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IMU Foundation in Science: Preferred Pre-University Pathway to its Undergraduate Programmes

31 Dec 2019

Many have often asked, why should they opt for Foundation in Science (FIS) at IMU? There are plenty of pre-university courses in Malaysia, what makes Foundation in Science at IMU different? Well, we certainly have an answer to that. IMU’s FIS gives its students an early start to life as a degree student. Being offered and conducted in the same facilities and environment as the degree programmes IMU has to offer, FIS students adapts to the facilities and environment at a much earlier stage. What’s more interesting and exciting for the IMU Foundation in Science students is the sneak previews into the IMU degree programmes, experiencing it for themselves what each of these degree programmes have to offer. This is made possible through the “Look, See, Feel” engagement activities arranged for the FIS students. “FIS studies laid a solid foundation in my healthcare professional learning journey. Although it was quite intense, it was fun to get along with a group of peers (where I developed friendships) with the same interest and the dedicated lecturers. One thing special about FIS in IMU is that the Cross Boundary Studies (a community service project) during the third semester which provided me a platform to develop my soft skills and gave me an idea on how to initiate a project on our own. This module has enriched my experience and broadened my perspective”, said Yen Pei Ling, a FIS student who is currently studying Dietetics with Nutrition. It all started 5 years ago when the programme started in January 2014. Over the span of 5 years, the FIS programme has opened its doors to more than a thousand students, nurturing these hopeful faces into the degree programmes that they are interested in. Starting the programme with a 177 student enrolment across 3 intakes in 2014, increasing to 210 students in 2017 and now, 5 years later, a very large intake of 375 students in 2019, making it one of the largest private university FiS enrolments in the country. Typically, 85% of qualified IMU FiS students have successfully enrolled in their chosen IMU undergraduate programmes and the related partner university tracks. FiS students who progressed to IMU undergraduate programme have already graduated from 3 and 4 year degrees and 2020 will see the first former FiS students graduate from 5 year programmes such as Medicine and Dentistry. A “Buddy Programme” based on former FiS seniors now in IMUs various undergraduate programmes or already graduated is in now in place as a go to resource for current and prospective FiS students. Layan Abdulilah Alrazihi from Saudi Arabia said, “So why choose IMU when we have plenty of medical universities and colleges in Saudi? I chose IMU because the University takes in students with strong academic results into its FIS programme and subsequently these students went on to transfer to prestigious partner universities worldwide. On top of that, IMU provides assistance to international students and makes them feel welcome while they are in Malaysia!” To keep up with the 65% increase in FiS student numbers since 2017, the number of dedicated pre-university experienced staff has increased accordingly. In 2014, 5 staff were employed to teach the foundation programme and this has now grown to 16. In addition to high quality pre-university teaching, all staff are also heavily involved in student mentoring and support, to holistically help them achieve their academic goals. The current IMU Foundation in Science team consists of carefully selected, well qualified and experienced staff with specific skill sets that make them ideal pre-university level academicians. The team have a clear understanding of subsequent undergraduate degree progamme requirements and are assisted in this regard by degree level academics who also advise the students on their available undergraduate pathways while in foundation. Undergraduate lecturers and professors also advise on the design and content of FIS lectures, tutorials and assessments. “FIS prepared me not only to become a medical student but as a holistic individual. Although self-directed learning was implemented slowly, we had good guidance from the lecturers who were really helpful. I personally feel that it was not all work as we had fun especially during Cross Boundary Studies, furthermore this module promoted critical thinking skills. These projects served as a platform for us to learn all the qualities that a team player and a physician should have; such as punctuality, responsibility, trustworthiness and commitment.” Lee Sook Yee, a FIS student who is currently studying Medicine. It is obvious that the FIS programme prepares students academically and holistically for their undergraduate studies in IMU. The Foundation in Science, IMU has three intakes a year:  March, June and September. These convenient start dates will enable smooth transition into the preferred degree courses that students are interested in, upon successful completion of the programme.

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