School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences

BSc (Hons) Biological Sciences with Foundation Year

Are you looking for an alternative route into our biology degrees? Whether you’re returning to study or your results weren't what you’d hoped for, this year zero foundation course prepares you to enter any biology degree from biological sciences to environmental biotechnology. You will be taught at the University by the same academics as on our degrees and will gain the understanding and confidence needed for your degree, plus the study skills needed to succeed.

Key features

  • This course is an integrated part of a biology degree at the University of Plymouth. Successful completion of the foundation year (Year 0) provides progression onto Year 1 from a choice of biology degrees. With historical pass rates in excess of 85 per cent, you have an excellent chance of progression onto Year 1. You can progress onto BSc (Hons) Biological Sciences, BSc (Hons) Conservation Biology, BSc (Hons) Animal Behaviour and Welfare or BSc (Hons) Environmental Biotechnology from this course.
  • You will benefit from over 25 years of expertise in science foundation courses at the University of Plymouth, which continue to produce excellent degree candidates.
  • You will be prepared to study at degree level during the course, so unlike A levels or Access Courses, you will actually learn how to study at degree level, giving you a significant advantage once you move onto the degree itself.
  • Your studies can be funded through standard tuition fee loans – it does not require an upfront investment.
  • You will benefit from enthusiastic, supportive academic staff that have substantial experience in helping students realise their potential and who are active researchers in their fields.
  • You will be taught at the University itself – not on a satellite campus or in a tertiary college – and you will be taught by the same academic staff that teach on our other degrees.
  • You will benefit from the full University experience from day one – Fresher’s Week, a full university Library and IT provision and so on to fully support your studies.
  • The foundation year is an integral part of the extended degree. Completion of the foundation year will not lead to a separate award or qualification its own right but will provide access to Year 1 of your degree.

Course details

  • Foundation year
  • You will study biology alongside the core skills in mathematics, statistics and physics or chemistry needed to study biology in higher education. You will study two core modules of biology and a third covering contemporary issues in biology. A fourth core module covers the study skills and core mathematics that underpin study of biology. You will take optional modules in either chemistry or physics, plus a final module covering statistical skills needed to analyse and understand data.

    You will be supported through your studies and will have full access support from both the academic staff and wider University support services, such as the Sum Up service for mathematics and statistics support, our Library and our Learning Development team. We understand that not all students need the same levels or types of support and our support services are primed to assist students in a flexible way.

Entry requirements

UCAS tariff

32 - 48

Candidates with formal qualifications awarded in the last three years:

For candidates with science-based Access to Higher Education diplomas: a pass in the diploma overall, with passes in the science based units therein (including GCSE English and mathematics grade C/4 or above or equivalent). For candidates that do not have a science, electrical or technology background please contact: admissions@plymouth.ac.uk for further advice.

For candidates with BTEC National modules: 18 Unit BTEC National Diploma/QCF Extended Diploma: PPP from a science related subject. 12 Unit BTEC National Certificate/QCF Diploma: MP from a science related subject. If you hold a BTEC qualification it is vital that you provide our Admissions team with details of the exact modules you have studied as part of the BTEC. Without this information we may be unable to process your application quickly and you could experience significant delays in the progress of your application to study with us. Please explicitly state the full list of modules within your qualification at the time of application.

For candidates with A levels: a minimum of 2 A levels to include at least one pass in a science subject.

For candidates with International Baccalaureate:  24 overall to include 1 subject from science – English and mathematics must be included.

For candidates with other post-GCSE qualifications such as NVQ, Level 3 is usually required. If you have GNVQ or AGNVQ, passes in science subjects are generally required.

We would usually expect GCSE English and Mathematics at grade C/4, or equivalent.

For international applicants, we require an IELTS 6.0 overall with at least 5.5 in each element.


Candidates without formal qualifications awarded in the last three years:

We particularly welcome applications from candidates returning to study, who can offer work or other related experience in lieu of formal qualifications. Therefore candidates without formal science qualifications or with non-standard qualifications are assessed on an individual basis, usually via interview. We encourage any candidate who is unsure regarding the suitability of their qualifications or experience to contact Admissions in the first instance, who will then liaise with the Admissions Tutor and Programme Lead.

For a full list of all acceptable qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary.

How to apply

All applications for undergraduate courses are made through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). 

UCAS will ask for the information contained in the box at the top of this course page including the UCAS course code and the institution code. 

To apply for this course and for more information about submitting an application including application deadline dates, please visit the UCAS website.

Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via our how to apply webpage or email international-admissions@plymouth.ac.uk.

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