International Foundation in Engineering, Mathematics, Computer Science and Physical Sciences

Offering direct entry into the first year of a university degree in a range of subjects such as engineering, mathematics, applied geology, renewable energy and physics.

Why apply for the International Foundation programme?

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 conditional 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
  • 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.

Teaching methods

You will benefit from use of the University’s workshop facilities, such as tensile testing and the electronic labs, for practical work. Some modules are also taught in INTO’s own laboratories. Day trips are also organised to see engineering in action, with recent trips including a guided tour of Bloodhound SSC, and a Formula Student event at Silverstone race track.

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.

Foundation Mathematics

Learn the foundation of mathematics, ideal for degrees 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

Build on the Foundation Mathematics module to provide stronger background in the 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.

Introduction to Physical Science

This module will provide an introduction to the fundamental concepts of physical science, providing a foundation for further study of materials, structures, mechanics and electronics at a level necessary to commence an Engineering degree. You will develop an understanding of the fundamentals of physics and the interrelationship between atomic structure and the properties of matter and how to apply these concepts to the analysis of mechanical, electrical and thermal problems. There will be laboratory-based sessions designed to support the taught material.

Study Skills

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


You will also be able to study following optional module:

Introduction to Computer Science

The basis for degrees that involve computing, the course has been designed to be relevant to modern computing with an emphasis on how computers are used in today’s world. Topics will include: the history of computing; operating systems; programs and applications; databases; communications; networks; the internet; clients and servers; HTML and safety; and security and encryption. Ethical issues of the web will be considered. Practical sessions will include: file system navigation; use of the command prompt; applications (emphasis on human computer interaction); a database project; and writing web pages.

Mathematics 2

This module aims to introduce some of the topics in areas of mathematics that you will meet when studying in higher scientific disciplines, as well as to provide necessary background knowledge for studying mathematics at a higher level. It follows on from topics covered in Mathematics 1. Topics will include: more trigonometry; further differentiation and integration; complex numbers; and mechanics. 


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 5.0 in writing and 4.5 in all other subskills) or equivalent.

Four term programme: IELTS 5.0 (with 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 level you can apply for our Academic English course.


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
July 2017 start
(4 terms)

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

Term 2: Mon 18 Sep 2017 to Fri 15 Dec 2017 

Term 3: Mon 15 Jan 2018 to Thu 29 Mar 2018 

Term 4: Mon 16 Apr 2018 to Fri 08 Jun 2018 

September 2017 start
(3 terms)

Term 1: Mon 18 Sep 2017 to Fri 15 Dec 2017 

Term 2: Mon 15 Jan 2018 to Thu 29 Mar 2018 

Term 3: Mon 16 Apr 2018 to Fri 08 Jun 2018 

October 2017 start
(4 terms)

Term 1: Mon 02 Oct 2017 to Fri 15 Dec 2017 

Term 2: Mon 08 Jan 2018 to Thu 29 Mar 2018 

Term 3: Mon 16 Apr 2018 to Fri 15 Jun 2018 

Term 4: Mon 25 Jun 2018 to Fri 31 Aug 2018 

January 2018 start
(3 terms)

Term 1: Mon 08 Jan 2018 to Thu 29 Mar 2018 

Term 2: Mon 16 Apr 2018 to Fri 15 Jun 2018 

Term 3: Mon 25 Jun 2018 to Fri 31 Aug 2018 


Tuition fees do not include:

  • text books and other learning materials: an additional charge in the region of £210 per academic course (3 term), £290 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.

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.
20th in the UK for Computer Science
(The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017)

This course also leads to the following undergraduate degrees at the University of Exeter:

College of Engineering, Maths and Physical Sciences

BSc (Hons) Applied Geology

MGeol (Hons) Applied Geology

BEng (Hons) Civil Engineering

MEng (Hons) Civil and Environmental Engineering

BSc (Hons) Computer Science

MSci (Hons) Computer Science

BSc (Hons) Computer Science and Mathematics

MSci (Hons) Computer Science and Mathematics

BEng (Hons) Electronic Engineering

MEng (Hons) Electronic Engineering

BEng (Hons) Electronic Engineering and Computer Science

MEng (Hons) Electronic Engineering and Computer Science

BEng (Hons) Engineering and Management

MEng (Hons) Engineering and Management

BEng (Hons) Engineering

MEng (Hons) Engineering

BEng (Hons) Materials Engineering

MEng (Hons) Materials Engineering

BSc (Hons) Mathematics

MMath (Hons) Mathematics

MSci (Hons) Mathematics, Business and Finance

BSc (Hons) Mathematics with Accounting

BSc (Hons) Mathematics with Economics

BSc (Hons) Mathematics with Finance

BSc (Hons) Mathematics with Management

MSci (Hons) Mathematics (Climate Science)

MSci (Hons) Mathematics (Geophysical and Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics)

MSci (Hons) Mathematics (Mathematical Biology)

MSci (Hons) Mathematical Sciences (Ecology and Evolution)

MSci (Hons) Mathematical Sciences (Energy Systems and Control)

MSci (Hons) Mathematical Sciences (Environmental Science)

BEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering

MEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering

BEng (Hons) Mining Engineering

BSc (Hons) Natural Sciences

MSci (Hons) Natural Sciences

BSc (Hons) Physics

MPhys (Hons) Physics with Astrophysics

BSc (Hons) Renewable Energy

BEng (Hons) Energy Engineering

MEng (Hons) Energy Engineering

BSc (Hons) Engineering Geology and Geotechnics

MGeol (Hons) Engineering Geology and Geotechnics

BSc (Hons) Geology

MGeol (Hons) Geology

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