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 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 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

    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.

  • Advanced Academic English Writing Skills for Science and Engineering

    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. 

  • Quantitative Skills for Science and Engineering

    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.

  • Laboratory Skills and Experimental Design

    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. 

  • Extended Research Project

    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.

Why study this programme?

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

  • 7th in the UK for General Engineering (Guardian University League Tables 2020).
  • 1st (joint) in the UK for ‘internationally excellent’ and ‘world-leading’ research (Research Excellence Framework 2014).
  • Top 10 Psychology department for employability (Complete University Guide 2019).
  • 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

  • Modules by route

    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 
  • Module descriptions

    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:

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


Find out the tuition fees for your course.

Entry requirements

Find out the entry requirements for your course.

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