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International Foundation Programme


The International Foundation Programme provides you with the skills and knowledge you need for rigorous undergraduate study. It is accepted by many universities worldwide.

Student enjoying her lecture
When you complete the programme, you become eligible for many of our undergraduate programmes.

Study at a Teaching Centre that offers the IFP.

You can receive local support from a local teaching centre, use the dropdown to find your nearest centre.

The International Foundation Programme (IFP) :

  • This challenging programme is equivalent in standard to the qualifications studied in Year 13 in the UK (i.e. A-Levels).
  • It offers a firm grounding in the social sciences.

Course details

This challenging programme is equivalent in standard to the qualifications studied in Year 13 in the UK (i.e. A-Levels). It offers a firm grounding in the social sciences.

The International Foundation Programme consists of four courses (one compulsory course and three elective courses).

See the IFP structure.

When you complete the programme, you become eligible for many of our undergraduate programmes. It is also widely accepted for undergraduate entry at other universities, including many in the UK.

(Remember that all universities have their own application criteria and you should check with any university for their policies and application deadlines.)

Application deadline 30 September 2019
Registration deadline 15 October 2019

Study at a teaching centre

You must study the IFP at a teaching centre that has been approved to provide support for the programme. It is not available for independent study.

Attending classes will help you to build your study skills and understand the subject matter with support and feedback.

You should contact your local centre directly for information on their teaching start dates and schedules.

Find a local teaching centre near you.

Study materials

We give you access to core study materials that are developed by academics to guide you through the programme.

These resources include:

  • The Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). Here, you can access interactive resources, discussion forums, news alerts and a study skills area.
  • subject guide for each course you study.
  • programme handbook containing practical information and advice (such as how to enter exams).
  • Mock examination papers and examiners' commentaries, which give you tips for performing well in exams.

Time commitment

The course should be completed in a minimum of one year or a maximum of three years. As a guide, each course requires approximately 150 hours, which includes classroom time and your own private study.

Each approved teaching centre offers its own study schedule. The number of hours you need to attend each week depends on the centre's timetable.


Each course is assessed by an unseen written examination of around two hours. The grades available are 'Pass', 'Merit' and 'Distinction'.

Exams are held in late April each year. You can sit these when you are ready at one of our 400 examination centres. A fee is payable to your local centre for hosting the exams.

In certain circumstances, the Board of Examiners may invite students who meet a specific criteria to re-sit examination(s) in July.

More about exams.

What qualifications do you need?

For access to the International Foundation Programme, you will usually meet the following criteria:

  • Age 17+ by 31 December in the year of registration.
  • Hold four separate subjects at GCSE / O level (grades A*-C / 9-4), or the equivalent.
  • Meet the English language requirements.
  • Have a place to study at an approved teaching centre for the programme.

Find equivalent qualifications where you live.

Even if you don't meet the standard requirements, we will consider each application on its own merits under our Special Admissions procedure.

English Language requirements

We will need to see evidence that you have a good standard of English. This may include:

  • GCSE in English language (grade C) or equivalent.
  • Proof that you spent five years at a secondary school taught only in English.
  • A proficiency test passed within the last three years.

If you don't have this evidence but believe you can meet the standard, we may still consider your case.

Which language tests do we accept?

Computer requirements

We set minimum basic computer requirements because your study resources are accessed via the Student Portal and it is vital that you can access this regularly. For this degree, you will also need Adobe Flash Player to view video material and a media player (such as VLC) to play video files.

More about computer requirements.

The fees below relate to the 2018-2019 session. They may increase by up to 5% per year.

Academic year2018-2019
Initial registration fee956
Course fee (includes one exam attempt)236
Programme total (one year)1,900
Other fees (for second year of study, if applicable) 
Continuing registration fee (second/third year)368
Examination re-entry fee (per course)236

The IFP is designed to be completed in one year, so we ask for the total fee when you begin. If you need to extend your study period or re-sit any exams, some additional fees are payable.

If you choose to continue your studies with one of our undergraduate degrees in Computing and Information Systems, Creative Computing or Business Administration, we will charge a lower ‘continuing registration fee’ for this instead of the initial registration fee. If you choose to continue your studies with our undergraduate degrees in the Social Sciences or Law we will charge you the initial registration fee. The closing date for transfers is 30 November.

Additional Costs

You will also need to budget for:

  • Teaching centre tuition costs.
  • Textbooks (if applicable).
  • Exam centre fees, which are paid directly to the venues where you sit your exams.

We accept most traditional payment methods, including debit/credit card, international money order, and Western Union.

How to pay your fees.

Most UK universities accept the International Foundation Programme for entry to several of their courses.

Students who have completed the programme have gone on to study with the University of London and at many other institutions in the UK and around the world.

Offers made to our 2016 graduates.

In some countries, qualifications earned by distance and flexible learning may not be recognised by certain authorities or regulators for the purposes of public sector employment or further study. We advise you to explore the local recognition status before you register, even if you plan to receive support from a local teaching institution.

Lynne Roberts is Head of the International Foundation Programme. She has over 20 years’ experience as a lecturer, academic adviser, educational developer and head of learning and teaching. She holds qualifications from the Institute of Education (Education, Gender and International Development) and Cambridge (Teaching) and has contributed to projects for UNESCO, the UK Department for International Development (DfID) and the British Council. 

Chris New is Deputy Head of the International Foundation Programme. He is an alumnus of the London School of Economics & Political Science (Cognitive Anthropology), Goldsmiths (Teaching) and University of the Arts London. Chris’s role involves programme and curriculum development, international teacher training and support for teaching centres.

Without the cost of moving to London, studying for your University of London diploma anywhere in the world represents excellent value for money. However, there may be additional sources of support depending on where you live and how you choose to study.

More on funding your study.

Haseeb Ayaz Malik IFP, Pakistan

International Foundation Programme student, Haseeb Ayaz Malik

"The IFP has enabled me to pursue the education of my choice at a UK university. I am now studying at Heriot-Watt University (Dubai Campus)."