Key Facts

Course Title: Science Foundation Year
Course Duration: 4 or 5 years
Who Can Apply: UK or EU students from a broad range of backgrounds wishing to take a science degree at Keele. Overseas applicants should see the International Degree Programme.
Funding: Student loan available, subject to eligibility
Fees: Read more about fees
Progression: Part of a full honours degree programme at Keele
Mode of Study: A mixture of lectures, tutorials, seminars, workshops, computer classes, laboratory classes and field trips together with independent study and revision.
Website: Our webpage
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The Science Foundation Year provides a scientific background customised to your needs, helping you to progress to the subsequent years of a degree programme at Keele. An extensive choice of modules is available from the life, physical, geographical and environmental sciences; mathematics; computing and psychology.

Course Routes

Degree Courses available with a Science Foundation Year

  •  Astrophysics
  •  Biochemistry
  •  Biology
  •  Biomedical Sciences
  •  Chemistry
  •  Computer Science
  •  Environmental Science
  •  Environment & Sustainability
  •  Forensic and Analytical Investigation
  •  Forensic Science
  •  Geography
  •  Geology
  •  Geoscience
  •  Human Biology
  •  Mathematics
  •  Medicinal Chemistry
  •  Neuroscience
  •  Pharmaceutical Science, Technology and Business
  •  Physical Geography
  •  Physics
  •  Psychology
  • Psychology with Counselling
  •  Rehabilitation Science

Please note that after successful completion of the Foundation Year, you will progress automatically to a Bachelor degree in the subject you chose through UCAS.  Some combinations of subjects and some undergraduate Masters programmes will also be available.

Entry Requirements

To enter the Science Foundation Year in 2018, you must normally have:

- At  least 64 UCAS points or

- The equivalent in other qualifications or

- Relevant work experience


- GCSE English Language at grade C, or

- IELTS 5.5 (with 5.5 in all subtests)


- GCSE Mathematics at grade C or above



How to Apply

All applications must be made through UCAS

You should apply for a specific subject with a Foundation Year.  You can discuss options with a foundation year tutor before arriving at Keele and may be able to change your choice following discussions with foundation year staff.

Please see the full list of UCAS codes for single honours and combined honours programmes with a Foundation Year.

If you are applying for a combined honours programme with a Foundation Year, you will be intending to study two subjects at degree level.  You will need to specify a second subject at the time of applying. Please note that after the foundation year in the subject you will progress to a Bachelor's degree in that subject, plus a second subject for combined honours.


Teaching and Assessment

The programme will be delivered through a mixture of lectures, tutorials, seminars, workshops, computer classes, laboratory classes and field trips.  In addition, you are expected to undertake a large amount of independent study and revision.

Lectures are normally 50 minutes long and consist of a member of staff talking to the whole class with the aid of PowerPoint presentations, whiteboards and other visual aids.  Many lectures involve only teaching by the lecturer, although there is usually opportunity to ask questions.  However, some lectures are more interactive and may involve activities for you to undertake.

Tutorials and seminars are small group sessions with a member of staff.  Usually there is much more participation by students than in lectures.  There is often opportunity for you to suggest the topics to be discussed, to ask questions and even to lead part of the session.  Tutorials and seminars usually support the material delivered in the lectures; seminars often allow you and/or staff to introduce supplementary material.

Workshops are small group sessions based around an activity.  These may be individual or group activities.  A member of staff facilitates the session but the learning comes largely through the undertaking of the activity.  Some workshops will complement the material delivered in the lectures rather than build on it directly.

Laboratory classes provide opportunity for you to perform experiments and other practical work under supervision.

Field trips allow you to carry out supervised investigations outside the class room.

In computer classes you complete tasks using a wide variety of computer applications.  Members of staff are available to provide guidance.

Independent study includes revision, wider reading around the subject, preparation and writing of assignments, preparatory reading, preparation for seminars and tutorials, and developing skills to complement the material delivered in class.  Reading lists are provided to help you direct your reading.

Assessment (The following list is representative of the variety of assessment methods used within the Science Foundation Year).

Unseen closed and open book examinations in different formats test your knowledge and understanding of the subject. Examinations may consist of essay, short answer and/or multiple choice questions, and paper comprehension.

Essays and reports allow you to demonstrate your ability to articulate ideas clearly, using argument and reasoning skills and with close reference to the contexts and critical concepts covered in the modules. Essays also develop and demonstrate research and presentation skills (including appropriate scholarly referencing).

Class tests taken either conventionally or online via the Keele Learning Environment (KLE) assess your subject knowledge and often your ability to apply it in a more structured and focused way.

Research projects test your knowledge of different research methodologies and the limits and provisional nature of knowledge. They also enable you to demonstrate your ability to formulate research questions and to answer them using appropriate methods.

Oral and poster presentations and reports assess your individual subject knowledge and understanding. They may also test your ability to work effectively as members of a team, to communicate what you know orally and visually, and to reflect on these processes as part of your own personal development.

Portfolios may consist of a range of different pieces of work but routinely include a requirement that you provide some evidence of critical reflection on the development of your own learning.

Peer assessment: In some cases you will be involved in peer evaluation of other students’ work, particularly in group work.  This helps you to take responsibility, improve your performance, and reflect on both your own work and that of others.

Course work assignments consist of short written pieces completed in your own time and provide the opportunity to test a range of deeper learning concepts; you are expected to make use of a variety of source material, as well as your lecture notes and text books etc., to complete these assignments. 

Laboratory reports – structured pro formas and full laboratory reports are formal summaries of work carried out in the laboratory.  They test your understanding of the practical aspects of the programme and develop the skills necessary to enable you to present and analyse your results, as well as explain the rationale behind an experiment, describe an associated replicable methodology and draw valid conclusions.

Contacts & Further Information

For further information, please contact:

Jill Griffiths
Admissions Officer
Foundation Year Centre
Keele University
Staffordshire, ST5 5BG

Tel: 01782 733763

Additional Costs

As to be expected there will be additional costs for textbooks and other course books, an approved calculator, inter-library loans, potential overdue library fines and printing.

Students taking the social science module 'Education in Practice', which involves a placement in a school, will be expected to fund their own travel in that regard.

Students working in the chemistry and biology laboratories will be required to wear protective equipment.  These can be purchased from the University for a total cost of about £15.

Students taking the module ‘Exploiting the Earth’ will be required to provide a £10 deposit with regard to the field trip, returnable on attendance.

You will take a combination of modules to a total of 120 credits: core modules (30 credits, or 40 for mathematics), those related to your intended degree programme after your Foundation Year and some free choice.  Modules are worth 10, 15 or 20 credits.

Core Modules

The core modules include:

  • Communication Skills for Scientists (10 credits)
  • One of
    - Basic Numerical and Computational Skills, (10 credits) for students with GCSE mathematics at at least grade
    - Intermediate Numerical and Computational Skills, (10 credits) for students who can demonstrate proficiency in mathematics significantly above GCSE grade C
    - Elementary Mathematical Methods I, (20 credits) for students enrolled on single honours or dual honours Mathematics with Science Foundation Year

  • One of
    - Academic Development (10 credits)
    - Academic Development for Vocational Students (20 credits), for students who have not taken A levels, the International Baccalaureate, or an Access to HE Diploma
    - A Guide to Success for International Students (15 credits), for students deemed to require English language training during the Foundation Year

Subject-specific modules

Modules related to particular subjects, some of which can also be taken as options are shown in the Indicative Modules tab.

Option modules

Additional modules will be taken where necessary to bring the total module credit value to 120.  These can be in any subject available at Foundation level and modern foreign languages, subject to timetabling constraints and room capacity.

"I would just like to give credit to the wonderful FY team for their constant support to all FY students who each are different in many aspects, whether it's the teaching staff/module leaders/personal tutors or the lovely ladies who collect our work in. Many of the FY staff have brought a smile to my face.  I am very proud to have been an FY student at Keele University as we can ask you many questions as long as we regularly keep up with the workload and e-mail checking.  I have had a beautiful FY year at Keele University".

Aqsa Halim: Science Foundation Year 2011-2012, now studying Human Biology and Applied Psychology


Please see Progression Rules for further details

Our Course Information Documents (CIDs) are designed to give you all of the details you need to make an informed decision about what and where to study.

Science Foundation Year Course Information Document 2017-18

Please refer to the list of Foundation Year Science modules associated with each individual degree subject.