The Science and Engineering Foundation Programme (SEFP) at Queen Mary is one of the longest established and most highly-regarded foundation programmes in the UK. The foundation year of this programme is designed to equip students with the skills and knowledge necessary to undertake undergraduate degrees in the fields of science and engineering.
The SEFP is open to both home and international students. The foundation year of this programme prepares students for entry to the first year of BSc/BEng degree programmes in the following departments at Queen Mary: Biological and Chemical Sciences, Electronic Engineering and Computer Science, Engineering and Materials Science, Environmental Science, Mathematics and Physics. The programme is taught entirely at the Mile End campus by university staff. Foundation students have access to all Queen Mary's facilities and are full-time students of the University.
Why study the Science and Engineering Foundation Programme at Queen Mary?
The Science and Engineering Foundation Programme (SEFP) is administered by the School of Biological & Chemical Sciences, on behalf of all the participating departments, and the main office is based at the Mile End campus. Most students entering onto the SEFP at Queen Mary do so with the intention of proceeding onto a BSc or BEng degree course (or, in some cases, a MSci/MEng course) here at Queen Mary.
Students on the SEFP at Queen Mary benefit from:
• studying at a campus university, located with easy reach of all London's main attractions, yet still having a wide-range of modern accommodation located on an attractive campus
• a teaching programme which is based on the main campus, permitting students to have full-access to all the normal student facilities (academic, welfare, IT, library, social, sport etc.)
• experienced and enthusiastic teaching staff, many of whom are also involved in teaching other undergraduate and postgraduate courses at Queen Mary
• the opportunity to proceed onto degrees in a very wide range of subjects including: Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Environmental Science, Materials Science, Mathematics and Physics. (List of: Degree Programmes available to SEFP Students)
The modules (course units) that you will take in the foundation year are determined partly by the departmental requirements for the degree course that you want to go on to study, and partly by your own educational background (i.e. what subjects you have studied before).
However, a typical programme of eight modules (for students starting in September) would generally be selected as follows:
Semester 1 (4 modules)
• English Language I *
• Communication in Science & Technology
One from +:
• Principles of Mathematics *
• Mathematics I *
• Physics - Mechanics and Materials *
• Form and Function in Biology
• Introductory Chemistry
• Essential Foundation Mathematics *
Semester 2 (4 modules)
Communication in Science & Technology *
(if you took English Language I in semester 1)
One from +:
• Mathematics I *
• Mathematics II *
The remainder from
• Physics - Fields and Waves *
• Physics - Electricity and Atomic Physics *
• A Closer Look at Chemistry
• Molecules to Cells
• Diversity and Ecology
• Discrete Maths *
• Introduction to Engineering *
• Business Management
Please note: this information is provided for guidance only, and is based on the modules offered at the time of writing. The range of available modules may vary slightly from year to year, and those that you are required to take will depend upon the degree programme that you intend to follow after the foundation year.
* - the asterisked modules are those which are also normally available on the January-start FGHY programme for international students.
+ - students take either Principles of Mathematics (Sem1) and Mathematics 1 (Sem2), or Mathematics 1(Sem1) and Mathematics 2 (Sem2), according to assignments by the Academic Director, based upon your existing knowledge of mathematics.
In the sections below, you will find an indication of the requirements for admission onto the SEFP. However, if you would like to discuss your individual situation, you should contact the SEFP Administrative Officer, Garry Evans, via e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Admissions requirements vary according to the subject area (i.e. the type of degree you wish to follow after the foundation year) but are lower than the requirements for direct entry to a three-year BSc/BEng degree course. A typical offer would be CCC at A2, or Level 3 equivalent, to include two subjects relevant to the intended degree, e.g. Biology, Chemistry, Physics or Geology. Offers of entry to some SEFP programme codes may however be significantly higher than this minimum requirement. Higher grades are also generally required of students who have taken A-levels in other subjects and are now looking to make the transition to a degree in science or engineering.
Applications from mature students will be considered on an individual basis, taking account of both educational background and other relevant experience.
More information on entry requirements for specific subject areas is available using the following links:
- School of Biological and Chemical Sciences
- School of Electronic Engineering and Materials Science
- School of Engineering and Materials Science (SEFP)
- School of Mathematics
- School of Physics
Normally you must have completed at least a high school diploma, grade 12, or its equivalent level of schooling in your own country. You must have good high school results and should have studied science or mathematics to an advanced level. Applications from students with international A-levels in science and or mathematics are also welcome.
Students are required to have a UKBA Secured English Language Test, namely IELTS or Academic Pearson Test of English (PTE.) The minimum requirements for admission to the SEFP are: IELTS overall minimum of 6.0; PTE overall minimum of 53.
References and interviews are also important. However, each application is assessed individually and international applicants are welcome to contact Dr Priscilla Cunnan via e-mail (email@example.com) to discuss their own particular situation before applying.
Tel: 020 7882 7960 (from UK)
or +44 20 7882 7960 (from overseas)
Fax: 020 8983 0973 (from UK)
or +44 20 8983 0973 (from overseas)
When you apply for the SEFP, we require you to identify the general field of study which you would wish to study after completing the foundation year - this determines the programme code, as described on the how to apply webpage.
The degree courses available through the SEFP programme include the majority of degree courses offered by the departments and schools listed below:
• School of Biological and Chemical Sciences
• School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science
• School of Engineering and Materials Science
• School of Mathematical Sciences
• School of Physics and Astronomy
• Environmental Sciences (Department of Geography)
It is important for you to appreciate that (as well as meeting the minimum overall SEFP requirements for progression) you must pass all the core modules for your particular programme and also meet the progression requirements specified by the relevant department, in order to progress onto your chosen degree course - for popular degree programmes (such as Biomedical Sciences) these progression criteria can be quite demanding.
However, if you fail to meet the progression criteria for your first-choice degree programme, but you have been admitted onto the SEFP as a student of an "integrated" 4/5-year degree programme with foundation year and you do manage to pass six modules, including all the core modules for your programme, then we will still offer you the opportunity to proceed onto a degree course in a closely-related area.
We also realise that some students may rethink what they want to do once they start at university, and it may be possible to change your choice of degree course once you have started the SEFP. To do this, you would need to talk to the Academic Director as soon as possible, as this is likely to affect the modules that you must take during the foundation year. We cannot, however, guarantee that such transfers will always be possible and you would need the agreement of both departments involved in such a transfer before it would be permitted.
Learning and teaching
Learning and Teaching:
The academic year of the main SEFP, starting in September, is divided into two 12-week teaching semesters followed by a 6-week examination period in May and early-June. Each student in the foundation year is registered for eight modules, taken over the two teaching semesters. Your choice of modules will be determined partly by the departmental requirements for the degree course that you want to go on to study, and partly by your own educational background. The SEFP Academic Director and your departmental advisor will help you choose the modules best suited to you.
All students are required to take one module which provides training in academic writing and communication skills, as well as two modules of mathematics, to ensure that they are appropriately prepared for further degree-level study in the science and engineering fields. International students will also generally be required to take a further English language course. The remaining modules are then selected from the wide range offered by the programme in the areas of biology, chemistry, engineering, physics, further mathematics and business management (for more details, see course units ).
At university you will also be expected to undertake a large amount of independent study. Your individual study time could be spent preparing for, or following up on formal study sessions; reading; assessing data from experiments; completing lab reports; and revising for examinations.
The direction of your individual study will be guided by the formal study and laboratory sessions you attend, along with your reading and assignments. However, we expect you to demonstrate an active role in your own learning by reading widely and expanding your own knowledge, understanding and critical ability. Independent study will foster in you the ability to identify your own learning needs and determine which areas you need to focus on to become proficient in your subject area. This is an important transferable skill and will help to prepare you for the transition to working life.
In order to pass a module you must achieve an overall mark of 40% or above. The overall mark in most modules is based on your performance in both the examination and coursework; the weighting of these two components typically being 70% for the examination and 30% for the coursework.
Past experience shows that those students who fully-engage with the foundation programme (i.e. attend all classes, and complete all the coursework assignments) are much more likely to successfully make the transition from the foundation year into the first year of a degree course. We therefore insist that students on the programme attend a minimum of 75% of all scheduled classes (and submit a corresponding level of coursework assignments) in each module.
A failure to meet these requirements can result in deregistration and termination of enrolment as a student at Queen Mary.
If you have been admitted onto the SEFP as a student of an "integrated" 4/5-year degree programme with foundation year, then you must complete and pass a minimum of six modules, including a pass in the Communication in Science & Technology module, in order to be considered for progression from the foundation year into the first year of a Queen Mary degree programme. You must also pass any core modules for the specific programme on which you are registered (for more details, see the list of core modules ).
In order to gain progression to a particular degree programme you will normally also be required to achieve specific levels of performance in those modules which are regarded as essential for this chosen degree programme.
For example, the progression criteria that need to be met for an SEFP student on the FFY3 programme to progress into the first-year of the MSci Physics degree programme are (for the 2011/12 academic session): an average of 50% over all 8 modules, including a pass in the Communication in Science & Technology module, passes in two mathematics modules (SEF001, SEF002) and passes in three physics modules (SEF005, SEF006, SEF007).
Details of these progression criteria are provided in the SEFP Student Handbook, which is issued to all students at the start of the programme.
Any student who fails to meet the progression hurdles at the first attempt, are offered the opportunity to resit examinations in August, before the start of the next academic session.
Fees and finance
Fees are charged at a Home/EU rate for UK and EU nationals, and an overseas rate for International students - find out more about how your tuition fee status is assessed.
You can either take out a Tuition Fee Loan (see Funding section below) to pay your fees or, if you are paying them yourself, you can pay in instalments.
Tuition fees for a year abroad or placement year on a full time undergraduate course will be a proportion of the full fee for the year in which you commence your time abroad or placement.
For information on field trip and other course related costs which are not included in your tuition fee, please contact the relevant Department/School.
See more general information about fees.
Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 7676
Queen Mary has a substantial package of scholarships and bursaries which will benefit around 50 per cent of our undergraduate student body.
Scholarships and Bursaries available at Queen Mary for Home/EU Students
There are a number of scholarships and bursaries available each year for home students. Visit our Bursaries and Scholarships page for more information.
Visit our Advice and Counselling website for more information about financial support.
Scholarships available at Queen Mary for International Students
There are a number of Scholarships available each year for International Students including bursaries and scholarships in a range of subject areas.
Find out more about international scholarships.
Some International students may also be eligible for a fee reduction.
Loans and Grants available to help with tuition fees and living costs
Student Finance England administers all grant and loans for your studies if you normally live in England.
Through Student Finance England, you can apply for (figures relate to programmes starting from September 2016):
- A Tuition Fee Loan of up to £9,000 to pay all or part of your fees
- A Maintenance Loan of up to £10,702 to help pay your living costs like rent, food and travel
- Extra grants if you have a disability or you have children or an adult dependant
- You might get a grant to cover some travel expenses if you normally live in England but study away from home. If you’re a medical or dental student you might also qualify for help with the costs of attending clinical placements in the UK.
Visit Student Finance Information to find out more about:
- How to apply for student finance
- What eligibility rules apply, including if you already have a degree or previous higher education study
- What the income thresholds are and how much you might personally get for each element of Student Finance
- What to do if you have problems getting your Student Finance
Other financial help on offer at Queen Mary
We offer one to one specialist support on all financial and welfare issues through our Advice and Counselling Service, which you can access as soon as you have applied for a place at Queen Mary.
Our Advice and Counselling Service also has lots of Student Advice Guides on all aspects of finance including:
- Additional sources of funding
- Planning your budget and cutting costs
- Part-time and vacation work
- Money for lone parents
For more information visit the Advice and Counselling service website, or call +44 (0)20 7882 8717.