International Foundation in Biomedical, Life and Environmental Sciences

A quality assured course offering direct entry to the first year of your bachelor's degree at a leading university. 

Why apply for the International Foundation programme?

  • guaranteed university placement for all successful students
  • a campus based programme with access to university facilities
  • multiple start dates

There are two course options available:

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

What is special about the programme?

The Foundation leads to the award of the Foundation Certificate and combines academic study, intensive English language teaching and study skills to prepare you for entry into the first year of a university degree.

As well as a guaranteed offer from the University of Exeter for successful students and full access to all the university facilities you'll benefit from:

  • a quality assured university programme
  • full university status
  • a conditional offer of a place on the first year of a relevant undergraduate degree at the University of Exeter
  • professional support and guidance with university applications
  • the highest levels of personal care and support

You'll receive support from your tutor on personal and academic issues, including advice on your studies. The International Liaison Office will help with your application to the University of Exeter and arrange visits to your academic college, so that you can learn more about your chosen degree programme.

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?

Compulsory modules:

English Language for Academic Study

All students will study English language skills for academic study. The module provides the core skills in English needed for university-level study and runs the length of the course. 

Introduction to Biological Science

This module will provide an overview of key concepts and subjects in biology in preparation for proceeding with a degree programme in the Biological Sciences or Psychology. The module will develop your understanding of biological structures and processes from the cellular to organism to system level. Topics will include: cellular structure; DNA replication and cell division; genetics; cellular energy generation and evolution; diversity; and ecology. There will be laboratory-based sessions designed to support the taught material. 

Foundation Mathematics

This module aims to provide a foundation in mathematics for students who intend to follow a degree programme in accounting, business, economics, engineering, mathematics, psychology or science. Topics will include: geometry, logarithm and exponential functions; differentiation and integration; statistics; and using Microsoft Excel. 

Mathematics 1

This module builds on the Foundation Mathematics module to provide stronger background in areas of mathematics required for higher study of a science-based discipline. Topics will include: algebra; vectors and matrices; further geometry, differentiation and integration; and more statistics. 

Study Skills

This essential part of the curriculum will help you work in groups, present ideas, manage your time, conduct research, take lecture notes, organise the content of essays and dissertations, and understand how to evaluate your own work. 


You will also be able to choose to study one of the following:

Introduction to Chemical Sciences

This module will develop your understanding of chemical principles and processes that are relevant to everyday laboratory work. The material will start from the fundamental principles before proceeding to more complex areas. Topics will include: basic organic and inorganic chemistry; classification of organic compounds and their reactions; energy; enthalpy, and dynamic equilibrium; reaction kinetics; and spectroscopy and its interpretation. There will be additional laboratory-based sessions designed to support the taught material. 

Introduction to Psychology

This module will provide a foundation in psychological science if you wish to follow a degree programme in psychology or other disciplines at a UK university. The module will cover a range of fundamental issues and concepts drawn from general psychology with a particular emphasis on their relevance to issues that arise in everyday life. An indicative list of topics includes the following: the nature of psychology as the study of behaviour and mental processes, both normal and abnormal; theories and research methods focusing on the main perspectives - cognitive, behaviourist, Freudian and biological; the role of culture; perception, memory and intelligence; and ethical issues. 

Human Biology

This module complements the Introduction to Biological Science module, extending your knowledge of the basic physiology and functioning of human body systems. There is no practical work but you will develop your ability to interpret data. The module will prepare you for degrees in medicine, medical sciences and related disciplines. 

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed in each module. Assessment is both formative and summative, designed not simply to pass or fail students, but to help you build on our success and meet the requirements for entry to the the first year of a degree. Marks from the Foundation programme do not count towards the final degree but they help the University assess your abilities in your chosen field of study.

You are assessed by a combination of examination and course work, which may include:

  • essays
  • reports
  • practical
  • exercises
  • group and individual research projects
  • portfolios
  • oral presentations
  • seminar discussions
  • class tests
  • problem solving exercises

Through formative assessments you receive feedback on your performance which will enable you to improve before the final summative assessments.

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, including minimum Year 12 pass in maths.

To find out more about country specific entry requirements contact us now.

 English requirements:

Three term programme: IELTS 5.5 (with a minimum 5.0 in writing and 4.5 in all other subskills) or equivalent.

Four term programme: IELTS 5.0 (with a minimum of 5.0 in writing and 4.5 in all other subskills) or equivalent.

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 requirements you should apply for English for University Study.


17 years and above.

Students must turn 17 by the end of their first term of study.


When can I start?

Start date Term dates Fees
June 2016 start
(4 terms)

Term 1: Mon 27 Jun 2016 to Fri 02 Sep 2016

Term 2: Mon 19 Sep 2016 to Fri 16 Dec 2016

Term 3: Mon 16 Jan 2017 to Fri 07 Apr 2017

Term 4: Mon 24 Apr 2017 to Fri 09 Jun 2017

September 2016 start
(3 terms)

Term 1: Mon 19 Sep 2016 to Fri 16 Dec 2016

Term 2: Mon 16 Jan 2017 to Fri 07 Apr 2017

Term 3: Mon 24 Apr 2017 to Fri 09 Jun 2017

October 2016 start
(4 terms)

Term 1: Mon 03 Oct 2016 to Fri 16 Dec 2016

Term 2: Mon 09 Jan 2017 to Fri 07 Apr 2017

Term 3: Mon 24 Apr 2017 to Fri 16 Jun 2017

Term 4: Mon 26 Jun 2017 to Fri 01 Sep 2017

January 2017 start
(3 terms)

Term 1: Mon 09 Jan 2017 to Fri 07 Apr 2017

Term 2: Mon 24 Apr 2017 to Fri 16 Jun 2017

Term 3: Mon 26 Jun 2017 to Fri 01 Sep 2017


Tuition fees do not include:

  • text books and other learning materials: an additional charge in the region of £200 per academic course (3 term), £275 per academic course (4 term)
  • enrolment fee: an additional charge of £150 per academic programme (to be charged upon confirmation)
  • 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.