AQH-B2-3a Undergraduate Programme Specification Template







Integrated Foundation Year

Pharmaceutical Sciences Pathway
































Name of programme:

BSc (Hons) Biopharmaceutical Science with Integrated Foundation Year

BSc (Hons) Medicinal Chemistry with Integrated Foundation Year

BSc (Hons) Biochemistry with Integrated Foundation Year

BSc (Hons) Cosmetic Science with Integrated Foundation Year


Title of final award:

BSc (Hons) Biopharmaceutical Science

BSc (Hons) Medicinal Chemistry

BSc (Hons) Biochemistry

BSc (Hons) Cosmetic Science


**This Specification details the Foundation year (Level 3/Stage 0). Please see individual subject specifications for full details of Stages 1-3.

  1. Programme linkage  

Students take a Foundation Year (level 3) as an integral part of this programme of study. This specification details the Foundation Year.  For details of subsequent years please see individual programme specifications as detailed at 1. 


  1. Is the programme a top-up only?




  1. Does the programme have a Foundation Year (level 3) associated with it so that students enter for a four-year programme and progress directly from the Foundation Year to Stage 1 without having to re-apply?



Students take a Foundation Year (level 3) as an integral part of this programme of study. This specification details the Foundation Year.  For details of subsequent years please see individual programme specifications as detailed at 1. 


Students who complete the Foundation Year but do not proceed to stage 1 of their named degree will be awarded a Foundation Certificate.


  1. Level of award (eg Level 6 for BA/BSc)




  1. Awarding body: University of Sunderland


  1. In which School is it?

School of Social Sciences


  1. Programme Studies Board?

Integrated Foundation Programme


  1. Programme Leader

Anne Lambton (foundation year only – see parent specifications for UG programme leader)


  1. How and where can I study the programme?


At Sunderland:


Full-time on campus

Part-time on campus


As work-based learning full-time


As work-based learning part-time


As a full-time sandwich course


As a part-time sandwich course


By distance learning


At the University of Sunderland London campus: 


Full-time on campus


Part-time on campus


As work-based learning full-time


As work-based learning part-time


As a full-time sandwich course


As a part-time sandwich course


By distance learning


At a partner college:


Full-time in the UK 


Part-time in the UK


Full-time overseas


Part-time overseas


By distance learning


As a full-time sandwich course in the UK


As a part-time sandwich course in the UK


As a full-time sandwich course overseas


As a part-time sandwich course overseas


As work-based learning full-time in the UK 


As work-based learning part-time overseas


Other (please specify)



  1. How long does the programme take?



Min number of years / months

Max number of years / months


4 years

11  (2 years for foundation year and 9 years for the UG degree)




Distance learning



Work-based learning















For start-dates please see the current edition of the Prospectus or contact the relevant department at the University. For start-dates for programmes delivered in a partner college, please contact the college.



Use Outline Programme Proposal Form for ADC (AQH-B2-2), for questions 13 to 25


  1. Learning and teaching strategy. 

Students will be introduced to and engage with a research active curriculum throughout to develop the skills of enquiry, reflection and self-evaluation within the Foundation year (Stage 0).  Students will be to be supported to develop the necessary skills.  The curriculum ensures that these skills develop pro-active students allowing them to enter the second stage of their programme extremely well prepared for the challenges of their chosen route.  Alongside this, from the first year of the programme, the development of independent learning will be a priority.  The aim is to develop students’ independent research skills and confidence whilst also engaging them in an interactive learning environment.  The development of initial ‘real world’ dimensions in the foundation stage of the programme all add to the creation of independent and engaged researchers who can progress through their respective routes effectively having been well prepared from the beginning.  The learning and teaching strategies for Stages 1-3 are fully articulated in the Programme Specifications for the parent programme.


  1. Retention strategy

The focus of this programme is to ensure that the work is relevant and meaningful.  The foundation stage, particularly, is designed to help set students on the track to studying for a degree, which is challenging and relevant as they develop their chosen academic path.  Alongside the standard strategies for retention outlined elsewhere in this document, students will be encouraged to develop an identity as a cohort throughout the first year of the programme with core modules delivered as a group and in face to face meetings helping to create the necessary bond to help retention and progression.  The programme will help students to engage in the learning community both as individuals and as a group.


  1. Any other information




  1. What is the programme about?

The aim of the Foundation Year is to equip students with the necessary knowledge and skills to be effective students within the Pharmaceutical sciences, and so in the first year of this programme you will develop your knowledge and skills in the basic science disciplines of biology, chemistry and physiology. The Pharmaceutical pathway focuses on the chemistry of how drugs and pharmaceutical compounds are made, analysed in the laboratory and the effects they have on the human body.  This course provides a sound basis for further study in these fields and covers the fundamental principles of chemistry such as how atoms form bonds, chemical structures, basic thermodynamics, how to calculate molarity of solutions.  As the course progresses more advanced subjects are introduced such as the study of organic chemistry and functional groups, chemical reaction mechanisms, the theory and application of advanced analytical methods such as NMR, MS and IR. The study of Biology is also critical to enable the examine the effects of drugs on the body and this course covers the human body functions at the molecular, cellular, organ and system levels, with the later stages of these programmes focusing on the application of this knowledge to understand disease causes.  There is a strong emphasis on graduate employability, integrating employment-related skills into modules and developing laboratory and research skills throughout the course, such as applying your knowledge to the interpretation of scientific data and real-world problems.  You will also gain an understanding of research methods used in the pharmaceutical industry, and will apply these to investigating a health-related or laboratory issue in a small-scale research project.  Thus the programme aims to produce graduates who have significant scientific knowledge and an understanding of its application to the study of pharmaceutical sciences, whilst also acquiring the highly valued experimental, analytical and transferrable skills applicable to a wide range of employment opportunities.




30     What will I know or be able to do at each Stage of the programme?


Learning Outcomes Foundation Level 3/Stage 0– Skills  


By the end of this Stage of the programme successful students should know, understand or be able to do the following:


  • S1: employ a range of responses to well defined but often unfamiliar or unpredictable problems;


  • S2: operate in a variety of familiar and unfamiliar contexts using a range of technical or learning skills;


  • S3: engage in self-directed activity with guidance/evaluation.


Learning Outcomes Foundation Stage 0– Knowledge


By the end of this Stage of the programme successful students should know, understand or be able to do the following:


  • K1: have knowledge in a range of complex activities demonstrating comprehension of relevant theories;


  • K2: access and evaluate information independently;


  • K3: analyse information and make reasoned judgements.


Learning Outcomes Stages 1 -3 – Knowledge and Skills


The learning outcomes for Stages 1-3 are taken from the specifications of the parent programme listed on page 1. 


31     What will the programme consist of?

The summary below describes briefly what is contained in each Stage. Most programmes have a mixture of core (ie compulsory) modules and optional ones, often with increasing choice as you move through the programme and gain in experience. In some programmes the choice of optional modules gives you particular ‘routes’ through the programme. The programme structure including a detailed list of modules can be found in the programme regulations.  Please note all of the Foundation stage modules are CORE.

Foundation stage modules provide students with a broad introduction to some of the major theories, themes and perspectives. 

20 credit module  FDN012 – Essential Study Skills

This module supports the development skills and attributes needed for degree level study and graduate employment including searching for information, reviewing evidence, presenting information and self-analysis to identify strengths and areas for development.


20 credit module  FDN002 – Foundation Project

This module supports understanding in a topic area related to the programme of study.  It also encourages independent and team working with support available from tutors throughout the lifespan of the project.


20 credit module  FDN003 – Practical Numeracy Skills

This modules includes a range of relevant, real-world concepts and ideas which will help develop confidence and competence in numeracy and encourage a critical approach to numerical facts.  Topics include interest rates and loans, budgeting as well as the use and misuse of statistics and fake news.  


40 credit module  FDN023 – Foundations of Science

This module explores how the body functions at the molecular and cellular level. Students will discuss ethical topics within the pharmaceutical sciences and apply problem solving skills to real-world challenges within the chemical sciences laboratory.


20 credit module  FDN025 – Chemistry for Pharmaceutical Science

In this module, students will consider how functional groups participate in chemical reactions and therefore contribute to the chemical characteristics of the molecule. Students will gain skills in the analysis of spectroscopic data and solve problems relating to general and physical chemistry, including chemical quantity and measurement.


Stage 1, 2 and 3 modules can be found in the parent programme specification on as detailed on page 1. 


Generic Skills

Alongside the discipline-specific knowledge and skills that the curriculum covers, we aim to develop generic skills, such as initiative, time-management, group work and critical reflection. These elements are interwoven throughout the course, during student meetings and peer assessed group work exercises. In addition, the student professional development handbook allows students to monitor and evaluate their own development in these key skills. The modules draw on an interactive learning approach where students will be asked to engage in aspects of online learning through the University’s virtual learning environment, Canvas as well as to engage in on campus lectures and seminars.  This approach is designed to enable students to develop as independent learners.


32       How will I be taught?

Scheduled teaching activities

Independent study


The lecture/seminar model of teaching is used to introduce the major themes and concepts that are explored, using participatory learning activities. In addition, particularly in the foundation stage, this is supported and supplemented by an ‘interactive learning’ approach in seminar contexts. Students will be encouraged to take increasing responsibility for their own learning and to support their colleagues’ learning. These are key skills that they need to develop and are central to them becoming independent researchers. Because students are required to demonstrate their ability to apply their learning, they will be given a variety of learning experiences, including case study analysis, student-led presentations and activities that involve them in applying research methods.

33       How will I be assessed and given feedback? 


Practical assessments



A summary of the types of teaching, learning and assessment in each module of the programme can be found in the Matrix of Teaching and Assessment in section 34.


The generic assessment criteria can be found here. Some programmes may also use subject-specific assessment criteria.  Please check the relevant undergraduate Parent Programme for details for assessment criteria for stages 1-3.


This programme uses the Generic University Assessment Criteria



This programme uses the Subject Specific Assessment Criteria




The University regulations can be found here.


34     Teaching, learning and assessment matrix


Health Sciences and Wellbeing Pathway Level 3/ Stage 0 - T = Taught, D = Developed, A = Assessed




Core / optional

Modes of T&L

Modes of Assessment







Essential Study Skills



Lectures, seminar, online learning private study

Reflective statement (3-4000 guidance)

Presentation (8 mins per group member)







Foundation Project




Lectures, surgeries, online learning, private study

Report OR Review Paper (1500 limit) OR

Practical Project (1500 guidance)


Presentation (5 mins per group member)







Practical Numeracy Skills




Lectures, seminar, online learning private study

Portfolio (2500 words guidance)








Foundations of Science



Lectures, seminar, online learning private study

Group presentation (15 minutes)

Exams (3 x 1 hr)







Chemistry for Pharmaceutical Science



Lectures, seminar, online learning private study

Report (approx. 800 word)

Exam (2 hr)








** Please note the Foundation Stage Learning Outcomes Numbering is discrete from the Undergraduate Parent Programme numbering



35       How does research influence the programme? 


Research and/or professional practice has influenced the development of the programme to ensure the curriculum is vibrant and current. Members of the programme team are research active or engage in professional practice and many staff have produced research or practice that is directly relevant to their teaching. Staff engagement with research and/or professional practice means they can model the process for students and demonstrate its real-world application.


Please see individual subject specifications for more detailed information about subject research expertise.




36       How will the programme prepare me for employment?

The programme gives you the opportunity to develop skills, which you can use in the future. Some skills are more specific than others to the subject area, or to a particular type of activity, but all skills can be applied in a range of employment situations, sometimes in quite unexpected ways. The skills, which this programme is designed to develop, are listed below.


The learning outcomes of the programme address the acquisition of skills and the development of knowledge.  Skills pertain largely to transferable abilities, things students learning in one context that can be applied more widely in a range of other contexts.  Key skills apply at Stage 0 and are developed throughout the four years of each degree programme.  These refer to essential transferable skills in communication, information technology, working with others, improving one’s own learning, and problem solving. Applicable at all stages of the degree are graduate/employability skills.  These are higher order intellectual skills such as close reading and critical reasoning; retrieving and using information; collecting and synthesising data; applying new methodologies; and analysing and evaluating bodies of evidence.


There are also opportunities for on-campus students outside their programme of study.


For information about other opportunities available to our students who study on campus, click here.


Additional opportunities to develop your experiences more widely will vary if you study at one of our partner colleges. For information about the extra-curricular activities available in any of our colleges please contact the college direct. 


37     Particular features of the qualification

All students will follow a common core in the Foundation stage (core) during that year they will decide, with the help of subject specialists, which route to follow in subsequent years. 


38     Professional statutory or regulatory body (PSRB) accreditation


PSRB accreditation is not relevant to this programme 

PSRB accreditation is currently being sought for this programme


This programme currently has PSRB accreditation



There are programme-specific regulations relating to the following. Details are given in the programme regulations:


The modules to be studied


Pass-marks for some or all modules and/or parts

(elements) of modules 


Requirements for progression between one Stage and another


Placement requirements


Attendance requirements


Professional practice requirements


Degree classification  





Length of time to complete the programme




Level 3/ Stage 0 of the programme will contain the following elements:


Curriculum Layout for Level 3/Stage 0: Health Sciences and Wellbeing Pathway Programmes



A list of the modules in each Stage of the programme can be found in Appendix 2


                                                 Semester 1              Semester 2











  1. What are the admissions requirements?

The University’s standard admissions requirements can be found in the university regulations. Programme-specific requirements which are in addition to those regulations are given below. 


For all pathways, entry to the foundation stage is via the standard regulations. Normally, the minimum entry requirement will be 40 points on the UCAS tariff.  To apply for this course you are required to hold a Level 2 qualification (NVQ or GCSE) and to have attempted a Level 3 qualification in a relevant science subject (A Level or equivalent). You must also have GSCE grade C or above in Mathematics and English Language due to the entry requirements of the parent degrees.


Non-standard entry will be considered according to the University regulation A1.1.4 which states:


Applicants to Extended Programmes (Level 3)

Level 3 programmes are intended for those students who may not have the academic qualifications to enter a degree programme but may have relevant life experience or vocational training and who, after interview display a likelihood of success”.


Can students enter with advanced standing?




The University has a process by which applicants whose experience to date already covers one or more modules of the programme they are applying for may seek Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL). Full details can be found here but if you think that this may be relevant to you, please contact the department which offers the programme you are interested in.


  1. What kind of support and help will there be?

The students will have a personal tutor who, in the foundation stage, will be aligned to their pathway.  In subsequent years tutoring will be the responsibility of the parent programme.


The programme leader will work closely with Sunderland Futures to ensure that career guidance is an integral part of the programme at each Stage. 


In the University there are also administrative staff who have a supporting role for the students.


The University provides a range of professional support services including health and well-being, counselling, disability support, and a Chaplaincy. Click on the links for further information.

  1. What resources will I have access to?


On campus

Tick all that apply

General Teaching and Learning Space






Performance space

Other specialist

Technical resources 


The VLE (Canvas) will have a central role in the degree. According to the company website, Canvas is “powerful, reliable and refreshingly easy to use”, having been “designed … to meet the requirements of modern students, teachers and institutions”.


Information about the University’s facilities can be found here.


Please see the relevant college prospectus or website for details of college learning resources if you are planning to study in one of our partner colleges.


  1. Are there any additional costs on top of the fees

No, but all students buy some study materials such as books and provide their own basic study materials.

Yes (optional) All students buy some study materials such as books and provide their own basic study materials. In addition there are some are additional costs for optional activities associated with the programme (see below)


Yes (essential) All students buy some study materials such as books and provide their own basic study materials. In addition there are some are essential additional costs associated with the programme (see below)



**Please check parent programme specifications for any additional costs in future years


  1. How are student views represented?

All taught programmes in the University have student representatives for each Stage (year-group) of each programme who meet in a Student-Staff Liaison Committee (SSLC) of the School of Social Sciences, where they can raise students’ views and concerns. The Students’ Union and the faculties together provide training for student representatives. SSLCs and focus groups are also used to obtain student feedback on plans for developing existing programmes and designing new ones. Feedback on your programme is obtained every year through module questionnaires and informs the annual review of your programme. Student representatives are also invited to attend Programme and Module Studies Boards which manage the delivery and development of programmes and modules.  Various Faculty committees, particularly Faculty Academic Experience Committee, Academic Development Committee and Quality Management Sub-Committee also have student representation. This allows students to be involved in higher-level plans for teaching and learning. There is a parallel structure at university level on which students are represented by sabbatical officers who are the elected leaders of the Students’ Union.


The University’s student representation and feedback policy can be found here.


Use of the VLE:  All programmes have a ‘Programme Space’ in Canvas and all modules have a presence.  Many assessments are handed in through Turnitin, which is detects plagiarism.  Canvas is also used to promote structured discussion threads where the students will be encouraged to engage in debate, receiving feedback from their peers and from their tutors.  The formation of student study groups online and on campus will also be utilised to support effective learning and encourage the development of independent learners in preparation for stages 1, 2 and 3.




  1. National subject benchmarks


The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education publishes benchmark statements which give guidance as to the skills and knowledge which graduates in various subjects and in certain types of degree are expected to have. These can be found here.


Are there any benchmark statements for this programme?




The subject benchmark(s) for this programme can be found in the parent programme specification. 


The QAA also publishes a Framework for Higher Education Qualifications (FHEQ) which defines the generic skills and abilities expected of students who have achieved awards at a given level and with which our programmes align. The FHEQ can be found here.


  1. How are the quality and standards of the programme assured?


The programme is managed and quality assured through the University’s standard processes. Programmes are overseen by Module and Programme Studies Boards, which include student representatives.  Each year each module leader provides a brief report on the delivery of the module, identifying strengths and areas for development, and the programme team reviews the programme as a whole.  The purpose of this is to ensure that the programme is coherent and up-to-date, with suitable progression from one Stage to another, and a good fit (alignment) between what is taught and how students learn and are assessed - the learning outcomes, content and types of teaching, learning and assessment. Student achievement, including progress between Stages of the programme and degree classification, is kept under review. The programme review report is sent to the Faculty Academic Committee (FAC), which in turn reports issues to the University’s Quality Management Sub-Committee (QMSC) and Academic Development Committee (ADC). 


External examiners are appointed to oversee and advise on the assessment of the programme. They ensure that the standards of the programme are comparable with those of similar programmes elsewhere in the UK and are also involved in the assessment process to make sure that it is fair. They are invited to comment on proposed developments to the programme. Their reports are sent to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) as well as to the Faculty so that issues of concern can be addressed.


All programmes are reviewed by the University on a six-yearly cycle to identify good practice and areas for enhancement. Programmes are revalidated through this review process. These reviews include at least one academic specialist in the subject area concerned from another UK university. The University is subject to external review by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education on a six-year cycle. Their review reports for Sunderland can be found here.


Further information about quality processes can be found here.







PART B   -  Programme  Regulation/s _


Name of programme:

BSc (Hons) Biopharmaceutical Science with Integrated Foundation Year

BSc (Hons) Medicinal Chemistry with Integrated Foundation Year

BSc (Hons) Biochemistry with Integrated Foundation Year

BSc (Hons) Cosmetic Science with Integrated Foundation Year

Title of final award:

BSc (Hons) Biopharmaceutical Science

BSc (Hons) Medicinal Chemistry

BSc (Hons) Biochemistry

BSc (Hons) Cosmetic Science


Interim awards[1]: Dependent on parent degree programme

Accreditation: Dependent on parent degree programme


University Regulation (please state the relevant University Regulation): 2.3.2


The maximum period of registration on a programme of study is three times the normal full time registration period, i.e.9 years for a three-year degree programme.


For degrees which incorporate an Integrated Foundation Year, the maximum period of registration will be 11 years: 2 years for the Foundation Year and 9 Years for the Degree Programme.


Regulations apply to students commencing their studies from (please state the date / intake that these regulations will apply to students for each Stage):


Regulations apply to students

Date the regulations apply

Intakes affected

Stage 0 Foundation Year (IFY)

September 2019


Stage 1



Stage 2



Stage 3




Progression Regulations

There are no programme-specific progression regulations for the Foundation Year. Standard University procedures apply. Please see parent programmes for programme specific regulations stages 1-3.

[1] Same as main award unless agreed otherwise at validation – eg to meet PSRB requirements