Science and Engineering Foundation Programme

ISEFP - International Science and Engineering Foundation Programme menu

Information for parents

I have answered some of the common questions that I have been asked by parents in my role as Manager of the International Science and Engineering Foundation Programme (ISEFP). I am also a parent so I understand you will have questions about what it will be like for your child to study and live at Queen Mary University of London.
Dr Priscilla Cunnan, Manager of the ISEFP


My child is under 18 years of age, will he/she be treated as a minor?

Your child will be regarded as an adult by Queen Mary University of London. You will be required to sign an agreement with the university acknowledging this.
We have plenty of experience of providing support for younger students an the Pastoral Tutor for the ISEFP, Priscilla Cunnan, will make every attempt to monitor the well-being and academic performance of your child.

May I call you to discuss my child’s attendance and academic performance?

We understand your concern for the welfare of your child, but Data Protection Regulations do not allow us to communicate with you without the permission of your child.
This is something that many international parents find unusual but it is a British Law.
Your child has access to the department website, containing copies of their coursework, assignments and test marks, so they should be able to show you if they want you to see it.
All students will sign a consent form either giving Priscilla Cunnan, Director of the ISEFP, permission (or not) to speak to their parents.
Even with this form, Dr Cunnan can only talk to you while your child is present.

May I make an appointment to visit you when I come to London?

Yes. ISEFP Manager Dr Priscilla Cunnan is always keen to meet the parents of her students.
To make an appointment, please contact us:
Phone: +44 (0) 20 7882 2761

Fogg 1.03, School of Biological and Chemical Sciences
Queen Mary University of London
Mile End Road
London E1 4NS

How much money will my child need for living expenses?

This really depends on the lifestyle the child is accustomed to and how much they are used to spending.
British Immigration requires that your child have approximately £8,000 per year for living expenses (including accommodation).

If my child has a problem what should they do?

In the first week at Queen Mary, your child will be given very clear instructions on what to do if they have a problem.
The university offers free specialist advice and counseling services for personal problems (such as home sickness), financial, immigration and legal advice, and academic support.
ISEFP students can also make an appointment to see ISEFP Manager Dr Priscilla Cunnan or, in an emergency, call her directly on her mobile phone.

My child has never travelled overseas before. Does the College help students when they arrive in London?

Queen Mary provides a Meet and Greet service at Heathrow Airport during the weekend before Welcome Week.
Staff carrying Queen Mary banners and wearing blue Queen Mary t-shirts will meet your child when they leave Immigration Control.
This service is free but it your child must inform us of their flight number so that we can reserve a place for them on the Queen Mary bus

What happens if my child's flight arrives after the two day Meet and Greet service?

We will email your child with clear directions to the campus with a variety of transport options. If they have heavy luggage or several bags then we advise them to take a taxi.
We are not able to book the taxi service on behalf of your child but most companies have a booking service website or the taxi may be booked on arrival at Heathrow.
Email us for a list of recommend taxi firms at

Will someone help my child if he/she finds some of the academic content too difficult?

If your child struggles with any of the course content, our experienced teaching staff will work with them to identify the exact problem. Then we can provide additional support.
The ISEFP provides free individual or small group tuition for students. This Drop In Centre is open for two hours a day, five days a week.
We also provide free English language tuition for those students who need more help with English proficiency.

The Educational System in my country is so different from the British system. Will someone help my child to understand what is required for success in the British system?

Yes. We provide tuition on Academic English and Study Skills which equip the student with the vital skills for success such as how to write an essay and how to answer an exam question.
This tuition will provide your child with the skills that are taught to British high school students so that your child will have similar study skills when they enter the degree programme.

I do not know much about universities in Britain. Will my child get assistance with choosing a university after the foundation course?

We provide students with detailed information on how universities are ranked and the admission requirements for courses at particular universities during their weekly tutorials.
Course Manager Dr Priscilla Cunnan will personally assist your child with their application, and advise them on which university and course to choose. The advice we give them will depend on their academic performance during the first semester and what they would like to study at degree level.
Dr Cunnan will also provide a reference and may even negotiate a degree place for your child.  

Where do most students go after the foundation programme?

Very often students are so happy with their experience here that they choose to enroll for their undergraduate degrees at Queen Mary.
However, there are some courses that are not available at Queen Mary.
If the student has achieved very good grades, we assist them to apply to the higher-ranking universities.
If students do not do well enough to progress onto degree course at Queen Mary, we will assist them to gain a place at a university that has lower admission requirements.

If my child gets home sick or depressed is there someone who can help him/her?

Senior Pastoral Tutor Dr Priscilla Cunnan and her team of Pastoral Tutors will meet regularly with your child during the academic year.
Dr Cunnan is also available for private appointments.
Queen Mary University of London also offers a specialised advice and counseling service.  

Can Queen Mary give my child a bursary or scholarship if our financial circumstances change and we cannot afford to pay the tuition fees?

Unfortunately, there is no scholarship for the International Science and Engineering Foundation Programme.
When your child applies for a visa, they will be required to provide financial evidence to the British Immigration Authorities that they are able to fund themselves while in the UK.
If they can no longer afford to be in the UK then they should consider interrupting their studies until their financial situation improves.

Please visit the Advice and Welfare website for more information on interrupting studies and the implications for student visa holders.

If we pay the tuition fees can our child work to pay his/her living costs?

Most international students can work part-time during their studies.
Whether or not your child can work will depend on the conditions detailed on the UK immigration sticker or stamp in their passport. There are also limits on the number of hours international students may work.
Please refer to the Queen Mary Advice and Welfare website for details of the most recent regulations.
Please note that money earned from a part-time job will not cover the whole cost of accommodation and living expenses.

Can my child come home (e.g. for a religious festival) during term time?

Queen Mary University of London has a strict monitoring policy for attendance. This policy is directly linked to UK Border Agency (UKBA) student visa requirements.
We take a register for every lecture, workshop and tutorial and are legally required to inform the Home Office if a student has poor attendance.
Queen Mary has the right to de-register a student for poor attendance. A poor attendance record may also negatively influence the renewal of a student visa

Can Queen Mary provide an invite letter so that a parent can visit them in London?

Queen Mary is not able to provide invite letters for visa purposes. However, it is possible to obtain a letter confirming that your child is enrolled at Queen Mary, which may be used as a supporting document for the visa application.

When can I pay the tuition fees?

Please wait until after the student is made an unconditional offer to pay tuition fees.
When fees are paid, the Queen Mary Finance Office requires a copy of the Bank transfer receipt. Please note that it often takes between 4-5 working days for the money to appear in the Queen Mary account.
Queen Mary is only able to issue a receipt when the money appears in the university account.

Is there a sibling discount?

Currently there is no discount for siblings attending the International Science and Engineering Foundation Programme.

Will my child get a refund if their visa application is refused?

Yes. A full refund will be made into the account from which the fees were paid, provided that the documents detailing the reasons for the rejection of the visa are sent to Queen Mary.

Is there an application fee?

No. Processing of the application is free.

Are there lots of students from one country?

We attract students from all around the world and, currently, have students from over 30 countries on the programme.

Any other questions? 

If you have a question that has not been addressed on this page please contact:

Dr Priscilla Cunnan
Phone: +44 (0)20 7882 2761

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