Study Abroad Tips

What is an International Foundation Programme, and Who is it For?

What is an International Programme, and Who is it For?

So you know you want to study abroad, and you might even have a Bachelor’s degree you’re planning to apply to. But sometimes things don’t always go as planned. If your grades in high school or pre-university examinations don’t make the cut in order to go to university, an International Foundation Programme might be the solution for you.

What is an International Foundation Programme

An International Foundation Programme (IFP) is designed for international students who don’t yet qualify for the admission requirements of an international university. It is also great for ambitious students who want to be more immersed in a foreign country’s culture and language.

Over the programme, you’ll get to experience a full university life and sharpen your knowledge to get prepared for your undergraduate studies.

What happens in the programme

Most programmes take only a year to complete, or around 32 weeks over a few semesters. It usually starts in September, so that you’d graduate in time to start your Bachelor’s in October the following year.

Some universities offer a generic International Foundation Programme. If you score well enough, you’ll then choose the Bachelor’s programme that you want to get into in the same school. However, other universities offer programme specific IFPs where you’ll be preparing yourself for a specific Bachelor’s area, such as Business, Law or Engineering. For example, the IFP at the University of St Andrews offers you the opportunity to get prepared for Bachelor’s programmes in Finance, Medicine, Science and Humanities.

Who is the IFP for?

IFPs are best for students who have decided to study for a degree abroad but don’t yet have the required qualifications. The entry requirements are generally that you would have had completed a high school education (or equivalent), able to speak English and have completed some subjects that are relevant to the foundation programme.

For example:

  • You have wonderful grades for Science and Math subjects but need better scores for English
  • You want a career in Engineering but you need better scores for Math to study it
  • You would like to study STEM but your qualifications are not accepted or are not recognized in the country you want to study

Is a foundation year worth it?

A thousand times yes! Not only are you preparing yourself for undergraduate success, you’ll be recognised as a full member of the University and get full benefits and opportunities.

You’ll also be immersed in the language that you’ll be learning in – which is most often in English.

You also won’t have to stress if the qualifications you’re getting will be recognised by the institution. Indeed, the universities will specifically prepare you to be ready for their curriculum.

Plus, you’ll get to mingle with local and international students early on, so that you can take time to fit into the culture. It really takes the stress away to slowly learn how different things are when you study abroad.

What this means for you

An IFP can really help you get the education and career of your dreams. Don’t give up if sometimes your grades disappoint you. There is always a way! Build your confidence with an IFP so that you can pursue opportunities in your education.

If there’s anything that’s been left out and if you have any questions about International Foundation Programmes, leave a comment below!

• Student Advisor

With a wide-ranging professional and educational background, Anna is passionate about travel and learning. Originally from Poland, she considers her time studying abroad in Italy one of the most valuable experience she's ever had. Today Anna lives in Stockholm and loves helping other international students succeed in their academic journey.