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FdSc Surf Science and Technology

Subject area
Level 5: Foundation Degree
Course type
Foundation Degree
Cornwall College Newquay
Course code
UCAS code
Institution code

About the course

UCAS Code: CF68
Institution Code: CORN C78

This course is for students who want a thorough grounding in areas of Science, Technology and Social Sciences relating to the sport of surfing.

Entry requirements

120 UCAS points from AS and A-Levels (at least 80 points must be at A2-level, preferably in a science subject) or relevant level 3 qualification i.e. BTEC National Diploma/BTEC Extended Diploma - PPP Grades required, specific unit grades may be required. Access to HE Diplomas - 45 credits at level 3.  Plus GCSEs at grade C or above in English language, mathematics and a science: alternatives at Level 2 may be considered.

Mature applicants with relevant experience but without the stated qualifications will be considered individually and are encouraged to apply.

Previous learning and experience may be credited. If in doubt, call 0845 22 32 567 or email

A healthy interest in one of the surf disciplines such as surfing, body-boarding, kite-surfing, wave-skiing or knee boarding would be helpful but is not a requirement.  You do not need to be a good surfer. 

What will I do on the course?

You will study the following: Event Management, Marine Conservation, Surf Culture and History, Design and Production, Business and Law, Psychology, Health & Fitness relating to sport, Media and Marketing, Politics of Sport, Fieldwork, Environmental Dynamics, Surf Practice and Coaching. Work experience is an integral part of the course and students have the opportunity to complete a work placement in a surf related industry. During the course you will have the opportunity to design and build your own surfboard, take a surf coaching award, organise and judge a surfing competition and develop a training and fitness regime. An important part of the second year will be your individual project which will enable you to carry out first hand research into an area that interests you. There will also be a field trip to France and Spain to explore further the culture of surfing and also the human and climatic impacts on the environment.

You will not be taught how to surf and it is important to realise that this is an academic course. As the classrooms are on the beach in the heart of Newquay, you will have plenty of opportunity to surf some of the best surfing beaches in Europe. Most of our students get plenty of time in the water, but the surfing is done in students own time! Some of your lessons will also take place at the Cornwall College Newquay campus where the Learning Resource Centre and laboratories are based.

What can I do after the course?

The surf science and technology specialism provides the opportunity to move into a variety of careers in surf or environmentally related industries. This could include top brands like Billabong, charities like Surfers Against Sewage, board building and shaping. You will also be well equipped to start your own surfing related business from selling clothes and equipment to promoting the lifestyle and surfing holidays or go into teaching.

The surf industry is vast and diverse. This foundation degree covers so many aspects of the industry that if you want to make a career out of surfing, this programme will definitely set you up to do so.

Our Careers Service is available to give information, advice and guidance on all aspects of education, training and career progression.

Tel: 01209 616270 Monday, Tuesday and Thursday (9am- 4pm)



This is a 2-year full-time course. You will be taught through a series of lectures, tutorials, flexible learning and workshop sessions spread over 4 days. There will also be some fieldwork, although not every week. Friday is normally a free day, ie no lectures. You will be assessed mainly by coursework assignments such as written reports, oral presentations and poster displays. There will also be written tests and some end of module examinations. The course is taught mainly in small groups of about 15 in quite an informal but supportive atmosphere.

Additional Information

This course is awarded by Plymouth University.

As Cornwall is the centre of the surfing industry within the UK, Cornwall College is lucky enough to have links with some of the top names from the industry. There are regular guest speakers and lecturers who help to further engage with you about the many different aspects of the surfing sector. Speakers in the past have included Rob Barber, Dave Reed, Tony Butt and Ester Spears. 

There will also be a field trip to France and Spain to explore the culture of surfing and the human and climatic impacts on the environment. This trip normally lasts ten days, and it gives you the chance to carry out some fieldwork and learn more about beach topography, oceanography and the different aspects of tourism and business related to the surfing industry. 

Personal & Employability Skills Development

This module is designed to equip students with the necessary knowledge and skills to develop themselves in terms of their personal and employability skills.

Culture of Surf & Sport

This module underpins knowledge of how surf recreation has developed and provides an introduction to the institutions of government in the UK and internationally which govern sports. It outlines the decision making procedures of those bodies and examines the political and social context in which they work. It also examines the media in the context of surfing and the surf industry.

Physical and Geographical Influences on Surfing

This module will introduce the theoretical aspects of wave formation and motion and the link to weather systems. It will also provide students with an understanding of tides and tidal cycles, climatic change along with practical aspects of meteorology, the ability to interpret weather systems.

Surf Practice

This module underpins how surf recreation is practised and taught and offers a framework for understanding the acquisition of basic skills in surfing. It incorporates practical sessions in which safe management of surfing activity is covered, followed by outline coverage of the British Surfing Association’s Level 1 Surf Instructor syllabus. It also explains body movement and the physical principles that underpin the sport of surfing.

Media & Events

This module introduces students to competitions and how they are organised and judged, and to the skills and techniques that top class surfers demonstrate. This module explores the variety of media forms available to communicate in the sporting arena.

Scientific Techniques

This module provides a foundation in a range of scientific techniques and skills that are fundamental to academic study of the sciences both in a field-based and laboratory scenario.

Production Methods & Materials

This module provides students with the knowledge and understanding necessary for the intelligent selection of processes and materials in product design, material selection, testing, composition and development in relation to the manufacturing process.

Ecology & Management of the Coastal Environment

This module examines the ecology of marine systems and the issues relating to the management of the physical environment of the coastline and the human impact upon it.

Sociological and Psychological Perspectives of Surfing

Examines the sociological factors underlying surfing’s growth over the last fifity years towards its current recognition as a sport within mainstream society. Examines the psychological factors that control the performance of an individual or team in the sport of surfing.
Scientific Aspects of Health, Fitness and Nutrition in Sport

This module examines the human body in relation to sport and exercise, in terms of bioenergetics, neuromuscular activity, cardio-respiratory physiology and thermoregulation.

Surf Businesses

This module is an introduction to business and employment in the context of the surf industry including a consideration of the structure and roles of companies and organisations. Students will be introduced to the principles of law that might be encountered within businesses in the surf industry. This module also provides students with an opportunity to acquire work experience in a field related to the subject area of their programme.

Individual Research Project

This module gives students the opportunity to conduct their own research project. Student involvement and responsibility stretches from project conception and planning, literature research, analysis and interpretation of data to report writing and presentation.

Application of Computer Aided Design in the Surf Industry

This module will provide students with an understanding of the design process and the integrated uses of computer aided design practices within the manufacturing process. Students will be able to appraise the design and aesthetics of surfboards.

FdSc Surf Science and Technology FAQs

Yes you can apply through UCAS for any of our full-time programmes right up until Clearing starts at the end of June. For full details about the admissions process, and how Clearing works, please visit

The good news is that part-time learners can now apply for a loan to cover tuition fees. Find out more information at

No, if you are thinking of joining us as a part-time learner, a UCAS application is not required. Please call our admissions office on 0845 22 32 567 for an application and we will arrange an interview for you.

Living and studying in Cornwall puts you at the heart of one of the most popular destinations in the UK.

As well as being a mecca for land and sea-based adventure sports its reputation as a surfing hotspot means Cornwall has a burgeoning music and festival culture, including the hugely popular Boardmasters and Eden Sessions plus great bars and restaurants.

Find out more about Cornwall

Excellent links with local industry with great work placements and graduate employment opportunities

We have excellent links with local employers across all sectors of industry in the South West and a highly successful partnership with Plymouth University. Our graduates benefit from Cornwall College’s in-house recruitment company, Concorde Recruitment, which offers a recruitment service for businesses in Cornwall and Devon. We are also the home of Unlocking Potential which places graduates with local companies – 70% of graduates placed by them are offered a permanent position with their host company at the end of their placement.

Find out more about Concorde Recruitment

Find out more about Unlocking Potential

We are dedicated to ensuring enterprise and employability is at the heart of our programmes

Our dedication to enterprise and employability means you will studying a degree that is relevant to working life, designed with and supported by employers. Enterprise and employability are at the centre of all of our programmes and we pride ourselves on giving our graduates access to the best advice and help. We want you to gain experience as well as knowledge – so less time in lectures and more time on practical projects. All of our foundation degree courses include a Personal & Employability Skills Development module, developed in conjunction with international industry consultants Deloitte.

Find out more about our approach to enterprise and employability

A full and diverse range of subjects and qualifications delivered across our seven specialist campuses

We offer the widest range of foundation degrees in the South West. Our specialist campuses at Duchy College Rosewarne and Stoke Climsland are international renowned for their provision in horticulture, land-use, conservation, animal studies public services and sport. Our Falmouth Marine School campus has an excellent reputation for marine engineering, science and sport; our campus at Newquay works closely with Newquay Zoo and Blue Reef Aquarium to offer excellent hands-on experience in ecology, zoology and marine aquaculture. Sport is flourishing at St Austell and Camborne, which also offers creative arts, business and IT, health, early years and social sciences, hospitality and tourism plus science engineering and technology. Our campus at Saltash also specialises in early years and business and our School of Education and Training offers specialist qualification ins education at our Camborne, Duchy Stoke Climsland, Saltash and St Austell campuses.

Find our more about our courses

Our bursaries and scholarships will help to help ease your financial burden

As well as the nationally available loans and grants from the Student Loans Company and central Government we offer our own bursaries and scholarships to ease your financial burden. If you are planning to take a full-time foundation degree or bachelor’s degree at any of our campuses you may qualify for a college bursary or scholarship. Our Core Bursaries help with your transport, childcare, accommodation, specialist equipment and general living expenses. For those with a low household income we also offer National Scholarship Programme Bursaries and our own scholarships.

Find out more about nationally available loans and grants.

For the latest information on what is available click here or if you wish to talk to someone about your particular circumstances, please contact our Admissions team either via e-mail or call 0845 22 32 567.

We offer excellent value for money

We understand the importance of value for money when it comes to education. There is an increasing demand among undergraduates to ensure that education is not only of the highest quality but is also affordable. That is why we have fixed our full-time degree-level tuition fees for 2015 at £8,000 per year for all home and EU students.

Find out more about full and part-time fees

When you use the Unistats website you’ll notice our courses (including those at Falmouth Marine School and Duchy College) are listed under both Cornwall College and Plymouth University. This is because our foundation and bachelor’s degrees are awarded by Plymouth University. KIS uses information from courses with more than 23 students and because our average class size can be below this the information for some courses may not reflect the quality of our courses and our learners’ experience.

HEFCE used a number of sources to collate the data. Some was provided by the universities and colleges and some via centralised centres (for example the National Student Survey data).

Step 1 - Spend a little time thinking about what you want to study.

  • On A level results day, check to see if there are vacancies available on the course of your choice via our course vacancies list. This list will be made available from A-level results day until the end of Clearing.
  • Check that you meet or exceed the minimum entry requirements that are detailed within the course pages
  • If you do not meet the minimum entry requirements, you may still be accepted on to your chosen programme or an alternative degree programme within The Cornwall College Group . Please contact us to find out what your options are.

Step 2 - If you meet the minimum entry requirements, and there are vacancies on the course of your choice, contact our Confirmation and Clearing call centre to register your course application interest:

  • telephone: 0845 22 32 567
  • email: 

Ensure you have the following to hand:

  • your UCAS number and/or Clearing number
  • your level 3 qualification results i.e. A levels, IB, BTEC
  • your GCSE Maths, English and Science grades

Step 3 - If you are eligible and space is available, you will be advised accordingly by the Clearing Actionline Call Centre. You will still need to submit an application via UCAS Track within an agreed timeframe (usually 24 hours) using the institution code (P60), the course code and by selecting the 'Add Clearing Choice' button.

Once we have received your application, it will be processed and the outcome communicated by the next working day. We reserve the right to decline your application if the course is full, so we encourage you to go online as soon as possible to make your Clearing application.

You must telephone the Cornwall College Group to find out whether we can make you an offer before referring yourself through TRACK.

If you don’t have access to your UCAS account, you can phone UCAS Customer Services on 0871 468 0468.

You can only enter details for one course choice. Only enter a Clearing choice if you want to accept the course we offer you. Only once you have made your application, can we confirm your place.

Step 4 - Once we have accepted you, we will send you enrolment information by email or post.

Need more advice from UCAS about Clearing? Have a look at thier videos on YouTube here, which has lots of advice about getting your results, clearing and late applications.

Treat Clearing as you would a job application. Take time to prepare and be professional:

  • Make a list of universities and their telephone numbers
  • Make the calls yourself.
  • Think about what you might say beforehand and write it down. Prepare honest answers as to why you are in Clearing. These calls are an opportunity to sell yourself. Be prepared to say why you want the particular course and institution and what you can offer. Be ready to answer questions on your exam results, your motivation and experience.
  • Don't be afraid to ask questions. Make notes of the questions you want to ask. Not all university accommodation for first year students is guaranteed by the time Clearing comes around. Ask about the availability of accommodation and the cost; ask about any financial help available.
  • Have to hand your UCAS Clearing number (the six-digit number starting with the letter 'C' displayed in UCAS Track); your UCAS Personal ID (the 10-digit individual number assigned to each applicant when they register on UCAS Apply); your address and postcode; details of your results, including GCSEs or Scottish Standard Grades.
  • Students who have not obtained the grades required for a place from their firm and insurance choices.
  • Students who have applied after the 30 June deadline.
  • Students who have not yet applied to university, although you need to have completed a UCAS application in order to use Clearing.
  • If you haven't yet applied, apply online now via UCAS Apply. Remember that you will need a reference as well as your personal statement.
  • Bear in mind, also, that universities may not be enthusiastic about students making their initial university applications via Clearing, unless there are extenuating circumstances. Think carefully about whether you need to start higher education this year, or whether you can take a year out and apply to university for the following year.
  • UCAS advises that the best method of confirming whether or not you have got your place at university is to regularly check UCAS Track on the UCAS website, which will be updated as soon as UCAS receives updates from the universities.
  • Even if you have not obtained the required results for your firm or insurance choices, first check UCAS Track to see if you have been accepted anyway – you may still be offered a place even if you have not obtained the required grades.
  • If you become eligible for Clearing, an 'Add Clearing choice' button will appear on your Track Choices screen. You must use UCAS Track because UCAS will not send you confirmation via the post.
  • In the event that you are not offered a place, it may be worth telephoning the university as it may be flexible or be prepared to offer you a place on a similar course.
  • Make sure that you have your password and ID number to hand for UCAS Track and also that your email inbox is not full, and can accept bulk emails – many universities will send confirmation messages automatically to a list of their applicants.

Yes you can apply through UCAS for any of our full-time programmes right up until Clearing starts at the end of June. For full details about the admissions process, and how Clearing works, please visit

The good news is that part-time learners can now apply for a loan to cover tuition fees. Find out more information at

No, if you are thinking of joining us as a part-time learner, a UCAS application is not required. Please call our admissions office on 0845 22 32 567 for an application and we will arrange an interview for you.

Course Documents
DOWNLOADFdSc Surf Science and Technology Programme Quality Handbook DOCX 3.52 MB FdSc Surf Science and Technology Programme Quality Handbook
The statistical information below may be a combination of Plymouth University partner colleges
* KIS uses information from courses with more than 23 students. Our average class size can be below this so the information for some courses may not truly reflect the quality of our courses and our learners' experience.
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