Biosciences with a Foundation Year / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course description

Our BSc Biosciences with a Foundation Year course enables all of our bioscience undergraduate courses to be studied with a foundation year if you do not have a science background or the appropriate entry qualifications.

Taught by Xaverian College close to the University campus, the Foundation Year provides the necessary academic background in biology, chemistry and mathematics to prepare you for study on any one of our biosciences courses .

There is also a complementary programme of tutorials, seminars and laboratory practicals at the main University campus.Successful completion of the Foundation Year allows you direct entry onto any of our three- or four-year degree courses.

Special features

Register as a university student

As a Foundation Year student, you are a full student member of The University of Manchester and you will have a University registration card. You have full representation on the student-staff committee and a guaranteed place in a University hall of residence.

Teaching and learning

The Foundation Year of study is delivered primarily by staff on the premises of  Xaverian College , Manchester. The Foundation Year runs from the middle of September to June. Regular laboratory work reinforces some of the subject material and helps develop practical skills.

View a typical  foundation year timetable  (PDF, 46KB).

Student support

In addition to academic tutorial support, you are allocated a personal tutor for pastoral support. Your tutor will be available for one-to-one meetings and will become well-known to you.

Additional academic support will be provided by the Foundation Year team and additional pastoral support will be available from the counselling services at Xaverian College and the University.

Coursework and assessment

Assessment consists of formal examinations (80%) in January and May and coursework and tests throughout the year.

Course unit details

Your study on the Foundation Year is credit rated, consisting of a total of 120 academic credits. You study a common core of units in biology, chemistry and mathematics.

Biology forms approximately half the core content. Lectures cover a wide range of areas including cell biology, biochemistry, genetics, biotechnology, microbes and disease, ecology and physiology. Regular laboratory work reinforces the subject material and helps you to develop practical skills.

As a sound grasp of chemistry is essential for biological scientists, more than a third of the core consists of chemistry. This involves the study of atomic structure, bonding, rates of reaction, inorganic and physical chemistry, organic and medicinal chemistry.

The units in mathematics enable you to manipulate and analyse experimental data accurately and to use statistical and mathematical techniques in a biological context. Study skills support and help with core content is provided through weekly tutorials.

The units you will study are:

  • Molecules Cells and Variation (XABY01)
  • Microbes and Disease (XABY02)
  • Energy and the Environment (XABY03)
  • Physiology (XABY04)
  • Fundamental Principles of Chemistry A (XA0201)
  • Fundamental Principles of Chemistry B (XA0221)
  • Inorganic and Organic Chemistry A (XA0212)
  • Inorganic and Organic Chemistry B (XA0222)
  • Mathematics (XAMA01/02)

Course units for foundation year

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Foundation Year BIOL10900 0 Mandatory
Health & Safety online course BIOL12000 0 Mandatory

What our students say

Find out more about what it's like to study at Manchester on the  Biology, Medicine and Health Student Blog .


In addition to the excellent study facilities at Xaverian College, you have full access to all of the  University's facilities  including the University library, computer and learning resource centres.

You will also be able to access the wide range of sporting and social activities available to all University students.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: