Certificate / Diploma / Foundation Degree Surveying Practice

Programme overview

UCEM’s Foundation Degree Surveying Practice is the first and only UK accredited online Higher Education qualification in Surveying Practice that you can study wherever in the world you are based.

The programme is designed to give you a thorough grounding in the principles and practice of surveying. It offers the opportunity of an advanced entry route onto our RICS accredited bachelor’s degree programmes.

This programme is delivered by supported online learning and can be studied in any location.

If you would like more information about studying with UCEM then we will be running an introductory webinar on 5 July for our undergraduate programmes. To register click here.

Why study this programme?

  • It will appeal to those of you who wish to gain an internationally recognised degree
  • Offer great employment prospects, both in the UK and internationally
  • All modules are very competitively priced and allow students to combine work with study
  • You can even choose to study just one module per semester if you are concerned about the time commitment
  • Students who have been away from school/college for a long while may prefer to study a ‘taster module’ in the first instance


Programme outline

You should also read the Programme Specification for the detailed information on the structure of your programme, the learning outcomes and details of assessment.

View the Programme Specification and Academic and General Regulations for this programme.

The links below show the pathway through the Foundation Degree, including progression on to the bachelor’s degree.

Building Surveying Path

Quantity Surveying Path

Real Estate Path

These are the modules included in this programme and the structure which they follow through the standard route.

Yr October Semester April Semester
1 Students on the October entry

Technical & Professional Communication

Students on the October entry

Introduction to Sustainable Development

Students on the April entry

Introduction to Sustainable Development

Students on the April entry

Technical & Professional Communication

People & Organisational Management Building, Environment, Technology & Simple Construction
Resources Management Elective modules (choose one from):

Introduction to Real Estate Practice
Introduction to Construction Practice
Introduction to Building Surveying Practice

2 Students on the October entry

Practical Law for Construction & the Built Environment

Students on the October entry

Portfolio of Learning from the Workplace

Students on the April entry

Portfolio of Learning from the Workplace

Students on the April entry

Practical Law for Construction & the Built Environment

Professional & Statutory Regulation Building, Environment, Technology & Framed Structures
Economics for Construction & the Built Environment Elective modules (choose one from):

Measurement & Estimating
Surveying & Maintaining Buildings
Residential Estate Agency & Management
Valuation – Context & Principles

3 Professional Learning Portfolio
 Core modules
 Elective modules

The elective modules shown above are generally provided each year.

Should you require further information about programme content please view the programme specification and the module information sheet. The programme specification sets out aims and intended learning outcomes, while the module information sheet provides further detail of the content and assessment method for each module.

UCEM has the right to revise and amend the programme in order to:

  • comply with external professional, accrediting or other regulatory body requirements
  • implement changes for the benefit of students as a consequence of evidence from programme monitoring
  • ensure the curriculum is current and relevant to intended learning outcomes and/or standards of any relevant professional, accrediting and/or regulatory bodies and/or requirements of employers
  • implement feedback and other recommendations from External Examiners

All changes to the programme will be implemented in consultation with relevant students and other stakeholders, setting out the reasons for the proposed amendment(s), and compliance with the requirements of the UCEM Code of Practice on Programme Monitoring, Amendment, Review and Discontinuation. Should such an eventuality occur during the admissions and registration process, applicants will be informed immediately of any change and the alternative arrangements that have been put in place. Existing students will be informed of when the changes will be effective from, which will usually be the next academic year (commencing the 1st September).

Career and study progression

Foundation Degrees, as well as Diplomas and Certificates, serve as a springboard for further study and / or entry into the professional workforce. This Programme equips students with the essential subject knowledge and study skills to enable them to enter and work within the real estate and surveying areas of practice within the property industry.

The opportunities available are fairly extensive and include but are not limited to the following career paths; property agency and management, property development, contract surveying, quantity surveying, estimating, building surveying, residential estate agency and construction management.

Entry requirements

Entrants to this Programme are normally required to have attained one of the following:

  • Grade C or above in English (Language or Literature) and Maths at GCSE or its equivalent
  • Grade 6.0 or above, with at least 5.5 in the reading and writing modules, in the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test administered by the British Council in the Social Sciences academic module
  • 79 or above in the Internet option, 213 or above in the computer-based option or 550 or above in the paper-based option, of the Teaching of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) test
  • Accredited prior experiential learning (APEL) may be used for admission onto Foundation Programme in accordance with the entry requirements stated above
  • Recognition of Prior Experiential Learning (RPEL) may be used for admission onto Foundation Degree in accordance with the entry requirements stated above
  • Applicants are normally expected to be 18 years old or over


Applicants who do not fit the above criteria will be treated sympathetically and dealt with on a case by case approach in which the main criterion will be the student’s potential to benefit from this programme.


Lucy Winzer

“I was already well aware of The College of Estate Management (CEM) before undertaking the degree in Estate Management (now Real Estate Management), having previously completed the Diploma in Surveying Practice. The degree was therefore the next logical step for me, and key to being able to obtain chartered status.

I was referred to CEM by both my employer and my training advisor at the Chartered Surveyors Training Trust, not long after commencing employment, both of whom considered the College to be the best place for surveying based qualifications.

Personally, the academic reputation and flexibility of the College were particularly attractive. The ability to work full time whilst learning was also paramount, acquiring the key technical skills alongside professional expertise. The importance of this academic and experienced based relationship became very apparent for me at the outset of the recession, with many of my peer surveyors who had studied full time courses struggling to find employers willing to take them on, whilst my fellow students and I had a choice of positions.

The ‘faceless’ nature of the course may be concerning to some students – however you are never really alone. The online student forums provide a fantastic way to talk to fellow students all over the world, asking those seemably stupid questions everyone wants to ask and bouncing assignments ideas off each other, steered ably by the tutors.

For me, as a commercial valuer, the most enjoyable subjects were the valuation topics. The material taught provided an exceptional technical base which was highly relevant to my work in practice, and combined with the experience gained throughout working during the degree, has led to success both professionally and academically.

Distance learning is certainly not the easy option; it requires dedication and perseverance. However, if you are willing to apply yourself, the rewards are great. It is only in hindsight that I have realised just how much the course has improved my employability. Undoubtedly, employers recognise that it requires a certain level of self discipline and aptitude to undertake the course, and consequently a person who succeeds is extremely well regarded within the profession.

I cannot recommend the degree more highly for fellow aspirational surveyors.”

Lucy Winzer, BSc (Hons) Estate Management 
Estate Manager, Pret A Manger, UK

Key information

This programme is delivered by supported online learning and can be studied in any location.


Certificate/Diploma Higher Education/Foundation Degree Surveying Practice

Application and start dates:

Apply by 21 August to start 02 October 2017

Apply by 19 February to start 03 April 2018


Standard Route

  • Certificate 1 year
  • Diploma 2 years
  • Foundation Degree 2.5 years

Time commitment:

30 hours per week in total. 15 hours of the time commitment is study and 15 hours is learning at work – dependent on prior knowledge, experience and prior academic achievement.

Expected workload and contact hours:

Each 20 credit module equates to a total of 200 study hours broken down between directed online learning self-directed learning and assessment. The breakdown between these three types of activity may vary between modules but on average is as follows:

  • Directed online learning (50%)
  • Self-directed reading (17%)
  • Assessment (33%).

Directed online learning is the term used to describe a range of learning activities which you access via the UCEM Virtual Learning Environment, as this is more appropriate for an online learning programme than the term “contact hours”. As a guide it includes, for example, participating in web classes and online discussion forums, watching video material and voice-over PowerPoint presentations and undertaking exercises and quizzes linked to programme materials. Self-directed learning includes reading textbooks and study papers to develop your knowledge of the subject matter. Assessment includes all activity related to the summative assessment of the module such as planning and writing coursework, revising for examinations and taking the exams themselves.






See programme specification for further guidance.

On completion of the Diploma of Higher Education, applicants can apply for an Academically Qualified Persons CSCS card.

How the programme will be assessed:

Assessment consists of a mix of coursework and examinations. The module information sheet provides details of the assessment method for each module.


2017/18 academic year:
Stage 1 (1 year) – 6 modules @ £675 = £4,050
Stage 2 (1 year) – 6 modules @ £675 = £4,050
Stage 3 (0.5 years) – £2,025
Total programme fee £10,125

Your programme fees are fixed for the duration of your studies. This means that the fee you pay per module will not increase from one year to the next, as long as you remain registered on the same programme. Different fees may be applicable if you decided to transfer to a different programme.

You may be required to pay an additional retake fee if you are unable to pass a module at the first attempt, and are then offered a further attempt. The retake fee is 50% of the full module fee in each case.

UCEM provides examination centres all over the world in addition to the UK. You should expect to incur travel costs to attend your nearest examination centre, for those modules which contain examinations.

All learning resources required for successful completion of each module are provided as part of your fee. The core texts within each module will be provided via an e-book platform, hard copy books will only be supplied if the core text is not available as an e-book. Additional supplementary resources to support your studies are available through the UCEM e-library. It is a matter of individual choice whether you wish to buy your own hard copies of textbooks independently.

Student Loans:
This programme is designated for student finance and students in England and Wales may apply to Student Finance for a tuition fee loan. Eligible students can apply for funding for up to £6,000 each academic year.
Find out more here >

Download Module Details