Course overview

International students from non EU countries should apply for the H10Y  Engineering and Physical Sciences Foundation Certificate

This programme is designed for UK and EU students whose school leaving qualifications do not allow admission to year one in engineering, physics, mathematics or computer science undergraduate programmes.

Students who successfully pass the Foundation Programme can progress onto one of a number of BEng/MEng and BSc/MSci degrees in the following departments/schools:


Physical sciences

* Progression onto K100, K240 and K230 courses is subject to submission of a successful portfolio in addition to meeting the normal Foundation progression criteria.

** Progression to degrees in the School of Mathematical Sciences is subject to additional requirements in mathematics modules.

Progression is subject to you having passed at the appropriate level during the Foundation Programme.

Have a question about studying a foundation year? See our frequently asked questions.

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2020 entry.

UK entry requirements
A level BCC in Clearing (C in Maths and Physics, if taken)
Required subjects

GCSE maths grade 5 (B); GCSE physics grade 5 (B) or GCSE science grade 5 (B) and GCSE Additional Science grade 5 (B); GCSE English grade 4 (C). Please note: a foundation year is available to those with A-level BBB grades in any subjects (except thinking skills, citizenship studies, global perspectives, general studies and critical thinking).

IB score 30

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

How you will be assessed


Students benefit from a wide range of teaching and learning styles – from traditional seminars, lectures and tutorials to state-of-the-art multimedia and electronic learning systems.

There are certain core (compulsory) modules such as computing and mathematics that all students study. The optional modules vary from year to year. Typical modules may include the following.


Computer Methods (10 credits – core)

The aim of this module is to develop your skills in, and awareness of, the use of programming techniques and basic computer modelling methods. The module aims to reinforce mathematic skills and techniques.

Topics covered are:

  • data structures and formats
  • plotting of graphical data
  • programming structure and style
  • relational and logical operators
  • conditional statements and loops
  • user I/O and data import/export
  • simple file handling
Foundation Mathematics 1 and 2

You will develop your mathematical knowledge and understanding of mathematical processes to help solve basic problems in engineering and science. These modules provide you with techniques in basic and advanced algebra, complex numbers, coordinate geometry and trigonometry, and calculus.

Professional, Experimental and Academic Competencies

The aim of this module is to develop the student’s skills in, and awareness of, effective learning strategies, time management, written and oral communications and appropriate use of Information Technology in the context of their field of study.

The aim of this module is to develop the students' basic study skills. This will be done with an overarching aim to improve the students’ awareness of research and communication methods relevant to an engineering/science-related discipline. The following topic areas will be covered:

  • information gathering
  • effective use of the library
  • time management
  • effective technical writing through reports
  • laboratory reports and posters
  • plagiarism, the consequences and how to avoid it
  • error analysis in experimentation
  • giving a technical presentation
  • using electronic resources (WORD, EXCEL)
  • working as a member of a team and group project work
  • preparing for exams for professional, experimental and academic competencies
The Universe/Molecules on the Move (10 credits – core)

An introduction to astronomy, covering general physical principles including cosmology, gravitational fields and orbits, observational techniques in astronomy, and stellar evolution. Molecules on the Move explores the thermal and mechanical properties of matter.

Study Skills (10 credits – core)

This module develops study skills, improving your awareness of research and communication methods, referencing, and presentation skills. 


Electricity and Magnetism/Electrical Circuit Principles (10 credits each)

Providing a basic knowledge of electricity and magnetism, these modules look at a range of component technologies, from inductors and capacitors through to simple semiconductors. In the second semester, topics include; AC circuits, circuit analysis techniques and electrical resonance.

Foundation Mechanics/Further Mechanics (10 credits each)

These two modules will introduce you to the concept of scalars and vectors, and give you a broad grounding in the basic response of rigid structures to imposed forces and to linear and circular motion.

Vibration and Waves/Properties of Matter (10 credits each)

These engineering physics modules provide a  grounding in the physical explanations of vibrations and waves. This will cover the analysis of simple engineering and physical systems. You will also study the atom, atomic structures and behaviour.

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on Tuesday 18 August 2020.

Fees and funding

UK students

International students

To be confirmed in 2021*
Keep checking back for more information
*For full details including fees for part-time students and reduced fees during your time studying abroad or on placement (where applicable), see our fees page.

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland starting your course in the 2021/22 academic year, you will pay international tuition fees.

This does not apply to Irish students, who will be charged tuition fees at the same rate as UK students. UK nationals living in the EU, EEA and Switzerland will also continue to be eligible for ‘home’ fee status at UK universities until 31 December 2027.

For further guidance, check our Brexit information for future students.

Scholarships and bursaries


Engineering and physical sciences can lead to a very varied and rewarding career – please see the degrees you are interested in completing after your foundation year for more information.

Boost your earning potential

Which university courses boost graduate wages the most? Studying with us could help you to earn more.

  • 2nd highest in the UK for female engineering graduate earnings, five years after graduation
  • 2nd highest in the Midlands for male engineering graduate earnings, five years after graduation

Source: Institute for Fiscal Studies data

Average starting salary and career progression

The average starting salaries for undergraduates in the departments you will join are:

  • £23,150 in the Department of Architecture and Built Environment
  • £31,426 in the Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering
  • £26,595 in the Department of Civil Engineering
  • £30,810 in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • £29,073 in the Mechanical, Materials and Manufacturing Engineering

Known destinations of full-time home undergraduates who were available for employment, 2020. Salaries are calculated based on the median of those in full-time paid employment within the UK.

*HESA Graduate Outcomes 2020.

Studying for a degree at the University of Nottingham will provide you with the type of skills and experiences that will prove invaluable in any career, whichever direction you decide to take.

Throughout your time with us, our Careers and Employability Service can work with you to improve your employability skills even further; assisting with job or course applications, searching for appropriate work experience placements and hosting events to bring you closer to a wide range of prospective employers.

Have a look at our careers page for an overview of all the employability support and opportunities that we provide to current students.

The University of Nottingham is consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain’s leading graduate employers (Ranked in the top ten in The Graduate Market in 2013-2020, High Fliers Research).

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" I feel I have gained very valuable experience on all aspects of University and what is needed to succeed. This will help me incredibly in first year. "
Kristian Smith, Engineering and Physical Sciences Foundation Programme

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Important information

This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.