The Psychology Foundation Programme (IFP) is a combination of English language and science-based modules.

The programme is designed for students who want to progress into the School of Psychology at Cardiff University.

English modules

The overall aim of the English language and study skills input is to help you meet the demands of academic study during your Foundation programme and to prepare you effectively for the academic scheme you will proceed to afterwards.

This module aims to improve your overall ability in English and to develop academic study skills for immediate use. You will learn academic writing style with a focus on written accuracy, formal register and the ability to draft and edit essays, in addition to demonstrating an ability to use academic vocabulary and present arguments, and solve problems in both written and spoken format.

This module aims to develop advanced academic language and study skills, building on the previous semester’s work. You will produce more complex writing, creating a range of text types in both timed and extended conditions, and acquire a level of English and academic awareness that will enable you to cope well with academic studies across the skill areas.

This module aims to teach academic presentation skills, research methods (including use of the University’s library and database systems), methods for effective reading and listening, and data analysis. During the module you will undertake primary and secondary research and present a report based on the findings, and learn how to incorporate academic referencing effectively into your writing.

The module aims to raise your awareness of and build confidence in using situational language and skills appropriate to the field of health and life sciences. The module takes a practical experiential approach, involving activities such as talks by visiting professionals. You will be exposed to how health and life sciences are realised professionally and socially in the UK.

This module will introduce advanced English language and skills, clarity and conciseness of language, and the analysis and reporting of results and experiments/projects. Essay writing skills will focus on the analysis of arguments.

You will also study advanced academic vocabulary, numerical skills and language specific to the study of psychology. Interactive seminar groups will focus on critical analysis (for example of statistics) and give students experience in engaging with tutorials and leading seminars.

Psychology modules

The Psychology-specific modules provide a foundation-level introduction to the science subjects that will be relevant to your future undergraduate studies.

We have designed this programme to give you a solid foundation in biology and chemistry, in addition to an in introduction to all the major areas of psychology, to give you the best possible information and assistance for your time as a student in the UK.

In this course you will be given an introduction to all the major areas of psychology. The knowledge you gain here will form the building blocks for your undergraduate degree in psychology. Topics include forensic psychology, autism and schizophrenia, the psychology of children, psycholinguistics, consciousness and the mind, language and its disorders, the biological basis of behavior, neuroscience, vision and action, environmental psychology, applied decision making, ingroup/outgroup behaviour, and emotions. The teaching will involve interactive discussions and presentations from academics at the School of Psychology.

This module deals with:

  • the broad principles of physiology, the nervous system, its nature, structure and function
  • the cardiovascular system and the roles of the heart, blood vessels and blood; changes in disease
  • breathing and lung function; the role of the kidneys; the function of the endocrine system and the physiology of reproduction
  • the digestion and absorption of food
  • motherhood and the physiology of the newborn child.

This module deals with the structure, function and transmission of genes and with inheritance of genetically controlled characteristics, including more complex patterns of inheritance brought about by linkage and interaction between genes.

This is followed by a brief review of the evidence for evolution and a coverage of evolutionary processes. Finally the module provides you with an introduction to the diversity of living organisms.

The theoretical coverage in lectures and tutorials is supplemented by practical classes which allow examination of cell division in plants and animals, analysis of patterns of inheritance for various genetic traits and examination of a diversity of life forms at both the microscopical and whole organism level.

The module provides an introduction to the molecular basis of living organisms. After developing an appreciation of the very 'molecules of life', you'll go on to learn how these molecules are organised into cells. The concepts taught in the module are fundamental to all aspects of biology.

This module is designed to introduce basic description of elemental properties and the periodic table, solid and molecular structures and bonding, and to relate these to electronic structure of atoms.

The mole as a unit is introduced so that a quantitative treatment of stoichiometry can be considered. Practical work introduces the use and handling of basic chemical equipment.

This module treats:

  • some basic chemistry of hydrogen and selected elements from the periodic table
  • simple co-ordination chemistry of metal ions in solution
  • the ideas of oxidation and reduction in relation to oxidation state changes and electron transfer
  • electrode reactions and potentials.

Practical work examines some of this chemistry and uses oxidation-reduction reactions as a basis for quantitative analysis.

Teaching, learning and assessment

We employ a variety of teaching methods, all selected to deliver the tuition you need in the best possible way.


Students who obtain a  minimum overall average of 60% with no modules below 50% and at least 60% in all English language modules can automatically progress into our School of Psychology.

We have one of the largest and most successful psychology schools in the UK. The quality and relevance of our research has been recognised in every research assessment exercise.

In the most recent assessment, we were ranked second in the UK. We have around 50 academic staff, 30 of whom are professors, and a further 50 research and 35 professional service staff.

This means we have the expertise and resources to give one of the best psychology educations in the UK. We offer a three-year degree in psychology and a four-year degree in psychology with professional placement. Both of our degrees are accredited by the British Psychological Society. The four-year degree provides a unique opportunity to gain supervised work experience for a year between your second and final years of study.

Find out more about our undergraduate courses.