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.


  •  Two or three terms


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

September 2020

Three terms

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

Two terms

Term 1: 04/01/2021 to 19/03/2021
Term 2: 29/03/2021 to 04/06/2021

Three terms

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

April 2021

Two terms

Term 1: 29/03/2021 to 04/06/2021
Term 2: 07/06/2021 to 20/08/2021

IELTS Length Jun Aug Sep Dec Jan Apr Jun Aug Sep
5.0 4 terms       Start your degree
5.0 4 terms        
5.5 3 terms        
5.5 3 terms          
6.0 2 terms            
6.0  2 terms             

   Pre-Masters    English for Pre-Masters

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.

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 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.

This module sees students concentrating on the specific writing that will be required in their taught Masters degree programme. Fostering thorough scholarly skills, additional work involves the critical reading of authentic and up to date academic articles. 

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.

This module prepares students to work safely in the laboratory and to make appropriate choices in the selection of apparatus and procedures. Students will also learn the importance of maintaining a log book from which to prepare laboratory reports in accurate and appropriate written language and visual representations of data. Emphasis will be given not only to the analysis of data, but to the recognition that factors impact on the accuracy and reliability of results and thereby potential error. Students will develop their experimental design and re-design skills.

Mathematical Science and Psychology students will encounter some revised content to this module. Mathematical Science students will not be expected to participate in labs, or practical experimentation. Instead they will focus their experiment design and re-design on work in statistics. 

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. If you are following a Finance or Economics progression route, your elective modules will have a mathematics focus. When you complete your Pre-Masters programme and achieve the required level, you can begin your postgraduate degree at Durham University.

Computing route

  • Programming
  • Computational Mathematics

Engineering route

  • Advanced Applied Mathematics
  • Computational Mathematics 

Mathematical Studies route

  • Introduction to Mathematical Analysis

If you are studying the two-term programme you will choose one of the following two modules. If you are studying the three-term programme you will study them both:

  • Advanced Applied Mathematics
  • Computational Mathematics 

Psychology route

  • Introduction to Developmental Psychology
  • Research Methods in Psychology 

Advanced Applied Mathematics

This module covers the common mathematical techniques used in the study of engineering and natural sciences. During the course, special emphasis would be given on developing students’ abilities in respect of the practical application of the appropriate techniques.

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.

Introduction to Developmental Psychology

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

The aim of this module is to provide the opportunity for students to engage in logical reasoning using mathematical notations. It aims also to develop mathematical thinking skills, and the skills of formulation of rigorous mathematical derivations and proofs, as well as to develop students' mathematical problem solving skills through the exploration of open ended problems.


Students will develop their knowledge and understanding of the key elements of object oriented computer programming. They will select and apply appropriate program planning techniques in the design of elementary computer algorithms and develop algorithms to solve simple application problems. Practical work will engage students in producing simple Java applications and a clear logical set of imperative instructions. They will test, validate and document their solutions.

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.

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:

Degree Programmes Award Overall Grade English Grade
MSc Advanced Mechanical Engineering MSc 65% 60% with 50% in all skills
MSc Civil Engineering MSc 65% 60% with 50% in all skills
MSc Developmental Psychopathology MSc 65% 60% with 50% in all skills
MSc Electronic and Electrical Engineering MSc 65% 60% with 50% in all skills
MSc Mathematical Sciences MSc 65% 60% with 50% in all skills
MSc New and Renewable Energy MSc 65% 60% with 50% in all skills

Skills for success

Durham University students on City Campus

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.

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