Chemistry with Foundation Year

As the central science, Chemistry is responsible for many of the most important breakthroughs in science. In taking some of the world's most exciting ideas and discoveries and turning these into innovative processes and products, its potential to improve our everyday lives is enormous.

Study Chemistry at Birmingham and you will join one of the UK's leading departments and have access to some of the best research facilities in the country. Throughout your time with us, you will be constantly challenged as you push forwards the boundaries of your understanding, all within a supportive learning environment. 

Please be reassured that the vote to leave the European Union does not mean there will be any immediate material change to the UK university sector's participation in EU programmes such as Erasmus and study abroad programmes. Visit our EU Referendum information page for more information.

Our Chemistry with Foundation Year is specially designed for students whose qualifications do not allow direct entry on to one of our honours chemistry degree programmes. Students enrolled on this course are fully integrated into the School of Chemistry from the outset.

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.

Course Structure

The first year of this course functions as a Foundation Year, successful completion of which allows automatic transfer on to one of our three-year BSc honours programmes (e.g. BSc (hons) Chemistry (F100)). 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.

Other options

Why study this course

Our Chemistry with Foundation Year degree programme is designed for students whose qualifications are unsuitable 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. 

Chemists at Birmingham adopt a broad, multi-disciplinary outlook to their subject, which is vital if we are to solve the problems of the 21st Century in healthcare, medicine, sustainability and the environment. The School has a leading research rating and is committed to excellence in teaching: your lecturers are not only experts in their fields but also passionate about chemistry and committed to inspiring you! 

 Read more about why you should study chemistry at Birmingham.


Each year contains 120 credits of taught material, delivered in modules that are typically worth 10 or 20 credits.

The first (foundation) year of this programme comprises:

Introductory Organic Chemistry - 10 credits
Introductory Chemistry - 10 credits
Case Studies in Chemistry - 10 credits
Molecular Cell Biology - 20 credits
Introductory Mathematics - 10 credits
Science and Engineering Laboratories - 10 credits
Science and Engineering Skills - 10 credits
Properties of Matter - 10 credits
Mechanics and Waves - 20 credits
Elementary Computer Programming - 10 credits

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

Successful completion of this foundation year provides automatic entry on to one of our three-year (BSc) or four-year (MSci) Honours Degree Courses.

After transferring on to an honours programme, core courses are taken by all students, irrespective of the degree programme on which they are enrolled. These modules cover those fundamentals of the subject that we deem essential 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. 

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 2019. 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.

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees 2019/20

UK/EU £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.

Entry requirements

Typical offer:
BBB-BBC to include Chemistry.
Required subjects and grades:
Offer will depend on combination of subjects offered.

General Studies, Critical Thinking are not accepted.


Additional information:

Access to Higher Education Diplomas in an appropriate subject: 

Typical offer: 60 credits with at least 45 credits at Level 3 to include at least 15 in Chemistry at distinction, 15 in Biology / Physics / Maths at distinction and the remaining Level 3 credits at merit.

International Baccalaureate: 32 overall with HL 5,5,5 – 5,5,4 to include Chemistry. Offer will depend on combination of subjects offered.

BTEC considered on a case-by-case basis.

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

International students:

Please note this course is only open to UK/EU students. Overseas 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

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', including advice for UK, EU and overseas applicants.

What can you expect

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.

You will be taught by a mixture of professors, doctors and postgraduates, thereby receiving a rich diversity of academic knowledge and experience.You can find out more about the members of staff in the School of Chemistry here where you can read about their qualifications, publication history and specific areas of interest.

As a Birmingham student you are part of an academic elite and will learn from world-leading experts. We advocate an enquiry-based learning approach and from the outset you will be encouraged to become an independent and self motivated learner, qualities that are highly sought after by employers.

Your learning will take place in a range of different settings, from scheduled teaching in lectures and small group tutorials, to self-study and peer group learning (for example preparing and delivering presentations with your classmates). To begin with you may find this way of working challenging but rest assured we will enable you to make this transition. You will have access to a comprehensive support systems that will assist and encourage you.

The information below relates to our BSc/MSCi courses:

As a Birmingham Chemistry graduate you will possess excellent core skills in numeracy, IT and literacy, as well as highly-developed problem-solving, team-working, and communication skills, all of which are deemed crucial by employers. Combining these transferable skills with an in-depth knowledge of Chemistry, both theory and practice, you will enter the workplace ready to interpret complex data, to propose innovative solutions to challenging problems, and to design new molecules and materials to solve societal needs.

You might decide to pursue a career in one of the chemical, pharmaceutical or manufacturing industries; alternatively, you could choose to work in other areas of science and technology, such as environmental protection, analytical chemistry or forensics. Other areas that need the problem-solving skills you will have developed include finance, law and marketing, as well as teaching and research.

Birmingham Chemistry has strong research links with many chemical companies, which we can exploit to help you to gain industrial experience whilst studying. Whilst you may choose to undertake a Summer placement as part of your degree, our Chemistry with Industrial Experience MSci programme is a more popular degree choice should you wish to gain experience of working during your degree. On this programme, you spend your third year in paid employment. Working and studying in an industrial setting provides you with valuable experience, whilst at the same time improving your career prospects.

Matt Gray
MSci Chemistry with Industrial Experience
Placement: AstraZeneca

A placement is not as intimidating as it first appears and if you enjoy practical work, then I can't think of a better degree to choose.

Career destinations of previous graduates include:

  • AstraZeneca
  • GlaxoSmithKline
  • BASF
  • Procter and Gamble
  • Reckitt Benckiser
  • Severn Trent Water
  • Forensic Science Service
  • BAE Systems


The graduate employment market is competitive, many employers require evidence of employability or being ready for the world of work.

Internships represent a great way for you to gain experience of the workplace. They also offer employers the opportunity of clarifying what they are looking for and perhaps even assessing interns for future employment. We offer our students the opportunity of internship placements during their time at Birmingham.
The video below talks to students, staff and employers about their internship experience:

University Careers Network

Preparing for your future career should be one of the first things you think about as you start university. Whether you have a clear idea of where your future aspirations lie or would rather consider the broad range of opportunities that are available to you once you have your degree, our Careers Network are there to help you to achieve your goal.

Our unique careers guidance service is tailored to your academic subject area, offering specialised expert advice and mentoring, as well as guidance to help you to secure exclusive work-experience opportunities and global internships, all of which will help you to stand out from the competition. Once you have a career in your sights, one-to-one support with CVs, interview practice and job applications will further help to give you the edge. In addition, our employer-endorsed, award-winning Personal Skills Award (PSA) recognises your extra-curricular activities and is an accredited employability programme designed to improve your career prospects.

If you make the most of the wide range of services you will be able to develop your career from the moment you arrive.

Visit the careers section of the University website for further information.

Birmingham has transformed into one of Europe's most exciting cities. It is more than somewhere to study; it is somewhere to build a successful future.

Clubs and societies

The Guild has over 200 Societies, community volunteering groups and associations for you to join; they cover every topic and activity that you can think of - there really is something for everyone.

We have a very active Chemical Society run entirely by our students. Everyone is encouraged to get involved in ChemSoc activities including the annual black tie ball, charity drives, guest lectures careers events and scientific debate.


Coming to Birmingham might be your first time living away from home. Our student accommodation will allow you to enjoy your new-found independence in safe, welcoming and sociable surroundings.

The City of Birmingham

One of Europe's most exciting destinations, Birmingham is brimming with life and culture, making it a wonderful place to live, study and work.

Our students fall in love with the city - around 40% of our graduates choose to make Birmingham their home.

International students

The University of Birmingham has been welcoming international students onto our campus since 1900.

We have one of the largest and most vibrant international student communities in the UK, with 5,000 international students from more than 150 different countries and 31% of our academic staff from overseas.

If you would like further information about entry requirements, how to apply and funding options, then you can visit our international students webpage. You may also wish to take a virtual tour of our campus and watch the video below to hear our international students say their favourite thing about the University of Birmingham.