International Foundation Programme - Applied Science

International Foundation Programme - Applied Science

12, 9 or 6 months

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Response to Covid-19: Our focus is on providing a safe and welcoming learning environment and ensuring continued access to learning.

As a result of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic and resulting social distancing requirements, we are intending to teach this course using a mix of on-campus and online learning activities. We continue to be guided by the Government to ensure our campus is Covid-secure. More information about our response to Covid-19 and FAQs are available here.

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. Courses starting in 2022 are offered as a mix of face to face and online learning. We continue to monitor government and local authority guidance in relation to Covid-19 and we are ready and able to flex accordingly to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff. Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with additional restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors, potentially to a full online offer, should further restrictions be deemed necessary in future. Our online activity will be delivered through Blackboard Ultra, enabling collaboration, connection and engagement with materials and people.


The International Foundation Programme in Applied Science is ideal if you are looking to study a Science-related undergraduate degree.

This programme has been designed specifically to support international students who wish to study an undergraduate degree at Northumbria University. You will study on the Applied Science pathway to prepare you for your undergraduate degree in a range of science degrees at Northumbria University.

You will study a combination of Science modules alongside an English module and an Academic Practice module. The combination of modules will enable you to develop key skills and understanding in language, study skills, critical thinking and a good understanding of knowledge relevant to Science.

Key facts

  • Learn the skills you need to succeed in your undergraduate science degree
  • Develop your awareness of academic culture in the UK as you integrate into student life within a UK university
  • Upon successfully completing your International Foundation Programme you will be guaranteed a place on a science-based undergraduate degree at Northumbria University
  • Progress onto courses in Biology, Chemistry, Forensic Science, Nutrition and Sport Science


About this course

What will I study?

The International Foundation Programme supports your integration to UK study by providing you with an opportunity to explore the style and strengths of the British approach to teaching and learning. For example, you will learn how to engage critically with a range of academic texts to enrich your understanding of the subject area along with its application to professional practice and behaviour.

In addition, the teaching of Science modules means you will deepen your English language, academic listening and reading capabilities, your ability to interpret your findings and present to your peers and tutor, in an appropriate written and oral format – specific to the requirements of undergraduate degrees in Science.

You will develop your academic skills, techniques and processes with an emphasis on building your personal capacity for creativity, critical and independent thinking. You will also learn how to demonstrate effective academic writing, analysis skills, interpersonal communication and the ability to work in multi-cultural teams.

In the Pathway specific modules, you will develop your knowledge of biomedical science, biology and chemistry in key areas. You will do this by understanding knowledge, testing changes or reactions in practical lab sessions and then being able to report on your findings. In these modules, you will learn how to investigate and explain your tests while also considering the wider view of science in real-world contexts.

Study plan

IELTS Oct-Dec Jan-Mar Mar-Jun July-Aug Sept
4.5 International Foundation Programme – Applied Science
(12 month)
Start your undergraduate degree at Northumbria University

5.0 International Foundation Programme – Applied Science
(9 month)
Summer break
5.0   International Foundation Programme – Applied Science
(9 month)
5.5     International Foundation Programme – Applied Science
(6 month)

How will I be taught and assessed?

Contact hours

  • 16-18 hours per week, in seminars, lectures, workshops, labs and tutorials, plus additional lab time

Self-study hours

  • 20-22 hours – total of a max of 40 hours per week overall independent study time – making use of the University’s electronic learning portal Blackboard

Guidance tutor

  • Your first point of contact for anything outside the classroom that affects your learning
  • Meet at the start of each term
  • You can arrange to meet them at any point and they may contact you if necessary


  • You will be assessed continually through each module and at the end of the second semester to prepare you for your final assessments. This strategy allows you to gradually assimilate to the learning and teaching style helping you to develop your skills over two semesters and receive feedback from your tutor.
  • You will also be assessed through exams for your science-specific modules.
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Upon successful completion and subject to specific entry requirements, you can go on to study a range of Science undergraduate degrees at Northumbria University.

To progress and be eligible for entry onto our undergraduate degree programmes you must achieve at least 40% in your International Foundation Programme.

Please note that our undergraduate degrees are currently being reviewed, however, we have previously offered the opportunity for students to progress on to the following courses:

Your progression course
BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Science
BSc (Hons) Biochemistry
BSc (Hons) Biology
BSc (Hons) Biology Biotechnology
BSc (Hons) Biology Human Neurobiology
BSc (Hons) Biomedical Science
BSc (Hons) Chemistry
BSc (Hons) Criminology and Forensic Science
BSc (Hons) Food Science and Nutrition
BSc (Hons) Food Science and Nutrition (Human Nutrition)
BSc (Hons) Physics 
BSc (Hons) Physics with Astrophysics
BSc (Hons) Forensic Science


If you would like to progress on to a degree in Art, Design and Media; Engineering; or Computing, English Language, Law, Media Production, Psychology, Sport, politics and social science subjects, please see our alternative pathway programmes:

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Academic requirements

  • GCSE/iGCSE – 5 passes at A-C

We welcome applications from students who have obtained good grades in their upper secondary education.

We also now accept the following:

  • China – Successful completion of Senior Middle School 2 with a minimum average of 70% or higher, or successful completion of Senior Middle School 3 with a minimum average of 60% or higher
  • India – Standard 11 with 55%, Standard 12 with 50%.
  • Malaysia – SPM Malaysia School Certificate, Forecast results accepted – UEC pass grades also accepted.
  • Senegal – Baccalaureate/Baccalaureat Technique 10/20

Depending on your chosen degree course, specific subject requirements may apply. Our team will be able to help confirm the details for you.

For other country-specific entry requirements, please check our Entry Requirements. Alternatively, please contact our team who will be able to help you.

English language requirements

There are multiple entry levels to the International Foundation Programme depending on your IELTS level:

  • 4.5 with no single sub score below 4.0, or equivalent, from a UKVI Approved centre will study the 12-month programme
  • 5.0 with no single sub score below 4.0, or equivalent, from a UKVI Approved centre will study the 9-month programme
  • 5.5 with no single sub score below 5.0, or equivalent, from a UKVI Approved centre will study the 6-month programme

Please note that if your qualifications are not in English, we might need certified translations in order to proceed with your application.

Age requirements

You must be over 16 years old

If you are under 18 at the start of the International Foundation Programme, you will need to include with your application a signed consent form by your parent or legal guardian. You can find a copy of this on our How to Apply page.

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12 and 9 month IFP students only

This module provides you with the opportunity to familiarise yourself with the skills needed to study in a UK university. You will learn about UK Higher Education culture, and acquaint yourself with the many university support mechanisms to develop your skills and thrive at university. This will be learnt through a number of ways including onsite communicative and task-based learning. This will engage you in the active use of the English language and encourage you to study at university more proactively and independently. In addition, you will also be introduced to your subject specialisms and the International Foundation Programme as a whole.

Students on the 12-month International Foundation Programme will study 2-terms of this module.

All students will study the following modules:

All modules are core and worth 20 credits unless specified.

This module is designed to help you to meet the English level needed for both the International Foundation Programme and your undergraduate degree, and to give you the tools you need to become an independent language learner. It will teach you how to learn the language for academic study, take responsibility for your own language learning, and gain the habits of continuous learning which you will need on your undergraduate program.

You will learn to develop your:

  • Communicative abilities in English
  • Functional language ability across the main skills of English (speaking, listening, reading and writing)
  • Grammatical knowledge and accuracy in English
  • Vocabulary and fluency in English

You will develop your skills in this area and improve your ability to apply them in the subject of your undergraduate degree.

The Academic Practice module has a series of practical sessions that link with your other pathway modules to prepare you for your undergraduate degree. These sessions feature the broad range of essential study skills such as research, and working with sources, use of digital tools, writing and presentation skills, and reflection and action planning.

Developing and improving study skills is a gradual process. It is also an individual process. If you are new to higher education or have not studied for some time, you may feel worried about tackling your first assignment; taking an exam; or juggling study with other commitments. Here, this module is designed to help you to acquire the academic literacy and language skills you need to succeed at university.

As Biology is the “Study of Life”, in this module we will explore different aspects of the living world around us. The aim of this module is to introduce you to Biology. The theme is to lead you through from biological molecules, through cells, to how they build organisms, then how these organisms reproduce and evolve and interact with other organisms and the environment. The module will introduce you to biological topics such as Genetics and Evolution.

The aim is to prepare you for successful study in the applied science degree route. It introduces the processes which occur inside living cells which are vital for the operation of the whole organism.  You will then look inwards, and unravel the secrets of our genomes. Our genetic information is stored in our DNA – but how are genes organised, and how do they work? Can the study of genetics help us to understand the world in and around us, can it help us to “improve” the world by genetic manipulation?

Finally, you will focus on human beings, and explore aspects of our physiology and neurobiology. How does the human body function, how does our nervous system work?

In completing this module, you will develop academic skills and ability to apply the concepts and principles of chemical structures. You will be able to relate the electronic structure of species (atoms, ions) to molecular structure of organic and inorganic compounds, appreciate functional groups as the basis of the structure of organic molecules, and identify their presence in complex molecules; deduce ‘molecular’ formulae and structure of compounds from the appropriate experimental or theoretical data. It is a practical module so that it teaches not only the facts needed to understand the topic, but also practical laboratory skills.You will also study reactivity of organic compounds, where you will study reactions to detect specific functional groups, alongside instrumental techniques such as mass spectrometry. Be able to apply this knowledge in applied sciences contexts.

As this programme is a foundation for further study in the area of applied science you will develop your knowledge and skills through the introduction to key definitions, concepts, investigatory techniques and basic principles of required to advance your understanding of human biosciences.

In this module, you will develop an awareness of how ethical action is increasingly important in today’s interconnected world. Decisions we take in one sector of a society can rapidly influence another sector, crossing borders and having far-reaching effects on real lives. Whether it is in the ethical choices you make in business, environmental policy, law and order, medicine, politics the media or academic research, this is a key topic you need to understand for the twenty-first century.

Drawing on core philosophical principles, the Ethical Practices in Action module guides you in examining how choices we make and actions we take shape today’s world. Through understanding where ethics come from, why they are important and how they can help us make better choices, you will be better prepared to work in many areas of contemporary society, for instance in business, HR, healthcare, counselling, criminal justice, academia and politics.

The aim of this module is to equip you with some of the skills that are necessary for preparing you for studying at university and starting your journey into employment. The module comprises several skill areas. The aim of the module is to create a friendly, interactive, and inclusive learning environment.

Personal skills will support the identification of your skills and abilities through targeted activities whilst looking at ways to maximise your presence within both a university context and the wider workplace.

Project management skills include working with others, delegation, participation and reflecting on approaches taken.

Managing projects that produce a final outcome/artefact are an everyday part of working and academic life. Learning the skills of how to organise your time, find resources and use your personal strengths is essential for your future career. This module is designed to support you to carry out a project in your subject-specific area and will equip you with the skills and knowledge you need to complete your project successfully.

You will gain an understanding of the essential steps in the project life cycle and have the opportunity to evaluate and reflect on your (and your fellow students’) progress throughout the project work, to the project completion stage.

This module will also introduce you to academic research skills and develop your ability to critically appraise and organise material. This module takes a holistic and reflective approach to your learning, with you developing a portfolio of your improved project planning, research and evaluation skills, and production of an artefact.

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The course information displayed on this page is correct for the academic year 2022/23. We aim to run the course as advertised however, changes may be necessary due to updates to the curriculum (due to academic or industry developments), student demand or UK compliance reasons.

Tuition fee 2022/23

  • IELTS 4.5 will study the 12-month programme: £20,000
  • IELTS 5.0 will study the 9-month programme: £16,000
  • IELTS 5.5 will study the 6-month programme: £10,500

Tuition fee 2023/24

  • IELTS 4.5 will study the 12-month programme: £20,500
  • IELTS 5.0 will study the 9-month programme: £16,500
  • IELTS 5.5 will study the 6-month programme: £11,000

Please note that your tuition fees do not include the cost of course books that you may choose to purchase, stationery, printing and photocopying, accommodation, living expenses, travel or any other extracurricular activities. As a Northumbria University Pathway student, you will have full access to our online digital library with over 400,000 e-books and 50,000 electronic journals.

Some students may need to purchase some equipment for their modules such as scientific calculators or materials for specific modules. It is wise to allow for a budget of up to £300 a year to cover these costs.

You do not need to purchase learning materials, as these will be available to you via the Virtual Learning Environment or from the library.

Scholarships and bursaries for international students

Depending on the country you are from, you may be eligible for a country bursary and/or scholarship when studying this programme.

All of our scholarships and bursaries are automatically applied when we process your application and one of our team will be able to confirm your eligibility.

Scholarships and bursaries

How to find out more

Enquire now to find out more information about the International Foundation Programme, studying with us, the application process, and to have any other questions you have.

Enquire now

How to apply

When you are ready you can apply online to study the International Foundation Programme – Applied Science. Applying online allows you to upload all of your supporting documents and you will automatically receive your student application number.

12 month Not available
9 month Not available
6 month Apply for March 2023

If you are accepted you will receive one offer letter for the International Foundation Programme in Applied Science followed by the appropriate degree programme. Once you have successfully completed the International Foundation Programme and achieved the required grades, you can gain direct admission onto your chosen degree at Northumbria

We strongly recommend that you submit your application as early as possible to allow you to complete all of the preparations needed to study your programme. After receiving your offer it can take time to arrange your finances and apply for your visa (if required) and it is important that you arrive in a good time to enrol on your course. Please refer to the Dates and Fees page.

You can check more information on how to apply here, including guidelines for the application forms.

Course information

Level of study:
Foundation - NQF Level 3
International Fee:
£20,000 (12 months) £16,000 (9 months) £10,500 (6 months)
Leads to:
Undergraduate degrees in Science
Entry requirements:
5 GCSE/iGCSE passes at grade A-C, or equivalent
IELTS requirements:
From IELTS 4.5 with no single element below 4.0, or equivalent, from a UKVI Approved centre
12, 9 or 6 months
Class hours per week:
16-18 hours + lab time
Average class size:
Assessment methods:
Coursework - presentations, essays and in-class tests, and exams
Scholarship or bursaries:
Payment plan:
Not available
January, March, October
testimonial image
testimonial image

“I chose Northumbria University because my sister currently lives in Newcastle. I love the environment and the way that the teachers interact with me. I receive a lot of support from my tutors who are very attentive and highly knowledgeable.”

Farida Nasir Kuliya
International Foundation Programme

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