Science student in lab

INTERNATIONAL FOUNDATION YEAR IN SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING

About this pathway

The International Foundation Year in Science and Engineering prepares you to study 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

Length:

  • Three terms

Intakes:

Academic: Good high school graduation grades or equivalent, with relevant subjects

English language: IELTS for UKVI 5.5 (5.5 in reading and writing, minimum of 5.0 in all other skills)*

Age: 17+

*We accept equivalent proof of English if you do not need a Student visa, or are exempt in another way.

Visit our entry requirements page for further details.

Fees

You can check the associated fees with your chosen programme by visiting our dedicated fees page.

Study plan

International Foundation Year study plan

Why join this November?

Join us in November and stay on track to progress to your degree in September 2023.

By starting in November, you will benefit from three additional weeks of study and life skills before commencing your main pathway programme in January 2023. There will be no additional tuition fee for this period, and this will provide you with a great opportunity for an enhanced student experience focusing on three key areas: orientation; practical support and academic and digital skills. Topics will include a digital skills health check; managing your money; practical tips on finding study and life balance; and an introduction to assessments in UK higher education.

What will I study in the additional three weeks?  

You’ll benefit from a 15-hour per week face-to-face classes, allowing you to:

  • feel more confident and better prepared for the start of your January programme of study
  • practice your English by interacting with the fellow students and build friendships    
  • assess your own digital skills proficiency  
  • meet the key Centre staff who will provide advice for success  
  • familiarise yourselves with the support available   
  • apply a range of academic study skills to meet your individual needs. 
  • have more time to adapt to the UK life and settle in before you begin your January programme.

Are there any additional cost or fees?

There will be no additional tuition fee, as November starts will have the same tuition fee as the respective January programme. However, there will be additional costs to consider, as expected with being in the UK for a longer period (i.e. accommodation). If you request accommodation on your application form, our Central Student Support Team will contact you directly in October regarding the options available.

What will you study?

Core modules

Academic English Skills aims to provide thorough training in the language and related academic skills which will enable international students to best achieve their academic potential at university. Our Academic English programme is validated by UK ENIC, the UK government agency responsible for providing information and expert opinion on qualifications and skills worldwide.

You will develop awareness and competency in a range of language-related academic skills, including the processes of academic writing, effective and extensive reading strategies, effective participation in seminars and delivery of presentations, and listening to and recording information effectively from lectures. You will also develop the accuracy and range of written and spoken language required to use language effectively and appropriately, with clarity and confidence in an academic context.

Alongside your classes, your studies will be supported by an online learning platform, providing you with a range of tasks and activities specifically designed to develop and extend your language and academic skills outside the classroom and to give you more control over your own learning.

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.

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

Biological Sciences

  • Lab Skills
  • Foundation Biology
  • Foundation Chemistry
  • Advanced Biology
  • Advanced Chemistry

Chemistry

  • Lab Skills
  • Foundation Chemistry
  • Core Foundation Mathematics
  • Pure Mathematics and Mechanics
  • Advanced Chemistry

Computer Science

  • Core Foundation Mathematics
  • Proof and Logic
  • Pure Mathematics and Decision
  • Computer Science

Engineering/Physics

  • Lab Skills
  • Core Foundation Mathematics
  • Foundation Physics
  • Pure Mathematics and Mechanics
  • Advanced Physics

Earth Sciences/Environmental Geosciences/Geology/Geoscience/Geophysics

  • Core Foundation Mathematics
  • Foundation Chemistry
  • Pure Mathematics and Mechanics
  • Geography 

Mathematics

  • Core Foundation Mathematics
  • Proof and Logic
  • Pure Mathematics and Mechanics
  • Further Pure Mathematics and Statistics 

Psychology

  • Human Health and Disease
  • Core Foundation Mathematics
  • Foundations of Psychology
  • Foundations of Statistics

Advanced Biology

This module seeks to develop the knowledge of biological sciences among students to the level required prior to entering an undergraduate course in that subject. It will cover how cell communication processes share common features that reflect a shared evolutionary history, and the structures and functions of cells and organisms.

Advanced Chemistry

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

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 will become confident, competent and comfortable in using information technology in the context of academic environments.

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.

Computer Science

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 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.

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.

Foundation Biology

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.

Foundation Chemistry

This module seeks to introduce a foundation of chemistry knowledge on which students can build either by the process of self-study or in further courses of directed study. It will encourage students to develop confidence in their own abilities in a science subject by developing their learning skills and observational and interpretive skills. It will introduce a range of lab equipment while also developing students’ confidence and ability in handling chemical calculations.

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.

Foundation 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.

Further Pure Mathematics and Statistics

This advanced two term module starts by introducing some fundamental techniques in Statistics. Students will spend the second term building on some of the key topics studied in Pure mathematics, as well as introducing some new complex abstract concepts. The module content includes; Data exploration, Correlation and regression, Probability distributions, Hypothesis testing, Further algebra, Further calculus, Vectors, Maclaurin Series. Further matrices, Further complex numbers and Polar coordinates.

Geography

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. 

Proof and Logic

This one-term module provides the opportunity for students to engage in logical reasoning using mathematical notation and develop the skills of formulation of mathematical derivations and proofs. The module content includes; Set theory, Logic, Boolean algebra, Logic gates, Number systems, Tracing algorithms, Proof (direct, contradiction, contrapositive, existence and induction) and Relations and functions.

Pure Maths and Decision

This advanced two-term module starts by building on some of the key topics studied in Core Foundation Mathematics, as well as introducing some new concepts in Pure mathematics. Students will spend the second term studying some fundamental concepts in Decision mathematics, a branch of mathematics which deals with the discipline of applying advanced analytical methods to help make better decisions. The module content includes; Calculus, Trigonometry, Complex numbers, Matrices, Algorithms, Graph theory and Linear programming.

Pure Maths and Mechanics

This advanced two term module starts by building on some of the key topics studied in Core Foundation Mathematics, as well as introducing some new concepts in Pure mathematics. Students will spend the second term studying some fundamental concepts in Mechanics, a branch of mathematics which deals with the motion of, and forces on, objects. The module content includes; Calculus, Trigonometry, Complex numbers, Matrices, Kinematics, Statics, Dynamics and Conservation of momentum.

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 2022 rankings include: 

  • 3rd in the UK for Geography and Environment Science
  • 4th in the UK for Physics and Astronomy
  • 7th in the UK for Computer Science
  • 8th in the UK for Accounting and Finance
  • 8th in the UK for Biological Sciences

The Complete University Guide, Subject League Table 2022 rankings include:

  • 4th in the UK for Chemistry
  • 4th in the UK for General Engineering
  • 9th in the UK for Business and Management 

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

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:

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

Degree Programme NameAwardOverall GradeEnglish Grade
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Zain from Saudi Arabia

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

New November start

If you want to be better prepared for the start of your January programme of study, join us in November.

Tutor talking to students on campus

HOW TO APPLY

Ready to join us? Discover how to apply to study with us and learn more about fees, entry requirements and term dates.

Time to apply
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INTERNATIONAL STUDY CENTRE

Study alongside students from all over the world at Queen's Campus in Stockton-on-Tees. The International Study Centre provides a safe and nurturing place to prepare for your degree at Durham City Campus.

Study with us
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ENGLISH PREPARATION

Our English Language Preparation course develops your English skills in order for you to succeed on both your chosen pathway programme and your university degree.

EXTRA ENGLISH SUPPORT