Waterfalls at Sigöldugljúfur Canyon, Iceland
Waterfalls at Sigöldugljúfur Canyon, Iceland

What is a foundation year?

A foundation year forms part of a four-year degree and provides the understanding and basis needed to embark on the full degree, for those that:

  • have had a break in study
  • have qualifications other than A levels for consideration
  • or did not get the grades they hoped for in their A levels

Marine Biology students on an experimental field course Algarve, Portugal
Second year marine biology students quantifying biodiversity in the Ria Formasa, Portugal. Our study contributes to a national database and will help to show whether the region’s diversity is changing – as a consequence of climate change, for example.

Why study a foundation year in science or engineering?

You will be taught on campus by University lecturers and so you will be a member of the University community right from the start. Our expert staff will help you hone your skills so you are able to start on the first year of one of our degree courses with confidence.

The foundation year places an emphasis on developing understanding and logical thought – we explain not only how a technique works but also why it is true. All of this helps our students to reach their full potential.

Marine Biology student in the Davy Labs

Preparing you for success

Our aim is to prepare you for success in your degree and to help you on your way to becoming a skilled and employable science or engineering graduate. In return we require a commitment to study and a proactive contribution to the course.

The foundation year comprises compulsory components in key skill areas, including mathematics plus optional modules (chemistry, biology, physics and statistics) to align with your chosen degree programme.

Our foundation students perform very well and go on to be some of the best performing students throughout the degree programmes. 

“Science is not only a disciple of reason but, also, one of romance and passion.”

Stephen Hawking

At the heart of our teaching philosophy is the desire to give you a deep understanding of the material and the best preparation for future years. Courses are taught by researchers who are at the leading edge of their fields.

Where appropriate, practical work is as hands-on with our equipment as possible, so as to develop skills as well as knowledge. Also some courses include fieldwork and we are lucky to have a location that supports our field-based programmes.

Landscape of Guilin, Li River and Karst mountains. Located near Yangshuo County, Guilin City, Guangxi Province, China. Image courtesy of Getty Images.
We are committed to research-informed teaching: you will have the opportunity to learn from, and interact with, world-class scientists – visit the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Gannet feeding square
We cover biological sciences, marine biology and marine sciences. Our talented and highly motivated students share our drive and our passion – visit the School of Biological and Marine Sciences
Circuit board. Electronic computer hardware technology. Motherboard digital chip. Tech science EDA background. Integrated communication processor. Information CPU engineering 3D background. Image courtesy of Getty Images.
We provide many professionally accredited courses within the subject areas of civil and coastal engineering, computing, electronics, mathematics, mechanical, marine and materials engineering, navigation and maritime systems, robotics and statistics – visit the School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics
Alexandra Tuijl

Alexandra Tuijl – current student

Through completing this extra year I also feel that I’ve gained certain skills when it comes to the way we are expected to present our work, which other students going straight into first year will not have.

Find out more about Alexandra Tuijl