International Foundation Programme


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

Use the dropdown to find a teaching centre

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

International Foundation Programme (IFP)

  • This pre-university programme is equivalent in standard to qualifications studied in Year 13 (i.e. A levels).
  • Offers a firm grounding in the social sciences.

Programme details

Programme structure and courses

The International Foundation Programme consists of four elective courses.

See the IFP structure.

When you complete the programme, you become eligible for many of our undergraduate programmes offered through the University of London. It is also widely accepted for undergraduate entry at other universities, including most universities in the UK and many in other countries.

Please note that other universities have their own application criteria and you should check with each university for their policies and application deadlines.

Key dates

2020 Session
Application deadline 30 September 2020
Registration deadline 30 October 2020

How you study

Study at a Recognised Teaching Centre

You must study the IFP at a Recognised Teaching Centre. It is not available for independent study.

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

Find a Recognised Teaching Centre.

Study materials

Your teaching centre will offer classes using materials written and designed by University of London academics.

Your programme resources also include:

  • A full subject guide for each course you study.
  • Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) to access online resources.
  • Past examination papers and full examiners' commentaries.
  • The Online Library provides a range of e-books, along with full-text and multidisciplinary databases where journal articles, book reviews and reports can be found.
  • University of London library: Registered students may use the resources located within the Senate House library (for a small additional fee).

Student Support

We are committed to delivering an exceptional student experience for all of our students, regardless of which of our programmes you are studying and whether you are studying independently or with a Recognised Teaching Centre.

You will have access to support through:

  • The Student Advice Centre – provides support for application and Student Portal queries.
  • TalkCampus – a peer support service that offers a safe and confidential way to talk about whatever is on your mind at any time of day or night.

Time commitment

The IFP can be completed one academic year at most teaching centres. Part-time study is offered at some teaching centres only.

Each Recognised Teaching Centre offers its own study schedule and term dates.


IFP courses are assessed by an unseen written examination. Candidates who pass all four courses are awarded the University of London International Foundation Certificate with a grade of 'Pass', 'Merit' or 'Distinction'.

Exams are held in late April/early May each year. You can sit these at a University of London examination centre. A fee is payable to the local examination centre.

Students who marginally fail one course are eligible to resit that examination in July of the same year.

More about exams.

Entry requirements

What qualifications do you need?

To register for the International Foundation Programme, you will need to meet the following minimum 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 a Recognised Teaching Centre for the programme.

Some teaching centres require higher grades from applicants. Each teaching centre can advise you of their entry criteria.

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 proficiency 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 programme, 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 2020-2021 session. They may increase by up to 5% per year.

Academic year 2020-2021
Initial registration fee 1100
Course fee (includes one exam attempt) 245
Programme total (one year) 2080
Fees for additional periods of study (if applicable)
Continuing registration fee (second/third year) 404
Examination re-entry fee (per course) 245

The IFP is designed to be completed in one year, so we ask for the total fee of £2,080 when you register. If you need to extend your study period or resit any exams, some additional fees are payable.

Most teaching centres will make the necessary arrangements for your fees to be paid to the University of London.

How to pay your fees

More about programme fees

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.

Please note: all student fees shown are net of any local VAT, Goods and Services Tax (GST) or any other sales tax payable by the student in their country of residence. Where the University is required to add VAT, GST or any other sales tax at the local statutory rate, this will be added to the fees shown during the payment process. For students resident in the UK, our fees are exempt from VAT.

Further information on GST


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

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

Offers made to our 2017/18 graduates.

In some countries, University of London qualifications earned may not be recognised by certain authorities or regulators for the purposes of public sector employment or further study. We advise you to find out more about local recognition status before you register.

Academic leadership

Lynne Roberts is Director of the International Foundation Programme. She has over 20 years of experience as a lecturer, academic adviser, educational developer and head of learning and teaching at Russell Group Universities in the UK. She holds qualifications from the Institute of Education (Education, Gender and International Development) and Cambridge (Teaching). 

Chris New is Deputy Director of the International Foundation Programme. He is an alumnus of the London School of Economics and 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.

Funding your study

There may be additional sources of support for the IFP depending on where you live and how you choose to study.

More on funding your study.

Programme specifications and regulations

Apply through a Recognised Teaching Centre

Syeda Hadiqa Iqbal, BSc Business and Administration, University of London

Syeda Hadiqa Iqbal

"The courses in the IFP helped mould me into a mature adult with the appropriate knowledge and skill set to be successful in the 21st century."