University of Chester

Programme Specification
Life Sciences FCert
2016 - 2017

Foundation Certificate

Life Sciences

International Foundation Programme Life Sciences

University of Chester

The University of Chester Foundation School, Chester

The University of Chester Foundation School, Chester

Undergraduate Modular Programme


Classroom / Laboratory,

1 year

3 Years

Biannual - January - September




17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Learning and Teaching Institute Learning and Teaching Institute

Biosciences, 2007

Biomedical Science, 2007

Learning and Teaching Institute

Wednesday 4th November 2015

The educational aims of the International Foundation Programme Life Sciences are to provide international students with a Level 3 course that prepares them for a range of undergraduate study at the University. This preparation is underpinned by an English for Academic Purposes curriculum which complements the subject-specific content of the programme.

  • To provide students with foundation-level knowledge and understanding of topics underpinning Life Sciences degree-level study and to consolidate prior learning acquired in their home countries.
  • To develop students’ study skills to enable them to acquire ability in the collection, analysis, interpretation and understanding of relevant information relating to the disciplines they will be progressing to.
  • To offer a general overview of topics within the International Foundation Programme pathway that enables international students to familiarise themselves with the teaching, learning and assessment they will encounter on the undergraduate degrees they will be progressing to.
  • To develop students’ English language, number, word-processing, research and writing skills, and enable them to demonstrate English language proficiency that is equal to 6.0 IELTS with no less than 5.5 in each skill.
  • To foster a flexible, transferable approach to learning that acknowledges workplace skills and professional development.
  • To fully prepare students for the demands of UK degree-level study and promote the English language, academic skills and commitment required to succeed on Life Sciences undergraduate programmes.

By the end of the programme students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate a knowledge of terms and concepts relevant to the pathway subject-specific modules.
  • Use English language and study skills at the required level for further study at the University.
  • Identify how theory can be applied to real-life situations.
  • Be aware of how undergraduate study prepares students for the world of work.

By the end of the programme students should be able to:

  • Analyse, interpret and summarise information.
  • Use English language in an academic manner.
  • Begin to reflect on their own learning and use feedback as part of this process.
  • Demonstrate independent learning.
  • Integrate a variety of information sources to come to a conclusion.

By the end of the programme students should be able to:

  • Retrieve and collate information from a variety of sources.
  • Use proficient English language skill, to include reading, writing, speaking and listening.
  • Demonstrate ability in core IT applications.
  • Present numeracy and quantitative skill in the production of their assessed work.
  • Work with others for problem-solving activities.

By the end of the programme students should be able to:

  • Communicate to a high standard with English as a second language.
  • Use IT applications effectively for research and presentation purposes.
  • Discuss and debate relevant topics and ideas as part of the learning process.
  • Convert researched information to a summarised form.

The International Foundation Programme Life Sciences is aligned to the Framework for Undergraduate Modular Programmes and offers Foundation level study (Year Z or Year 0) whereby 20 and 40 credit modules are used and students will study for 120 credits in total for the award of a Foundation Certificate.

The programme is designed to introduce international students to topics within Life Sciences undergraduate degrees offered by the University, in conjunction with an English language and academic skills curriculum to support learning and preparation for progression to level 4. Where possible, there are synergies between the International Foundation Programme and the programmes that students can progress to. This includes module topics and themes that relate to the transference of knowledge and skills to the workplace, and the relevance of differing modes of teaching, learning and assessment.

There is a 40 credit module, English and Academic Skills, which offers students applied learning in English language skill and an introduction to UK higher education study skills to support academic progression. Assessment for this module combines academic technique, critical thinking skills and opportunities for students to demonstrate English language proficiency that is equal to 6.0 IELTS with no less than 5.5 in each skill. The assessments are therefore mapped to the Common European Framework of Reference for languages and IELTS descriptors.

Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
FP3001 0 English and Academic Skills 40 Comp
FP3201 0 Chemistry 20 Comp
FP3202 0 Biology 20 Comp
FP3203 0 Health Studies 20 Comp
FP3204 0 Maths for Science 20 Comp

120 credits at Level 3 entitles the student to a Foundation Certificate.

English language proficiency certification demonstrating IELTS 4.5 with no less than 4.0 in each sub-skill.

The countries listed below are an indicator of High School entry requirements.




Successful completion of High School Certificate at an average grade of 55%

China (Mainland)

Successful completion of Senior High 2 at an average grade of 70% or Senior High 3 at an average of 65% or above

China (Hong Kong)

Successful completion of the HKCEE with 4 x E's in academic subjects or Form 5 in a minimum of 3 academic subjects (grades will be assessed on a case by case basis) or HKDSE with minimum grades 222 in relevant subjects

China (Macau)

Successful completion of Form 5 or Senior Middle 2 with an average grade of 60%


Successful completion of the West African School Certificate (WAEC) with grades 1-8 in 4 relevant subjects


Successful completion of Standard 10 with 65% or Standard 10+1 with 55%


Successful completion of SMU 2/Sikolah Menegah with a average of 7.0


Successful completion of High School Diploma (3 years) with passes in 4 relevant subjects


Successful completion of Kotogakko with a GPA of 2.0


Successful completion of Tawjihi with average of 50% in 4 relevant subjects


Successful completion of ATTESTAT/Certificate of Secondary Education


Korean high school graduation equivalency exam - 60%+ including relevant subjects


Successful completion Secondary Education Certificate with average of 60%


SPM, 4 A-C grades in relevant academic subjects including English and Maths. 4 'O' Level passes at grade C or above in the appropriate subjects, or equivalent evidence of satisfactory completion of secondary or high school education.


Successful completion of Bachillerato with average grade of 65%


High School Diploma: 60% PLUS 1 year of further study


Successful completion of West African School Certificate (WAEC) or Senior School Certificate with grades 1-8 in 4 relevant subjects


Successful completion of High Secondary Certificate (50%) or SSC (65%)


Successful completion of Thanawaya Aam Qatari with average grade 70%


Successful completion of ATTESTAT/Certificate of Secondary Education with a GPA of 3.5

Saudi Arabia

Successful completion of Tawjihi with average of 50% in 4 relevant subjects


Successful completion of Senior High 2 at an average grade of 60% or Senior High 3 at an average of 55% and passes in 4 or more subjects


Successful completion Mathayom 6 with a GPA of 2.0 in relevant subjects


Successful completion of Deviet Lisen Bitirme Diplomasi or High School year 3 - minimum overall grade 45%, including relevant subjects


Successful completion of Tawjihi with average of 60%


Successful completion of ATTESTAT/Certificate of Secondary Education with a GPA of 4.5


Successful completion of Year 12 with a GPA of 6.0

Other qualifications

The Diploma of the International Baccalaureate (IB Diploma) and the Diploma Programme Course (IB Certificate)

20 / 40 UCAS points


4 passes at A-C in relevant subjects


Subject Benchmark Statements make reference to honours degrees. The International Foundation Programme Life Sciences prepares students for progression to honours degrees. It is therefore useful to refer to Subject Benchmark Statements for Biosciences, 2007 and Biomedical Science, 2007. In particular, the methods of teaching, learning and assessment for Level 3 delivery in these subject areas should reflect what students will experience during their honours degree-level studies.

Teaching will focus on enquiry, learning will develop knowledge, study skills and English and Maths competencies. Assessment will enable students to demonstrate the application of knowledge and skill for successful progression to Level 4 studies.

The learning, teaching and assessment methods are designed to accommodate the divergent teaching experiences and learning styles of a class of international students. Their previous education in a variety of home countries will range from strictly didactic approaches and rote-learning to practical applications and field trips.

There will be a focus on introducing students to the mode of delivery they will experience at undergraduate level on programmes within the Life Sciences disciplines at the University. Diversity of assessment types enables students to practise and demonstrate a wide set of knowledge and skills. There will also be instances whereby assessments will have some resemblance to work-based activities. Examples of assessments are reports, group and individual presentations, listening exams, data collation and analysis, essays, written exams and posters.

Students will undertake a series of formative assessments to hone knowledge, understanding and skills, reflect on their development and prepare for summative assessments. This is particularly salient for the English language provision, where skill in reading, writing, speaking and listening will need to be continuously (self) appraised by students and lecturers via group and personal tutorials. The subject-specific modules and English language curriculum are not delivered as two distinct areas of the International Foundation Programme. Students need to demonstrate their proficiency in language throughout all of their modules and apply subject knowledge for some elements of their English and Academic Skills assessments.

A key aspect of the International Foundation Programme will be the identification and development of critical thinking skills and reflection on one's own progress. This will be 'situated' within the 40 credit English and Academic Skills module but students will be expected to utilise skills-based learning from this module across the programme, as will be the case with the development of their language. The programme aims to give students opportunities to take charge of their own learning by identifying their own interests and areas for development.

There is a highly structured personal tutorial system that underpins the programme. Students will attend a personal tutorial every 4 weeks for the tutor and tutee to review and discuss development across the programme, particularly with regard to language development and language application within the subject-specific modules. These sessions are also an opportunity for students to seek academic and pastoral support, and students will be encouraged to review their own performance and, with guidance from their tutor, set objectives to lead their own development. Academic performance, informed by the personal tutorials, will feed into a mid-term review (approximately every 8 weeks) with all teaching staff in attendance.

An introduction to career planning will be available to students via 2 workshops whilst on the International Foundation Programme. These will include topics such as 'Thinking about a Profession', 'Researching Careers', and 'Careers using Languages'.

The Qualifications and Credit Framework Level 3 descriptor underpins the aims of the learning, teaching and assessment methods:

Achievement at Level 3 reflects the ability to identify and use relevant understanding, methods and skills to complete tasks and address problems that, while well defined, have a measure of complexity. It includes taking responsibility for initiating and completing tasks and procedures as well as exercising autonomy and judgement within limited parameters. It also reflects awareness of different perspectives or approaches within an area of study or work.

Curriculum delivery also involves an introduction to laboratory use and basic practical applications in preparation for the practical aspects of the first year of an undergraduate degree in the Life Sciences. 


The educational aims, programme learning outcomes and curriculum content provide opportunities for students to acquire skills which are transferable to the workplace. Upon successful completion of the International Foundation Programme students will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of topics within a discipline, academic skill and proficient English language ability. This is primarily to achieve progression to an undergraduate degree at the University of Chester. The skill-set acquired will reflect ability in problem-solving, interpreting and analysing information, use of effective forms of communication and aptitude for working in a team and independently. These are transferable to the workplace.

The programme is designed specifically to prepare international students for undergraduate study in the UK. It is therefore expected that a more concerted approach to employability will be available once students have progressed. Such learning is embedded in the University of Chester's degrees, and, as such, opportunities for work based and work related learning are available at Levels 4 to 6.

The link below provides an up to date list of the progression routes available from International Foundation Programmes.

The University is committed to the promotion of diversity, equality and inclusion in all its forms; through different ideas and perspectives, age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. We are, in particular, committed to widening access to higher education. Within an ethically aware and professional environment, we acknowledge our responsibilities to promote freedom of enquiry and scholarly expression.

The Foundation School is committed to upholding the University's commitment to equality and diversity. This is particularly significant in the context of teaching students from a variety of countries where culture and customs, legal and belief systems may not be tolerant of people and practises that are protected by UK and EU law.

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