Organisation of the course

Course structure

The International Foundation Year is a one-year programme which begins in September each year, and is divided into two 15-week semesters. It includes a comprehensive range of taught classes, tutorials and group work, as well as practical assignments and  laboratory classes where appropriate. There are 21 classroom hours per week.

Assessment is through examinations and written coursework, and for science students there are also practical sessions. Throughout the programme you will develop the subject knowledge you need to progress to your chosen degree at the University of Bath, as well as acquiring the study and academic English language skills required to succeed in the UK higher education system.

You will choose three subjects to study, and we will help and guide you so that you choose the most suitable three subjects to meet the entry requirements of your undergraduate degree. You will study two major subjects, and either English for Academic Purposes or another minor subject. The subjects you will study, depending on your progression degree, are biology, business, chemistry, mathematics, economics, physics, social science and English for academic purposes.

Induction week
Major 1 Major 2 English for Academic Purposes (or Minor) Intro to Higher Education Study Skills Tutorial
Semester 1 exam week
Major 1 Major 2 English for Academic Purposes Intro to Higher Education Study Skills Tutorial
Semester 2 exam week


You will have one class of Study Skills each week, which helps you to prepare for the intellectual and practical skills needed to study successfully at undergraduate level, and also a weekly tutorial with your personal tutor to monitor your academic progress, and to get information, support and guidance on academic and personal issues as required.

Attendance and weekly timetables

There are 21 hours of classroom study each week, and students are expected to attend all classes. Classes are small, usually ranging in size between 5 and 18 students, depending on the subject. There are also self-study periods scheduled during the day, and it is very important that you use this time well, as there is a considerable amount of preparation and studying for presentations, assignments and exams. Individual timetables vary depending on the combination of subjects that you study, but here are two examples of typical timetables.

Example 1: MEng Chemical Engineering

Morning Afternoon
Mon Tutorial  B  R  E  A  K Self Study  L  U  N  C  H Chemistry  B  R  E  A  K Self Study Self Study
Tue EAP Science Maths EAP Science Self Study Self Study
Wed Maths Maths Chemistry Chemistry Study Skills
Thur Self Study Self Study EAP Science EAP Science Self Study
Fri Maths Self Study Self Study Chemistry Self Study


Example 2: BSc Business Administration

Morning Afternoon
Mon EAP Business  B  R  E  A  K EAP Business  L   U  N  C  H Tutorial  B  R  E  A  K Business Self Study
Tue Self Study Self Study Study Skills
Wed Self Study Self Study Business Business Self Study
Thur EAP Business EAP Business Self Study Self Study Self Study
Fri Self Study Business Self Study


Subject Descriptions


This module develops understanding of processes and structures in organisms and explores the function and organisation of biological systems and their interaction with their environments. Students use experimental work to develop their thinking and are encouraged to develop theoretical and practical connections between different areas of biology. In particular, students study cell structure and function, membranes and the movement of substances, biochemical reactions in cells, tissue systems and modes of interconnection between systems, genetics and gene technology, plant biology and ecology. Students are required to draw conclusions about the responsible use of biology in society.


Students taking this module require some existing  knowledge of physics and have good mathematics skills. The module provides opportunities to acquire knowledge, solve problems, and develop practical skills in the laboratory. Students learn about DC electricity, structures, forces, dynamics, waves, gravity, electromagnetism and energy transfer. Students’  maths skills are applied to solve problems and carry out calculations of power and energy.


This module assumes a basic background in chemistry and is designed to develop knowledge of chemical principles and processes. Students study atomic structure and bonding, and gain an understanding of the physical and chemical properties of major homologous series. Students are expected to apply mathematical skills to do calculations, and write scientific reports drawn from practical work in the laboratory.

English for Academic Purposes (EAP)

All students take an English language test in the first week of the semester, and will be advised if they need to take EAP as the third module. Our aim is to prepare our students for university study so that they can confidently listen, write, speak and read in English. The focus of the module is on the vocabulary of either business or science (depending on your chosen target degree), and helps students develop high level academic writing skills so they can present their work according to the correct conventions. Students will also make presentations and learn techniques for listening, taking notes, summarising and paraphrasing.


Students taking this module need a good grounding in maths from school. They will be working to demonstrate that they can apply theory to the process of solution of mathematical problems. Topics will include indices, algebra, matrices, co-ordinate geometry, trigonometry, differential and integral calculus, series and sequences, and logarithmic functions.


This module comprises two parts: microeconomics and macroeconomics. No previous knowledge of the subject is required. The module covers key theoretical models and concepts, and applies them to real world economic situations. Students are exposed to the use of diagrams and mathematical formulae to draw inferences, make predictions and communicate economic concepts. Topics covered will include supply and demand, market mechanisms, structure and competition, international trade, and fiscal and macroeconomic policy.


This unit introduces students to the key features and functions of business, and no previous knowledge of the subject is required. The first semester concentrates on marketing, finance and human resources and systems. In the second semester, finance is revisited in more depth and the unit continues with the impact of change, and the law and its effect on businesses.

Social Science

No previous knowledge of this subject is required. The unit draws on the three key strands of social science: psychology, sociology and politics, and each subject is studied in some depth. In sociology, students will consider the concepts of the role of education in industrialised society, and explanations of differential educational achievement. In psychology, the unit covers the concepts of abnormality and prejudice, and draws upon a variety of psychological theories to underpin students’ understanding of these topics. The politics strand concentrates on the study of democracy and the structures of global politics. In all three strands students are required to demonstrate the use of academic thought and conventions for presenting their ideas.