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International Foundation Programme for Science

Students on this programme experience university teaching and research from the first day of their studies. You will attend lectures and practical laboratory sessions in the Science Schools combined with classes to develop your skills. The programme has a high success rate, and graduates of the programme have gone on to study for degrees at St Andrews and other top UK universities.

Academically able international students (not from the EU/UK) whose high school qualifications are not recognised for application to an undergraduate degree at St Andrews. Applicants should be due to leave school soon or have left school within the past 12 to 24 months and have not yet studied at university.

Applicants must have studied sciences at school and be able to offer strong grades in any subjects that are relevant to their intended degree. For example, Maths if you wish to study Computer Science, Physics if you plan to study Astronomy, or Chemistry if would like to do Biology.

A human in front of an image of the Universe

The Science programme has evolved to meet international students’ needs, and is designed to help them function effectively as undergraduates. The course aims to ensure that students develop the analytical approach to learning which is required in a British university. The structure of the programme provides students with a great deal of support in the first semester when it is most needed, but progressively enables students to work independently and collaboratively as they will do on their degree programmes.

The International Foundation for Science programme offers an intensive route into a wide range of degree programmes in the sciences. Depending on your intended degree, you will join science modules with first-year students from the beginning of the programme, and if successful you may be able to progress directly onto Year 2 of your chosen degree.

Foundation programme classes integrate your science and English language learning through their focus on writing laboratory reports, structuring essays, critical thinking and scientific methods of investigation.

Semester 1

Students must take the following three modules in Semester 1:

  • Academic Language and Study Skills for Science A: improves students' abilities to research and present their ideas accurately in both writing and speaking.
  • Science module A: depending on their intended degree, students are assigned to one science-related subject from the following:
    • Statistics
    • Fundamental Chemistry
    • Mathematics A
    • Psychology A

Students will also prepare an academic essay as part of the IFP Science module A.

  • Faculty of Science module: students are assigned to one of the following modules, depending on their intended degree route:
    • Biology/Neuroscience/Psychology: BL1101 Biology 1A
    • Chemistry: CH1401 Physical and Inorganic Chemistry
    • Computer Science: CS1002 Object-oriented Programming
    • Earth Science: ES1001 Planet Earth
    • Geography: GG1002 Welcome to the Anthropocene
    • Mathematics / Statistics: MT1002 Mathematics
    • Physics: PH1011 Physics 1A 

Semester 2

In Semester 2, you will study three modules:

  • Academic Language and Study Skills for Science B: builds on the skills developed in the Language and Study Skills for Science module A.
  • Science module B: depending on their intended degree, students are assigned to one science-related subject from the following:
    • Economics
    • Physiology
    • Mathematics B
    • Psychology B
    • Fundamental Mathematics

Students will also prepare an academic essay as part of the IFP Science module B.

  • Faculty of Science module: students are assigned to one of the following preparatory modules, depending on their intended degree route:
    • Biology/Chemistry: CH1601 Organic and Biological Chemistry
    • Computer Science: CS1003 Programming with Data
    • Earth Science: ES1002 Earth Resources and Environment
    • Geography: GG1002 A World in Crisis
    • Mathematics: MT1003 Pure and Applied Mathematics or
    • Statistics: MT1007 Statistics in Practice
    • Neuroscience/Psychology: PS1002 Psychology 2
    • Physics: PH1012 Physics 1B

Academic requirement

Our typical academic requirements (PDF, 544 KB) are listed alphabetically by country. If your qualification is not shown here, please email for details about the grades needed from your high school system.

You can demonstrate that you have met the academic requirement with a high school transcript from your final year at school. Any high school qualification you use as evidence of your academic ability should be dated within the previous two years.

You should apply before your final results are available as the University can make you a conditional offer based on your past exam performance and predicted grades.

English language requirement

An IELTS (Academic) test report form with a minimum of 6.0 overall and no component score below 5.0.

If you require a visa, your IELTS test must be for UKVI purposes. For an overview of our English language requirements for foundation applicants, please see our pre-degree page.

Other requirements

  • an academic reference from your high school and on their letterhead
  • a personal statement outlining why you wish to study Science at St Andrews and reflecting on your life and learning experiences to explain why you feel you would be successful on this programme.

All applicants who are made an offer will be invited for interview, either by video call or in person (in the UK or their home country).



In order to progress onto a degree at the University of St Andrews, students must successfully complete the International Foundation programme by achieving a final overall grade of 14.0 or above on the University’s 20-point scale. Other specific progression requirements are provided in the course handbook at the start of the programme.

Students have the option to progress onto a single honours degree or a limited number of joint honours degrees. Popular degree options for students on the Science programme include:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science
  • Earth Sciences
  • Mathematics
  • Psychology.

Students who have high enough grades in their science modules can apply to enter the second year of their degree in the Faculty of Science. The grades required are subject-specific, but the majority of our graduates (around 70%) do enter Year 2 at St Andrews.

Students who pass the foundation programme but do not stay in St Andrews are advised and assisted with applications to other institutions in the UK.

Accommodation is included in the International Foundation Programme’s fee package.

Foundation students are allocated a room in a David Russell Apartments (DRA), just a 10-15 minute walk from the Centre for International Foundation Programmes. In each apartment there is a shared kitchen and living space and 5 bedrooms (typically same gender, all foundation students), each with a shower-room and study area.

Bedding pack

A bedding pack is available for collection at David Russell Apartments when students check-in. The bedding pack contains:

  • One duvet (10.5 tog)
  • One duvet cover
  • One flat sheet
  • Two pillows
  • Two pillowcases.


Foundation programme students have a meal plan giving them 14 meals per week during semester (i.e. not during University vacations).

  • Monday to Friday: students are provided with breakfast and an evening meal.
  • Saturday and Sunday: Students are served breakfast and lunch.

See sample menus for the 14-meal plan at David Russell Apartments.

Apply for 2019-20

Apply for the Science programme starting in September 2019.

Deadline for applications: 30 June 2019.


Start date: Monday 09 September 2019
End date: Friday 29 May 2020

Fees: The all-inclusive fee package for 2019-20 is £27,300. This includes tuition fees, accommodation and meals. For further information see our Fee Package.

Meet us in your country

Programme Director: Ally Malcolm-Smith

English Language Teaching
Kennedy Gardens
St Andrews
KY16 9DJ
Scotland, United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (1334) 462255
Fax:+44 (1334) 462270