Natural Sciences (Life and Physical Sciences) with Foundation Year BSc, 4-5 years

Start date:

2022
2023

Course information

Typical offer BCC

UK/EU fee £9,250

UCAS code F994

International fee £22,600

Institute code L34

If you would love to study Natural Sciences here at Leicester, but your A-level subjects don’t match our entry criteria, or you don’t quite have the entry requirements to get in, this degree is your bridge to making it happen.

Course description

Course description

Our integrated Science, Technology and Engineering (STEM) Foundation Year degrees are aimed at students who wish to study a STEM subject, such as physics, but don't have the traditional entry requirements.

The course is run on the University of Leicester campus like any other, and you will be studying alongside other students who applied for, and slightly missed out on, a place on a course similar to yours. In the first year of this course you will all be working towards passing a foundation year (year 0), which will enable automatic progression onto year 1 of any of our BSc (or MSci) Natural Sciences courses.

  • By completing the Foundation Year you will automatically progress onto the first year of your chosen degree. 
  • The course strongly emphasises the development of essential professional and personal skills, which are necessary throughout your studies and beyond. 
  • During your Foundation Year you will join our student community and be able to enjoy all aspects of the University of Leicester student experience. You will be able to join the Students’ Union, use our academic and leisure facilities, live in our accommodation and access all our support services. 
  • You will have a personal tutor to support you. 

Our multi-award winning Natural Sciences degrees are designed around a core set of bespoke Natural Science modules. You will study fundamental and advanced scientific concepts from the life and physical sciences, enabling you to acquire a sound knowledge across the disciplines.

But our course doesn’t simply teach science - it creates scientists. We use a research-based approach to learning and teaching. Our bespoke Natural Sciences modules are interdisciplinary in content - exploring the connections between traditional science subjects and allowing you to apply your knowledge to tackle cutting-edge scientific issues.

Our Natural Sciences modules use a combination of real-world research questions and authentic assessments (known as problem-based learning) to provide numerous opportunities to practice confronting topical and relevant scientific problems in novel situations, for example forensic science and artificial limbs.

A recent Physics Today (Top US Physics journal) article showcases our Natural Sciences degrees as one of the world’s trail blazing programmes, highlighting the way that they “foster interdisciplinary and personal connections”. The course’s strong research focus reflects the University’s outstanding culture of interdisciplinary research: from green chemistry to synthetic biology; from sustainable development to astrobiology. Our experts in the relevant fields support your learning through interactive sessions. This means that, as well as traditional lectures, your learning will involve interactive problem-solving workshops, regular tailored feedback sessions and one-to-one tutorials with academic staff allowing you to build transferable skills and confidence alongside your scientific knowledge

Following successful completion of your foundation year you will embark on the first year of the BSc/MSci which is designed and delivered solely for Natural Sciences students. This allows you to concentrate on one of the following specialisms in your second and third years, alongside bespoke Natural Sciences interdisciplinary modules:

  • Chemical Science
  • Molecular and Cellular Science
  • Physical Science
  • Ecological and Zoological Science

The emphasis on research skills continues throughout the course. You will have the chance to run your own scientific journal and conduct your own scientific inquiry within one of the University of Leicester research labs. This is excellent preparation for a career in academia, scientific industry or other career pathways - having gained a wide range of transferable skills.

We have a diverse, inclusive and vibrant student community in Natural Sciences. Our small cohort size, regular interactive group work activities and dedicated Natural Sciences social learning space means you will get to know your course mates and tutors well. Graduates often remark they have made some of their closest friends through the course.

 

 

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

  • A-levels: BCC or points equivalent from your best three A-levels. Must include two science subjects from: Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Electronics, Geography, Geology, Maths, Further Maths, Physics, and Statistics.
  • GCSE: Grades B/5 in Maths (if no A-level Maths) and C/4 in English.
  • BTEC Diploma: DDM in a science related subject, which must include appropriate maths and science content. You may be required to take an additional maths assessment test.
  • International Baccalaureate: Pass diploma with 26 points minimum, and must include appropriate maths and science content.
  • Access to HE: Pass diploma with 24 Distinctions in a science related subject, which must include appropriate maths and science content. You may be required to take an additional maths assessment test.

We welcome applicants with other qualifications. Please contact seadmissions@le.ac.uk to find out more.

Selection Process

When considering your application, we will look for evidence that you will be able to fulfil the objectives of the course and achieve the standards required. We will take into account a range of factors including previous exam results.

All applicants are invited to an informal interview with a member of academic staff from the programme.

English Language Requirements

IELTS 6.5 or equivalent. If your first language is not English, you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. If you do not yet meet our requirements, our English Language Teaching Unit (ELTU) offers a range of courses to help you to improve your English to the necessary standard.

International Qualifications

Find your country in this list to check equivalent qualifications, scholarships and additional requirements.

Countries list

Fees and funding

Fees and funding

UK Students

Starting in 2023 

  • £9,250 in your first year. Tuition fees are subject to government regulations and may change in future years
  • Year Abroad: your fee will be £1,250 for that year

Find out more about scholarships and funding.

International Students

Starting in 2023 

  • £22,600 per year
  • Year Abroad: £5,650, which is 25% of the full-time tuition fee

If you are resident outside the UK and the Republic of Ireland, you will need to pay a deposit of £3,000 to secure your place. This will be subtracted from your total tuition fee.

From 2022 onwards, EU nationals will pay the International fee. If you are an EU national with settled or pre-settled status under the EU settlement scheme, you may qualify for the UK fee (subject to criteria).

Find out more about scholarships and funding.

Careers and employability

Careers and employability

"I can't credit Natural Sciences enough for where I am now in my career; not only did it give me the knowledge to progress to study an MSc, it provided me with invaluable skills in problem solving, working with people and time management skills I use every single day in my professional life"
Siobhan, Forensic Scientist for the Metropolitan Police - graduated in 2015

Our programme has been designed and recognised for its innovative approach to employability, winning the Embedding Employability element  of the  UK Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence in 2017 (the only Natural Sciences programmes to receive this accolade). We use a combination of group-work and open-ended authentic assessments (known as problem-based learning) to support our students to develop key scientific graduate skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving and leadership. This provides excellent preparation for further study and the world of work and is reflected in our excellent employability statistics, with our students earn an average salary of £26,000 six months after graduating.

Over the last decade graduates from our Natural Sciences courses have gone on to work in a wide range of sectors and industries including

  • Forensic science
  • Medicine
  • Academic research
  • Data analytics/management
  • Consultancy
  • Teaching
  • Scientific support (sales, recruitment, conference planning, technical support)
  • The Civil Service
  • Science communication (museum, broadcasting and publishing sectors)
  • Engineering
  • IT project management
  • Sustainability
  • The NHS (testing, clinical trials)

Hear more from our alumni

Career Development Service

Get career-ready at Leicester with guidance from our award-winning Career Development Service. We're here to give you a lifetime offer of support, even after graduation. Our team of specialist careers advisers and mentors will help you every step of the way. From supporting you with CVs and interviews, to volunteering opportunities and placements, we're here to help you reach your professional goals.

Sustainable Development Goals

Sustainable Development Goals

We are committed to providing skills and knowledge to help prepare you tackle global challenges. We have mapped our undergraduate degrees for learning which aligns to the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The Natural Sciences (Life and Physical Sciences) degrees include learning which relates to the following UN Sustainable Development Goals:

Find out more about the UN Sustainable Development Goals

Course structure

Foundation Year

Foundation Year

Modules

Modules shown represent choices available to current students. The range of modules available and the content of any individual module may change in future years.

Year 1

Year 1

The interdisciplinary nature of the course begins in Year 1, where you will cover a range of topics, as well as the role of science in ensuring a sustainable society. You will be introduced to key laboratory, computing and research-based problem solving skills.

Modules

This is the same as Year 1 of the MSci.

At the end of Year 1, you will choose one of four pathways. These have some shared modules and some specialist modules. The pathways available are:

  • Chemical Sciences
  • Physical Sciences
  • Molecular and Cellular Science
  • Ecological and Zoological Science

Modules shown represent choices available to current students. The range of modules available and the content of any individual module may change in future years.

Chemical Sciences Pathway

Chemical Sciences Pathway

The Chemical Sciences pathway is the central hub that keeps you at the interface of physical and biological sciences and connected to all the options available to you as a Natural Scientist. It will appeal if you like not only grounding chemistry in physical chemistry, but also explaining biology with biological chemistry. Your learning will span the structures and transformations that bridge from atoms into cells. You will have the opportunity to study and undertake research projects in chemistry for health and medicine; chemistry for energy and the environment; and chemistry for technology and materials. By the end of your degree, you will have acquired a molecular view of the natural world.

Year 1

The first year is common to all four Natural Sciences pathways – see ‘Year 1’ tab for details.

Year 2

Core Natural Sciences modules

Specialised modules

Between Years 2 and 3 you can spend a Year in Industry or a Year Abroad (see separate tab).

Year 3

Core Natural Sciences modules

Specialised modules

Plus your Research Project 3

Modules shown represent choices available to current students. The range of modules available and the content of any individual module may change in future years.

Physical Sciences Pathway

Physical Sciences Pathway

The Physical Sciences pathway is the most mathematical of all of the options. This pathway is ideal if you like not only extracting trends from data, but also constructing predictive models that explain the behaviour of the world around you. You will study the fundamental laws that underpin everything that surrounds us, from the sub-atomic scale up to interstellar scales. You will have the opportunity to study and undertake research projects in Earth Observation, Space Systems, Astrophysics and Mathematical/Computational modelling.

Year 1

The first year is common to all four Natural Sciences pathways – see ‘Year 1’ tab for details.

Year 2

Core Natural Sciences modules

Specialised modules

Between Years 2 and 3 you can spend a Year in Industry or a Year Abroad (see separate tab).

Year 3

Core Natural Sciences modules

Specialised modules

Plus your Research Project 3

Modules shown represent choices available to current students. The range of modules available and the content of any individual module may change in future years.

Molecular and Cellular Science Pathway

Molecular and Cellular Science Pathway

The Molecular and Cellular Science pathway provides you with a broad understanding of genetics, biochemistry, physiology, and knowledge of the mechanisms behind human disease. You will study how the systems of life are organised and controlled at the molecular and cellular level, as well as the physiology of the human body. Genomics will be approached through both molecular genetics and bioinformatics analysis. You will also have focused studies in evolution, origins of disease and the molecular basis of cancer. This breadth and depth of knowledge will give you access to a wide range of research projects in Biological Sciences.

Year 1

The first year is common to all four Natural Sciences pathways – see ‘Year 1’ tab for details.

Year 2

Core Natural Sciences modules

Specialised modules

Between Years 2 and 3 you can spend a Year in Industry or a Year Abroad (see separate tab).

Year 3

Core Natural Sciences modules

Specialised modules

Plus your Research Project 3

Modules shown represent choices available to current students. The range of modules available and the content of any individual module may change in future years.

Ecological and Zoological Science Pathway

Ecological and Zoological Science Pathway

The Ecological and Zoological Science pathway is the option for you if you want to understand how organisms interact with each other and the natural environment. You will study how the world is structured - from the genetic level to the ecosystem level; and how animals function - from the neurological level to the population level. A key component of this pathway are field skills, which are developed through a range of local and international field trips (currently Leicestershire, Devon and Brazil). By the end of this pathway, you will have the ability to design and conduct field studies, as well as the statistical skills to analyse experimental data. In your final year, you will carry out an independent research project, which can be conducted locally with our environmental management team or internationally with a partner organisation.

Year 1

The first year is common to all four Natural Sciences pathways – see ‘Year 1’ tab for details.

Year 2

Core Natural Sciences modules

Specialised modules

Between Years 2 and 3 you can spend a Year in Industry or a Year Abroad (see separate tab).

Year 3

Core Natural Sciences modules

Specialised modules

Plus your Research Project 3

Modules shown represent choices available to current students. The range of modules available and the content of any individual module may change in future years.

Year Abroad or Year in Industry (optional)

Year Abroad or Year in Industry (optional)

If you want to, you can spend the third year of the BSc - which will be your fourth year at Leicester - studying abroad at one of our partner institutions or working in an industrial placement. Alternatively, you can opt to continue studying at the University and complete your degree in four years.

Year Abroad

We’ll make sure you have everything you need for your future career: not just by awarding you a high quality degree, but also by helping you to develop the skills, knowledge and confidence you need to make your mark in the world as a Citizen of Change. One way you can do this is by opting to take a Year Abroad between Years 2 and 3 of your degree.

Studying abroad is not just for people who are interested in travelling and meeting new people. It is about acquiring life skills that are becoming increasingly significant for a wide range of jobs in our modern globalised society. Whether you go on to a career in the private, public or third sector - or plough your own furrow as an entrepreneur – you will find the experience invaluable.

For more information, including a list of destinations, please visit our Study Abroad website.

Please note

  • A year spent abroad still incurs a tuition fee, but this is much lower than for a normal year at Leicester. See the Fees and Funding tab of this page for details.
  • You may be eligible for a travel grant from Student Finance England.
  • Places are offered on a competitive basis, and eligibility is dependent on your academic performance in Years 1 and 2.
  • Language courses, at beginners or advanced level, are available through our Languages at Leicester scheme.

Year in Industry

An industrial placement is a fantastic opportunity to gain experience of laboratory work - and will normally be a paid position, more than offsetting the additional cost of the extra year.

Industrial placements are limited and are awarded through a competitive selection process, based on your performance in your first year. Previous students have worked for pharmaceutical companies such as AstraZeneca, Oxford Biomedica and GlaxoSmithKline, and in research institutions such as the Animal Health Institute and Kew Gardens.

A year in industry still incurs a tuition fee, but this is much lower than for a normal year at Leicester. See the Fees and Funding tab of this page for details.

Modules shown represent choices available to current students. The range of modules available and the content of any individual module may change in future years.

Why Leicester?

Our course is truly integrated and research- led. All our core modules are interdisciplinary in content and are taught through a research-based learning approach, allowing you to explore new areas and apply what you've learned in practical and relevant ways. A range of specialism pathways in subsequent years allow you to tailor your degree to your interests.

We produce an in-house journal, the Journal of Interdisciplinary Science, full of short, fun – but completely accurate! – papers. Entirely written and peer-reviewed by our Natural Sciences students, it’s a fantastic opportunity to gain experience of how academic publishing works.

In 2017 we were the only Natural Sciences course (and one of only six degrees in the UK) to be awarded the UK Higher Education Academy’s Collaborate Award for Teaching Excellence. Our approach supports you in gaining entry to postgraduate study or establishing a successful career once you have finished your degree.

Reading list

See the types of texts you might read, over the summer, to get a feel for the course and arrive prepared and ready to go.

View a reading list for Natural Sciences degrees

Teaching and learning

The Natural Sciences (Life and Physical Sciences) degrees delivered at University of Leicester offer a pioneering approach to Natural Sciences – truly integrated, research-led courses. The modules are multidisciplinary in content and are taught through a research-based learning approach.

In addition to lectures, class teaching takes many forms: seminars, workshops, laboratory practicals and small group tutorials, all designed to support your individual development as a scientist. Your lecturers will be leading researchers from the Schools of Chemistry, Physics and Astronomy, and Biological Sciences.

In our most recent reported National Student Survey we scored 100% satisfaction in six questions, including: staff are good at explaining things, course has provided opportunities to bring information and ideas together from different topics and the course has provided with opportunities to apply what I learnt.

Independent learning

In addition to attending lectures, seminars or other timetabled sessions you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. Typically, this will involve reading journal articles and books, working on individual and group projects, undertaking research in the library, preparing coursework assignments and presentations, and preparing for exams. To help with your independent learning, you can access the Library and our social study spaces in halls of residence.

Academic support

Our Student Learning Development Team provides help in the following areas:

  • study and exam skills
  • academic writing
  • presentations
  • dissertations
  • numerical data skills
  • referencing sources

Our AccessAbility Centre offers support and practical help for students with dyslexia or other specific learning difficulties, including physical, mental health or mobility difficulties, deafness, or visual impairment.

Teaching staff

Praised for their exceptional teaching, the Natural Sciences core teaching team received the UK’s Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence in 2017, and the HEA/BBC STEM Interdisciplinary Award in 2013. Furthermore, the University awarded the Programme Director of Natural Sciences (Life and Physical Sciences) its ‘top teaching award’ in 2017.  Other academic members of the course teaching team have been recognised by achieving the University Distinguished Teaching Fellowship (2018, 2019).

In addition to the core teaching team you will also receive teaching from leading researchers from the Schools of Chemistry, Physics and Astronomy, and Biological Sciences. PhD research students who have undertaken teacher training may also contribute to the teaching of seminars under the supervision of the module leader. You can learn more about our core staff by visiting our staff profiles.

Apply now

Course Qualification Duration UCAS Code Availability
Course Natural Sciences with Foundation Year Qualification BSc Duration 4 years, full-time UCAS Code F994 Availability How to apply
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