International Foundation Year in Science and Engineering

About this pathway

The International Foundation Year in Science and Engineering prepares you for an undergraduate degree at Durham City. This programme lasts for three terms.

Upon successful completion of the programme you can choose from a range of related degrees at Durham University.

Who is this programme for?

This programme is for international students aiming to study an undergraduate degree in a science or engineering field at Durham University.

  • Improve your academic and English language skills needed for university.
  • Gain a foundation in science and engineering concepts to give you a head start on your degree.
  • Study core mathematics and chemistry modules to develop your confidence in theoretical and practical skills.
  • Adjust to the UK education system, from understanding academic terminology to learning how to conduct laboratory experiments and write reports. 

Key facts

  • Course facts
  • Start dates
  • Study plans
  • Admissions

Length:

  • Three terms

Intakes:

  • September and January

September 2020

  • Term 1: 14/09/2020 to 04/12/2020
  • Term 2: 04/01/2021 to 19/03/2021
  • Term 3: 29/03/2021 to 02/07/2021

January 2021

  • Term 1: 04/01/2021 to 19/03/2021
  • Term 2: 29/03/2021 to 04/06/2021
  • Term 3: 07/06/2021 to 20/08/2021
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 reading and Writing, 4.5 in all other skills
**5.5 in reading and Writing, 5.0 in all other skills

   International Foundation Year    English Language Preparation

Admissions information

If you do not meet the entry requirements for the International Foundation Year you can study one or two additional terms of English language preparation. Find out about English language preparation.

What will you study?

Core modules

  • Academic English Skills

    Academic English Skills supports students to develop their skills in reading, writing, listening and speaking, with a particular focus on the language uses that will prove most useful throughout their studies at Durham University. This critical module runs throughout each term at the International Study Centre, and features particular emphasis on grammar and language skills for those requiring a boost in this area, whilst also allowing able students to stretch themselves in their written and spoken work.

  • Core Foundation Maths

    You will study this core module unless you are looking to progress to a Biological Sciences or Geology degree.

    This module hopes to improve confidence in algebraic manipulation through the study of mathematical techniques and development of investigative skills. It will introduce and develop a knowledge of logarithms and their uses. The module also wishes to introduce and develop a knowledge of trigonometry, and to introduce and develop understanding of a range of standard techniques for differentiation and integration. The module will also include trigonometric and logarithmic functions. 

  • Core Foundation Chemistry

    You will study this core module unless you are looking to progress to a Mathematics or Computer Science degrees.

    This module looks to encourage students to develop confidence in their own abilities in a science subject. It seeks to introduce a basic bank of knowledge on which students can build either by the process of self study or in further courses of directed study. It is also critical to develop confidence in a laboratory situation, to introduce a range of equipment, and ultimately to develop observational and interpretative skills. The module works to develop a problem-solving approach, to develop scientific report-writing, data handling and critical evaluation, and critically to develop confidence and ability in handling chemical calculations. 

Designated modules 

Alongside core modules you will study designated modules that relate to your progression degree route. When you successfully complete this pathway and achieve the required grades, you can begin your undergraduate degree at Durham University.

Study modules

  • Modules by route

    Biological Sciences BSc (Hons)

    • Academic Practice for Scientists
    • Advanced Chemistry
    • Anatomy Physiology and Disease
    • Core Foundation Biology Combined
    • Numerical Skills with Statistics

    Chemistry BSc (Hons)

    • Advanced Chemistry
    • Calculus, Further Maths and Mechanics with Statistics and Strategic Maths
    • Foundations of Physics
    • Project for Science
    Computer Science BSc (Hons)
    • Calculus and Further Maths with Statistics and Decision Maths
    • Computer Science with Advanced Physics with Project
    • Foundations of Physics
    • Logical Thinking
    • Programming techniques

    Earth Sciences BSc/MSci Earth Sciences (Hons)

    • Introduction to Earth Science and Physical Geography
    • Foundations of Physics
    • Foundations of Statistics
    • Geology with Advanced Chemistry with Project
    • Either: Core foundation Maths and Geography  OR Calculus Further Maths Mechanics with Stats and Strategic Maths

    Environmental Geosciences BSc (Hons)

    • Introduction to Earth Science and Physical Geography
    • Foundations of Physics
    • Foundations of Statistics
    • Geology with Advanced Chemistry with Project
    • Either: Core foundation Maths and Geography OR Calculus Further Maths Mechanics with Stats and Strategic Maths

    General Engineering BEng (Hons)

    • Calculus, Further Maths and Mechanics with Statistics and Strategic Maths
    • Engineering with Advanced Physics with Project
    • Foundations of Physics

    Geology BSc (Hons)

    • Introduction to Earth Science and Physical Geography
    • Foundations of Physics
    • Foundations of Statistics
    • Geology with Advanced Chemistry with Project
    • Either: Core foundation Maths and Geography OR Calculus Further Maths Mechanics with Stats and Strategic Maths

    Geoscience BSc

    • Introduction to Earth Science and Physical Geography
    • Foundations of Physics
    • Foundations of Statistics
    • Geology with Advanced Chemistry with Project
    • Either: Core foundation Maths and Geography OR Calculus Further Maths Mechanics with Stats and Strategic Maths

    Geophysics BSc (Hons)

    • Foundations of Physics
    • Foundations of Statistics
    • Introduction to Earth Sciences and Physical Geography
    • Geology with Advanced Chemistry with Project
    • Calculus Further Maths Mechanics with Stats and Strategic Maths

    Mathematics BSc (Hons)

    • Advanced Physics with Project
    • Calculus, Further Maths and Mechanics with Statistics and Strategic Maths
    • Foundations of Physics
    • Foundation of Statistics
    • Proof and Problem Solving

    Physics BSc (Hons)

    • Advanced Physics with Project
    • Calculus, Further Maths and Mechanics with Statistics and Strategic Maths
    • Foundations of Physics
    • Project for Science

    Psychology BSc (Hons)

    • Foundations of Psychology
    • Human Health and Disease
    • Biology of the Environment
    • Foundation of Statistics
    • Extended Research project for Science
    • Academic Practice for Scientists
  • Module descriptions

    Academic Practice for Scientists

    This module looks to provide students with a background in academic conventions and expectations in Science and Engineering to prepare them to join the Community of Practice of their chosen discipline. The module also aspires: to provide students with a grounding in study skills and their supporting technology; to support students in developing an academic voice; and to develop critical analysis.

    Advanced Chemistry / Advanced Chemistry with Project

    This module seeks to encourage students to develop confidence in their own abilities in a science subject. The module will extend the fundamental knowledge base in Chemistry to include physical processes and organic chemistry.

    Advanced Physics with Project

    The aim of this module is to encourage students to develop confidence in their own abilities in problem solving, it will aim to develop further understanding of physics and engineering concepts. The module looks also to enhance confidence and ability in handling calculations, and to develop a toolkit of independent study skills. It will develop the student’s ability to perform an independent piece of research, which will prepare students for future studies in Higher Education. Students wlll become confident, competent and comfortable in using information technology in the context of academic environments. 

    Anatomy Physiology and Disease

    This module will encourage students to develop confidence in their own abilities in a science subject; it works to develop students' learning skills. The module will introduce a basic bank of knowledge on which students can build either by the process of self study or in further courses of directed study. It will support students to develop confidence in a laboratory situation, and works to introduce a range of equipment, and develop observational and interpretative skills. 

    Biology of the Environment

    This module will encourage students to develop confidence in their own abilities in a science subject, and will develop students' learning skills. A basic bank of knowledge will be introduced, on which students can build either by the process of self study or in further courses of directed study. 

    Calculus and Further Maths with Statistics and Decision Maths

    This module will provide the opportunity for students to engage in logical reasoning, algorithmic thinking and applications. It will introduce the concept of linear programming, and will extend knowledge of Cartesian coordinates to include equations of circles and lines. The module will extend understanding of a range of standard techniques for differentiation and integration, and it will introduce and develop a knowledge of first and second order differential equations and their applications Furthermore the module seeks to introduce and develop knowledge of complex numbers and polar coordinates, and aims to improve confidence in algebraic manipulation.

    Calculus, Further Maths and Mechanics with Statistics and Strategic Maths

    This module seeks to extend knowledge of Cartesian coordinates in two and three dimensions to include equations of circles and lines, as well as to introduce and develop a knowledge of matrices and applications. It will look to develop a knowledge of vectors and their applications in two and three dimensions to include equations of lines, and also to improve confidence in algebraic and trigonometric manipulation. Students will find it will introduce and develop understanding of trigonometric formulae and their uses, and will also extend understanding of a range of standard techniques for differentiation and integration. The module will introduce and develop a knowledge of first and second order differential equations and their applications, also introducing and developing knowledge of complex numbers and the concept of polar coordinates. Students will have their own abilities to apply mathematics to problems based on physical situations enhanced. They will be provided with the opportunity for students to engage in logical reasoning, algorithmic thinking and applications. Some statistical techniques will also be introduced.

    Computer Science with Advanced Physics with Project

    This module is designed to encourage students to develop confidence in their own abilities in problem solving, and to develop further understanding of physics concepts. The module will enhance students' ability to apply computer science techniques to problem solving in the physical sciences, it will also enhance confidence and ability in handling calculations. Students will develop a toolkit of independent study skills, with the opportunity to perform an independent piece of research.

    Core Foundation Biology Combined

    This module will encourage students to develop confidence in their own abilities in a science subject, developing students' learning skills, and introducing a basic bank of knowledge on which students can build either by the process of self-study or in further courses of directed study. Students will develop confidence in a laboratory situation, and their observational and interpretative skills. 

    Core Foundation Maths

    This module hopes to improve confidence in algebraic manipulation through the study of mathematical techniques and development of investigative skills. It will introduce and develop a knowledge of logarithms and their uses. The module also wishes to introduce and develop a knowledge of trigonometry, and to introduce and develop understanding of a range of standard techniques for differentiation and integration. The module will also include trigonometric and logarithmic functions. 

    Engineering with Advanced Physics with Project

    The aim of this module is to encourage students to develop confidence in their own abilities in problem solving, it will aim to develop further understanding of physics and engineering concepts. The module looks also to enhance confidence and ability in handling calculations, and to develop a toolkit of independent study skills. It will develop the student’s ability to perform an independent piece of research, which will prepare students for future studies in Higher Education. Students wlll become confident, competent and comfortable in using information technology in the context of academic environments. 

    Extended Research Project for Psychology

    This module will allow students to pursue and develop subject specific interests, and encourages students to work independently with supervision in some depth. This module will also allow students to develop methods of research and analysis appropriate to their specific progression route.

    Foundations of Psychology

    This module provides students with a general introduction to the psychological processes underlying human behaviour. It will provide an awareness of the diversity, applications and limitations of psychological knowledge.It will familiarise students with the scientific approach to collecting and interpreting data, furthermore it will provide students with an introduction to the psychological processes of thinking and learning, and will develop students' knowledge of theories of thinking and learning. Students will become familiar with methods used to assess thinking and learning.

    Foundations of Physics

    This module will encourage students to develop confidence in their own abilities in a science subject, it will introduce and develop understanding of physics concepts, and will develop students' ability to apply physics concepts to problem solving. This course will develop confidence and ability in handling physics calculations, and will develop confidence in a laboratory situation, and observational and interpretive skills, as well as a problem solving approach. It will help to develop scientific report-writing, data handling and critical evaluation develop confidence and ability in handling physics calculations. 

    Foundation of Statistics

    This module will introduce and develop understanding of basic statistical principles to provide a foundation for future study. It will also develop skills that help students to apply statistical tools to real life problems. Ultimately this module will encourage students to develop confidence in their own abilities in statistics.

    Geography

     This module looks to develop knowledge and understanding of selected physical geographical processes, and to develop observational and interpretative skills. Students will use a range of skills and techniques, including the use of maps and images at different scales necessary for geographical study. They will also carry out research and fieldwork as appropriate to the topics selected.

    Geology with Advanced Chemistry with Project

    This module will encourage students to develop confidence in their own abilities in a science subject, and will develop students' independent learning skills. It will extend the fundamental knowledge base in Chemistry to include physical processes and organic chemistry. The module will also extend the fundamental knowledge base in Geology in preparation for degree study in that area. Basic fieldwork skills and basic mapping and recording skills will be developed.

    Human Health and Disease

    This module will encourage students to develop confidence in their own abilities in a science subject, and will develop students' learning skills. A basic bank of knowledge will be introduced, on which students can build either by the process of self study or in further courses of directed study. 

    Introduction to Earth Sciences and Physical Geography

    This module will encourage students to develop confidence in their own abilities in a science subject. It will introduce and develop an understanding of some basic Earth Science and Physical Geography concepts. The module will develop students ability to perform practicals and fieldwork using the skills of observation, and the ability to record and interpret observations.

    Logical Thinking

    This module looks too provide the opportunity for students to engage in logical reasoning using mathematical notations. It also aims to develop logical thinking skills, and the skills of formulation of rigorous mathematical derivations and proofs. 

    Numerical Skills with Statistics / for Psychology

    This module works to introduce and develop a bank of mathematical skills, which students can apply in a range of contexts.  It will help to introduce and develop understanding of basic statistical principles to provide a foundation for future study. By developing a problem solving approach, the module aims to encourage students to develop confidence in their own abilities in mathematics and statistics. 

    Proof and Problem Solving

    This module works to provide the opportunity for students to engage in logical reasoning using mathematical notations. It will aim to develop mathematical thinking skills, and the skills of formulation of rigorous mathematical derivations and proofs. The module will focus to develop students' mathematical problem solving skills through the exploration of open ended problems.

Why study this programme?

This programme leads to a wide range of highly-ranked undergraduate degrees at Durham University. The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020 rankings include: 

3rd in the UK for Geography and Environmental Sciences 

  • 4th in the UK for Physics and Astronomy 
  • 5th in the UK for Chemistry 
  • 9th in the UK for Computer Science 
  • 10th in the UK for General Engineering 
  • 16th in the UK for Biological Sciences 

Find out more about these degree subjects, and more, on our subject pages.

English language preparation

You can study our English language preparation course for additional support to meet the English language entry requirements for this programme. 

Progression degrees

When you successfully complete your International Foundation Year and achieve the required grades, you can progress to one of the following undergraduate degrees at Durham University City:

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Places may be limited so you are advised to apply and confirm as soon as possible.

Zain from Saudi Arabia at Queen's Campus

Coming to the International Study Centre, was a really nice opportunity to meet people from all over the world, and actually I didn’t expect too much geology here, but like I said before, we’re having a field trip to the Lake District so that should be a nice preparation for the first year. So, you won’t be that surprised with the work we’ll be assigned there.

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

Fees

Find out the tuition fees for your course.

Entry requirements

Find out the entry requirements for your course.

Why study science?

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.

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