Course overview

This programme is for Home students. International students should apply for the Science and Engineering Foundation Certificate at the University of Nottingham International College. This specialist international study centre is located next to the University Park Campus and is run in partnership with Kaplan Pathways.

Strengthen your skills, knowledge and confidence before you progress on to year one of your honour's degree. You are guaranteed progression on to your chosen degree after passing your foundation year.

You will study a range of modules including:

  • maths
  • computer methods
  • electricity and magnetism
  • mechanics
  • physics
  • lab skills

The degree you choose will depend on the modules you select to study, but you will not have to make this decision until your second term. The subject areas that you can progress on to are the following:


Physical sciences

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

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

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

Why choose this course?


Over 80 courses to choose from


Receive one to one support from a personal tutor and mentor

Student community

Get involved in the student community from the start of your degree


Explore a variety of pathways before deciding which undergraduate programme you wish to pursue

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2023 entry.

UK entry requirements
A level BBB

Please note: Applicants whose backgrounds or personal circumstances have impacted their academic performance may receive a reduced offer. Please see our contextual admissions policy for more information.

Required subjects

A Level grades BBB (excluding thinking skills, citizenship studies, global perspectives, general studies and critical thinking).

GCSE maths grade 6 (B); GCSE physics grade 5 (B) or GCSE science grade 5 (B) and GCSE Additional Science grade 5 (B); GCSE English grade 4 (C).

You may be invited to an informal chat, which will include an assessment of your GCSE Maths skills. Find out more about our informal chat and maths assessment.

IB score 30

International entry requirements

International students should refer to the University of Nottingham International College for the Science and Engineering Foundation Certificate which offers a range of pathways into our degree courses. This specialist international study centre is located next to the University Park Campus and is run in partnership with Kaplan Pathways.

If you are an international student who does not require a Student Route visa but meets the A Level / I.B. and English Language criteria (IELTS 6.0 with 5.5 in all skills or equivalent) you may be eligible to apply for this course in UCAS. International fees would apply. If you think this applies to you and would like to make an enquiry, please email the faculty team.

Mature Students

At the University of Nottingham, we have a valuable community of mature students and we appreciate their contribution to the wider student population. You can find lots of useful information on the mature students webpage.

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

Teaching methods

  • Group study
  • Lectures
  • Practical classes
  • Tutorials
  • Workshops

How you will be assessed

Assessment methods

  • Coursework
  • Examinations

Contact time and study hours

On average, you will have around 20 contact hours a week. Combined with coursework and self-study, you may spend over 40 hours a week on your studies.

Study Abroad and the Year in Industry are subject to students meeting minimum academic requirements. Opportunities may change at any time for a number of reasons, including curriculum developments, changes to arrangements with partner universities, travel restrictions or other circumstances outside of the university’s control. Every effort will be made to update information as quickly as possible should a change occur.

What is it like studying Foundation Engineering and Physical Sciences at UoN?

Hear what Feroz and Jolene have to say about studying Foundation Engineering and Physical Sciences at UoN.


Experience 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.

Semester one

Foundation Mathematics 1

On this module, you will cover algebra and calculus. There is no expectation that you will have studied mathematics past GCSE.

Topics include:


  • Equations and Inequalities, including Linear, Quadratic and Simultaneous Equations.
  • Geometry, including Trigonometry and Circles
  • Binomial Theorem
  • Logarithms and Exponentials
  • Linear Programming
  • Sequences and Series
  • Vectors
  • Statistics


  • Functions and Graphs and Transformations
  • Differentiation from first principles, including analysis of turning points of functions
  • MacLaurin Expansions
  • Integration
Engineering and Science

The aim of the module is to develop your awareness of and ability to solve basic problems in the field of engineering and physical sciences principles.

The curriculum is broken down into topics from


  • Vectors, Forces and Free-body Diagrams
  • Newton’s Laws
  • Work, Energy and Power
  • Elastic Properties of Materials
  • Equations of Motion with Constant Acceleration, Motion under Gravity, Projectile Motion
  • Moments and Equilibrium


  • Electric Charge, Current, Resistance, Energy, Power and Voltage
  • Resistivity and Mean Drift Velocity of Charge-Carriers
  • Power-Supplies and Internal Resistance
  • Capacitors and RC Circuits
  • Applying Kirchhoff’s Laws in general circuit problems
  • Electric Fields
Professional, Experimental and Academic Competencies (PEAC)

The aim of this module is to develop your skills in, and awareness of, effective learning strategies, time management, written and oral communications and appropriate use of Information Technology.

Topics include:

  • 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
  • employability skills
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

Semester two

Foundation Mathematics 2

This builds on the work completed in Foundation Mathematics 1. Topics covered will include:


  • Partial Fractions and Factor Formulae
  • Complex Numbers
  • Cubic and Quartic Equations
  • Further Vectors
  • Wave Functions
  • Matrices
  • Arrangements, Combinations and Permutations
  • Probability Distributions



  • Further Integration, including integration by substitution, by parts and volume of revolution
  • Trapezium Rule, Simpson’s Rule and the Newton-Raphson Method
  • Differential Equations
  • Exponential Growth and Decay
  • Parametrically Defined Curves
  • Implicit Differentiation
  • Polar Co-ordinates
  • Conic Sections
Applied Engineering and Science

This builds on the work completed in Engineering and Science in Semester-1. Topics covered on this module will include:

  • Instrumentation, Amplifiers and Signal Conditioning
  • Thermodynamics, Heat and Temperature Sensing
  • Strain Gauges and Pressure Measurement
  • Measuring Flow and Gas Laws
  • Heat Engines
Further Applied Engineering

This is a largely practical module during which you will become proficient in skills such as designing and building circuits. The aim of the module is to further develop your ability to solve Engineering problems and gain a deeper understanding of engineering principles. 

Engineering Project

The aim of this module is to develop your ability to solve problems and gain a deeper understand of engineering and physical science research projects. Within the module you will undertake an individual project aligned with the department you will move to once you have completed your foundation year

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 02 November 2022.

Fees and funding

UK students

Per year

International students

Not applicable*
Per year

*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, you may be asked to complete a fee status questionnaire and your answers will be assessed using guidance issued by the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) .

Additional costs

All students will need at least one device to approve security access requests via Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). We also recommend students have a suitable laptop to work both on and off-campus. For more information, please check the equipment advice.

As a student on this course, you should factor some additional costs into your budget, alongside your tuition fees and living expenses:

  • Books - You should be able to access most of the books you’ll need through our libraries, and all material for the course will be provided electronically.
  • Printing – Black and white printing costs 4p per side.
  • PPE – the department shall provide eye protection and lab coats as required, for use within the laboratory facilities.
  • Laptops – Although there are PCs available for your use in our computer labs, you may wish to purchase your own laptop, read more about our recommended specification.
  • Calculator - While the calculator you used for your former study is usually sufficient some students will choose to purchase a new calculator which will cost around £10.

Please note that these figures are approximate and subject to change.

There may also be costs issued by the university for replacement student ID cards, additional transcripts or certification letters, reassessments and library fines.

Scholarships and bursaries

There are scholarships and bursaries available to student which can contribute towards the cost of studying at the University of Nottingham.

  • The University of Nottingham offers international students a wide range of bursaries and scholarships
  • Over one third of our UK students receive our means-tested core bursary, worth up to £2,000 a year

Home students*

Over one third of our UK students receive our means-tested core bursary, worth up to £1,000 a year. Full details can be found on our financial support pages.

* A 'home' student is one who meets certain UK residence criteria. These are the same criteria as apply to eligibility for home funding from Student Finance.


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).

Dummy placeholder image
" 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

Related courses

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.