International Study Centre

International Foundation Year in Science and Engineering

Close up of microchip

Study Science and Engineering at university

The International Foundation Year in Science and Engineering is a pre-university course that will prepare you to begin a range of undergraduate degrees in the fields of science and engineering at the University of Sussex. It is specifically designed for international students, with academic and English language modules that will give you the skills you need to succeed at Sussex.

You will study a range of modules over two semesters. On successful completion of the course you can then progress to your degree programme, provided you meet all the entry conditions.  

There are four different pathway options available, which offer progression to different undergraduate degrees. You can choose from the following options:

  • Life Sciences (with Medicine route)
  • Psychology
  • Computing
  • Engineering

All pathways offer the same style of teaching you will receive at the University of Sussex, providing a straightforward transition into undergraduate study. On this programme you can choose to change your pathway and progression degree during semester one. Our staff will guide you throughout your studies to ensure you make the right academic choices for you.

Why study the International Foundation Year in Science and Engineering with us?

There are many reasons why you may want to study this preparational programme and progress to over 70 types of undergraduate degree. These include:

  • The University of Sussex is ranked 14th in the UK for Mechanical Engineering (The Guardian University Guide 2023)
  • The campus is home to cutting-edge facilities, including the Future Technologies Lab, which houses leading robotics and technology equipment
  • 89% of the University of Sussex’s research was categorised as "world-leading" or "internationally excellent" (Research Excellence Framework 2021)

Discover more about Engineering

If you're interested in studying engineering at university, read more about your degree options and related career opportunities on our dedicated Engineering subject page.

Discover our Medicine Progression Degree Option

The International Foundation Year in Life Sciences (Medicine route) offers the progression degree option to study Bachelor of Medicine Bachelor of Surgery (BM BS) at Brighton and Sussex Medical School. This is a highly selective programme and students are expected to meet the minimum grades required on all modules as well as other progression criteria including an interview with Brighton and Sussex Medical School. For full information, see progression information below.

The BM BS is a five-year medical degree course that has been designed to help students become a highly competent, strongly motivated doctor, committed to the highest standards of clinical practice, professionalism and patient care.

Students will be offered a guaranteed interview during the second semester of their studies at the University of Sussex International Study Centre. The ISC will prepare students for their guaranteed interview ensuring that they have the best opportunity possible in which to secure progression to Brighton and Sussex Medical School on a medical degree course.

  • Interviews are Multiple Mini Interviews (MMI) around core themes e.g., NHS values, communication, empathy and motivation.

As well as a successful interview, students will also have to meet other progression criteria to progress:

  • 75% in all academic subject modules
  • 70 in English and 70 in each English skill (IELTS 7.0 equivalent)
  • Students who fail one module will be allowed one resit only. Students who fail more than one module will not progress.
  • Successful BMAT (The ISC will prepare students to take this test during the first semester)

Students who are not successful at interview will be eligible to progress to BSc (Hons) Biomedical Science or BSc (Hons) Medical Neuroscience at the University of Sussex, providing progression requirements are met, and may be given further interviews to study medicine after Year 1 and Year 3 of these courses, based on their performance.

Choose your own path

The University of Sussex gives students the flexibility to adapt in a changing world. On this programme you can choose to change your pathway and progression degree during semester one. Our staff will guide you throughout your studies to ensure you make the right academic choices for you.

Semester one modules

This module will introduce you to the fundamental concepts and skills that underpin the practice of science using examples from computing, engineering, life sciences and psychology. You will learn about academic processes and build appropriate study skills including group work, IT skills, practical skills for scientific inquiry, scientific literacy and critical thinking.

In week six you will select your pathway and begin to study content relevant to your chosen pathway. The module will equip you with a solid foundation of knowledge and skills relevant to your chosen subject.

The first five weeks of this module provide a core basis in mathematics applicable across science and engineering. By developing confidence as well as knowledge, skills and techniques in algebra and statistics, the second part of this module aims to provide a solid foundation to some of the mathematics used in the study of the life sciences, psychology, computer science or engineering.

Semester two modules

In this semester you will study four modules within your chosen pathway, plus CareerAhead.

You will study four modules in your chosen pathway.

Database Design and Development (10 credits)

The aim of this module is to develop your understanding of relational databases and to develop the skills needed to apply this knowledge by designing a relational database for an appropriate problem scenario. On this module you will learn how to demonstrate an understanding of the basic principles of systems analysis and database design. You will gain the skills necessary to design and develop database solutions, and skills needed to apply this understanding to testing and documenting database solutions. This module aims to support your formative development by broadening your knowledge base and understanding of topics studied, and by allowing you to practise appropriate study skills.

Object Oriented Programming with Java (10 credits)

The objective of this module is to introduce you to object oriented programming, helping you understand the concepts of program design, implementation and testing using Java. You will broaden your knowledge base, deepening your understanding of topics studied, and practise appropriate study skills, including computer based practical skills and problem solving. You will continue to develop your independent study skills in research, self-study and group work.

Website Design and Development (10 credits)

The aim of this module is to introduce you to the Hypertext Mark-up Language (HTML) used in the creation and display of pages on the World Wide Web. You will learn about the use of CSS to separate the content of web pages from their appearance and ensure a consistent design across a website. You will also gain an understanding of the enhancement of the interactivity and responsivity of web pages using multimedia and client side scripting with JavaScript.

Computing Project (10 credits)

This module provides you with an opportunity to consolidate your learning across the entire course into a substantial synoptic software project. In this project you will bring together your learning from various modules, and undertake additional research and independent learning to solve a problem presented to you in a project brief.

Exploring Physics (10 credits)

The aim of this module is to introduce you to the following concepts and develop your ability to solve related problems:

  • the consequences of applying forces to materials
  • specific heat capacity and latent heat
  • introducing a new temperature scale and the concept of absolute zero
  • introducing the gas laws and the kinetic theory of gases
  • that energy can be in the form of quanta as well as being wavelike (quantum physics)
  • how particles which are emitted from an unstable nucleus are said to be radioactive
  • the concept of ‘missing mass’ and linking it to Einstein’s equation to explain released energy when nuclear fission occurs

Mechanics on the Go (10 credits)

The aim of this module is to introduce the following concepts when different types of forces are applied to bodies and develop your ability to solve related problems:

  • bodies which are static
  • bodies which are in motion (dynamics)
  • bodies which are moving vertically
  • two bodies which are connected together and are in motion
  • the moment of a force
  • describing the motion of a body in terms of its velocity and time
  • solving problems involving linear motion using the four equations of motion

Mechanics on the Move (10 credits)

The aim of this module is to introduce the following concepts and develop your ability to solve related problems:

  • application of moments of forces to real-world situations
  • projectile motion
  • application of the principle of the conservation of momentum when elastic and inelastic collisions occur
  • application of work, energy and power to real-world situations
  • centre of mass and the forces involved when a body rotates about a fixed point
  • a body executing simple harmonic motion

Physics at Work (10 credits)

The aim of this module is to introduce the following concepts and develop your ability to solve related problems:

  • electric current and potential difference
  • production of equations to work out total values of resistance so that DC circuit calculations can be carried out
  • application of the principle of the conservation of momentum when elastic and inelastic collisions occur
  • important circuits such as the potential divider and internal resistance
  • how a component called a capacitor stores electric charge
  • magnetism and its effects

Biochemistry and Physiology (10 credits)

In this module you will receive an introduction to biological sciences through the study of chemistry of life, energy and living organisms, selected body systems, and homeostasis. The module will introduce some of the relevant tools and techniques used in modern biology. You will develop essential knowledge and understanding of key biological facts, concepts and principles and make connections between them. You will learn to work safely and responsibly in the laboratory following good laboratory practices. You will also develop competency in scientific writing and the ability to summarise, explain and analyse scientific papers. In addition, you will learn to analyse, interpret, present and organise experimental data.

Genetics and Evolution (10 credits)

The aim of this module is to further develop your knowledge of the basic principles of biology. You will gain an understanding of inheritance, evolution and genetics. You will also practise appropriate study skills, including solving Mendelian and population genetics problems. This module will develop your independent study skills in research and effective note-taking, including practical reports on genetic engineering.

Organic and Redox Chemistry (10 credits)

This module is designed to further your knowledge of chemistry by introducing you to additional topics in inorganic and organic chemistry. You will also be given the opportunity to further develop study skills appropriate for life sciences, including problem solving, group work and using IT resources.

Physical Chemistry (10 credits)

This module is designed to further your knowledge of chemistry by introducing you to additional topics in physical chemistry. You will be given the opportunity to further develop study skills appropriate for life sciences, including problem solving, group work, using IT and effective note-taking.

Research Methods in Psychology (10 credits)

This module introduces you to psychological research design and statistical data analysis. You will develop understanding of how quantitative psychological research is conducted, analysed, interpreted and evaluated. You will also contextualise the basic statistical analyses learned in Mathematics for Psychology within psychological research. This module will provide an opportunity to apply your knowledge and research skills during a standard psychology research replication project.

Investigating Psychology (10 credits)

This module is designed to facilitate your ability to independently investigate a key question in psychology. You will develop knowledge of theory and research in key topics in biological psychology, cognitive development and social psychology. You will also develop your ability to source and evaluate psychological literature relevant to key topics in biological psychology, cognitive development and social psychology. This module will help you improve your capacity for examining and presenting clearly the conclusions that can, or cannot be drawn from your analysis of the literature.

Key Studies in Psychology (10 credits)

This module introduces historically relevant key studies and research in the major psychological disciplines including biological, cognitive, developmental and social psychology. You will be given an overview of major developments in psychological theories, their research designs and their routes in history. You will also learn about significant developments within research through comparison of key studies with more recent research literature. In this module you will develop your critical thinking through evaluation of research findings.

Psychology in the Real World (10 credits)

This module is designed to encourage you to contextualise your psychological knowledge within the real world. You will develop your understanding of how biological, cognitive, developmental and social psychological theories can be applied to real-world problems related to health, well-being, education and crime. You will learn about the role of research evidence in informing psychological theory and assessing the impact of strategies used to improve the human condition. This module will help you develop critical thinking skills through the evaluation of real-world solutions using psychological theory and research evidence.

All pathways

This module will help you develop the critical employability skills needed for study at university and the world of work. You will begin to think about your self-development through skills needed for your future study and careers, in the context of your chosen subject area. You will participate in skills-based seminars, with a specific focus on reflecting on your personal strengths and weaknesses and how these skills can be developed to achieve your academic and career goals.

Semester one and two modules

You will study this module for the duration of your International Foundation Year.

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.

Your degree at Sussex

The programme can lead to a range of undergraduate degrees at the University of Sussex. The flexibility of the International Foundation Year in Science and Engineering allows you to change your chosen pathway and your final progression degree within the first six weeks of study.

This course can lead to one of the undergraduate degrees listed below (subject to meeting the grades outlined). The degrees and grades listed are valid for 2022/23 intakes only and are subject to change.

Degree Programme NameAwardOverall GradeEnglish GradeGrade Module
No Results

Please note:

Places are limited on the International Foundation Year with progression to Bachelor of Medicine Bachelor of Surgery (BM BS). Students will be offered a guaranteed interview during the second semester of their studies at the University of Sussex International Study Centre. As well as a successful interview, students will also have to meet other progression criteria to progress.

Mathematics GCSE grade 4 OR pass in Core Mathematics module required for progression to the following degrees:

  • Geography BSc (Hons)

Mathematics GCSE grade 5/C or equivalent OR pass in Core Mathematics module required for progression to the following degrees:

  • Biochemistry BSc (Hons)
  • Biochemistry MSci  (Hons)
  • Biochemistry (with an industrial placement year) BSc (Hons)
  • Biology MSci (Hons)
  • Biology BSc (Hons)
  • Biomedical Science BSc (Hons)
  • Biomedical Science MSci
  • Ecology and Conservation BSc (Hons)
  • Ecology and Conservation MSci (Hons)
  • Genetics BSc (Hons)
  • Genetics MSci (Hons)
  • Medical Neuroscience BSc (Hons)
  • Medical Neuroscience MSci
  • Neuroscience MSci
  • Neuroscience BSc
  • Zoology BSc (Hons)
  • Zoology MSci

Mathematics GCSE grade 6/C or equivalent OR pass in Core Mathematics module required for progression to the following degrees:

  • Chemistry MChem
  • Chemistry BSc (Hons)
  • Chemistry (with an industrial placement year) MChem
  • Computer Science BSc (Hons)
  • Computer Science (4 year course) MComp
  • Computer Science (with an industrial placement year) BSc (Hons)
  • Computer Science (with an industrial placement) (5 year course) MComp
  • Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence BSc (Hons)
  • Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence (with an industrial placement year) BSc (Hons)
  • Computing for Business and Management BSc (Hons)
  • Computing for Business and Management (with an industrial placement year) BSc (Hons)
  • Computing for Digital Media and Games BSc (Hons)
  • Computing for Digital Media and Games (with an industrial placement year) BSc (Hons)
  • Psychology BSc (Hons)
  • Psychology (with professional placement year) BSc (Hons)
  • Psychology with Business and Management BSc (Hons)
  • Psychology with Clinical Approaches BSc (Hons)
  • Psychology with Criminology BSc (Hons)
  • Psychology with Neuroscience BSc (Hons)

Flexibility at each step

If you're not sure yet which undergraduate degree you wish to study upon progression to the University of Sussex, you will have the option to change your International Study Centre pathway and final progression degree at a certain point during your programme

Entry requirements

Discover the entry requirements for studying the International Foundation Year in Science and Engineering.

Find out more

English Courses

Need to improve your English? You can study a range of English language courses at the International Study Centre.

See our English courses

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.

Learn more

Fees

Learn more about the tuition fees for your course, as well as any additional costs for studying at Sussex.

Fees for Science and Engineering