coast campus and it prepared me for a great career."

    Sarah, Bachelor of Business (Marketing), Central Coast campus