An international foundation is a year-zero preparation course that bridges the gap to the British university system if you need it.


An international foundation programme is designed to prepare you for the best start for university. It will give you the time, space and specialist tuition to improve your English and academic grades relevant to the degree subject you wish to study.

The international foundation is often taught at a dedicated college on university campus with extra support from tutors as you adjust to life in the UK. You will meet other students from all over the world who are also preparing to progress on to their chosen degree.

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  • Many international students are required to take a foundation year
  • Direct or foundation? Our advisors can help you decide
  • Improve your English language and academic skills
  • Adjust to study life in the UK before your degree starts
  • Bridge the gap from your high school to the UK education system
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You may decide to move to the UK before completing high school and enter a foundation course with progression to university. We can assist you with finding UK guardianship if you are under-18 and looking for accommodation options.

These trusted services create a home from home, where younger students feel supported and nurtured. From study support to pastoral care we will ensure you are looked after in the best way possible.

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From Liverpool to London – the UK has many great destinations for study.

  • Choose the excitement of the capital city – London
  • Historical university towns like Oxford and Cambridge
  • Looking for the beach? Check out Bournemouth and Brighton
  • Enjoy fresh air and nature in Scotland and Wales
  • Popular student cities – Coventry, Nottingham and Birmingham
  • Football fans will love Liverpool and Manchester.
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An international foundation degree will allow you to enter the UK with a lower English level such as IELTS 4.5 overall. As part of the course you will then improve your English for progression into your chosen university degree without the need for further IELTS tests.

You will improve your English for academic purposes – learning the technical vocabulary for your subject. Also living, studying and socialising in the UK will greatly improve your fluency and comprehension.

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Why do I need a foundation year?

Some universities require applicants to complete a foundation year before allowing them to progress on to their main degree programme. This is often because your domestic qualifications or grades are considered too low to secure a place directly.

Is progression to university guaranteed?

You will be required to achieve a minimum pass grade to enable you to progress. These range between 40%-70% depending on which course or institution you wish to progress on to. Progression rates are high for students who engage fully in the course.

Will I need to take another IELTS test after foundation?

No, most international foundation programmes include their own English language tests that allow students to progress into university without taking another IELTS test. These internal tests will cover the same four elements – reading, writing, speaking and listening.

Does the foundation year count towards my degree?

The foundation year is a separate qualification to your degree even if it is combined with the course. It is a preparation year that allows you to improve your English and academic skills. Many students who take a foundation year achieve excellent results in their degree because they feel more prepared for university study.

Can I switch degree subject after my foundation year?

As the foundation is designed to prepare you for an academic area of study, it is not always possible to switch routes after completing the foundation. For example if you take a science and engineering foundation, you would be unable to progress to a degree in art and design.

How long is a foundation?

Foundation programmes vary in length from six months to 18 months. They usually take place in the academic year before you start at university with start dates in September, January and May. The length is usually determined by how much additional English language tuition you require.

Where will my foundation be taught?

An International foundation is usually delivered by a private education provider such as Kaplan or Navitas in partnership with the university. The course will be taught at a dedicated college centre on the university campus. Foundation students receive the same access and privileges to university students.

Is a foundation only for international students?

The majority of foundation programmes are designed specifically for students coming from overseas and adjusting to life in the UK education system. However some universities do offer year zero foundation programmes open to domestic students. Please speak to an advisor who can assist you in exploring your options.