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Science and engineering Foundation

Prepare for a science or engineering degree at an English-speaking university.

Course type
University Foundation Programme
Age of student
Language level
Intermediate (B1) - Proficient (C2)
Maximum class size
Entry requirements
Intermediate B1/IELTS 4.0 (Extended), Intermediate B1/IELTS 4.5 (Academic Year)
Lesson hours per week
Course dates
29 June 2020 (Extended), 21 September 2020 (Academic Year)
Course Length
4 terms (Extended), 3 terms (Academic Year)
£24,380 (Extended), £18,260 (Academic Year)
Bell Cambridge

Who is this course for?

  • Students who wish to study a science or engineering degree at an English-speaking university.
  • Students who want to progress to a UK university and have 12 years of education in their own country (usually students will have completed High School).

Course outcomes

Upon completion of Bell’s Science Foundation, you will:

  • Be able to progress to a UK university undergraduate degree course in your chosen field of study
  • Have a Bell Foundation Programme certificate highlighting your attainment, which is recognised by UK universities
  • Have achieved an IELTS grade to gain entry to a UK or English-speaking university
  • Be a more independent learner and have the study skills to succeed at university

Course dates

Extended (48 weeks)

  • Term 1: 29 June - 18 September 2020
  • Term 2: 21 September - 11 December 2020
  • Term 3: 4 January - 26 March 2021
  • Term 4: 12 April - 2 July 2021

The first term of the Extended Foundation focuses on English language development and IELTS preparation, before following the Academic Year Foundation for the remaining three terms.

Academic year (36 weeks)

  • Term 1: 21 September - 11 December 2020
  • Term 2: 4 January - 26 March 2021
  • Term 3: 12 April - 2 July 2021

Course description

Bell's Science and Engineering Foundation provides the subject knowledge, practical laboratory skills and academic skills to succeed on a science or engineering degree.

You will study three subject modules alongside our core foundation modules to ensure you have the skills and knowledge you need to progress to an English-speaking university.

Subject modules

You will study three subjects in English:

  • Physics or Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Mathematics


The physics module is delivered through classroom-based teaching of theory, problem-solving seminars and laboratory-based practicals. It provides numerous opportunities to link theory to reality, and equips students with the essential practical skills they need for degree level study.

Topics include:

  • Measurements and their errors
  • Particles and radiation
  • Mechanics and materials
  • Electricity
  • Nuclear physics.


This module is designed to nurture a passion for Biology and to give students the knowledge required for further study of biological sciences at degree. You will use practical experiences to link theory to reality, and learn the essential practical laboratory skills you need.

Topics include:

  • Biological molecules
  • Cells
  • Organisms and their environment
  • Genetics and biodiversity
  • Investigative and practical skills.


The chemistry module provides a knowledge of chemistry to study at degree level and trains students in effective scientific enquiry. It is delivered through classroom-based teaching of theory, problem-solving seminars and laboratory based practicals.

Topics include:

  • Physical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Investigative and practical skills


The module provides you with a good working knowledge of mathematics. It covers key areas of pure  mathematics and statistics to develop a problem-solving approach and to develop awareness of the relevance of mathematics to other fields of study.

Topics include:

Pure mathematics:

  • Algebra and functions
  • Quadratic functions
  • Equations and inequalities
  • Coordinate geometry
  • Differentiation and integration


  • Data representation
  • Data interpretation: measures of location and dispersion
  • Probability
  • Correlation
  • Discrete random variables

Core foundation modules

Academic Skills

This module will ensure you are fully prepared to succeed at university. You will be able to confidently work with native and non-native speakers of English.

Study skills

You will practise the study skills you will need for the tasks, assignments and exams set at university. You will engage in ways of studying which may be very different to the ones you have experienced in your own country, but you will quickly become familiar with them, and learn how to gain high marks.

The main areas of focus are:

  • Reading and listening: the organisation of texts; note-taking from articles and lectures
  • Writing: planning and drafting essays; paraphrasing, summarising and synthesising
  • Speaking: giving presentations; discussing ideas and opinions
  • Critical thinking: analysing and evaluating arguments
  • Research: carrying out research; referencing.

IELTS preparation

You will receive intensive preparation for the IELTS examination which you will take in the final weeks of your course. The IELTS exam tests the four language skills of listening, reading, writing and speaking. An overall IELTS band score of 5.5 or higher is usually required for entry to degree programmes at universities in the UK and abroad. The exam fee is included.

Learning Support

In this module you will prepare for life and study in the UK.

Visiting speaker programme

Speakers who are experts in their field give lectures and workshops on a range of topics related to the subjects offered on the course. Note-taking and other learning tasks will be set.

University applications support

We have a dedicated and experienced university counselling manager who will support you in applying to universities, including searching for courses and institutions and completing applications.

Supported self-study

You will have a supported self-study session each week where tutors will be available to assist you with any aspects of the course that you need extra help with. You will also be shown how to use the many learning resources available at Bell, and develop as an independent learner.


You will have a tutorial each week, where you will meet with your academic skills tutor 1 to 1. This is your opportunity to discuss your progress, receive guidance, and ask any questions you may have.


You will be assessed through coursework and examinations designed to ensure that you achieve the learning outcomes set for each module.

Your learning will be supported by tutor feedback which will also provide an indication of your level of achievement. We will always schedule your workload carefully and make clear the criteria for assessment. In the final weeks, your language skills are assessed separately through the IELTS examination.

Extended Foundation

The first term of the Extended Foundation focuses on improving your language and academic skills.

It will be assessed by:

  • a written piece of coursework: 70%
  • an oral presentation: 30%
  • gaining a minimum score of 4.5 in each
  • element of the IELTS test

Once you have completed the first term successfully, you will move onto the three term academic year assessment schedule.

Academic Skills module

The academic skills module is assessed through examinations (40 marks) and coursework (60 marks). The marks are made up as follows:


  • Essay: 20 marks
  • Research project: 20 marks
  • Individual seminar presentation: 10 marks
  • Group presentation: 10 marks


  • Writing summary: 10 marks
  • Note-taking: 10 marks
  • Critical thinking: 20 marks

Subject modules

You will be assessed in three subject modules. The assessment of each subject module is made up of three examinations (60 marks) and one coursework assignment (40 marks) as follows:*

  • Coursework essay: 40 marks
  • Exam 1 (90 minutes): 10 marks
  • Exam 2 (90 minutes): 20 marks
  • Exam 3 (120 minutes): 30 marks

*Minor variations in exam structure depending on programme.

Pass requirement

Your overall mark on the course will be the average of total marks in the academic skills module and the three subject modules. These modules are equally weighted. To be awarded a pass on the University Foundation Programme you must have:

  • an overall mark of 40% or above
  • a mark of 40% or above in each module
  • an attendance rate over the whole course of 90% or above.

On passing the course you will be awarded a certificate which states your final grade:

  • 70% or above: Distinction
  • 60-69%: Merit
  • 50-59%: Credit
  • 40-49%: Pass.

External examiners

The external examiners for the University Foundation Programme are members of the academic staff at the University of Essex. They act as moderators of coursework and examinations and they consider and approve programmes of work and make final decisions about the marks and grades to be awarded. They visit Bell several times during the course to meet all our students and staff.

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The Bell Guarantee:

We guarantee you will be offered a place at university in the UK, after you have successfully completed our University Foundation Programme.*

University destinations

On successful completion of the Bell University Foundation Programme, our partner universities offer entry to a variety of undergraduate degree courses, subject to admissions criteria.

Progress to courses such as:

  • BEng Chemical Engineering | Queen's University Belfast
  • BSc Chemistry with Forensic Science | University of Leicester
  • BSc Biochemistry with Genetics | Lancaster University
  • BSc Biomedical Science | Kingston University, London
  • BSc Robotics | University of Reading
  • BEng Electronic Engineering | University of Essex
  • BEng Aerospace Engineering | University of Hertfordshire

Students studying on the Bell Science Foundation have been offered places on other courses including:

  • BSc Computer Science | University of East Anglia
  • BEng (Hons) Aeronautical Engineering | City University, London
  • BEng (Hons) Aerospace Engineering | University of Surrey
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Higher education advice

Through our free and impartial higher education advisory service, our expert advisors will help you choose your course and university. You will be guided through every stage of the application process and given opportunities to meet representatives from a wide range of British universities.

Academic year sample timetable

University Foundation sample timetable
Click on the timetable to view a larger version.

Course includes:

  • Course materials
  • IELTS exam entrance
  • Regular 1 to 1 tutorials
  • Access to the learning centre and a wide range of resources
  • Access to a dedicated university pathways study area
  • Weekly lectures on a range of topics
  • Free and impartial higher education advisory service
  • Regular visits to leading universities and university cities
  • Visits from university representatives and entrance to our higher education fair
  • Free scanning, printing and photocopying
  • Free Wifi
  • A free weekly programme of social activities and trips
  • Comprehensive insurance
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Did you know?

More than half of the world's scientific and technical periodicals are written in English.

*Minimum pass grade of 40%, a score of 5.5 or above in each component of the IELTS test and an attendance record of at least 90%.