FAQS - Your Academic Pathways

Please see some specific questions about the academic pathways of the Birmingham Foundation Academy:  

What are the academic pathways for the BIA?

As a Birmingham International Academy student you will follow one of three pathways that lead to undergraduate degrees in particular schools within the University.

The three pathways are:

You can see the degrees to which each pathway leads.  

Each pathway consists of 120 credits in:

  • An 80-credit suite of subject-specific modules taught in our colleges by Birmingham academics. These academic modules make up two-thirds of your programme. The modules you will take will depend upon your intended undergraduate degree and are subject to availability and timetabling.
  • 40 credits of Academic English and Study Skills modules or you can study the Advanced Academic Skills module (20 credits) if you are a high-level speaker of English. These modules are delivered by the University’s English for International Students Unit ( More info here: English language and study skills ).

Upon successful completion of the appropriate pathway, you will be guaranteed progression to an extensive range of our undergraduate programmes in Arts and Law, Engineering and Physical Sciences, Life and Environmental Sciences, Medical Sciences or Social Sciences. Academic and English language progression requirements apply for each programme. For a small number of programmes, you will need to pass an interview, workshop or audition stage as part of the progression process.

Please look at the individual pathway pages for more information on academic modules and progression requirements for your intended degree.

Can I progress to any undergraduate degree offered by the University?

You can progress to an extensive range of our undergraduate degree programmes upon successful completion of your Foundation Academy pathway. These programmes can be seen in the pathway progression tables.

The Birmingham Foundation Academy does not offer progression to degrees in Nursing, Medicine and Surgery, or Dental Surgery.

For Nursing or Medicine and Surgery you would need to apply through UCAS for direct undergraduate entry. Further information on entry requirements for undergraduate programmes is available.

Unfortunately, the University does not offer international places on the undergraduate degree in Dental Surgery.

Are there any conditions to my progression?

Upon successful completion of the appropriate pathway, you will be guaranteed progression to an extensive range of our undergraduate programmes in Arts and Law, Engineering and Physical Sciences, Life and Environmental Sciences, Medical Sciences or Social Sciences.

You are guaranteed a place on programmes, providing you achieve satisfactory grades in your Foundation Academy year. Academic and English language progression requirements apply for each programme. You will normally be required to achieve 55–65% overall in your Foundation Pathways programme, depending on the degree programme you intend to progress to.

In order to progress to certain degree programmes, you will be required to achieve a specific grade in certain BIA modules. For a small number of programmes, you will also need to pass an interview, workshop or audition stage as part of the progression process. This will be detailed in the pathway progression tables.

Can I progress to a degree in Medicine and Surgery or Nursing?

The Birmingham International Academy does not offer progression to the degrees in:

You would need to apply through UCAS for direct undergraduate entry.

The University of Birmingham accepts A levels, the International Baccalaureate or the American high school system for entry to the degree in Medicine and Surgery. 

Can I progress to a degree in Dentistry? 

Unfortunately, the University does not offer international places on the undergraduate degree in Dental Surgery.

All undergraduate programmes that you may progress to, and their progression requirements are listed.

What are the compulsory modules?

For some undergraduate degrees there will be some academic modules that you must take in your Foundation programme. If you do not take the compulsory modules for a particular undergraduate programme you will not be able to progress to that programme after your Foundation Academy year.

An Academic English and Study Skills module is compulsory for every undergraduate degree programme.

The compulsory and optional modules for each undergraduate degree that you can progress to can be seen under each pathway section. 

When do I choose my academic pathway and the degree I want to progress to?

When you apply to the Birmingham Foundation Academy you will be asked to choose the pathway you would like to enter and the undergraduate degree that you intend to progress to.

When you receive and accept your offer to study on the programme, you will be advised about your module choices.

Can I change my chosen undergraduate degree from the one I selected?

You will not be tied to your choice of undergraduate degree; however it is important that you make the right module choices. This is because some undergraduate programmes will have modules that are compulsory in your Foundation Academy programme and you will be required to achieve a specified grade in order to progress to that course. If you have not taken the compulsory modules for a particular undergraduate programme you will not be able to progress to that programme after your Foundation Academy year. You must therefore check the module requirements for the undergraduate programme you wish to progress to before making your module choices.

If you would like to change your choice of undergraduate degree before you start the BFA, please email the Admissions contact named in your offer letter. If you decide that you want to change your choice of undergraduate degree after you have started the BIA programme, you would need to discuss this with your tutor.

Can I change to a different pathway?

In certain circumstances it is possible to change your academic pathway, although you would need to discuss this with your tutor.

How many students have completed the BIA and progressed onto an UG degree?

The first and second cohort of students competed their BFA year in June 2013 and 2014. Counting all students who started the course in September 2013 and 2014, over 80% reached the progression threshold for their chosen undergraduate degree and chose to continue their studies at University of Birmingham.