K M Enayet Hossain
06 July, 2023

5 mins min read


Foundation Course

Foundation courses are suitable for students who do not meet entry requirements for direct entry to degree courses at UK universities. Foundation courses bridge the gap between your current qualification and prospective higher study.

A foundation course enables students to gain access to university degree programme. It is a preparatory course for university-level study and builds academic foundations to start undergraduate and postgraduate degree education.

It is designed for international students who need additional English language support and academic preparation for degree level study. The course bridges the gap between your current qualifications and UK university undergraduate and postgraduate degree academic entry requirements.

Foundation courses are ideal for International students who do not have required level of qualifications or have lower grades to meet academic entry requirements of UK university degree programme. To undertake a foundation course in the UK as an international student, you must have IELTS for UKVI or other UKVI SELT.

Types of foundation courses taken by International Studentsinclude:

  • Undergraduate Foundation Programme
  • International Foundation Programme
  • International Foundation Year
  • International Year One
  • Foundation Diploma
  • Graduate Certificate
  • Graduate Diploma
  • Pre-master’s
  • Pre-doctorate

Study in the UK – Key Information

Academic level
Level 3 to Level 8

Qualification type
Foundation course

Study mode
Full-time, part-time or on-line

4 months to 12 months

Throughout the year*


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Most popular foundation courses

Most popular Foundation courses taken by International Student include:

  • Art & Design
  • Biological Sciences
  • Business
  • Computing
  • Digital Media
  • Education
  • Engineering
  • Finance
  • Health & Social Care
  • Hospitality
  • Humanities
  • ICT
  • Law
  • Management
  • Medicine
  • Nursing
  • Psychology
  • Retail
  • Sales & Marketing
  • Science
  • Social Science
  • Sport etc.

Foundation course duration

Course type Course duration
Stand-alone foundation course 4 -12 months
Foundation course with Undergraduate degree 4 years
Foundation course with postgraduate degree 1.5 to 2 years

Foundation course tuition fees

Tuition fees for Foundation courses could be anything from £5,000 to £15,000 or more depending on course duration and course providers.

Tuition fees guide for Foundation course

Duration Tuition fees (GBP)
4 to 6 months £5,000 to £10,000
6 to 9 months £10,000 to £15,000
9 to 12 months £13,000 to £20,000

Progression route

Bachelor degree, Postgraduate degree course and Professional course

11 main reasons to study Foundation course in the UK for international students

Designed specifically for international studentsFoundation courses in the UK offer a range of proven and practical benefits for international students including

  • Gives direct pathways to UK university entry
  • Fills the gap in knowledge between high school & university
  • Specialise in your chosen field
  • Prepares you for university-style teaching
  • Develops academic study skills for higher level study
  • Gives time to adjust and settle into academic and everyday life
  • Teaching provide in focused syllabus and intensive mode
  • More contact hours with teachers in small size class
  • Additional English language support by personal tutors
  • Require lower level English entry i.e. lower IELTS scores
  • Progression to degree courses is guaranteed

Want to study Foundation course in the UK?

Check your admission eligibility for a foundation course in the UK


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)s

Q What is International Year One foundation course?

A International Year One is equivalent to the first year of a UK undergraduate degree (or second year undergraduate degree at Scottish universities). It will prepare you for second year-entry to your chosen university degree programme (third year if you are studying at a Scottish university).

It is offered for 3 terms (one-year) – you will typically study 3-4 subjects, depending on the pathway chosen or the intended progression degree, as well as English Language.

The International Year One is suitable for international students who have studied A levels, International Baccalaureate, a recognised Foundation programme or an international equivalent.

To undertake an International Foundation Year course in the UK, you must have a UKVI SELT.

Q What is International Foundation Year course in UK?

A The International Foundation Year is a course of academic subjects, study skills and English language training designed specifically to provide international students with a pathway to undergraduate degree at UK universities.

To undertake anInternational Foundation Year course in the UK, you must have a UKVI SELT.

Q What is a Graduate Diploma foundation course?

A A Graduate Diploma in the UK is a pre-master's course. It will prepare you for a master's degree in the UK. You’ll learn about postgraduate study, covering areas such as research skills, English language skills, group work and effective time management. You’ll also benefit from guidance on personal and academic development.

To undertake a Graduate Diploma foundation course in the UK, you must have a UKVI SELT.

Q What is an Extended Master’s course? What is the difference between extended master’s and pre-master’s course?

A An Extended Masters course is an integration of pre-masters & a direct master’s course – it provides a bridging route for students who don't meet the initial entry requirements for a subject-specific Master's degree. Universities issue combined (joint) CAS for Extended Master’s course.

A Pre-Master's course prepares students for a master's degree in specific subject areas for target master’s course. Following successful completion of the Pre-Master's at the required grades, you will be able to progress onto your master's course. Unlike, Extended Master’s, it is a stand-alone course. To undertake a pre-master’s course in the UK, you must have a UKVI SELT.

Q What does guaranteed progression mean?

A If you pass your foundation course successfully with the required grades for your pathway degree for your chosen university, maintain minimum attendance requirements that is to say meet progression requirements, foundation course providers guarantee that you can progress onto your degree course.

Q Will I get permission to work in the UK on a student visa for foundation course?

A Yes, you can work in the UK on your student visa for foundation course if you are sponsored by a provider that has track record of compliance. You can up to 10 hours a week in term time if you are studying for a qualification below degree level and full time outside term time (for study at all levels).

You are not allowed to work if your student sponsordoes not have the words "track record" in the Status column of the register of Student sponsors, and is listed as

  • a private provider, or
  • a publicly-funded college or
  • an embedded college offering pathway courses.

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