Course overview

Students from the UK and EU countries should apply for either Science with Foundation Year  CFG0 (BSc) or CGF0 (MSci)

Highlights of foundation science at Nottingham

  • Have a guaranteed place on an undergraduate degree if you meet all the requirements
  • Be part of the University’s student community from day one, studying on the same beautiful campus and have access to all the student facilities
  • Join a course with a high progression record of over 80%
  • Gain key laboratory skills and experience fieldwork, preparing you for your future course
  • Continue your academic career at a university that is ranked in the top 1% of universities globally, according to QS World University Rankings 2018

This certificate has been designed for talented international applicants who are not eligible for direct entry to an undergraduate course.

Taught on the main University campus by academics who contribute to science teaching in different schools, we ensure the foundation course is integrated into your degree programme. The topics you cover are matched to subsequent stages of your course. For this reason, the success rate for students progressing from this pathway is very high.

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 BBB
Required subjects

Five GCSEs (or equivalent) at grade 5 (B) or above, including maths plus biology and chemistry or science (double) or science and additional science or core and applied science plus English language, at grade 4 (C) or above. 

Additional requirements apply for progression on to specific science degrees.

Applicants with qualifications that would permit direct entry to a science degree will only be considered if they meet certain criteria. See the entry requirements section below for full details.

IB score 30

A levels

BBB. Students must not have studied the subjects or have the grades needed to allow direct entry to a degree programme.


Five GCSEs at 5 (B) or above, including maths, biology and chemistry (or double science; core and applied science; science and additional science). Plus English language 4 (C) or above. 

Additional GCSE requirements

GCSE requirements vary for progression on to specific science degrees taught at Nottingham:

  • Medical physiology and therapeutics requires 5 (B) in English language
  • Pharmacy requires 5 (B) in English language or literature
  • Pharmaceutical sciences require 5 (B) in mathematics

Students with other qualifications including BTEC and Access courses will be considered on an individual basis.

English language requirements

IELTS* 5.5 (with no less than 5.0 in any element) 

For details of other English language tests and qualifications we accept, please see our entry requirements page.

* International students who need a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK must have an UKVI approved IELTS/Secure English Language Test (SELT), from the new SELT list to make a visa application.

If you require additional support to take your language skills to the required level, you may be able to attend a presessional course at the Centre for English Language Education, which is accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English in the UK. 

Students who successfully complete the presessional course to the required level can progress onto their chosen degree course without retaking IELTS or equivalent.

Flexible admissions policy

In recognition of our applicants’ varied experience and educational pathways, the University of Nottingham employs a flexible admissions policy. We may make some applicants an offer lower than advertised, depending on their personal and educational circumstances. Please see the University’s admissions policies and procedures for more information.

Alternative qualifications

We accept a range of international qualifications - please contact us for details.

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

How you will be assessed


Foundation science consists of modules in biology, chemistry, maths, studying science and man and other animals. Biology and chemistry are the two main components of foundation science and each run throughout the year.

Foundation Biological Sciences (40 credits)

This module will provide you with an introduction to life at the molecular, cellular, physiological organismal, population and community levels and provide the background to enable you to enter a range of degree programmes in biological and environmental sciences. You will gain practical experience in labs. Practical work is a vital component of foundation science and students have the opportunity to develop various lab techniques.

Foundation Year Chemistry (40 credits)

You will learn to use the periodic table to make predictions about elements, the basics of chemical bonding and the forces between molecules and their shapes. Experimental work will enhance understanding and skills development. You will learn quantitative aspects of chemistry based on laboratory activities, including appreciation of experimental error. In this module you will develop the knowledge and understanding of safe laboratory practice; familiarity with common techniques and equipment; an appreciation of physical, inorganic and organic chemistry; the need for careful recording of observation and measurements; an appreciation of sources of error; and conventional approaches to reporting experimental work.

Mathematics for Foundation Science (20 credits)

This module will provide you with the knowledge and competence of core mathematical topics, and experience of relevant quantitative aspects prior to embarking on a course in biological and chemical sciences. This module covers algebra and algebraic manipulation; linear algebra; functions and trigonometry; differential calculus; integral calculus; simple modelling; elementary probability; and statistics.

Studying Science at University (20 credits)

This module introduces students to the nature and processes of studying science at University. It will address the transition into university study and the qualities necessary to be a successful scientist. Skills developed will include finding, evaluating and summarising sources on the internet and in the library, strategies for reading efficiently, making notes effectively and writing scientifically, time management, teamwork and exam techniques, and making enquiries using the scientific method. Students will develop these academic skills whilst studying topics as diverse as genetics, animal behaviour, environmental issues, psychology and human health.

English Language (20 credits)

International students who require extra support for English language during the foundation programme will study these modules. Topics covered include essay writing, laboratory reports and presentation skills.

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 Wednesday 19 August 2020.

Fees and funding

UK students

Per year

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

The University of Nottingham offers a wide range of bursaries and scholarships. These funds can provide you with an additional source of non-repayable financial help. For up to date information regarding tuition fees, visit our fees and finance pages.

International students

Our International Baccalaureate Diploma Excellence Scholarship is available for select students paying overseas fees who achieve 38 points or above in the International Baccalaureate Diploma. We also offer a range of High Achiever Prizes for students from selected countries, schools and colleges to help with the cost of tuition fees. Find out more about scholarships, fees and finance for international students.


Please check the skills and careers tab on the course you wish to progress to after the foundation year.

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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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.