Science student in lab

Life Sciences International Foundation Year

About this route

The Life Sciences International Foundation Year leads to a wide range of degrees in biology and chemistry-related subjects at the University of Surrey.

During the International Foundation Year you will study a core unit of general subject skills, and subject-specific units, which are carefully designed for your academic development.

If you need to improve your English language to reach the required level for your International Foundation Year, you can take our English Language Preparation programme.

Why study Life Sciences with us?

World-class academics
Our Life Sciences pathway leads to progression degrees in a range of exciting areas – each with their own reasons for study. Surrey’s biological degrees are accredited by the Royal Society of Biology, its chemistry degrees are vital to groundbreaking international research, and nutrition at Surrey is ranked third in the UK by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022.

Practical work experience
After gaining a solid foundation on our Life Sciences pathway, you can progress to your undergraduate degree to continue developing your academic and employability skills. One way to do this is by taking a Professional Training Year, where you’ll be able to enter the workforce and put your practical skills to the test. As well as learning even more about your future career, a Professional Training Year is an excellent addition to your CV.

Develop transferable skills

Study with classmates planning to progress onto widely different degrees within Life Sciences. This means you’ll be working with a range of different people, developing transferable skills such as teamwork, problem solving and communication — all valuable attributes when you’re working within a company setting.

Core units

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 university. Our Academic English programme is validated by UK ENIC, the UK government agency responsible for providing information and expert opinion on qualifications and skills worldwide.

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. 

Sustainable Innovation for Emerging Futures
On this Sustainable Innovation for Emerging Futures module, you will learn the skills to tackle key global sustainability issues head on in areas including food, transport, technology and healthcare. The module positions you as a key actor and helps you explore how you might respond to these generational challenges through your career and life. The module will help you see yourself as capable and responsible as you work in interdisciplinary teams to design solutions and communicate your ideas to a wider audience. This is a central part of the Learn to Innovate Curriculum and focuses on leveraging and applying disciplinary understanding to solve real-world problems. Indicative content includes sustainable solution design, project work, interdisciplinary collaboration, leveraging disciplinary understanding, using data to make informed decisions, and reflection as a key driver of development.

All students also take part in Personal Tutorials, the Student Leadership Programme and are eligible to enter the Sustainable Enterprise Competition.

Mathematics for Science

In the Mathematics for Science module you will learn to apply mathematical methods, concepts and theories in a range of scientific scenarios. You will develop your ability to approach problems analytically then select and deploy techniques to solve them using the terminology and mathematical notation needed for success in UK University study. You will be inspired by applications of your subject that have changed the world and explore real world case studies such as the innumerable applications of mathematics crucial to space telecommunication and satellites including the work of the University of Surrey’s world-class Space Centre. Indicative module content includes quadratic equations, logarithms, trigonometry, polynomial functions, differentiation and integration.

Cell Biology and Genetics

In the Cell Biology and Genetics module you will learn to identify key connections between concepts, methods and theories in biology. You will build confidence applying theories, methods and principles in biology to a variety of situations and problems, and develop the skills to discuss the significance of experimental results, find solutions and draw conclusions. You will be inspired by applications of your subject that have changed the world and explore real world case studies such the 2020 Nobel-prize-winning work on CRISPR DNA techniques that has transformed gene-editing. Indicative module content includes biochemistry and cell biology, genetics, ecology and experimental technique.

Core Chemistry

In the Core Chemistry module you will learn to solve problems and explain phenomena in chemistry drawing on the knowledge and using the accurate terminology you need for success on UK science degrees. You will build confidence communicating fundamentals scientific ideas, processes, techniques and procedures in chemistry. You will be inspired by applications of your subject that have changed the world and explore real world case studies such as the Haber-Bosch process for nitrogen fertiliser production without which the world's population could only be sustained at just over half its current level, or the PCR, which allows forensic science, genetic sequencing and innumerable medical applications. Indicative module content includes formulae, equations and moles; bonding and forces; redox; transition metals and thermodynamics.

Physiology for Life Scientists

In the Physiology for Life Scientists module you will learn how to apply knowledge of theories, methods, and models in biology to a variety of situations and problems using scientific terminology appropriate to UK University study. You will develop the skills to analyse and evaluate arguments demonstrating an awareness of key areas of debate relevant to research themes within biology. The module will motivate you and build your confidence through problem solving such that you come to see how deepening your understanding of Physiology might enable you to meaningfully innovate as a key actor, scholar and leader of tomorrow. Indicative module content includes energy transfer including glycolysis and oxidative phosphorylation; plant tropism; and physiology including nervous, musculoskeletal, endocrine, cardiovascular and immune systems.

Statistics and Analysis

In the Statistics and Analysis module you will learn how to analyse and interpret data using a variety of statistical approaches and then communicate your conclusions and reasoning. You will develop the confidence to justify the suitability of a statistical approach to a problem and explain any limitations using terminology and notation required in a UK University context. As a semester 2 module within this curriculum arc, the module includes a focus on applications, problem solving and innovation within statistics. You will be encouraged to employ critical thinking and creativity as you make links between curriculum elements and apply your learning to simplified real-world scenarios. Indicative module content includes analysing and presenting data, statistical modelling, probability and distributions, sampling and hypothesis testing.

Subject specific units

Route: Life Science

Chemistry Applied

In the Chemistry Applied module you will learn to transfer knowledge of chemistry to real-world situations with a strong fundamental understanding of how science works. You will build confidence analysing and evaluating quantitative and qualitative information to make reasoned judgements, find solutions and draw conclusions. You will be encouraged to employ critical thinking and creativity as you make links between curriculum elements and apply your learning to simplified real-world scenarios. Indicative module content includes chemical equilibria, environmental chemistry, reaction kinetics, techniques such as mass spectrometry, and reaction kinetics.

Route: Life Science with Psychology

Psychology for Life Scientists

In the Physiology for Life Scientists module you will learn how to apply knowledge of theories, methods, and models in biology to a variety of situations and problems using scientific terminology appropriate to UK University study. You will develop the skills to analyse and evaluate arguments demonstrating an awareness of key areas of debate relevant to research themes within biology. The module will motivate you and build your confidence through problem solving such that you come to see how deepening your understanding of physiology might enable you to meaningfully innovate as a key actor, scholar and leader of tomorrow. Indicative module content includes energy transfer including glycolysis and oxidative phosphorylation; plant tropism; and physiology including nervous, musculoskeletal, endocrine, cardiovascular and immune systems.

Study plans

September intake

International Foundation Year study plan

January intake

International Foundation Year study plan

Why join this November?

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

By starting the 3-term International Foundation Year 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 

This programme can lead to one of the undergraduate degrees in the table below. Grades and progression degrees are guidelines and subject to change.

All degrees listed include the option to undertake the Professional Training Year programme in year two of a four year degree. You will be able to select the option before you progress to the University. The University of Surrey will provide guidance and support in year one and two in helping you to find the right placement.

Please note: W in the above English Grade column stands for writing = 60% with min 50% in writing, 40% in all other skills.

Degree Programme NameAwardOverall GradeEnglish Grade
No Results

Please note:

There are limited places on offer for the BSc (Hons) Nutrition & Dietetics degree:

  • Suitable applicants are invited to an interview and offers are made based on your performance at interview.
  • If you are not offered a place on the Nutrition & Dietetics programme, you can progress onto the BSc Nutrition or the BSc Nutrition and Food Science programme (subject to achieving the required academic and English progression grades).

There are additional entry requirements for BVMSci Veterinary Medicine and Science:

Available for progression from both the ISC September and January/February intakes. Please note: there is a different application process dependent on the intake.

September applications:

  • Applicants wishing to be considered for Vet Med will need to submit their UCAS application by the deadline of 15th October in order to be considered.
  • 4 weeks of work experience being required prior to UCAS application.
  • An interview is also required and offers are made based on your performance at interview. If you are not offered a place on the Veterinary Medicine and Science programme, you can progress onto the Veterinary Biosciences programme (subject to achieving the required academic and English progression grades).

Students will need to fill out the Surrey Vet Med Disclaimer Form, which explains the full application process in detail, prior to receiving an offer.

January/February applications:

  • Before the International Foundation Year: students must submit evidence of UCAS application submitted by 15th October - the UCAS application must note that the student will be studying the Surrey ISC International Foundation Year from January/February and will only be available for the February interview period.

Please see the University of Surrey website or contact admissions@surrey.ac.uk to find out if you are eligible.

Key facts

Course length:
Two semesters

Entry points:
November, January and September

Age: you must be at least 17 years old to study at the International Study Centre and progress to the University.

Visit our entry requirements page for a list of academic, English language and country-specific entry requirements.

Term dates

September 2022
25/9/2022 - 2/2/2023
5/2/2023 - 1/6/2023
November 2022
27/11/2022 - 18/5/2023
21/5/2023 - 17/8/2023
January 2023
29/1/2023 - 18/5/2023
21/5/2023 - 17/8/2023
September 2023
24/9/2023 - 1/2/2024
4/2/2024 - 30/5/2024
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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.

Discover more

New November start

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

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Our prospectus is now available.

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