A student using a laboratory.

International Foundation Year in Sciences

A pathway programme leading to undergraduate science and research degrees

The International Foundation Year in Sciences prepares you for science-related undergraduate degrees.

This one-year programme is split into two routes:

  • Engineering, Physical and Mathematical route
  • Life Sciences and the Environment route.

Key facts

Course length: Two semesters
Entry points: November, January or September
Age: 17+

See entry requirements

Check fees

What you will study

The programme consists of core and pathway-specific modules. Your core modules will improve your academic and English language skills. The pathway-specific modules will go into more depth about the field of your undergraduate degree.

Engineering, Physical and Mathematical route

Collaborative Research Skills

In this module, you will be teamed up across all Foundation year programme pathways to enhance the understanding and contribution of all subject areas. Collaborative Research Skills is designed for you to partake in six skills which were identified as essential for the diversification of your knowledge: independent enquiry, creative thinking, reflective learning, team working, self-management, and effective participation. The skills will be distributed throughout the semesters and taught through the topical structure of the module; you will be placed in teams in such a way that each team has a variety of pathways represented, which will encourage the amalgamation of thoughts and ideas. 

Academic English Skills

Academic English Skills aims to provide thorough training in the language and related academic skills which will enable international students to best achieve their academic potential at the Royal Holloway University London.

You will develop awareness and competency in a range of language-related academic skills, including the processes of academic writing, effective and extensive reading strategies, effective participation in seminars and delivery of presentations, and listening to and recording information effectively from lectures. You will also develop the accuracy and range of written and spoken language required to use language effectively and appropriately, with clarity and confidence in an academic context.

Alongside your classes, your studies will be supported by an online learning platform, providing you with a range of tasks and activities specifically designed to develop and extend your language and academic skills outside the classroom and to give you more control over your own learning.

Programming

It is possible to say that programming is a combination of mathematics, logical thinking, problem solving and specialised knowledge (the programming language). 

The basic concept of programming consists of breaking down sophisticated ‘raw’ real world problems in the form of logical steps, and small algorithms that will provide a solution to the problem on its execution. This may often require idealisations of real-life situations to simplify the problem and make it possible to solve. 

The module is focused on two important pillars: Decision mathematics and Python Programming. 

Decision mathematics has become popular in recent decades because of its applications to business and computer science. We will study modelling of many real-world situations using graphs or networks and algorithms. We will study mathematical methods to help with decision making for developing effective and efficient algorithms. Decision mathematics is a very good tool for improving reasoning, logical thinking and problem-solving capabilities. 

In Python programming, we will study ways to transform pseudocode and algorithms to machine executable code. We will learn about basic concepts of Python, procedural programming, and applications of programming in real world examples.  Knowledge of programming provides you with the necessary tools for developing solutions to problems in a wide range of academic fields from the physical and engineering sciences to the humanities, as well as within business, government and industry. 

Pure Maths

This module is taught as a pathway specific core module on the Sciences, Engineering, Physical and Mathematical pathway of the International Foundation Year. The overall aim of this programme is to develop the language, subject specific and academic study skills of overseas students from a wide range of countries and educational systems and so enable them to acquire the appropriate backgrounds, skills and cultural awareness to progress with confidence onto their chosen first-degree course at Royal Holloway within the School of Engineering, Physical and Mathematical Sciences.   

Candidates are taught to recall mathematical facts, concepts and techniques as and when needed. They develop knowledge of the applications of calculus. The delivery of the topics in this course underpins the knowledge required in their first year at the university and is applicable to a range of undergraduate degrees in sciences and engineering. 

The module focuses on developing students' knowledge and understanding of mathematical concepts, processes, techniques, and procedures in theoretical and practical contexts. It is hoped that through studying this module, students will be able to analyse and interpret the depth of mathematics needed to solve mathematical and real-life situations. Additionally, like their other  modules, this module aims to develop independent learning, self-management, and group study skills. 

Physics

This module is taught as a pathway specific core module on the Sciences, Engineering, Physical and Mathematical pathway of the International Foundation Year. The overall aim of this programme is to develop your language, subject specific and academic study skills to enable you to acquire the appropriate backgrounds, skills and cultural awareness to progress with confidence onto their chosen first-degree course at Royal Holloway within the School of Engineering, Physical and Mathematical Sciences.   

More specifically, this module focuses on developing your basic knowledge of Physics, so that you may apply the knowledge to real situations, while facilitating your formative development by broadening your knowledge base, deepening your understanding of the topics studied and practising appropriate study skills, to include practical work and problem solving. Additionally, like your other modules, this module aims to develop your independent study skills, use of IT, group work and effective note taking. 

Applied Mathematics

The Applied Maths module is one of four academic modules studied by learners on the Sciences, Engineering, Physical and Mathematical pathway of the International Foundation Year. 

This module provides you with the statistical knowledge and tool kit that will be complementary to the other core modules studied (Pure Maths, Physics, and Programming).   

On successfully completing the module you will be equipped with knowledge and understanding that will assist you in your future studies by pursuing a degree course in the School of Engineering, Physical and Mathematical Sciences.

Life Sciences and the Environment route

Collaborative Research Skills

In this module, you will be teamed up across all Foundation year programme pathways to enhance the understanding and contribution of all subject areas. Collaborative Research Skills is designed for you to partake in six skills which were identified as essential for the diversification of your knowledge: independent enquiry, creative thinking, reflective learning, team working, self-management, and effective participation. The skills will be distributed throughout the semesters and taught through the topical structure of the module; you will be placed in teams in such a way that each team has a variety of pathways represented, which will encourage the amalgamation of thoughts and ideas. 

Academic English Skills

Academic English Skills aims to provide thorough training in the language and related academic skills which will enable international students to best achieve their academic potential at the Royal Holloway University London.

You will develop awareness and competency in a range of language-related academic skills, including the processes of academic writing, effective and extensive reading strategies, effective participation in seminars and delivery of presentations, and listening to and recording information effectively from lectures. You will also develop the accuracy and range of written and spoken language required to use language effectively and appropriately, with clarity and confidence in an academic context.

Alongside your classes, your studies will be supported by an online learning platform, providing you with a range of tasks and activities specifically designed to develop and extend your language and academic skills outside the classroom and to give you more control over your own learning.

Biology

This module will encourage you to develop an interest in biology and support further study of the subject. You will also develop and demonstrate an appreciation of the skills, knowledge and understanding of biology and develop key knowledge and understanding of different areas of the subject and how they relate to each other. Students who successfully complete this module will be equipped with the skills that help them pursue degrees in the School of Life Sciences and the Environment. 

You will cultivate your understanding of biology with the aid of laboratory investigations as you explore the following topics: the unit of life, the molecules of life, cellular processes, enzymes, cell recognition, systems of life in plants and in animals, energy systems in plants and animals.

Core Maths 1

This course includes units reviewing basic arithmetic concepts important in science and algebra to generalise and solve problems. Graphical concepts will be introduced that support business decisions. Finally, you will be introduced to basic calculus methods to enable problem solving and decision making.

Chemistry

This module will provide a foundation in Chemistry to prepare student for further study in Chemistry, related disciplines or in degrees related offered in the school of Life Sciences and Environment. Through the study of this module, students will develop their knowledge and understanding of the concepts of formulae, equations and moles; atomic structure; thermodynamics and bonding. 

Core Maths 2

The module will take you through the practical aspects of collecting and representing data visually and numerically to enable interpretation and extrapolation. You will be introduced to theoretical probability and both discrete and continuous probability distributions and learn how to make decisions. Your knowledge of scatter graphs will be refined to enable correlation and regression analysis.

Environmental Science

This module will complement the other science modules offered on the Life Sciences and Environment pathway. It will stimulate your understanding of energy flow in photosynthesis and other biological and chemical cycles within the environment. Due to the Climate Emergency of our present age, this module will be able to draw on the public science discourse that attends to environmental matters and thus engage you in topical current affairs. It will also offer you an insight into the social and public dimension of scientific work, while deepening your knowledge and understanding of approaching the natural and lived environment through a scientific lens.  

Psychology

This module aims to provide you with an understanding of concepts, methodology and practical and ethical issues relevant to the study of Psychology. Such focus will allow you to develop independent study skills in research, group work and effective note taking. The main focus of study is on the various approaches to the subject in general terms, but you will have the opportunity to deepen your theoretical understanding and knowledge of psychological research.

On successful completion of the module, you will be able to: explain in general terms key concepts and theories underpinning the main approaches to studying Psychology; describe the strengths and weaknesses of a range of research methods in Psychology; critically evaluate key empirical and theoretical studies in core areas of Psychology and evaluate the contributions made by different approaches to the study of Psychology

Why join this November?

Join us in November and stay on track to progress to your degree in September 2023.

By starting in November, you will benefit from three additional weeks of study and life skills before commencing your main pathway programme in January 2023. There will be no additional tuition fee for this period, and this will provide you with a great opportunity for an enhanced student experience focusing on three key areas: orientation; practical support and academic and digital skills. Topics will include a digital skills health check; managing your money; practical tips on finding study and life balance; and an introduction to assessments in UK higher education.   

What will I study in the additional three weeks?  

You’ll benefit from a 15-hour per week face-to-face classes, allowing you to:

  • feel more confident and better prepared for the start of your January programme of study
  • practice your English by interacting with the fellow students and build friendships
  • assess your own digital skills proficiency
  • meet the key Centre staff who will provide advice for success
  • familiarise yourselves with the support available
  • apply a range of academic study skills to meet your individual needs
  • have more time to adapt to the UK life and settle in before you begin your January programme.

Are there any additional cost or fees?

There will be no additional tuition fee, as November starts will have the same tuition fee as the respective January programme. However, there will be additional costs to consider, as expected with being in the UK for a longer period (i.e. accommodation). If you request accommodation on your application form, our Central Student Support Team will contact you directly in October regarding the options available.

Progression degrees

You can continue your studies at Royal Holloway as an undergraduate when you successfully complete your International Foundation Year. This means achieving the required grades for progression. Our staff can tell you what they are closer to finishing your programme because the requirements might change.

You can study one of the following undergraduate degrees:

Engineering, Physical and Mathematical route

Degree Programme NameAwardOverall GradeEnglish Grade
No Results

Life Sciences and the Environment route

Degree Programme NameAwardOverall GradeEnglish Grade
No Results

Duration of the degree

The following degrees run for a duration of four years:

  • MEng Electronic Engineering
  • BEng Electronic Engineering with a Year in Industry (available with integrated year in business degree option)
  • BSc Computer Science (Year in Industry)
  • BSc Computer Science Artificial Intelligence (Year in Industry)
  • BSc Computer Science Information Security (Year in Industry)
  • BSc Computer Science Software Engineering (Year in Industry)
  • BSc Environmental Geology with a Year in Industry
  • BSc Geology with a Year in Industry

The following degrees run for a duration of five years:

  • MEng Electronic Engineering with a Year in Industry (available with integrated year in business degree option)

Term dates

November 2022
27/11/2022 - 4/5/2023
7/5/2023 - 17/8/2023
January 2023
8/1/2023 - 4/5/2023
7/5/2023 - 17/8/2023
September 2023
24/9/2023 - 15/2/2024
18/2/2024 - 13/6/2024

Royal Holloway ranked 13th in the UK for Geography & Environmental Science

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021

New November start

If you want to be better prepared for the start of your January programme of study, join us in November.

Graduate throwing their cap in the air

Prepare for success

5 weeks before your selected course you will be automatically enrolled in our Prepare for Success online programme in order to help you get everything you need.

Explore the course

Careers after graduation

As a science graduate, you can become a professional in:

  • Actuarial science
  • Environmental science
  • Geo-engineering
  • Media
  • Product management
  • Psychology
  • Software engineering.