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Life Sciences Foundation

Foundation course

Department of Biological and Medical Sciences

Our one-year Foundation in Life Sciences, taught at Abingdon and Witney College, provides you with the necessary scientific and mathematical background required for degree-level study in science. Successful completion of the programme allows direct entry on to a wide range of three-year science degree programmes at Oxford Brookes.

To find out more about what it is like to study at an Oxford Brookes partner college, visit our partnership course pages.

Available start dates

September 2017 / September 2018

Teaching location

Abingdon and Witney College

Course length

  • Full time: 1 year (leading to a 3-year degree course)

UCAS code


For full application details, please see the 'How to apply / Entry requirements' section.

Are you keen to study a science degree but don't have the required entry qualifications? Have you had a break from education and want to refresh your science skills? Would you like to change your career direction with a science degree? If so, this course is for you.

  • You will have access to the expertise and resources of both Oxford Brookes University, which accredits the diploma, and Abingdon and Witney College where the teaching takes place.
  • We have a flexible approach - you will choose an area of science early in your course that you intend to study for your degree, but you can change your mind later if your interests take a different direction
  • We have a very good success rate, with a high proportion of our students obtaining good science degrees.
  • You will learn in a unique learning environment in which students get used to working with people from a broad range of backgrounds - very useful for your future studies and employment.
The Life Sciences Foundation develops your basic mathematical, scientific, communication and study skills. Once you have successfully completed this stage you can proceed to Year 1 of your chosen honours degree in life sciences.

To see the list of courses available on completion of the foundation stage, see the After Graduation tab.

When you arrive, you will be asked to indicate which area of science you intend to study for your degree. The decision you make at this stage will not commit you. If your interests change during the foundation course, you can still be accepted on to our other science courses.

To complete your foundation stage you must pass all eight module credits. Your foundation project gives you the opportunity to investigate a topic in your chosen degree discipline. Doing this will demonstrate that you have the necessary independent learning skills.

Study modules

All modules are compulsory. As courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the modules may differ from those shown here:
  • Foundation Academic Skills
  • Foundation Biology (double)
  • Foundation Mathematics (double)
  • Foundation Chemistry (double)
  • Foundation Project.

Additional costs

You should be aware that teaching happens at Abingdon Campus and that you are responsible for meeting the costs associated with your travel to this campus which are around £20 per week if you travel from Oxford Brookes. Throughout the year, some sessions will be held at Oxford Brookes; again, you need to cover the travel costs.
There may also be additional costs for learning resources such as books, stationary and for the production of coursework, which vary according to the individual student but should not be more than £150.

Teaching and learning

Teaching methods are varied and may include lectures, practicals, tutorials, seminars and surgeries. Our aim is to encourage, stimulate and support you to develop in your new environment, and become confident in your ability to meet the challenge of degree-level study. The emphasis is on helping you to become an independent learner.

Approach to assessment

Most assessment in the foundation stage is by coursework such as practical reports, essays, seminar presentations, numerical problems and class tests.

Tuition fees

Home/EU - full time off-campus fee: 2017/18: £7,000

International - full time off-campus fee : 2017/18: £8,000

*Please note tuition fees may increase in subsequent years both for new and continuing students.

Undergraduate fee levels for 2018/19 have not yet been announced by the government and are therefore yet to be confirmed. Oxford Brookes University intends to maintain its fees for new and returning home and EU students at the maximum permitted level for new and returning Home/EU students.

Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course, if any, are detailed in the 'This course in detail' window above.

Questions about fees?
Contact Student Finance on:
+44 (0)1865 483088

Funding and scholarships

For general sources of financial support, see:

Specific entry requirements

A-Level: two years' post-16 study

GCSE: five passes at grades A to C or equivalent, including a science subject

We seek to admit students who will make good scientists and accept that qualifications are not the only indicator of future potential.

Please also see the University's general entry requirements.

English language requirements

Students educated in a language other than English need English language at IELTS level 6.0 in reading and writing.

Please also see the University's standard English language requirements

International and EU applications

Preparation courses for EU students

We offer a range of courses to help students meet the academic and English language entry requirements for their courses and also familiarise them with university life.

Find out more about the international foundation pathways we offer and our pre-sessional English language courses.

Country specific entry requirements

If you are studying outside the UK, for more details about your specific country entry requirements, translated information and local representatives who can help you to apply, please have a look at our country specific information pages.

English requirements for visas

If you need a student visa to enter the UK you will need to meet the UK Visas and Immigration minimum language requirements as well as the University's requirements. Find out more about English language requirements.

How to apply

Full-time students should apply for this course through UCAS.

Terms and Conditions of Enrolment

When you accept our offer, you agree to the Terms and Conditions of Enrolment. You should therefore read those conditions before accepting the offer.

Credit transfer

Oxford Brookes operates the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). All undergraduate single modules are equivalent to 7.5 ECTS credits and double modules to 15 ECTS credits. More about ECTS credits.

Support for students studying Life Sciences Foundation

Although this course is not taught at Oxford Brookes, you will have access to many of the University’s facilities and support services.

We understand that going into full-time or part-time education can have a big effect on people's lives. There may be a lot of questions you want to ask before you start on a course, and there may be times during your studies when you will want to seek information and advice from a reliable source.

Abingdon and Witney College has a dedicated independent team of advice and guidance staff. Available throughout the year, they can provide information, advice and confidential support services for all students and would-be students. They are there to enable you to make informed decisions about your studies, and to help you deal with any difficulties which may arise. Find out more about the full range of support services.

Specialist facilities

You will be taught in well-resourced, modern laboratories and classrooms at Abingdon and Witney College. There will be opportunities to use a range of equipment depending on your subject area focus.

General support services

Supporting your learning

From academic advisers and support co-ordinators to specialist subject librarians and other learning support staff, we want to ensure that you get the best out of your studies.

Personal support services

We want your time at Brookes to be as enjoyable and successful as possible. That's why we provide all the facilities you need to be relaxed, happy and healthy throughout your studies.

Career prospects

We have a high success rate with a large proportion of our students obtaining good science degrees. For example, several of our foundation students have gone on to successfully complete PhD study. Depending on the degree subject you choose, you will have a plethora of career opportunities open to you. Just some examples of our graduates' roles include:

  • nutrition relief work for Oxfam
  • sports therapy for disadvantaged children
  • bioscientist
  • conservation biologist.

Further study

Successful completion of the foundation course allows direct entry onto a wide range of three-year science degree courses at Oxford Brookes, namely:
  • Animal Biology and Conservation - BSc (Hons)
  • Biological Sciences - BSc (Hons)
  • Biology - BSc (Hons)
  • Biomedical Science - BSc (Hons)
  • Environmental Sciences - BSc (Hons)
  • Human Biology - BSc (Hons)
  • Medical Science - BMedSc (Hons)
  • Nutrition - BSc (Hons)
  • Sport and Exercise Science - BSc (Hons)
  • Equine Science - BSc (Hons)
  • Equine Science and Thoroughbred Management - BSc (Hons)