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Science Gateway

Discover Science Gateway

This programme is ideal if you would like to study any of the science-based Foundation Degrees (FdSc) we offer, but don’t have the right qualifications or grades to do so. Science Gateway will prepare you for success on our programmes by helping you develop your knowledge in relevant areas of biology and chemistry, your practical skills, and your academic study skills. The programme runs for one year at Cornwall College’s thriving Newquay campus and will be taught in small supportive groups by experienced tutors. Successful completion of this programme will allow you to progress to the first year of your chosen FdSc which may run at any of our campuses across Cornwall and Devon (please see website for details on your specific FdSc).

This inclusive and intensive programme covers core principles in biology and chemistry and provides ample opportunities to acquire new laboratory and fieldwork techniques. You will refresh key elements of maths, essential for higher level study, and develop your academic study skills to a high level to support success on your chosen FdSc and beyond. You will learn the method of science, research skills, academic writing and referencing, and presentation skills.

Entry Requirements

The programme is designed to provide an inclusive route into higher education and as such attracts applicants from a variety of different backgrounds. For this reason we interview all applicants to assess their suitability, which will include initial assessment. Applicants will usually possess GCSEs (or equivalent) at grade C or above in English and maths, but it is possible to complete one GCSE (or Functional Skills Level 2) alongside the programme with suitability assessed at interview. Suitability of mature applicants with no formal qualifications, but with relevant experience, will be assessed through interview.

Fees, funding and applications

The Science Gateway year is recognised by the Student Loans Company as a higher education programme. As such you will be charged the same annual fee as the FdSc programme that you wish to progress to. For example the FdSc Marine Conservation with a Science Gateway introductory year, would take three years to complete at £8,500 per year (based on data for 2020 entry).

If you would like to apply for one of our FdSc programmes with the Science Gateway option, please use the relevant UCAS code as listed on our website. The Science Gateway route will have a different UCAS code to the standalone FdSc option on UCAS.

Please do contact us if you would like to find out more about this programme and discuss whether it is the best way for you to access our science programmes.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if after completing my Science Gateway year…

What if after completing my Science Gateway year I want to study a different programme than the one I initially applied for?

Sometimes your interests change during your course, or your studies help you to better understand the career path wish to pursue. If you decide you wish to study a different programme offered by us then it is possible to change provided that you complete the required internal paperwork and meet specified deadlines. If you decide that you wish to progress to a programme at another provider then you will need to apply through UCAS and they will consider your application against stated entry criteria.

What’s the difference between a gateway year and an Access to Higher Education Diploma?

The programme that is best for you will depend on your own circumstances and there are advantages and disadvantages of each route to undergraduate study. If in doubt do talk to us as we offer Access to Science courses at different campuses and can help advise you on the option that is best for you.

Access courses differ in structure, and assessment from the gateway year. As an access student you will apply to university through UCAS and will be made an offer that is conditional on passing your Access Diploma to a specified standard. Gateway students have already applied through UCAS so progress automatically to the next year of study on completion of the year to pass standard. One important difference is cost and financial support available. An access course is a further education programme whilst the gateway year is a higher education course. For most applicants, an Advanced Learner Loan is available to cover the cost of your access course. This loan is written off if you subsequently complete an undergraduate degree, meaning that it is not added to your loan repayments after graduating. The gateway year costs the same as each year of your undergraduate programme with us.

Most UK applicants will be eligible for a student loan to cover tuition costs with additional maintenance loan funding available to cover living costs, subject to various eligibility criteria that you can find on the Student Loans Company website (www.slc.co.uk).  Currently it is possible to take out loans to cover four years of higher education, for example to fund your gateway year, the following two years of a FdSc programme, and a fourth year to complete a BSc (Hons) top up (if eligible).

Do I get a qualification for the Science Gateway year and if so, what level is it equivalent to?

You will not get a recognised qualification on completion of your gateway year, which is purely to prepare you for your subsequent undergraduate programme. This type of programme, often called a ‘Year Zero’ or ‘Extended Degree’ is however well understood by universities and colleges across the UK.

What will I study?

During the one year programme you will study the following modules: Foundation Biology, Further Biology, Practical and Field Studies in Biology, Foundation Chemistry, Further Chemistry, Quantitative Methods and Study Skills for Scientists.

How many days a week do I have to attend college?

You will usually attend for two intensive days each week for a mixture of lectures, practical laboratory work, fieldwork, group seminars and 1-to-1 tutorials. If you are completing a GCSE (or Functional Skills) in either maths or English as part of your gateway year you may also need to attend evening classes.

How much work is expected of me in a Science Gateway year?

This is an intensive programme and you will need to be committed and work hard. You will be taught for 12-14 hours per week and will be required to complete a similar amount of self-directed study at home or in our Learning Resources Centre. We will provide a reading list in advance and you will need to prepare before starting this programme.

Are there exams or is it coursework based?

You will study six 20 credit modules and each will be assessed using different methods. These include assignments, formal examinations, practical work and presentations.

Progression from Science Gateway

All of the following programmes are available with a prior Science Gateway study option:

• FdSc Agriculture

• FdSc Animal Behaviour & Psychology

• FdSc Animal Health & Management

• FdSc Animal Husbandry & Welfare

• FdSc Aquaculture & Fisheries Science

• FdSc Conservation & Ecology

• FdSc Equitation Training & Behaviour 

• FdSc Marine Conservation

• FdSc Marine Science

• FdSc Renewable Energy Technologies

• FdSc Surf Science & Technology

• FdSc Wildlife Education & Media

• FdSc Zoological Conservation