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
  • Entry requirements
  • Admissions

Length:

  • Three terms

Intakes:

  • September and January

January 2022

  • 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 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
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.

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

    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.

  • Extended Project

    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

  • Modules by route

    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

    • Advanced Intensive Maths Skills
    • 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
  • Module descriptions

    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 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 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 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.

    Pure Maths and Decision

    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.

    Pure Maths and Mechanics

    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.

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 2021 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
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    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

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    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.