• For Entry: September
  • Duration: 1 year
  • Award: Certificate of Higher Education
  • Study Abroad: No
  • Study Mode: Full Time

This course gives you a broad understanding of life sciences. It focuses on numeracy and chemistry and can help you progress to a full degree.

TEF Gold - Teaching Excellence Framework

This course is designed for students who do not have the required subjects and grades at A level (or equivalent) to be able to qualify for direct entry into University of Dundee Life Sciences degrees. It takes one year full time, or two years part time.

The aim of the Foundation Year is to ensure that you acquire a broad-based working knowledge and understanding of the physical and life sciences as they relate to living organisms at all levels of organisation. There is a focus on the core skills of chemistry and numeracy, both of which are needed for success in the Life Sciences.

Once you've gained an appropriate level of achievement in the Foundation Year, you will be able to enter the Life Sciences 3 year Honours Degree programmes.

An excellent reputation

Dundee is the top university in the UK for Biological Sciences according to the Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014), the national system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions over a 5-year period.

Transferable skills

This course will also help you recognise and develop the skills needed for success in your future studies and employment.

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The following are the minimum, up-to-date entry requirements.

Courses starting 2018 and 2019
Qualification Level 1 Entry Advanced Entry to Level 2
SQA Higher/Advanced Higher
GCE A-Level Typical requirements for entry to the course are BBC at A-Level including biology plus GCSE chemistry at C / 4 However an applicant with CCC at A-Level including biology plus GCSE chemistry may be considered in combination with a telephone interview.
BTEC A relevant BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma with DDM
International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma 30 points at Higher Level grades 5, 5, 5.
A combination of IB Certificate plus other qualifications, such as A-Levels, Advanced Placement Tests or the International Baccalaureate Career-related Programme (IBCP), will also be considered.
Irish Leaving Certificate (ILC)
Graduate Entry
SQA Higher National (HNC/HND)
Scottish Baccalaureate
SWAP Access
Advanced Diploma
Welsh Baccalaureate
European Baccalaureate
Other Qualifications Appropriate accreditation of prior experiential learning (APEL) in discussion with School Admissions Tutor

 EU and International qualifications

English Language Requirement

For non EU students

IELTS Overall 6.0
Listening 5.5
Reading 5.5
Writing 6.0
Speaking 5.5

 Equivalent grades from other test providers


English Language Programmes

We offer Pre-Sessional and Foundation Programme(s) throughout the year. These are designed to prepare you for university study in the UK when you have not yet met the language requirements for direct entry onto a degree programme.

 Discover our English Language Programmes

Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF)

The University of Dundee has been given a Gold award – the highest possible rating – in the 2017 Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF).

Read more about the Teaching Excellence Framework

This course is taught by staff based in the School of Life Sciences.

It lasts for 12 months on a full time basis, or 24 months part time.

How you will be taught

We use a variety of teaching methods, with lectures and practicals forming the core. In addition, we use workshops, tutorials and computer-aided learning as appropriate to each module.

How you will be assessed

Assessment is by a combination of coursework exercises, computer-based tests and formal examinations.

What you will study

This programme focuses on developing the core foundation of chemistry and numeracy needed for success in our subjects.

You will be expected to take 80 credits of core modules, with up to 40 credits of optional choices.

Semester 1

  • Introduction to Maths, Physics and Chemistry - 20 credits
  • Laboratory training - 10 credits
  • Physics for the Life Sciences workshops - 10 credits
  • 20 credits optional, drawn from the available modules in the University

Semester 2

  • Biological sciences theory - 20 credits
  • Laboratory training - 10 credits
  • Chemistry for the Life Sciences workshops - 10 credits
  • 20 credits optional, drawn from the available modules in the University

Throughout the course, you will gain generic skills which will enhance your employability.

Experimental skills are delivered through 'hands-on' experience in the laboratory, intellectual skills are developed through structured tutorials and problem-solving exercises and interpersonal and group work skills are encouraged through shared projects.

With its strong emphasis on skills training, and focused, personalised advising, the Foundation Year in Life Sciences aims to produce students who are properly prepared to embark on an Honours degree in the Life Sciences.

Graduates with appropriate levels of achievement will be able to progress into the 3 year Honours programmes of the School, but all graduates will have a Certificate in HE which will be of value in their future career and training choices.

The fees you pay will depend on your fee status. Your fee status is determined by us using the information you provide on your application.

 Find out more about fee status

Fees for students starting 2019-20

Fee categoryFees for students starting 2019-20
Scottish and EU students £1,820 per year of study
Rest of UK students £9,250 per year of study See our scholarships for rest of UK applicants.
Overseas students (non-EU) This course is not open to overseas students

Tuition fees for Overseas (non-EU) students are guaranteed not to increase by more than 3% per year, for the length of your course.

Additional costs

You may incur additional costs in the course of your education at the University over and above tuition fees in an academic year.

Examples of additional costs:

One off costOngoing costIncidental cost
Graduation feeStudio feeField trips

*these are examples only and are not exhaustive.

Additional costs:

  • may be mandatory or optional expenses
  • may be one off, ongoing or incidental charges and certain costs may be payable annually for each year of your programme of study
  • vary depending on your programme of study
  • are payable by you and are non-refundable and non-transferable

Unfortunately, failure to pay additional costs may result in limitations on your student experience.

For additional costs specific to your course please speak to our Enquiry Team.

Unistats data set (formerly the Key Information Set (KIS) Unistats data set - formerly the Key Information Set (KIS)

  Degree UCAS Code
Apply NowFoundation Year in Life Sciences Certificate of Higher EducationC103