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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

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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. 

Year 1

Culture of Surf & Sport (20 Credits)
This module underpins knowledge of the history and development of surf recreation and provides an introduction to the essential elements of the historical, institutional and political structures of competitive 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.

Media & Events (10 Credits)
Introducing you to competitions, 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 in relation to both events and business.
Surf Practice (10 Credits)
This module underpins how surf recreation is practised and taught and offers a framework for understanding the acquisition of basic skills in surfing. It aims to give you the ability to participate in and manage surf recreation in a safe manner. The module incorporates practical sessions in which safe management of surfing activity is covered. This will be followed by outline coverage of the Surfing GB’s Level 1 Surf Instructor syllabus and the general principles relating to the surfing environment. It will provide you with the knowledge of the physical principles that cause body movement and that determine the motion of the surfer.
Production Methods & Materials (20 Credits)
You will, in the course of this module have the opportunity to build a board of your own choice under supervision of professional board shapers. The module will provide you with the knowledge and understanding necessary for the intelligent selection and specification of processes and materials in the design and development of products and the use of materials to address customer needs within the industry.
Physical & Geographical Influences on Surfing (20 Credits)
The aims of this module are to provide you with an understanding of how waves form, travel and interact with the coast to create surfing conditions. It also covers why tides form and will enable you to understand the patterns in tidal height and how to predict surf conditions. You will also study the features that impact on our weather systems and factors that affect climate change.
Scientific Techniques (20 Credits)
This module will provide you with foundation knowledge in scientific techniques and skills and their application during in situ scenarios. These techniques and skills are fundamental to scientific study, investigation and analysis and reporting.
Personal & Employability Skills Development (20 Credits)
The aim of this module is to equip you with the necessary knowledge and skills to develop yourself in terms of your personal and employability skills.

Year 2

Social & Psychology Perspectives of Surfing (20 Credits)
An examination of the sociological factors underlying surfing’s growth over the last 50 years towards its current recognition as a sport within mainstream society. The module also covers the psychological factors that control the performance of an individual or team in the sport of surfing.
Ecology & Management of the Coastal Environment (20 Credits)
Promoting your understanding of marine ecology, this module examines the processes at work on the coastline and enables you to assess techniques of managing coastal defences. It also introduces the wider issues involved in managing the coastal environment.
Scientific Aspects of Health Fitness & Nutrition in Sport (20 Credits)
This module examines the biological systems underpinning human activity and sport. It also explores the human body in relation to fitness, health and nutrition and enables you to gain knowledge of the principles of fitness, training and planning for activity and optimum performance.
Application of CAD in the Surf Industry (20 Credits)
You will gain an understanding of the design process and the integrated uses of computer aided design practices to produce and modify drawings for design problems. The module will also provide an understanding of how computer and automated systems assist the manufacturing process, the promotion and marketing of surfcraft and help with predicting their performance as well as the aesthetic nature of the product.
Individual Research Project (20 Credits)
This module gives you the opportunity to identify and investigate in depth a chosen problem or situation related to surfing or the surf industry. It enables you to conduct your own research guided by tutors and to create a research proposal, carry out the research, record and evaluate results, interpret data and evaluate your own methodology in an area of interest to you personally.
Surf Businesses (20 Credits)
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. You will be introduced to the principles of law that might be encountered within businesses in the surf industry. This module also provides you with an opportunity to acquire work experience in a field related to the subject area of your programme. 

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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.

You'll be studying in cornwall, one of the best places in the uk to live

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 Cornish 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 Cornish 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 in 2013 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.

Find out more about our bursaries and scholarships

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 tuition fees for 2013 at £6,000 per year for all home and EU students - £3,000 below the maximum allowed.

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).

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.