Science (International Foundation) September 2019 entry

Students on the Science International Foundation programme experience university teaching and research from the first day of their studies. Based on your intended degree subject, you will typically study subject combinations including molecular and cellular biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics and statistics, Earth sciences, geography, computer science, and psychology.

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 the University of St Andrews and other top UK universities.

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

Nine months full time

Course dates

Start date: 9 September 2019
End date: 29 May 2020

This course is for:

International students (not from the UK or EU) who are academically able but 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 should have left school within the past 18 months and have not yet studied at college or 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, Physics if you plan to study Astronomy, or Chemistry if would like to do Biology.

Entry requirements

Academic requirements
Typical academic requirements (PDF)  for this programme 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. 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 Sunday 30 June 2019. You must provide your 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.

Course information

The Science programme is designed to help international students 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 the second year 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.


The International Foundation programme for Science has six compulsory modules, three in each semester. Two of the modules cover the academic language and study skills you need to be successful at university; four 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.

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 Science module A.

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

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 2019 entry.

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 Science module B.

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

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 2019 entry.

The modules listed here are indicative, and there is no guarantee they will run for 2019 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 21 hours per week in class. During this time, you will experience a mixture of lectures, seminars, tutorials, classes and practicals (including in laboratories).

The academic modules and lectures may have more than 100 students in them. The class size in the other modules is likely to be between 14 and 16 students.

Students taking Earth Sciences and Geography will attend field trips; one of the Earth Sciences field trips is residential and takes place in March.

As well as your timetabled classes, you will be expected to complete at least a further 20 hours of study each week. As a fully matriculated student, you have access to the University’s libraries and study areas, but you will also work within the University's online learning environment (known as Moodle).

The University’s student services team can help students who have additional needs resulting from disabilities, long-term medical conditions or learning disabilities. More information can be found on the students with disabilities web page.


There are assessments as part of each module. These include:

  • tests
  • academic essays
  • integrated skills exams (which include listening, reading and writing on a topic)
  • leading and participating in seminars
  • a presentation
  • lab or field trip reports
  • end of module examinations.

The grade from each module contributes to the final grade. Each module is equally weighted.

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. 

2019-entry fees: £27,300 

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 an International Foundation programme to a degree at the University of St Andrews.

Students who successfully complete the International Foundation programme with a distinction grade and move onto a degree at the University of 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 the University.


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

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:

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 (around 70%) of graduates from the Science International Foundation programmes do enter second year at the University of 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.


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