A Foundation in Science seems like a straightforward path if you’ve already decided that you want to study a Science-related degree. But why should you choose a Foundation in Science over other pre-university courses, such as A-Level, Australian Matriculation or STPM?
Here’s EVERYTHING that you need to know about studying a Foundation in Science, as well as some of the dos and don’ts when making a decision.
The Basics of Foundation in Science
What It Is
A Foundation in Science focuses on science-related topics by concentrating on specific subjects related to Mathematics, Science (e.g. Physics, Chemistry, Biology) and Information Technology.
It is a pre-university programme, which means that you pursue this right after SPM and before a Degree at university. A Foundation in Science is usually about 12 months long.
The great thing about a Foundation programme is that it prepares you for a smooth transition into a Science, Engineering or Information Technology degree at the same university once you’ve successfully completed this programme.
How Is Foundation in Science Structured?
A Foundation in Science is administered by the university itself, unlike other pre-university courses that are administered by a central body (e.g. A-Level is administered by Cambridge, AUSMAT is administered by the Western Australian education board).
What this means is that a Foundation in Science in one particular university may NOT have the same syllabus and learning material as the Foundation in Science in another university. In contrast, the syllabus for A-Level is the same across the entire Malaysia, regardless of college.
Subjects offered by Foundation in Science courses are typically science-related to give you a focused route towards your undergraduate degree in science. Course modules typically revolve around Sciences, Mathematics, Computing and Engineering subjects.
Usually, you will be required to take certain compulsory core subjects, with the option to choose several elective subjects that are related to your intended degree.
The assessment structure will vary depending on the programme and university. Typically, you should expect a combination of coursework and final exams.
Why Should You Take Foundation in Science?
(1) Gives you a head start on learning subjects related to your Degree
You may find that the topics offered in Foundation in Science courses are more focused and specific. For example, you could choose “Mechanics, Light and Optics” and “Engineering Mathematics Applications” if you plan to study Engineering, giving you a head start in learning topics specifically related to an Engineering Degree.
(2) Gives you good preparation for a Science or Engineering Degree
Because a Foundation in Science is geared towards the Degrees offered at the university, you may find that you will be able to transition easily into a Science-related Degree programme, especially if you continue on at the same university. In fact, at certain universities, you could also have the added benefit of lower entry requirements compared to other pre-university courses.
(3) One of the quickest paths to enter a Science-related Degree
Most Foundation in Science courses are about 12 months long, which is a relatively quicker way to enter university compared to taking A-Level or STPM. Upon completion, you will usually have a short break of a couple of months before the Degree starts, so you will not find yourself having to wait for a long period of time before commencing with your Degree.
(4) Some universities offer better scholarships & more affordable fees
With some universities, you may find that they offer more generous scholarships for Foundation courses, compared to A-Level or Australian Matriculation. With certain universities, you could even get a discount for both Foundation & Degree with your SPM results. Foundation courses are also usually cheaper than pre-university courses at the same college or university.
Who Is Foundation in Science For?
You should consider taking Foundation in Science if:
- You are confident that you want to pursue a Science-related Degree
- You do not plan to pursue your Degree at a university that’s different from where you are studying your Foundation in Science course
- You want to get a head start on learning subjects related to your Degree
- You are looking for a quick route to enter university
You should NOT take Foundation in Science if:
- You are not sure what Degree you want to study yet
- You plan to switch to another university after your Foundation in Science
- You are aiming to apply for government / company scholarships for your Degree
Remember that Foundation in Science courses are usually recognised by selected universities only, so make sure you do your research! You don’t want to end up being stuck at a university that doesn’t offer your choice of Degree, just because other universities do not accept or recognise your Foundation.
Most colleges require you to have at least 5 credits (1 credit is a C or above) at SPM.
If you plan to pursue Medicine, Dentistry or Pharmacy, colleges would usually require you to have at least 5Bs with good grades in Math and Science.
Frequently Asked Questions About Foundation in Science
Can I switch universities after completing a Foundation in Science?
Well… it depends.
What this means is that a Foundation at University A for example could have different subjects and learning material compared to a Foundation at University B. As such, students will normally go on to pursue a science-related degree from the same institution, or a number of partner universities.
While it is possible for students to switch universities after their Foundation, it is up to the “receiving” university to determine whether to accept your qualification from another university.
If possible, you should ALWAYS choose a college or university that offers both a Foundation in Science course AND your chosen Degree.
What about switching to a non-Science Degree?
Again, this would be on a case-by-case basis.
Usually, Science stream students can always continue with a non-Science degree, such as Business, Mass Communication or Hospitality & Tourism. However, it would likely be on a case-by-case basis.
If you are switching universities AND changing streams, you may also be required to take additional subjects or credit hours.
Where Can You Study Foundation in Science?
There are many colleges in Malaysia that offer Foundation in Science programmes, allowing you to pursue various Science and Engineering pathways.
Here are some of the popular colleges for Foundation in Science in Malaysia.
Foundation in Science
Campus: Kampar & Sungai Long
Intakes: Jan & May
Estimated Fees: RM9,170
Degree Pathways: Actuarial Science, Biochemistry, Biotechnology, Chemistry, Chinese Medicine, Computer Science, Engineering, Medicine, Physics
One of the most affordable FIS programmes
Tier-5 Excellent University in SETARA’13
Over 95 industry advisors to counsel and guide students
View other colleges
Foundation in Science
Campus: Kota Damansara, Subang Jaya, Penang & Sarawak
Intakes: Jan, Apr, Jul & Sep
Estimated Fees: RM18,690
Degree Pathways: Dental Surgery, Engineering, Medicine & Surgery, Nursing, Optometry, Pharmacy, Quantity Surveying
Qualifies you to a wide range of programmes by SEGi University
Awarded 6-star in MyQUEST 2016/2017
Universiti Teknologi Petronas (UTP)
Campus: Seri Iskandar, Perak
Intakes: Mar, Jul & Nov
Estimated Fees: RM20,430
Degree Pathways: Engineering, Petroleum Geoscience, Information & Communication Technology, Business Information System, Applied Chemistry, Applied Physics
Designed to prepare students with sufficient analytical skills and essential knowledge in fundamental sciences and mathematics
Foundation Programme (Engineering / Science)
Campus: Semenyih, Selangor
Intakes: Apr, June & Sep (depending on the programme)
Estimated Fees: RM18,100 to RM28,300 (depending on the programme)
Degree Pathways: Biomedical Sciences, Biotechnology, Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Eletrical and Electronic Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Computer Science, Environmental Science, Nutrition, Pharmacy, Psychology, Software Engineering
One of the Top UK Universities in the world but with affordable fees
Opportunity to transfer to study in China and the UK for your degree programme
5-Star rating in SETARA 2017
Foundation in Science
Intakes: Apr & Jul
Estimated Fees: RM26,333
Degree Pathways: Actuarial Science, Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Petroleum Engineering, Psychology, Quantity Survey
Problem-based and student centric learning approaches
Opportunity to transfer to study in Dubai and the UK for your degree programme
International University of The Year (Good University Guide 2018)