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Preliminary or Foundation courses

A number of preliminary courses are available to students who do not have the appropriate A-level/AS qualifications to enter the first year of a degree scheme.

Entry Year

CourseUCAS codeMode
Chemistry with a Preliminary Year (BSc) F105 Full time
Engineering with a Foundation Year (BEng) H101 Full time
Optometry with a Preliminary Year (BSc) B511 Full time

Preliminary Year in Science

The Preliminary Year Programme includes modules in Biosciences, Chemistry, Maths and Physics. The particular modules studied depend on your academic background and the requirements of your chosen degree subject, and will be agreed through discussion with staff at enrolment.

On successful completion of the Preliminary Year, you automatically progress into the first year of your chosen degree programme. However, please note that transfer from other preliminary year degree programmes to Dentistry and Medicine is not permitted. If you are admitted on to one of the Biosciences degree programmes, you have the opportunity to change your degree programme within the same programme if your interests change eg from BSc Biological Sciences to BSc Biomedical Sciences. You may also have the opportunity to transfer to one of our four Masters degrees subject to your overall academic performance in years 2 and 3 of your BSc course. In addition, Biosciences offer specialised degree programmes.

The Schools of Medicine and Dentistry offer Foundation Year programmes. You are taught alongside those enrolled on the Preliminary Year in Science. The School of Engineering offers a separate Foundation Year programme.

The Part-time Preliminary Year in Science is aimed at those who cannot make a full-time commitment to studying at present, but who would like to pursue a degree in science, medicine or dentistry in the near future. Students have up to three years to complete the Preliminary Year programme on a part-time basis. The science and maths modules are taught in the daytime at Cardiff University.

Admissions enquiries

If you are seeking admission to a degree programme incorporating a Preliminary or Foundation Year you should apply via UCAS. You will need to satisfy the appropriate Admissions Tutor as to your competence to pursue a degree programme. The Preliminary Year is not meant to be a route for students who have failed to achieve the required grades in their A-levels.

For information about entry requirements for your chosen programme of study, please contact the appropriate Admissions Tutor - contact information can be found on the relevant Academic School pages.


For general enquiries about the Preliminary Year in Science, please contact:

Dr Helen E Jones

Dr Helen E Jones

Senior Lecturer

+44 (0)29 2087 4771

Engineering Foundation Year

The School of Engineering offers a Foundation Year programme designed to give students the necessary basic knowledge to enable them to cope with an engineering degree scheme. The Foundation Year includes aspects of mathematics, physics and information technology that are relevant to engineering.


For general enquiries about the Engineering Foundation Year, please contact:

School of Engineering admissions office