Chemistry with Foundation Year

Start date
4/5 years
UCAS code
Course Type
Undergraduate, Foundation, Single Honours

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2024/25 are £9,250
Further fee information

This Chemistry with Foundation Year is an integrated foundation degree designed for you if your qualifications are not appropriate for direct entry on to one of our Honours degree programmes. This programme may also be attractive to mature students who may need a period of retraining before embarking on a degree.

The Chemistry with Foundation Year is an integrated foundation degree, giving you access to our highly ranked chemistry undergraduate courses. Once you’ve completed it successfully and have met the subject-specific progression criteria, you can elect to join your chosen first-year course.

At Birmingham you’ll learn first-hand from world-renowned researchers who are pushing the boundaries of knowledge in areas from nanoscale chemistry and chemical biology to green polymers and chemical imaging. The Chemistry with Foundation Year is multidisciplinary and offers a broad programme of study, providing a solid level of knowledge across science, engineering and mathematics. You will also take modules in physics, engineering and computer science. As well as leading to specific degree courses, these modules will help you develop many transferable skills including teamwork, confidence-building in technology and numeracy, computer literacy and presentation skills.

We’ve been at the forefront of chemistry teaching and research for more than 100 years, producing several Nobel Prize-winners along the way, and we have some of the best facilities and equipment in the country. No wonder our students regularly place us among the top chemistry departments in UK for student satisfaction. What are you waiting for?

The course will be attractive to:

  • students whose A-level qualifications are incompatible (either in respect of grades or subjects) with the normal entrance requirements of our honours degree programmes;
  • students with alternative qualifications such as Access to Higher Education and BTEC diplomas;
  • mature students who may wish to undertake a period of retraining before embarking on one of our honours degree programmes;
  • students from EU countries whose pre-university qualifications are not considered for direct entry on to one of our honours degree programmes.

The first year of this course functions as a Foundation Year, successful completion of which allows automatic progression on to one of our three-year BSc honours programmes. Progression on to one of our four-year MSci programmes is also possible depending upon performance. 

Why study Chemistry at Birmingham

  • Housed in leading facilities
    Chemistry students benefit from lab classes in the Collaborative Teaching Laboratory (CTL) which features state-of-the-art instruments and equipment dedicated to offering you a highly curated, practical approach to your learning. Here, you can conduct newly devised experiments with research groups within the School, as well as working with external collaborators, in a transformational approach to teaching and learning.
    You will also benefit from the new Molecular Sciences Building, home for the School of Chemistry, an £80 million investment that houses world-leading research laboratories alongside purpose-built working spaces for all of our students. It will be a showcase for research and innovation and a place to connect that research to education, promoting collaborative work.
  • Combine cutting edge with heritage
    We pride ourselves on our commitment to offering you the most modern methods in teaching and learning, supported by cutting-edge facilities and technology-enhanced learning. Our innovative skills-based curriculum include new experiments designed by our own research groups and external industry collaborators turning you into top-quality practical chemists. You can rely on our pedigree, at the forefront of chemistry teaching and research for over 100 years. Along the way we’ve produced several Nobel Prize winners, so set your sights high and the possibilities are endless…
  • Extra-curricular activities
    University life is about much more than simply learning. Our student society ChemSoc is run entirely by students, and you can join in a whole host of activities, events and socials, a great opportunity to mix with your fellow students away from your studies.

Meet our Student Bloggers

The best way to find out what life is really like as a student in the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences at the University of Birmingham is to hear from our students. Our students study a range of programmes from across our college – from Mathematics to Mechanical Engineering. Get some great tips and a real insight into what life is really like if you choose to study with us.

Read our blogs >> 

Why study this course?


The first year of this course functions as a Foundation Year, successful completion of which allows automatic progression on to one of our three-year BSc honours programmes. Progression on to one of our four-year MSci programmes (e.g. MSci (hons) Chemistry (F101)) is also possible depending upon performance. The length of this programme is therefore 4 years, should you choose the BSc pathway, or 5 years if you choose to follow an MSci (hons) programme.

The first (foundation) year contains 120 credits of taught material, delivered in modules that are worth 10 credits.

Core modules

Optional modules

Choose 60 credits. Example modules, all 10 credits:

All of the course material is delivered by staff from the University of Birmingham.

Upon successful completion of the first (foundation) year, students then choose a degree pathway and undertake the same modules as chemistry students enrolled directly on that degree programme. Our degree programmes contain modules that cover the fundamentals of the subject and include a significant practical component, which not only allows you to develop your practical skills and techniques, but also to consolidate the associated theory from your lectures.

The remaining credits in each year comprise modules designed to support these core courses and include optional chemistry modules, mathematics courses, project work, laboratory modules, and courses which focus on communications skills and employability.  Details of the modules for each programme may be found on the individual degree programme webpages

Please note: The modules listed on the website for this programme are regularly reviewed to ensure they are up-to-date and informed by the latest research and teaching methods. Unless indicated otherwise, the modules listed for this programme are for students starting in 2024. On rare occasions, we may need to make unexpected changes to core modules; in this event we will contact offer holders as soon as possible to inform or consult them as appropriate.


Annual tuition fees 2024/25

UK students - £9,250

Visit our tuition fees page for more information.


The University offers a range of additional financial support for students studying at Birmingham in the form of other bursaries, grants and scholarships.

How To Apply

Apply through the UCAS website using code F103.

UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) is a UK organisation responsible for managing applications to university and college.

View advice on how to apply for undergraduate courses.

A Levels

BBB. Students taking Mathematics are not considered, General Studies not considered

T Levels

Merit overall, with core grade B from one of the following T Level courses:

  • Maintenance, Installation and Repair for Engineering & Manufacturing
  • Engineering, Manufacturing, Processing and Control
  • Design and Development for Engineering & manufacturing

Other T Levels are not considered


Minimum 6/B in GCSE Mathematics

Access to Higher Education Diplomas 

In Engineering, Combined Sciences (with at least 12 credits in either Chemistry or Physics), Chemical Sciences or Physical Sciences with 60 credits overall with at least 45 at Level 3 out of which 30 are at Distinction.

International Baccalaureate

32 overall with 555 at Higher Level, Mathematics not considered


DDD Extended Diploma in Engineering, Applied Science or Computing with entry test
Others accepted alongside A Levels as above.

Other qualifications

These are considered – learn more about entry requirements or contact a member of the Admissions Team for more information.

Alternative offers through our Pathways to Birmingham programmes and our Contextual Offer scheme

Students who are eligible and successfully complete a Pathways to Birmingham programme will receive special consideration from admissions tutors and an alternative offer (typically two grades below the standard offer). In addition, our Contextual Offer Scheme recognises the potential of students whose personal circumstances may have restricted achievement in school or college. If you are eligible to benefit from the contextual offer scheme, you will receive an offer which is one grade lower than the standard offer.

International Students

Please note this course is only open to UK students. International students may apply to one of our foundation pathways, which offer specially structured programmes for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities. Further details can be found on Birmingham International Academy web pages

We have benefited from significant investment in our teaching and research laboratories and analytical facilities. The newly opened £40m Collaborative Teaching Laboratory (CTL) hosts all our lab teaching, while £2.5m has been spent on state-of-the-art equipment dedicated for chemistry teaching, making the CTL better equipped than most research environments, both in academia and industry.

There are many reasons to study chemistry at Birmingham: Our ground-breaking research has an international reputation for excellence, and this cutting-edge research informs our teaching and course content; we boast world-class facilities and state-of-the-art equipment; we put great emphasis on multidisciplinary working to meet the challenges of the 21st century, and we have strong collaborative links with industry. We’re also getting a new £80 million home for the School of Chemistry, which will house sector-leading research facilities to take us even further to the cutting edge and beyond.

How you will learn

Highly skilled, practical chemists are in great demand, so all your learning will be focused on shaping your abilities as an all-rounder, equally at home, in the lab or carrying out research. This means your studies will take place in a wide range of learning environments, such as workshops, small-group tutorials, lectures and peer-group sessions. Lab-based practical work is an integral part of your studies: in your final year you’ll complete a research-related project. 

Research-led teaching

Our School is home to many internationally leading researchers working in a wide range of areas including synthesis of therapeutic molecules, functional nanomaterials and hydrogen storage and fuel cells. Birmingham chemists are leading the development of new materials to provide for our ever-increasing energy needs in an environmentally sustainable manner, as well as working with environmental scientists to understand the likes of pollution and climate change. Crucially, their research influences the way they teach you: our academics draw upon their scientific findings to inform their teaching and provide you with cutting-edge content for your degree. 

Student support

  • Personal Tutors
    As soon as you join us, you’ll be assigned a personal tutor who will remain with you throughout your studies. They will meet with you at least once every semester to assess your academic progress and how to develop your transferrable skills.
  • Wellbeing Officers
    Alongside your personal tutor, you will also have access to dedicated wellbeing officers who provide professional support, advice and guidance to students across a range of issues. They can meet with you to discuss extensions, disabilities, reasonable adjustments, extenuating circumstances, or talk through any problems you might be experiencing, and help you access wider support on campus and beyond if you need it. 
  • Our Academic Skills Centre helps you to become a more effective and independent learner through a range of high-quality support services. The centre offers workshops on a range of topics, such as note-taking, reading, academic writing and presentation skills. 
  • The Academic Writing Advisory Service (AWAS) will provide guidance on writing essays and dissertations if you need it. You can receive individual support from an academic writing advisor and meet with postgraduate tutors who specialise in particular subjects too. 
  • Our Student Experience Team will help you get the most out of your academic experience. They offer research opportunities, study skills support, and help you prepare for your post-university career. They also organise social events, such as field trips, to help you meet fellow students from your course.

Away from the lab, you’ll be able to join our vibrant chemistry society, known as ‘ChemSoc’, which organises a range of social and charity events, guest lectures, industrial trips and an annual ball.

How you will be assessed

As you focus on developing all your skills as a chemist, your assessment is equally diverse and comprehensive. Each module is assessed independently, using the assessment methods most appropriate to testing the skills you have developed and the learning outcomes of that module. You will take exams, produce written assignments, give oral and poster presentations, take computer-based tests and write lab and project report

Contact Hours

Depending on the modules you select, each week you will have 15-21 hours of lectures and  classes/labs per week, plus possible timetabled extra support classes for some students.

The information below relates to graduates from our BSc/MSCi courses:

As a chemistry graduate from Birmingham, you’ll be highly sought after by a wide range of industries.

Whether you choose to continue on a purely scientific path as a professional scientist or use your transferable analytical skills in a more diverse career, you will be a talented and valuable addition to any workplace. The University of Birmingham is one of five universities targeted by the UK’s leading graduate employers according to the High Fliers Graduate Market 2023.

In addition to the technical knowledge and practical skills required for careers in industry and postgraduate study, our Chemistry courses help you develop the transferable skills prized by employers, such as communication, problem-solving, project management and data analysis.

Graduates who have studied our courses

Example employers

  • AstraZeneca
  • Johnson Matthey
  • AkzoNobel
  • GlaxoSmithKline
  • Marks & Spencer
  • Procter & Gamble
  • Ernst & Young
  • Reckitt Benckiser
  • Severn Trent Water
  • RBS
  • HSBC

Example careers

  • Analytical scientist
  • Chemist
  • Lawyer
  • Accountant
  • Business retailer
  • Marketing executive
  • Public service manager
  • Web designer
  • Computing and IT expert
  • Investment analyst
  • Publisher

I have very fond memories of my undergraduate days at Birmingham and the quality of teaching there was outstanding. I currently work at Nature Publishing Group in London and after spending a couple of years as an associate editor at Nature Nanotechnology, I have been made chief editor of Nature Chemistry.

Stuart Cantrill (Chemistry and Bioorganic Chemistry BSc) Chief Editor, Nature Chemistry

Careers Network

At Careers Network, our unique careers guidance service is tailored to your academic subject area. Our team source exclusive work experience opportunities to help you stand out amongst the competition, with mentoring, global internships and placements available to you.  Once you have a career in your sights, one-to-one support with CVs and job applications will help give you the edge. In addition, our employer-endorsed award-winning Personal Skills Award (PSA) recognises your extra-curricular activities, and provides an accredited employability programme designed to improve your career prospects.

Visit the Careers Network website for more details


An internship can complement your studies perfectly, giving you practical, real-world insights into the world of work in your chosen field. You can apply for the Work Experience Bursary Scheme, the Birmingham Undergraduate Internship Programme or one of our successful mentoring schemes.

The video below talks to students, staff and employers about their internship experience:

Professional Accreditation