Science (International Foundation) January 2020 entry

The January Science International Foundation programme is an intensive, multi-discipline programme which enables students to complete their studies in time to enter university in September of the same year. The programme welcomes students in early January each year, and they have the potential to progress onto a single or joint Honours degree within the Faculty of Science.

Applications will re-open in March 2020

Applications for this course are now closed. Course information for January 2021 entry will be available on this page in March 2020 when this course will re-open for applications.

Course type

International Foundation programme

This is the University’s own pre-degree programme which prepares international students for undergraduate study in the UK, and at the University of St Andrews in particular.

Course duration

Seven months full time

Course dates

Start date: 16 January 2020
End date: 14 August 2020

This course is for:

International students who are academically able, but whose high school qualification is not recognised for application to an undergraduate degree at St Andrews. Foundation students typically use English as an additional language. 

Applicants will normally meet the following criteria:

  • be designated 'overseas' for fees purposes by the University (not 'Home/EU' or 'Rest of the UK')
  • have a national high school qualification or mixed-curricula qualifications not recognised for application to an undergraduate degree at the University of St Andrews. If you have three A Levels, the HKDSE, a full IB Diploma or any qualification type that is recognised for degree entry, you will not be eligible for an International Foundation programme, irrespective of the grades you have achieved.
  • be due to leave school soon or have left school within the past three years
  • have not previously studied on a foundation programme in the UK
  • have not previously studied at university.

Do I need to have studied this subject before?

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.

Entry requirements

Academic requirements
You should have good school leaving qualifications from your home country with an A grade average, or more than 85%, or a GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale (depending on your curriculum). 

Typical IFP academic requirements - 2020 entry (PDF)  for this programme are listed alphabetically by country. If your qualification is not shown here, please email 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. See an overview of our English language requirements for foundation applicants.

You do not need to have your result when you apply, as this can be a condition of any offer made by the University.

Application requirements
The University requires you to provide the following documents as part of your application:

  • your most recent high school transcript
  • 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
  • an academic reference from your high school on their letterhead, or from a school email
  • your IELTS (Academic) test report form.

Application deadline

The deadline for applications is 30 November 2019. You must provide your most recent high school transcript and personal statement when you first apply so that the University can consider your application. Your academic reference and your English language evidence can be provided later.

How to apply

Course information

This programme provides international students with a route onto the Science degrees at the University of St Andrews.

On the International Foundation programme for Science (January intake), you have the opportunity to take a positive step towards your goal of studying Science in the UK and understand the expectations and requirements of studying in the UK.

Students on the Science programme enjoy a friendly and supportive learning environment including experienced and expert tuition. You will study in small groups to accelerate your learning and adaptation to the new culture. A personal tutor will help you manage your time effectively and help you to become an independent and reflective learner.

As a Science foundation student you will:

  • enhance your school science for degree-level study
  • take first-year level credit-bearing modules in the sciences
  • learn to work safely in a laboratory environment
  • get to know the School you will study in before starting your degree
  • develop your English for academic purposes by writing extended, critically assessed and academically referenced essays and lab reports.


The January International Foundation programme for Science has six compulsory modules.

Four of the modules focus on the academic language and study skills you need to be successful at university; two of the modules are subject-based – either to further enhance your scientific knowledge in preparation for undergraduate study in the Faculty of Science or to enable you to meet the specific subject requirements of your intended degree programme.

For more details of each module, including weekly contact hours, teaching methods and assessment, please see the latest module catalogue which is for the 2018–2019 academic year; some elements may be subject to change for 2020 entry.

Students must take the following three modules in their first semester:

  • Spoken communication in academic contexts 1: students will learn how to communicate effectively in a number of spoken academic contexts.

  • Academic writing: aims to explore a range of academic functions, features of academic style and organisation, and academic grammar and vocabulary in order to improve your overall academic literacy. You will learn how to evaluate the reliability of texts and develop your own academic voice.
  • Science modules: students are assigned to two Faculty of Science modules, depending on their intended degree route. Students wishing to study a degree in:
    • Mathematics, will take Statistics in Practice and an introductory module on Mathematics.
    • Psychology, will take Biology 2 and an introductory module in Psychology.
    • Biology, will take Biology 1 and Fundamental Chemistry.
    • Computer Science, will take Introduction to Programming Languages and an introductory module to Mathematics.

Students will take three modules in their second semester:

  • Spoken communication in academic contexts 2: develops your presentation skills, which will be essential for your academic career and beyond.

  • Writing for Science: this module focuses on writing and critical thinking skills for Science students.
  • Science modules: students get the opportunity to continue expanding their knowledge of academic subjects, based on their degree intention. Students wishing to study a degree in:
    • Mathematics, will continue the study of Mathematics including Fundamental and Applied Mathematics.
    • Psychology, will take Psychology and a module in biology which will focus on cell biology and project work.
    • Biology, will continue to take Fundamental Chemistry and will take a module in biology which will focus on cell biology and project work.
    • Computer Science, will continue their study of Mathematics and Introduction to Programming Languages.

The modules listed here are indicative, and there is no guarantee they will run for 2020 entry. Take a look at the most up-to-date modules in the module catalogue.


Teaching format

Classes take place from Monday to Friday between 9am and 5.30pm. You will spend approximately 18 to 20 hours per week in class.

Students will experience a mixture of lectures, seminars, tutorials, classes and practicals (including in laboratories), with your maximum class size likely to be between 14 and 16 students.

Students will benefit from different teaching methods:

  • lectures and seminars
  • small group discussions or tutorials
  • independent study activities
  • project work and group work
  • guided instruction, coaching, or both
  • workshops
  • presentations
  • practice exercises
  • reflective practice
  • technology enhanced learning.


The programme includes a variety of types of assessment to give students experience of different ways of being tested:

  • presentations
  • podcasts
  • videos
  • essays
  • conducting a seminar
  • reports and written examinations.

Meet us in your country

Staff of the University of St Andrews are always pleased to meet prospective students in person. We visit many schools, colleges and higher education fairs to talk about the University and provide support and information for those thinking about applying.

Meet us in your country

If you are interested in studying at St Andrews, join us on a talk and tour to explore the town and find out about the courses and opportunities we offer.

Talk and tour


Combined fee

The International Foundation programme offers an all-inclusive fee package which covers all the major costs of the foundation year so that there are no hidden extra costs. 

2020-entry fees: £26,250 

The all-inclusive fee package includes:

  • tuition
  • accommodation, including a bedding pack
  • a meal plan with 14 meals per week
  • access to all University facilities
  • a transfer from Edinburgh or Glasgow airport, or Leuchars train station, when you first arrive
  • the use of course books, handouts and other course materials
  • laboratory coats and dissection kits, if required
  • 24-hour emergency phone number
  • programme-led and seasonal social events.


Kinnessburn Scholarship

For students moving from a foundation programme to a degree at St Andrews.

Students who successfully complete the International Foundation programme with a distinction grade and move onto a degree at St Andrews are eligible to apply for the Kinnessburn Scholarship. This scholarship is awarded to one student annually in June and provides a partial fee waiver for each year of study on an undergraduate programme at St Andrews.


The fee package for the International Foundation programme includes catered accommodation, which the University arranges on your behalf so you do not need to apply for accommodation.

All foundation students are allocated a room in David Russell Apartments (DRA). In each apartment, there are five study bedrooms, each with its own private shower and toilet, and a shared living space and fully equipped kitchen.

Bedding pack

A bedding pack will be delivered to David Russell Apartments, for each foundation student. The bedding pack is for a standard double bed (UK size) and contains:

  • one duvet (10.5 tog)
  • one duvet cover
  • one flat sheet
  • two pillows
  • two pillowcases.


Foundation programme students are on a catered meal plan that gives them 14 meals per week during the semester.

Breakfast and an evening meal are served every weekday; breakfast and lunch are served on Saturdays and Sundays.

See a sample menu for the 14-meal plan.

Your future

To progress onto a degree in the Faculty of Science at the University of St Andrews, students must successfully complete the January Science International Foundation programme by achieving a final overall grade of 11.0 or above on the University's 20-point scale. Successful students will be able to study a degree programme related to their subject choices on the foundation programme.

Popular degree options for students on the January Science foundation programme include:

Second year entry to School of Mathematics

January Science foundation students who studied Mathematics during their foundation programme will be considered for second-year entry to a single Honours degree in the School of Mathematics if they achieve the following grades:

  • final overall grade of 11.0 or above in the International Foundation programme for Science - January entry
  • a grade of 14.0 or above in Mathematics
  • a grade of 14.0 or above in Statistics in Practice

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.


International Foundation programmes

International Education Institute
University of St Andrews
Kennedy Gardens
St Andrews 
KY16 9DJ

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 2255

International Education Institute website