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International Foundation Year in Health, Medical and Life Sciences

Enhance your scientific knowledge and develop transferrable skills for a wide choice of health industries, with our pathway programmes expertly designed for international students. The International Foundation Year prepares you for university with English language and study skills practice, as well as subject-specific teaching. When you complete the programme, you will progress to the first year of your undergraduate degree. This pathway allows you to progress to degrees in subjects including biochemistry, dental surgery, and medicine. You choose a route depending on which undergraduate degree you plan to study. There are two routes: Health, Medicine and Life Sciences and Psychology. Which route you choose impacts the modules you will study.

Please note that places on the programme with the degree aim of Optometry, Dental Surgery, Medicine, Medical Pharmacology and Pharmacy are limited and you are advised to apply and confirm your place as soon as possible as well as meet other conditions of your offer. A selection process is in place for students aiming to study Dental Surgery and Medicine – find out more here. In order to progress to Optometry, Medical Pharmacology or Pharmacy degree aims, as well as meeting module grades, students will also need to undergo an interview, a DBS check and an Occupational Health check.

Key facts

*This intake is not available for progression to Optometry, Dental Surgery, Medicine, Medical Pharmacology or Pharmacy

  • Length: Two semesters
  • Study mode: On campus

Entry requirements

Check our academic and English language entry requirements


Visit the Fees page for full details.

Learn the skills you need to make an impact

Cardiff University International Study Centre puts you on the path to an exciting future in health, medicine or life sciences. Our International Foundation Year develops your subject knowledge and English language skills, ready for your undergraduate degree.

What will I study?

As a student on the this pathway of the International Foundation Year, you will study all of the 'core' modules as well as additional modules depending on which subject route you choose.

Core modules

The Academic English Skills course teaches students the specific academic language skills they need to develop for success at Cardiff University. The course focuses on the receptive (listening and reading) and productive (speaking and writing) skills through practice in semi and authentic task-based activities which build a strong foundation in preparation for each student's future studies. This critical module places particular emphasis on developing academic reading and research skills; research-based writing along with presentation and seminar speaking skills.

These modules aim to develop students’ confidence and provide a sound foundation to support them for further studies in the medical, health and life sciences. The learning and teaching strategies are student-centred, and students are expected to actively engage and participate in recommended activities. Through studying this module, they will acquire knowledge and understanding of the fundamental topics required to study this subject in greater depth.

The overall aim of these modules is to provide students with a foundation in core mathematical concepts and theories in engineering and science disciplines. The module supports students to recall mathematical facts, concepts and techniques, and develop the mathematical background required for their studies at Higher Education in the UK.

Health, Medicine and Life Sciences modules

The module will help students to develop skills and confidence in applying fundamental Chemistry concepts as well as thinking analytical. By recognising the crucial role of Chemistry to the chemical or biological and health sciences, students will be equipped with the knowledge and skills required to study these topics in greater depth.

Psychology modules

This is an essential module for students on the International Foundation programme progressing into undergraduate degree programmes in Psychology. Psychology is a science of the mind and the module provides students with a range of key concepts. The module introduces the students to some of the key considerations in the study of psychology. The main focus of study is on the various approaches to the subject in general terms but students will also study the methods by which psychological investigation is undertaken.

This module aims to improve a student's knowledge and understanding about the concept of globalisation. It is designed to overcome this as well as providing students with a greater awareness of different theoretical perspectives on globalisation. Students will consider real-world events to explore the impact of increasing global interaction and will be encouraged to reflect upon the rise in global interrelations and their impact on nation states.

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Globally recognised

Top 10 for dentistry in the UK (The Complete University Guide 2024) and Top 50 in the world for dentistry (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2024).

Psychology is ranked 6th in the UK and 64th in the world (Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2024).

Selection process

Find out more about the selection process for the Medicine and Dental Surgery routes.

Medicine dental selection

Progress to your degree

After completing your International Foundation Year and achieving the necessary grades, you can transition to your chosen undergraduate degree. By completing this pathway, you will be able to progress to the following degrees:

Please note, for English Grades: SP stands for Speaking.

Degree Programme NameAwardOverall GradeEnglish GradeGrade Module
No Results

Progression from September ISC intake only:

  • BDs Dental Surgery^
  • BSc Medical Pharmacology^
  • BSc Optometry^
  • MBBCh Medicine^
  • MPharm Pharmacy

    ^IELTS is required to confirm an offer to study for these progression degrees.

A selection process is in place for students aiming to study Dental Surgery and Medicine – find out more here. In order to progress to Optometry, Medical Pharmacology or Pharmacy degree aims, as well as meeting module grades, students will also need to undergo an interview, a DBS check and an Occupational Health check.

Join us today

We're here to support you throughout the application process. Use our online application form and our student enrolment advisors will be available to answer your questions.