Engineering and Physical Sciences Pathway

Our Foundation Pathways are designed for international students who require a preparatory year prior to UK undergraduate study. The foundation programme is equivalent in learning to year 13 of the UK education system and provides students with a fully integrated experience; meaning that all of our students are taught by Birmingham academics and have full access to facilities in the University of Birmingham’s stunning Edgbaston campus. Foundation students are guaranteed a place on a University of Birmingham undergraduate programme if they meet the progression requirements.

The College of Engineering and Physical Sciences has a long and proud tradition of educating students from across the globe. We welcome scholars from over 200 countries who contribute to the strong international atmosphere that is a major feature of the college.

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects are critically important in the development of our future fuels, materials and machines, and the College plays a significant role in training the next generation of world-class engineers and scientists to solve our future challenges. We have strong links with major UK employers such as Rolls-Royce and Airbus, and our staff and students are at the forefront of research into a wide variety of areas, from working with particle physicists at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland to using nanotechnology to develop microengines.

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Pathway will lead you towards an undergraduate degree in one of the following:

 The Engineering and Physical Sciences Pathway will ensure that you are fully prepared for undergraduate study in the UK by providing you with strong academic training and transferable skills. Successful completion of the foundation year will also guarantee you progression onto your chosen degree.

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See the Engineering and Physical Sciences Pathway progression table 2019-20 for more information about the undergraduate degrees available for a Foundation Pathways student choosing this pathway and the compulsory and optional modules you should undertake.

Why study this course

1. You will study and live in our stunning campus

As a student at the Birmingham International Academy, you will have full access to the University’s facilities including a new sports centre offering up to 200 sports and fitness classes, an award winning museum and art gallery and a new library. There are 40 food and drink outlets on campus providing cuisine from around the world.

2. You will be taught by world-leading academics

The University of Birmingham has 11 Nobel Prize winners and is leading research in physics, rail and health. Studying at Birmingham will challenge and develop you so that you can pursue further study with a good level of academic skill.

3. You will join a community with over 6,500 international students

International students have formed some of the University’s most exciting and vibrant student societies. These societies can support you during your time on campus, whether that be through music, food, religious beliefs or a whole range of other activities from around the world. The Birmingham International Academy also has a dedicated welfare tutor who will help all foundation students with any academic or personal issues they may encounter during their studies.

4. You will be guaranteed a place on one of the University’s undergraduate programmes if you achieve satisfactory grades in your foundation year

Successful completion of one of the four foundation pathways will guarantee you progression onto your chosen undergraduate degree. We want to make sure you’re fully prepared for your undergraduate studies, so each pathway will help you to develop important academic and English language skills.

5. You will be part of an exciting city with people, food and cultures from around the world

Birmingham is the second largest city in the UK. We have people from over 150 nationalities living here and there are restaurants and shops letting you try food from around the world. Birmingham has many mosques, temples and churches, and hosts live music, cultural and sporting events that you can attend (or maybe even participate in), including the 2022 Commonwealth Games.


You will take subject-specific modules from the table below plus one of the Academic English and Study Skills modules (or the Advanced Academic skills) amounting to a total of 120 credits.

When you receive and accept your offer, you will be advised about your module choices. Some undergraduate degrees will have compulsory modules that you should take in your Foundation Pathways' programme.

Modules  Credits
Introductory Mathematics   10
Properties of Matter   10
Mechanics and Waves   20
Further Mathematics    20
Foundation Electronic and Electrical Engineering   20
Computer Science   20
Introductory Chemistry   10
The Periodic Table   10
Introductory Organic Chemistry    10
Organic Spectroscopy   10
Physical Chemistry   20 and 10
Practical Chemistry (Laboratory)   10

Module descriptions

There are a range of Academic English and Study Skills modules, including advance options.

Introductory Mathematics

This module develops your confidence and knowledge in basic mathematical techniques and skills.

Properties of Matter

In this module you will be introduced to some of the basic structures of matter and how these structures affect material properties and their behaviour and uses in science and engineering.

Mechanics and Waves

The aim of this module is to develop a basic understanding of the principles of mechanics and the fundamental concepts of wave motion.

Further Mathematics

This module builds on the knowledge and skills developed in the Introductory Mathematics module (Term 1). It will cover topics associated with functions, further calculus and numerical methods.

Foundation Electronic and Electrical Engineering

This module aims to develop basic knowledge and skills relevant to electricity and magnetism.

Introductory Chemistry

This module aims to develop a number of fundamental concepts associated with the discipline of Chemistry. This module introduces fundamental features of atomic structure, before extending towards compounds, including concepts of bonding and oxidation states.

The Periodic Table

This module covers important concepts such as periodicity and molecular shapes. It also expands and develops the basic bonding theories presented in the pre-requisite module (Introductory Chemistry) in more detail.

Introductory Organic Chemistry

This module aims to develop knowledge and skills in basic organic chemistry and you will be provided with a good grounding in the Organic Spectroscopy module

Organic Spectroscopy

This module further develops some of the concepts presented in the Introductory Organic Chemistry module, such as isomerism and arrow-pushing schemes.

Physical Chemistry

This module aims to develop your knowledge and skills in the broad area of physical chemistry and includes practise of some mathematical techniques within a chemical context.

Practical Chemistry (Laboratory)

This laboratory-based module is designed to provide you with experience of practical chemistry. It also provides you with training in aspects of health and safety.

Introductory Computer Science

The module introduces issues relating to the representation, storage, exchange and manipulation of information and the theoretical and practical aspects of computing.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees for 2019-20 are £16,740 (International Fee) and £9,250 (EU Fee)

This includes:

  • One year’s tuition fees
  • Books and all classroom equipment

Please see information on available scholarships.

Please note: Accommodation will incur additional charges to the above fee.

Entry requirements

Please visit our country pages for specific entry requirements and study information.

How to apply

Apply online through the Birmingham International Academy website.

Applications open on 15 November 2018 and close on 5 August 2019.

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As a Birmingham student you are part of an academic elite and will learn from world-leading experts. In 2017, we received a Gold rating by the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), demonstrating our commitment to providing our students with outstanding teaching. The University of Birmingham is proud to count 11 Nobel Prize winners among our staff and alumni, including three prizes awarded in 2016.

We use a range of teaching methods to help you become an independent and self-motivated learner. You will have access to a comprehensive academic support system that will assist and encourage you, including a welfare tutor who can provide guidance on all academic and non-academic needs.

Your learning will take place in a range of settings, from scheduled teaching in seminars, lectures and small group tutorials, to peer group learning where you may be asked to prepare and deliver a presentation with your classmates.

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Graduates from these degree programmes benefit from excellent career prospects in major, globally recognised companies in industries as diverse as food, electronics, construction, pharmaceuticals and space technology; or you could commit to further study and pursue a career in research and development.

Students in the Birmingham International Academy have come from over 120 nationalities. We have helped hundreds of students from around the world to excel academically, live in safety and enjoy their time as a scholar in Birmingham.

As a foundation student your accommodation is guaranteed. You have a wide range of accommodation to choose from in the University’s three student villages, all of which are a short walk from the International Academy and your academic departments. A catered package is available to students who live in the Vale Village accommodation and can be spent in the 40+ catering outlets on campus.


Students on the foundation pathways have an active social life. The foundation hub in Priorsfield has a common room where you can study, meet friends or listen to music. All students have the option to go on a fun weekend away and to participate in BIA day trips, which have included visits to London, Warwick and Cadbury World. As a fully integrated student, you will also be able to join any of the 250+ student societies, community volunteering groups and associations run by the Student Guild. Students can also participate in sports teams and fitness classes and access the gym and swimming pool based in the new sports centre.

The Birmingham International Academy has taken a number of measures to ensure your safety and wellbeing. The main BIA student accommodation has a 24-hour reception to provide support and information to students every hour of the day. The BIA Welfare Tutor offers guidance for a range of personal and academic problems including: illness, disability, academic difficulties, problems settling and any unexpected events.

If you are under the age of 18 at the start of the programme, it is compulsory for you to stay in University accommodation unless we have received prior agreement for you to live with a designated guardian.