Science and Engineering Pre-Masters

About this pathway

The Pre-Masters in Science and Engineering prepares you for a choice of progression degrees at Durham University. You will join the programme for two or three terms, depending on your academic qualifications and level of English language.

You can choose from a range of postgraduate degrees to progress to when you complete this course.

Who is this programme for?

This programme is for international students looking to study a postgraduate science or postgraduate engineering degree at Durham University.

  • Choose from a range of degrees within the Department of Engineering, Department of Mathematical Sciences and Department of Psychology.
  • Develop your academic knowledge, English language level and study skills needed for progression to your chosen Masters degree.
  • Study core modules and designated modules related to your chosen specialism.
  • Adjust to the UK education system and explore concepts, terminology and advanced academic writing needed to succeed at postgraduate level.
  • Develop practical skills with research projects and laboratory experience. 
  • Course facts
  • Start dates
  • Study plans
  • Admissions


  • Two or three terms


  • September and January (three-term pathway)
  • January (two-term pathway)

January 2022

Two terms
  • Term 1: 10/01/2022 to 18/03/2022
  • Term 2: 28/03/2022 to 03/06/2022
Three terms
  • Term 1: 10/01/2022 to 18/03/2022
  • Term 2: 28/03/2022 to 10/06/2022
  • Term 3: 13/06/2022 to 26/08/2022
IELTS Length Jun Aug Sep Dec Jan Apr Jun Aug Oct
5.0* 4 terms       Start your degree
5.0** 4 terms      
5.5*** 3 terms      
5.5*** 3 terms    

*5.0 in all other skills
**5.0 in reading and Writing, 4.5 in all other skills
***5.5 in reading and Writing, 5.0 in all other skills

   International Foundation Year    Online Pre-Sessional    English Language Preparation

Admissions information

If you do not meet the entry requirements for the Pre-Masters you can study one additional term of English language preparation. Find out about the English for Pre-Masters programme.

What will you study?

Course structure

You will study core modules, which cover general skills, and designated modules that relate to your progression degree. This means your Pre-Masters programme will be tailored to the specific needs of your chosen degree.

Core modules

  • Academic English Skills

    The Academic English Skills course teaches students the specific academic language skills they need to develop for success at Durham University. The course focuses on the receptive (listening and reading) and productive (speaking and writing) skills through practice in semi and authentic task-based activities which build a strong foundation in preparation for each student's future studies. This critical module places particular emphasis on developing academic reading and research skills; research-based writing along with presentation and seminar speaking skills.

  • Advanced Academic Writing and Critical Reading

    In this module students concentrate on developing the critical skills specific to the reading and writing that will be required in their taught Masters degree programme. The course focuses on developing student criticality, fostering thorough scholarly skills and independent learning through the critical reading, analysis, evaluation and summary of authentic academic texts.

  • Quantitative Skills

    In this module students will focus on statistical tools that are integrated into science and engineering problem-solving processes. Areas covered will include descriptive statistics, probability and probability distributions, significance testing within an SPC context of Control Charts, building regression models and designing and analysing experiments.

  • Extended Research

    The individual project provides students with a learning experience that will enable them to carry out independent research. Students are expected to plan, research and execute their project while developing skills in critical judgement and independent working, to demonstrate engineering / scientific competence. 

Designated modules 

Alongside core modules you will study designated modules that relate to your progression degree route. When you complete your Pre-Masters programme and achieve the required level, you can begin your postgraduate degree at Durham University.

  • Modules by route


    • Computational Maths
    • Advanced Applied Mathematics
    • Lab Skills and Experimental Design (three-term only)


    • Advanced Applied Mathematics
    • Intro to Mathematical Analysis (three-term only)
    • Computational Maths


    • Research Methods in Psychology
    • Core Concepts in Psychological Science
    • Lab Skills and Experimental Design (three-term only)

    Scientific Computing and Data Analysis

    • Advanced Applied Mathematics
    • C++ Programming
  • Module descriptions

    Advanced Applied Mathematics

    This two-term module is a mathematical methods course and is a review of some key concepts typically studied at undergraduate level by both mathematics and engineering students. The module content includes; Differential equations, Laplace transforms, Fourier series. Leibnitz theorem, Vector calculus and Integration.

    Computational Mathematics

    The main aim of the course is to equip the students with basic understanding of computational mathematics. The course includes detailed study of mathematical modelling techniques that can be used across wide range of practical problems in applied mathematics, and engineering. The course will provide a base for more advance applied mathematics and engineering courses.The course will not only cover the theoretical aspects of computational mathematics, but will also include practical examples using a suitable computer software package.

    Core Concepts in Psychological Science

    The module aims to enhance students understanding on a range of topics in Developmental Psychology with an emphasis on cognitive and social development across the life span. Particular attention is paid to the interacting contributions of biological, cognitive and environmental factors. Theory pertaining to all aspects of the course will be presented and critiqued in light of available empirical research. Across the course students will become familiar with different approaches to research and will have to evaluate research. Great emphasis is placed on independent and collaborative student learning. Thus, in addition to key reading, students are expected to study additional material (which will be provided).

    Introduction to Mathematical Analysis

    This two-term module covers some key concepts in the field of pure mathematics called analysis. The central object of study in analysis is the limit, which further extends to the notions of convergence, continuity, differentiation and integrability. The module content includes; Proof and logic, Sets, Relations and functions, Differentiation, Integration, The real number system, Limits and continuity and Sequences and series.

    Research Methods in Psychology

    This module provides students with a broad range of research tools used in Psychology. It aims to equip students with all aspects of the research process and to train them, through active participation, in a wide variety of research techniques.

Why study this programme?

Take the first step towards a world-renowned Masters degree at Durham University with this specialist programme.

  • 4th in the UK for General Engineering (Complete University Guide, Subject League Table 2022).
  • 1st (joint) in the UK for ‘internationally excellent’ and ‘world-leading’ research (Research Excellence Framework 2014).
  • World top 100 for Psychology (QS World Subject Rankings 2021).
  • State-of-the-art research equipment and facilities across a range of disciplines.

English language preparation

If you do not quite meet the English language entry requirements for this programme, find out more about our English for Pre-Masters course.

Progression degrees

When you complete the Pre-Masters in Science and Engineering, and achieve the required grades, you can progress to one of the following postgraduate degrees at Durham University:

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    Please note:

    The degrees listed below are only available via the three-term option

    The following degrees are available from the September 2021 intake at the International Study Centre:

    • Scientific Computing and Data Analysis (Astrophysics)
    • Scientific Computing and Data Analysis (Earth and Environmental Sciences)
    • Scientific Computing and Data Analysis (Financial Technology)
Durham University students on City Campus

Skills for success

Prepare for your future and develop the skills you need for success while you study at the International Study Centre.

Abdulmalik at the International Study Centre

A degree from Durham University will help me by providing me with the proper educational support and background to thrive and succeed, and work with the Saudi Arabian Oil Company, where I aspire to work and achieve certain positions.

Abdulmalik from Saudi Arabia
Studied International Foundation Year in Science and Engineering
Now studying BSc (Hons) Geology


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Entry requirements

Find out the entry requirements for your course.