Physical Sciences Foundation Year

By studying engineering, mathematics and science you will unlock the knowledge, understanding and confidence to shape your future.

It calls for creativity, management and communication skills, as well as technical expertise and knowledge. The Physical Sciences Foundation Year is designed for those students who do not have the recommended qualifications for entry into year one of our undergraduate programmes.

This programme is only open to Home/EU students. International students can apply via the Birmingham International Academy.

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.

This programme is a multidisciplinary year which gives you the knowledge and skills, at the right level, to progress successfully onto undergraduate degree programmes in the following disciplines:

You will gain experience of teamwork, building your confidence in technology and numeracy, developing computer literacy and presentation skills.

Important information: When completing your UCAS application, please indicate the degree you intend to follow after the Foundation Year. You must include this under ‘Further details’ in the ‘choices’ section of the application by using the relevant code from the following:

  • For all Computer Science programmes: Comp Sci
  • For all Mathematics programmes: Maths
  • For Nuclear Science or Engineering programmes: Nuclear
  • For all Physics programmes: Physics

Download the brochure

Why study this course

At Birmingham we provide diverse and intellectually challenging courses, enabling our graduates to gain employment in a wide range of industries. Teaching on the Foundation Year is provided by the same academic staff who are involved in our accredited degree programmes across the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences. They are global experts in their field and provide teaching in leading edge facilities and laboratories.

We produce graduates ready for the fast-changing marketplace.

Benefits of the Foundation Year Programme

  • A broad programme of study providing a solid level of knowledge across science and mathematics
  • Academic contact and support, each student is allocated a personal tutor
  • Builds confidence in mathematics, team-work, computer literacy and communication skills


You will take the following modules as part of the Foundation Year:

Semester 1

  • Introductory Maths (10 credits)
  • Properties of Matter (10 credits)
  • Science and Engineering Skills (10 credits)
  • Mechanics and Waves I (10 credits)
  • Foundations Electronic and Electrical Engineering I (10 credits)
  • Introductory Computer Science I (10 credits)

Semester 2

  • Further Maths (20 credits)
  • Science and Engineering Laboratory (10 credits)
  • Mechanics and Waves II (10 credits)
  • Foundations Electronic and Electrical Engineering II (10 credits)
  • Introductory Computer Science II (10 credits)

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:
AAB-BBB depending on the combination of A levels
  • BBB including Physics
  • ABB including at least one of Chemistry, Computer Science Economics or Electronics
  • AAB in 3 other subjects.

Required subjects and grades

  • Minimum 6/B in GCSE Mathematics

Subjects not accepted

  • A level Maths is not accepted
  • A level General Studies is not accepted 

Access to HE:

60 credits overall with at least 45 at Level 3 out of which 30 are at Distinction including 12 in Mathematics + 12 in Physics and 15 at Merit.

International Baccalaureate:

32 overall with the following at higher level:

  • 555 including Physics
  • 655 including at least one of Chemistry, Computer Science or Economics
  • 665 in 3 other subjects.

Applicants taking Higher Level Maths are not considered.

BTEC and Cambridge Technical:

BTEC and Cambridge Technical  Extended Diplomas are considered on a case-by-case basis dependent on syllabus. A science-based subject is required.

BTEC Diplomas and Subsidiary Diplomas (Extended Certificate from 2016) and Cambridge Technical Diplomas and Introductory Diplomas (Extended Certificate from 2015/16) will be considered in combination with A Levels on a case-by-case basis dependent on the subjects taken.

BTEC applicants may be required to undergo a problem solving test.

Applicants taking these qualifications are advised to contact the University before making an application.

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 FGI0.

Important information: When completing your UCAS application, please indicate the degree you intend to follow after the Foundation Year. You must include this under ‘Further details’ in the ‘choices’ section of the application by using the relevant code from the following:

  • For all Computer Science programmes: Comp Sci
  • For all Physics programmes: Physics
  • For all Mathematics programmes: Maths
  • For Nuclear Science or Engineering programmes: Nuclear

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 16-18 hours of lectures and  classes/labs per week, plus possible timetabled extra support classes for some students.

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.

Contact hours

Depending on the modules you select, each week you will have 16-18 hours of lectures and  classes/labs per week, plus possible timetabled extra support classes for some students.

Assessment methods

You will be assessed in a variety of ways, and these may be different with each module you take. You will be assessed through coursework, which may take the form of essays, group or individual presentations and formal examinations. Each module is assessed independently.

We place a strong emphasis on providing prompt and informative feedback on all piece of work that you submit during your studies.

Preparation for your 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 want to consider the broad range of opportunities available once you have a Birmingham degree, our Careers Network can help you achieve your goal. 

Our unique careers guidance service is tailored to your academic subject area, offering a specialised team who can give you expert advice. 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 you extracurricular activities, and provides 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.

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.


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.