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
Entry requirements

Check our academic and English language entry requirements


Visit the Fees page for full details.


Globally recognised

Top 10 for dentistry in the UK (The Complete University Guide 2022) and Top 60 globally for dentistry (2020 QS World University Rankings by Subject 2021).

Psychology is ranked 4th in the UK and 44th in the world (Times Higher Education World University Rankings).

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

  • Core Biology 1 & 2

    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.

  • Pure Mathematics 1 & 2

    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 modules 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

  • Core Chemistry 1 & 2

    These modules aim to deliver the foundation knowledge for students progressing to a degree course in the areas of engineering, chemical or biological and health sciences. The modules will help students to develop practical skills and confidence in carrying out Experimental Chemistry as well as understanding the importance of health and safety. 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

  • Introduction to Psychology

    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.

  • Globalisation
    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.

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:


Selection process

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