Life Sciences Foundation Year

UCAS code: C201

Start dates: September 2024

Full time: 1 year (leading to a 3-5 year degree course)

Part time: 2 years

Location: Headington

Department(s): Department of Biological and Medical Sciences

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The course is your opportunity of acquiring the necessary qualifications for progression onto a range of honours degree programmes at Oxford Brookes. This may be due to studying different subjects at level 3, lower than expected grades through a variety of circumstances or a break from education. Since you all have very different experiences of science, often at varying levels, we aim to help you to develop from your current level of performance, to the point where you are ready for progression onto a specific honours degree at Oxford Brookes University.

Our Foundation Year in Life Sciences provides you with the necessary scientific and mathematical background required for the degrees listed. Upon successful completion you’ll have direct entry to the science degrees listed below in the 'Courses I can study after this foundation' section at Oxford Brookes.

The foundation year will form the first year of a four-year degree (or five-year degree if a placement year or the MBiol integrated Masters is chosen).

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Why Oxford Brookes University?

  • Get degree ready

    This foundation course will provide you with the necessary scientific and mathematical background required for degree-level study in science or healthcare. 

  • Direct entry onto a full-time degree

    Successful completion of the programme will allow you direct entry on to a wide range of three-year science degree programmes at Oxford Brookes. 

  • Free language courses

    Free language courses are available to full-time undergraduate and postgraduate students on many of our courses, and can be taken as a credit on some courses.

Course details

Course structure

You will study a range of modules which will enable you to develop fundamental scientific, mathematical and academic skills in the life sciences, preparing you for your chosen degree programme. These skills are vital for success on your chosen degree programme. With the Project module you will have the opportunity to explore Biosciences topics that inspire you and allow you to situate your knowledge in the light of your own experiences or cultural background.

We have designed this course to;

  • equip you with an underpinning knowledge and understanding of biological and chemical sciences
  • develop your confidence in mathematics for life scientists
  • prepare you for degree level study by developing skills including academic writing and communication of information
  • to introduce you to subjects that will help you to progress to one of the relevant science degree courses.

Students sat around a desk working

Learning and teaching

Our teaching methods are designed to encourage and support students, and include;

  • lectures with question-and-answer sessions
  • demonstrations
  • small-group tutorials
  • practical work.

All modules make use of the Brookes Virtual Learning Environment (typically for additional module resources, but also for blended content, as well as quizzes and coursework submissions).


We assess you through a variety of coursework methods, including:

  • Essays
  • Laboratory practice
  • scientific reports
  • in class tests
  • posters
  • oral presentations.

Study modules

Year 1

Compulsory modules

  • Foundation Academic Skills

    The module is designed as an introduction to the styles of learning and skills expected of students in higher education, and to the particular academic culture of Oxford Brookes University. You will develop a reflective approach to study, centred on learning new skills such as referencing, source evaluation, academic writing and communication skills. This will prepare you for your studies in other modules on the foundation year, as well as your undergraduate degree. 

  • Foundation Biological Sciences

    Biology is one of the most exciting and challenging sciences you can choose to study. This module aims to provide you with a fundamental understanding of biology, while at the same time developing your study skills to a level required for success on your undergraduate degree. You will be encouraged to explore and gain confidence in a broad range of topics including environmental science, biomedical science, ecology, anatomy and physiology.

  • Foundation Chemistry

    This module is designed to improve your knowledge of the basic principles of chemistry that underpin a modern approach to the life sciences. It also aims to encourage you to ask fundamental questions of how science develops and to increase awareness of the experimental basis of scientific ideas. The overarching theme is the relationship between experiment, observations and the atomic model of matter. The module will also give you the opportunity to practise using simple mathematical ideas in more applied contexts.

  • Foundation Mathematics

    This module is designed to give you the mathematical competence required to cope with degree level science modules. Throughout the module you will develop mathematical problem solving skills and the ability to present mathematical arguments clearly and succinctly.

  • Foundation Project

    This module offers you the opportunity to build on the skills developed in your other modules and to apply skills of collaborative learning and independent study. You will have the opportunity to further your understanding of an area of interest you have by designing and carrying out a project, which may be literature based or experimental.

Please note: As our courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the modules you can choose from may vary from those shown here. The structure of the course may also mean some modules are not available to you.


The purpose of the foundation year is to allow you to progress onto one of our undergraduate science courses, rather than preparation for employment directly. Throughout the year you will be developing employability skills as part of your lectures, workshops and assessments. The potential careers the programme leads to will be dependent on the chosen degree.

Subject to additional requirements, the foundation is also an entry pathway to the following healthcare programmes.

  • BSc Nursing (Adult)
  • BSc Nursing (Children’s)
  • BSc Nursing (Mental Health)
  • BSc Midwifery
  • BSc Occupational Therapy
  • BSc Paramedic Science
  • BSc Physiotherapy

The additional requirements are to pass a subject-specific interview (which should be completed before joining the Life Science Foundation), occupational health review, disclosure and barring checks (DBS), and - for non-native speakers - English language at IELTS level 6.5:

Related courses

Entry requirements

Wherever possible we make our conditional offers using the UCAS Tariff. The combination of A-level grades listed here would be just one way of achieving the UCAS Tariff points for this course.

Standard offer

UCAS Tariff Points: 32

A Level: N/A

IB Points: N/A


Further offer details

Applications are also welcomed for consideration from applicants with European qualifications, international qualifications or recognised foundation courses. For advice on eligibility please contact Admissions:

International qualifications and equivalences

Tuition fees

Please see the fees note
Home (UK) full time

International full time

Home (UK) full time

International full time

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

Tuition fees

2024 / 25
Home (UK) full time

International full time

2025 / 26
Home (UK) full time

International full time

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

+44 (0)1865 534400

Please note, tuition fees for Home students may increase in subsequent years both for new and continuing students in line with an inflationary amount determined by government. Oxford Brookes University intends to maintain its fees for new and returning Home students at the maximum permitted level.

Tuition fees for International students may increase in subsequent years both for new and continuing students. 

The following factors will be taken into account by the University when it is setting the annual fees: inflationary measures such as the retail price indices, projected increases in University costs, changes in the level of funding received from Government sources, admissions statistics and access considerations including the availability of student support. 

How and when to pay

Tuition fee instalments for the semester are due by the Monday of week 1 of each semester. Students are not liable for full fees for that semester if they leave before week 4. If the leaving date is after week 4, full fees for the semester are payable.

  • For information on payment methods please see our Make a Payment page.
  • For information about refunds please visit our Refund policy page

Financial support and scholarships

For general sources of financial support, see our Fees and funding pages.

Additional costs

Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course are detailed below.

Information from Discover Uni

Full-time study

Part-time study

Programme changes:
On rare occasions we may need to make changes to our course programmes after they have been published on the website. For more information, please visit our changes to programmes page.