Science (International Year One) September 2020 entry

Students on this international year one science programme experience university teaching and research from the first day of their studies. This programme enables students to enter directly into the second year of undergraduate degrees in the Faculty of Science. 

Based on your intended degree in the Faculty of Science, you will study courses such as:

  • molecular and cellular biology
  • organic chemistry
  • physics
  • mathematics and statistics
  • Earth and environmental sciences
  • geography
  • programming languages in computer science
  • visual perception in psychology.

The programme has a high success rate with an average of more than 82% of students completing the programme successfully over the past three years. Graduates have gone on to study for degrees at the University of St Andrews and other top UK universities.

Depending on your degree, there is a wide range of career options available to you. Former Science Foundation programme students have done postgraduate degrees in the UK or USA, or are working in research and private and public companies in fields including IT, banking, business and data analysis.

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Course type

International Foundation programme

This is the University’s own pre-degree programme which prepares international students for undergraduate study in the UK, and at the University of St Andrews in particular.

Course duration

Nine months, full time

Course dates

Start date: 7 September 2020
End date: 28 May 2021

The schedule for this programme differs slightly from the standard University semester dates. All weeks from the programme start date to end date are teaching or assessment weeks, other than the following:

  • independent learning week: 19 to 23 October 2020
  • winter vacation and inter-semester weeks: 21 December 2020 to 15 January 2021
  • spring vacation: 22 March to 2 April 2021.

If you started this programme in September 2019, you can find information about 2019 entry on the 2019 Science IFP page. Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in the archive.

This course is for:

International students who are academically able, but whose high school qualification is not recognised for application to an undergraduate degree at St Andrews. Foundation students typically use English as an additional language. 

Applicants will normally meet the following criteria:

  • be designated 'overseas' for fees purposes by the University (not 'Home/EU' or 'Rest of the UK')
  • have a national high school qualification or mixed-curricula qualifications not recognised for application to an undergraduate degree at the University of St Andrews. If you have three A Levels, the HKDSE, a full IB Diploma or any qualification type that is recognised for degree entry, you will not be eligible for an International Foundation programme, irrespective of the grades you have achieved.
  • be due to leave school soon or have left school within the past three years
  • have not previously studied on a foundation programme in the UK
  • have not previously studied at university.

Do I need to have studied this subject before?

Applicants must have studied sciences at school and be able to offer strong grades in any subjects that are relevant to their intended degree. (e.g. Maths if you wish to study Computer Science; Physics if you plan to study Astronomy; Chemistry if would like to do Biology).

Entry requirements

Academic requirements

Typical academic requirements (PDF)  for this programme are listed alphabetically by country. If your qualification is not shown here, please email about the grades needed from your high school system.

You can demonstrate that you have met the academic requirement with a high school transcript. Any high school qualification you use as evidence of your academic ability should be from the last year you attended high school and dated within the previous three years.

You should apply before your final results are available, as the University can make you a conditional offer based on your past exam performance and predicted grades.

English language requirement

An IELTS (Academic) test report form with a minimum of 6.0 overall and no component score below 5.0.

If you require a visa, your IELTS test must be for UKVI purposes. See an overview of our English language requirements for foundation applicants.

You do not need to have your result when you apply, as this can be a condition of any offer made by the University.

Application requirements

The University requires you to provide the following documents as part of your application:

  • your most recent high school transcript
  • a personal statement outlining why you wish to study Science at St Andrews and reflecting on your life and learning experiences to explain why you feel you would be successful on this programme
  • an academic reference from your high school on their letterhead or from a school email
  • your IELTS (Academic) test report form.

Application deadline

The deadline for applications is Wednesday 15 July 2020. You only need to provide your high school transcript and personal statement when you first apply so that the University can consider your application. Your academic reference and your English language evidence can be provided later.

How to apply

Course information

The Science programme is designed to help international students function effectively as undergraduates. The course aims to ensure that students develop the analytical approach to learning which is required in a British university.

The structure of the programme provides students with a great deal of support in the first semester when it is most needed, but progressively enables students to work independently and collaboratively as they will do on their degree programmes.

The International Foundation for Science programme offers an intensive route into a wide range of degree programmes in the sciences. Depending on your intended degree, you will join science modules with first-year students from the beginning of the programme, and if successful, you may be able to progress directly onto the second year of your chosen degree.

Foundation programme classes integrate science and English language learning through their focus on writing laboratory reports, structuring essays, critical thinking and scientific methods of investigation.

Download the International Foundation Programmes brochure (PDF)


The International Foundation programme for Science has six compulsory modules, three in each semester. Two of the modules cover the academic language and study skills you need to be successful at university. Four of the modules are subject-based – either to further enhance your scientific knowledge in preparation for undergraduate study in the Faculty of Science or to enable you to meet the specific subject requirements of your intended degree programme.

Students must take the following three modules in Semester 1:

  • Communicating in Academic Contexts 1: helps you develop and practise productive and receptive academic spoken communication skills to use within the Foundation programme and in your undergraduate programme. 

  • Science module A: depending on your intended degree, you are assigned to one science-related subject from the following:
    • Statistics
    • Fundamental Chemistry
    • Mathematics A
    • Psychology A.

  • Faculty of Science module: students are assigned to one of the following modules, depending on their intended degree route:
    • Biology, Neuroscience, or Psychology degrees: Biology 1
    • Chemistry degrees: Physical and Inorganic Chemistry
    • Computer Science degrees: Object-oriented Programming
    • Earth Science degrees: Planet Earth
    • Geography degrees: Welcome to the Anthropocene
    • Mathematics or Statistics degrees: Mathematics
    • Physics degrees: Physics 1A

In Semester 2, you will study three modules:

  • Communicating in Academic Contexts 2: helps you further develop and practise productive and receptive academic oral communication skills that you will need to draw on in your degree programme.

  • Science module B: depending on their intended degree, students are assigned to one science-related subject from the following:
    • Economics
    • Physiology
    • Mathematics B
    • Psychology B
    • Fundamental Mathematics.
  • Faculty of Science module: students are assigned to one of the following preparatory modules, depending on their intended degree route:
    • Biology or Chemistry degrees: Organic and Biological Chemistry
    • Computer Science degrees: Programming with Data
    • Earth Science degrees: Earth Resources and Environment
    • Geography degrees: A World in Crisis
    • Mathematics degrees: Pure and Applied Mathematics
    • Statistics degrees: Statistics in Practice
    • Neuroscience or Psychology degrees: Psychology 2
    • Physics degrees: Physics 1B

The modules listed here are indicative, and there is no guarantee they will run for 2020 entry.


Teaching format

Classes take place from Monday to Friday between 9am and 6pm. You will spend approximately 18 to 20 hours per week in class. During this time, you will experience a mixture of lectures, seminars, tutorials, classes and practicals (including in laboratories).

The academic modules and lectures may have more than 100 students in them. Class sizes in the other modules are likely to be between 14 and 16 students.

Students taking Earth Sciences and Geography will attend field trips; one of the Earth Sciences field trips is residential and takes place in March.

As well as your timetabled classes, you will be expected to complete approximately 20 to 25 hours of independent study each week. As a fully matriculated student, you have access to the University’s libraries and study areas, but you will also work within the University's online learning environment (known as Moodle).

The University’s student services team can help students who have additional needs resulting from disabilities, long-term medical conditions or learning disabilities. More information can be found on the students with disabilities web page.


There are assessments as part of each module. These include:

  • tests
  • academic essays
  • speaking and listening exam
  • integrated skills exams (which include reading and writing on a topic)
  • leading and participating in seminars
  • a presentation
  • research projects
  • lab or field trip reports
  • end of module examinations.

The grade from each module contributes to the final grade. Each module is equally weighted.

Meet us in your country

Staff of the University of St Andrews are always pleased to meet prospective students in person. We visit many schools, colleges and higher education fairs to talk about the University and provide support and information for those thinking about applying.

Meet us in your country

If you are interested in studying at St Andrews, join us on a talk and tour to explore the town and find out about the courses and opportunities we offer.

Talk and tour


Combined fee

The International Foundation programme offers an all-inclusive fee package which covers all the major costs of the foundation year so that there are no hidden extra costs. 

2020-entry fees: £29,200

The all-inclusive fee package includes:

  • tuition
  • accommodation, including a bedding pack
  • a meal plan with 14 meals per week
  • access to all University facilities
  • a transfer from Edinburgh or Glasgow airport, or Leuchars train station, when you first arrive
  • the use of course books, handouts and other course materials
  • laboratory coats and dissection kits, if required
  • 24-hour emergency phone number
  • programme-led and seasonal social events.


Kinnessburn Scholarship

For students moving from an International Foundation programme to a degree at the University of St Andrews.

Students who successfully complete the International Foundation programme with a distinction grade and move onto a degree at the University of St Andrews are eligible to apply for the Kinnessburn Scholarship. This scholarship is awarded to one student annually in June and provides a partial fee waiver for each year of study on an undergraduate programme at the University.


The fee package for the International Foundation programme includes catered accommodation, which the University arranges on your behalf so you do not need to apply for accommodation.

All foundation students are allocated a room in David Russell Apartments (DRA). In each apartment, there are five study bedrooms, each with its own private shower and toilet, and a shared living space and fully equipped kitchen.

Bedding pack

A bedding pack will be delivered to David Russell Apartments, for each foundation student. The bedding pack is for a standard double bed (UK size) and contains:

  • one duvet (10.5 tog)
  • one duvet cover
  • one flat sheet
  • two pillows
  • two pillowcases.


Foundation programme students are on a catered meal plan that gives them 14 meals per week during the semester.

Breakfast and an evening meal are served every weekday; breakfast and lunch are served on Saturdays and Sundays.

See a sample menu for the 14-meal plan.

Your future

In order to move onto a degree at the University of St Andrews, students must successfully complete the International Foundation programme by passing all the modules and achieving a final overall grade of 11.0 or above on the University’s 20-point scale

Popular degree options for students on the Science programme include:

Students who meet the requirements for second year entry in the Faculty of Science have the option to progress onto a single Honours degree or a limited number of joint Honours degrees. Students who enter first year are able to take a variety of modules, including their intended degree subjects, and can consider a joint Honours degree. 

Students who pass the foundation programme but do not wish to stay in St Andrews can receive advice and assistance with applications to other institutions in the UK.


International Foundation programmes

International Education Institute
University of St Andrews
Kennedy Gardens
St Andrews 
KY16 9DJ

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 2255

International Education Institute website

Page amendments 

The academic requirements pdf was updated on Friday 18 October 2019 with amendments to Hong Kong typical entry requirements.  


Admission to the University of St Andrews is governed by our admissions policy.

Curriculum development

As a research intensive institution, the University ensures that its teaching references the research interests of its staff, which may change from time to time. As a result, programmes are regularly reviewed with the aim of enhancing students' learning experience. Our approach to course revision is described online (PDF, 72 KB).

Tuition fees

The University will clarify compulsory fees and charges it requires any student to pay at the time of offer. The offer will also clarify conditions for any variation of fees. The University’s approach to fee setting is described online (PDF, 84 KB).