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. It is open to both home and international students and is taught entirely on 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.
GGX1 is a four-year BSc programme consisting of the SEFP followed by any of our three-year Mathematical Sciences BSc programmes apart from GL11.
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 and Chemical Sciences on behalf of all the participating Schools and the main office is on 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, an MSci/MEng course) here at Queen Mary.
Students on the SEFP at Queen Mary benefit from:
- studying at a campus university, located within 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.
Foundation year (Year 0)
The modules that you will take in the foundation year are determined partly by the 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 would generally be selected as follows:
Semester 1 (4 modules)
Semester 2 (4 modules)
One or two from:
- Physics – Fields and Waves
- Physics – Electricity and Atomic Physics
- A Closer Look at Chemistry
- Molecules to Cells
- Diversity and Ecology
- 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.
Subsequent years (Year 1 onwards)
The programme for subsequent years is the same as for the degree programme you intend to follow after the foundation year.
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 School of Mathematical Sciences progression requirements in order to progress onto your chosen degree course. 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 programme 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 before a transfer to another School would be permitted you would need the agreement of both Schools.
 You take either Principles of Mathematics (Sem 1) and Mathematics 1 (Sem 2), or Mathematics 1 (Sem 1) and Mathematics 2 (Sem 2), according to assignments by the Academic Director, based upon your existing knowledge of mathematics.
Entry requirementsEntry requirements
In the sections below, you will find an indication of the requirements for admission to the SEFP.
Admissions requirements are lower than the requirements for direct entry to a three-year BSc degree course. As a general guide, recent school-leavers must normally have at least 280 UCAS points, including passes in two subjects at A-level and at least AS-level Mathematics. Applications from mature students will be considered on an individual basis, taking account of both educational background and other relevant experience. For further details, please see the School of Mathematical Sciences web site.
Normally you must have completed at least a high school diploma, grade 12, or an equivalent level of schooling in your own country. You must have good high school results and should have studied mathematics to an advanced level. Applications from students with international A-levels in science and mathematics are also welcome.
Students are required to have passed a UKBA Secure English Language Test such as IELTS or TOEFL. The minimum requirements for admission to the SEFP are: IELTS overall minimum of 5.0; TOEFL overall minimum of 180 (CB TOEFL) or 64 (IB TOEFL).
References are also important. However, each application is assessed individually and international applicants are welcome to contact the School of Mathematical Sciences to discuss their own particular situation before applying.
For more information, contact us:
Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 5470
For further information you can also call the Enquiries Hotline (UK callers only) on Freephone 0800 376 1800. International students should contact the Admissions Office:
Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 5511
Learning and teaching
The information below relates primarily to the foundation year. For information about later years, please see the appropriate degree programme.
Learning and teaching
The academic year, 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 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 adviser in the School of Mathematical Sciences 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 four modules of mathematics, to ensure that they are appropriately prepared for further degree-level study in Mathematical Sciences. International students will also generally be required to take a further English language module. The remaining modules are then selected from the wide range offered by the programme in the areas of biology, chemistry, engineering, physics and business management (for more details, see Structure).
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 make the transition from the foundation year into the first year of a degree course successfully. 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. Failure to meet these requirements can result in deregistration and termination of enrolment as a student at Queen Mary.
You must complete and pass a minimum of six modules, including 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 anycore modules for the specific programme on which you are registered (for more details, see the list of core modules).
In order to progress 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. 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 is offered the opportunity to resit examinations in August, before the start of the next academic session.
Advice and support
SEFP students are allocated an academic adviser, who is a member of Mathematical Sciences academic staff. Your adviser is there not only to monitor your progress, but also to support you and help with any worries or concerns about the programme and any personal problems that may affect your study. Further support mechanisms are in place to provide assistance and advice to international students who are living and studying in the UK for the first time.
The Academic Director's primary responsibility is to ensure the quality of academic provision on the programme, but he is also available to discuss any problems encountered by individual students during their studies.
As a member of Queen Mary you also have free access to a wide range of additional central support services, including those provided by the
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.
“Being in the heart of the East End makes living more affordable and, of course, Brick Lane and Shoreditch are perfect for socialising and delving into all London has to offer in terms of culture and people. The College itself is a lot more social than others I’ve been to: everyone mixes. I didn't stay in halls in my first year but found it just as easy to meet people on campus due to its layout and the Students’ Union events.
“Our first-year lecture class is large and, at first, it seemed that you're given the information you have to work with and left to it. This panicked me, but to support our lectures we have coursework classes and tutorial sessions. These offer a more intimate learning environment and allow you to get a grip on the material. In fact, I think the best thing about the course is how much help there is. Not only do you have fellow students, but the learning resources (books, tutors, lecturers, coursework) cover exactly what you need to know.
“One of my favourite memories was in the first week. I went to meet a new friend by the canal and a few more people had already got chatting. I remember sitting on the bench surrounded by, what were at the time, strangers and being really happy with the people I’d met in such little time. Most of them are now my closest friends at uni.”
Why did you choose to study at Queen Mary?
“In the final two years, you are able to pick the majority of your own modules from a large list, so you can specialise in a specific field, which I think is good. The lecturers deliver clear and concise presentations and they are only too happy to help in seminars. They also have open office hours throughout the week. If the lecturers are busy for some reason, we have our own advisor, who can also help.
How did you find your academic and social experience at QMUL?
“Queen Mary has many different study areas from the newly refurbished Library, which caters for quiet study as well as group work, to the Hive, which is a vast space with computers and students working together in groups. And there is never a shortage of empty classrooms to work with friends in.
“I participate in rock climbing once a week (there is a local climbing wall) and also try to attend the gym at least four times a week. I have not yet joined any clubs or societies as I have been too busy socialising with friends made during Freshers’ Week and also busy with my studies.”