International Foundation in Biological and Biomedical Sciences

High-quality preparation for entry to the first year of your undergraduate degree.

State-of-the-art laboratories, combined with learning- enhancing excursions and field trips, ensure you have everything you need to maximise your success.

Why apply for the International Foundation programme?

  • guaranteed university placement for all successful students
  • a quality assured university programme
  • full university student status and access to university facilities

There are two course options available:

  • International Foundation (3 terms) – this is the standard option
  • Extended International Foundation (4 terms) – this features an additional term of English at the beginning for extra language support

What's special about this programme?

  • guaranteed university placement for all successful students
  • full university status
  • a quality assured university programme
  • a campus based programme with access to university facilities
  • a conditional offer of a place on the first year of a relevant undergraduate degree at Newcastle University
  • multiple start dates
  • the highest levels of personal care and support

Teaching methods

For each subject there will be a mixture of lectures, seminars, practicals, computing sessions and study clinics where you receive one-to-one support. Your studies are supported by individual help from peer tutors as well as a personal tutor, who will give constructive feedback and tips on how to improve your study techniques. Field trips will provide vital experience in practical information gathering to provide material for discussion during seminars.

Who should apply for the International Foundation programme?

If you have completed secondary school education in your home country, the International Foundation programme provides academic preparation for first year entry and ensures that you meet the minimum English language requirement for entry to your chosen undergraduate degree programme. In some circumstances you may be able to enrol on the Foundation programme in order to change your specialist subject.

What will I study?

You will study the following modules:

English for Academic Purposes

This module is designed to help you develop your skills and confidence in academic English. Four key skill areas are covered: reading, writing, listening, and speaking, and all are developed in an integrated and task-oriented way. The module will encourage you to take responsibility for your learning and a lot of emphasis is placed on private study, student research, student-led presentations, seminar discussions, e-learning and group work.

Study Skills and ICT

This module is designed to help you adjust to the specific nature, demands and expectations of UK higher education. The skills covered will include: taking notes in lectures and making notes from texts; library and information skills; using and interpreting data; planning, preparing and checking assignments; team-working skills; oral presentation skills; seminar skills; examination and revision techniques; proofreading; using dictionaries and academic reference books; and information literacy and time management. In addition, you will develop competence in core ICT skills including the use of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, graphs and interpreting data, and web-based learning systems.

Mathematics and Statistics

This module builds on basic mathematical knowledge to prepare you in areas of mathematics and statistics required in biological sciences and some physical sciences (excluding mathematics, physics, chemistry and engineering). The module covers mathematics, from basic algebra through to an introduction to differential and integral calculus, while the statistics covered focuses on key data handling, presentation and analysis skills.

Foundation Physics

This module builds on basic physics knowledge to develop the descriptive and mathematical understanding of principles required for studying physical sciences and engineering at higher levels. The module combines theoretical principles, practical applications and laboratory work.

Foundation Chemistry

You will be expected to have a basic grounding in chemistry. This module develops the concepts in physical, inorganic and organic chemistry required for studying at degree level in physical sciences, engineering or biological sciences. It also includes laboratory and project work to supplement theoretical studies.

Foundation Biology

These modules provide an introduction to cell biology to give you a strong understanding of the processes involved in cellular life and their roles in the function, reproduction and development of living organisms. Topics include enzymes, biochemistry of energy production, molecular genetics and genetics of inheritance. It combines theoretical, laboratory and case-study work. Your learning experience is also supplemented with field trips to the Centre for Life and Newcastle University’s Electron Microscopy Unit.


How will I be assessed?

Entry to all honours degrees at Newcastle University is highly competitive, and students hoping to progress to Newcastle must maintain high standards throughout their programme.

Whilst your grades in the Foundation programme do not count towards the final degree, your performance will be used to determine whether you meet the specified progression grades for direct entry to your chosen degree at the University. Assessment is both formal and informal.

Informally you will be given advice and feedback throughout your programme from your teachers. You will also be assessed via a combination of examinations at the end of each semester and coursework including

  • written essays
  • reports
  • field notebooks
  • practical exercises
  • group and individual research projects
  • bibliographical searches
  • oral and video presentations
  • problem solving

How do I qualify?

Academic requirements:

You need to have completed 12 years of schooling (or the local equivalent to meet the same standard) with very good grades.   

For information about country-specific entry requirements please contact us.

English requirements:

Three term: a minimum of IELTS 5.5 (with a minimum of 4.5 in any subskill) or an equivalent score 

Four term: a minimum of IELTS 5.0 (with a minimum of 4.5 in all subskills) or an equivalent score 

From 6 April 2015, the Centre can only accept a UKVI approved IELTS test for this course. Read more about UKVI IELTS or contact us for more details.

If you do not meet the minimum English language level you can apply for our Academic English course.


17 years and above 

All students commencing courses on a published September start date must be 17 years old by 31 December of that calendar year. For all other start dates, students must be 17 years old on the published start date of the course.

When can I start?


Start date Term dates Fees

July 2017 start
(4 term)

Term 1: Mon 03 Jul 2017 to Fri 08 Sep 2017

Term 2: Mon 25 Sep 2017 to Fri 15 Dec 2017

Term 3: Mon 08 Jan 2018 to Fri 23 Mar 2018

Term 4: Mon 09 Apr 2018 to Fri 15 Jun 2018


September 2017 start
(3 term)

Term 1: Mon 25 Sep 2017 to Fri 15 Dec 2017

Term 2: Mon 08 Jan 2018 to Fri 23 Mar 2018

Term 3: Mon 09 Apr 2018 to Fri 15 Jun 2018


September 2017 start
(4 term)

Term 1: Mon 25 Sep 2017 to Fri 15 Dec 2017

Term 2: Mon 08 Jan 2018 to Fri 23 Mar 2018

Term 3: Mon 09 Apr 2018 to Fri 15 Jun 2018

Term 4: Mon 18 Jun 2018 to Fri 07 Sep 2018


January 2018 start
(3 term)

Term 1: Mon 08 Jan 2018 to Fri 23 Mar 2018

Term 2: Mon 09 Apr 2018 to Fri 15 Jun 2018

Term 3: Mon 18 Jun 2018 to Fri 07 Sep 2018


Tuition fees do not include:

  • enrolment fee - an additional charge of £150 per academic programme (to be charged upon confirmation)
  • text books - an additional charge in the region of £210 per academic course (3 terms), £270 per academic course (4 terms)
  • lab fee - an additional £400 per year fee to cover the use of laboratory facilities (only applicable to science-based courses)


Is accommodation included in the fees?

Accommodation is not included in the fees. View our accommodation options.

How do I pay?

You can pay by bank transfer or by credit card. Please contact us for bank transfer details.

What's the difference between the 3 and 4 term course?

The Extended International Foundation 4-term course has an additional term of English at the beginning and will typically have a lower English language entry requirement.

How do I apply?

You can apply online or by post. Find out more about how to apply.

Where will it take me?

Our progression guarantee:

We guarantee to find you a place to study on an appropriate degree and university if you successfully complete your International Foundation programme, follow professional advice offered by INTO staff and meet minimum attendance requirements.

As a successful pathway student, you’ll have access to a number of university progression options. Each progression option will follow a specific pathway and specific requirements for both English/study skills and overall grade. You’ll also find some courses have specific requirements, such as:

  • successfully completing an interview;
  • having previously studied a relevant discipline;
  • having previously completed a degree; or
  • having IELTS 6.0 or equivalent in English language.
Top 10 in the UK for Biomedical Sciences (Subjects Allied to Medicine)
(The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017)

This course leads to the following undergraduate degree at Newcastle University:

Agriculture, Food and Rural Development

BSc (Hons) Agri-Business Management

BSc (Hons) Agriculture with final year options in Agronomy, Farm Business Management and Animal Production Science

BSc (Hons) Animal Science

BSc (Hons) Environmental Science

BSc (Hons) Food and Human Nutrition (Placement year)

BSc (Hons) Food Marketing and Nutrition

BSc (Hons) Nutrition and Psychology

Biomedical Sciences

BSc (Hons) Biochemistry

MSci (Hons) Biochemistry (Integrated Master's)

BSc (Hons) Biomedical Genetics

MSci (Hons) Biomedical Genetics (Integrated Master's)

BSc (Hons) Biomedical Sciences

MSci (Hons) Biomedical Sciences (Integrated Master's)

BSc (Hons) Exercise Biomedicine

BSc (Hons) Medical Science (Deferred choice)

BSc (Hons) Pharmacology

BSc (Hons) Physiological Sciences

MPharm (Hons) Pharmacy

BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Sciences


BSc (Hons) Psychology


BSc (Hons) Biology

BSc (Hons) Biology (Cell and Molecular Biology)

BSc (Hons) Biology (Cell and Molecular Biology) with Industrial Placement

BSc (Hons) Biology and Psychology

BSc (Hons) Ecology and Environmental Biology

BSc (Hons) Zoology


BSc (Hons) Chemistry

MChem (Hons) Chemistry

BSc (Hons) Chemistry (with Industrial Training Year)

MChem (Hons) Chemistry (with Industrial Training Year)

BSc (Hons) Chemistry (with Medicinal Chemistry)

MChem (Hons) Chemistry (with Medicinal Chemistry)

BSc (Hons) Chemistry with Medicinal Chemistry (with Industrial Training Year)

MChem (Hons) Chemistry with Medicinal Chemistry (with Industrial Training) 

Marine Sciences

BSc (Hons) Marine Biology

BSc (Hons) Marine Zoology

BSc (Hons) Marine Biology and Oceanography

General, UK and China enquiries: +44 (0)1273 876 040 [email protected]
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