International Foundation Programme - Engineering

International Foundation Programme - Engineering

12, 9 or 6 months

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If you want to study an engineering-based undergraduate degree but need additional academic and English language support, this Engineering pathway will provide you with a basic foundation for further studies and the skills required to progress on to an undergraduate degree in Engineering.

You will learn about different engineering concepts, the principles of mechanics and the mathematical knowledge required to develop both the theoretical and practical applications of engineering. In addition to the engineering specialism modules, the programme also provides a solid grounding in the core knowledge and skills recognised to prepare you for future study.

Upon successfully passing this programme (subject to progression requirements), you will be guaranteed a place on one of our engineering undergraduate degrees.

Key facts

  • Learn the skills you need to succeed in your undergraduate engineering degree
  • Develop your awareness of engineering and mathematical problems and then test these in a practical workshop
  • Benefit from gradual assessment via portfolios that allows you to assimilate to UK academic life and develop your skills over the course of the programme
  • Upon successfully completing your International Foundation Programme you will be guaranteed a place on an engineering-based undergraduate degree at Northumbria University
  • Progress on to courses in Automotive Engineering, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Civil Engineering
About this course

What will I study?

This course will introduce you to life studying in the UK and will develop the core academic and English language skills you will need to progress on to an undergraduate degree with Northumbria University.

One module, English for Foundation, will focus on your language development to help you meet the requirements of your progression course and to refine your language further in an academic context. A second module, Academic Practice, will enable you to understand the range of core academic skills that you will use in the whole programme.

Four of the modules on the programme will be focused on preparing you for undergraduate study in the UK. This includes a Project Module where you will specialise in a particular aspect from within your broad subject area. You will create an artefact as well as engage in the pre-planning, project management and post-project reflection. These skills will enable you to plan and manage key parts of your undergraduate studies

The other modules will cover a range of core engineering and mathematical areas including applied algebra, engineering design, trigonometry, engineering problem solving and use of statistics in engineering. You will be taught the theory, look at examples and then test out the some of the key learning each week in a workshop space.

These modules will enable you to develop a wide range of skills in order to think critically about engineering and various applications of engineering in real-world situations. You will understand how to prepare for practical sessions as well as report on your findings and what they mean.

Study plan

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

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

How will I be taught and assessed?

Contact hours

  • 24 hours per week in seminars, lectures, workshops, labs and tutorials

Self-study hours

  • Total of 40 hours per week overall study time, including  20 hours of lectures and seminars

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


  • Portfolios – including coursework, presentations, reflective essays and in-class tests
  • Assessed continually through each module and submit a portfolio at the end
  • This allows you to gradually assimilate to the learning and teaching style
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Upon successful completion and subject to specific entry requirements, you can go on to study a range of Engineering 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:

*to progress onto Civil Engineering requires successful completion of our International Foundation Programme: Engineering with a minimum of 55% in Academic modules including 65% in Maths Modules and a minimum of 60% in each English module. Please note that there are limited spaces on this programme and any application will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Alternative progression options

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

Upon successfully passing your programme you will receive a Foundation Diploma in International English for Academic Communication which some other universities may also accept as an entry qualification.

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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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All modules are core and worth 20 credits unless specified.

12 and 9 month IFP students only

The purpose of this module is for you to engage in language and skills learning which will empower you to develop techniques to become a better language learner. This module will provide you with the skills and an understanding of the English required to achieve success in subsequent university assessments on both the credit bearing modules of the IFP and your chosen undergraduate degree.

You will also have a more active understanding of your language learning which will in turn allow you to confidently apply the techniques you learn to enhance your grammar and range of vocabulary.

In addition to English, this module also contains some academic content streamed by pathway, providing an early opportunity to engage with your chosen specialism. This subject learning comes in the form of lexical development as well as some key content to lead you into your next steps in your academic journey.

At the end of the module, your language capabilities will be assessed to determine the English module you will study on the International Foundation Programme

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

All students will study the following modules:

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 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, critical analysis, ICT, presentation and seminar skills.

Developing and improving study skills is a gradual and long-term 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

In this module you will use algebra in order to think logically and break down and solve engineering problems. Mixing algebra with trigonometry will provide foundational grounding in solving engineering problems and will enable you to understand the relationships of measurements within triangles. Therefore, trigonometry is a vital part of the planning process for engineers, as it aids the engineers in creating structures with exact precision. In this module you will study elementary trigonometry and its applications as well as study calculus concepts and applications.

Engineers of various types use the fundamentals of trigonometry to build structures/systems, design bridges and solve physical problems. This module provides a comprehensive and multi-layered exploration of algebraic principles. Moreover, it provides a deep visual and graphical understanding of physical problems

By applying the laws of physics, you will be able to ensure that the engineering problem you are designing or solving will work properly. This module is designed to provide an introduction to physics and its applications in science and engineering. In this module you will study theoretical aspects of physics (e.g. electricity, energy and mechanics) to identify relevant principles and laws when dealing with problems. Combining experimental physics with theory in this module, you will learn to execute and analyse the results of an experiment or investigation to test the theory and report on this.

You can use the knowledge you gain in this module to predict what happens to engineering design and solve engineering problems.

This module is designed to provide an introduction to physics and its applications in engineering. This module will equip you with fundamental physics principles to increase your understanding of the laws of nature.

You will learn the theoretical aspects and then use the workshops to test the theories in practical activities each week. The experiments will ehance you ability to plan, execute and then write up the results of the practical work, enhancing your observation, data collection and analytical skills. You will be able to use your data to produce digrammatical information of your findings. You will engage in peer review sessions and you will be supported by verbal feedback from tutors. Successful completion of this module will build a grounding knowledge and skills related to future engineering modules (e.g. Engineering Systems).

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 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, appropriate workshop clothing or materials for specific modules. It is wise to allow for a budget of up to £300 a year to cover these costs.

The modules you will study do not require you to purchase additional textbooks.

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

Payment plans

If you need support to spread the cost of your tuition, you may be eligible for our payment plan.

Payment plans

How to find out more

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

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How to apply

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

October January March
12 month Apply for October 2023 Not available Not available
9 month Apply for October 2023 Apply for January 2024 Not available
6 month Not available Not available Apply for March 2024

Information for disabled applicants

At Northumbria, we welcome applications from disabled students and are committed to ensuring an equal and accessible application journey. Your application will be considered on an equal basis to all other applications. Please contact us if you require any assistance. This website is continually optimised to adhere to accessibility best practice guidelines; tools to assist users with specific accessibility requirements have also been provided. More information is available in our accessibility statement.

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 good time to enrol on to 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:
£20,500 (12 months) £16,500 (9 months) £11,000 (6 months)
Leads to:
Undergraduate degrees in Automotive Engineering, Civil Engineering, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Mechanical Engineering
Entry requirements:
5 GCSE/iGCSE passes at 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:
Average class size:
Assessment methods:
Coursework - portfolios, presentations, essays and in-class tests
Scholarship or bursaries:
Payment plan:
Not available
January, March, October
testimonial image
testimonial image

“The lecturers are so knowledgeable and very interesting. They have helped me to improve my Mathematical and English language skills. They also use a range of teaching methods to support my learning and develop my skillset.”

Babawale Olajire Emmanuel Babalola
International Foundation Programme - Engineering

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