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Foundation Programmes- Everything you've always wanted to know:

Updated: Jan 7, 2021

The information about University Foundation courses can sometimes be confusing. What are they? Who are they for? What do they offer? Are they guaranteed to get you into the University of your choice? We are here to guide you through the Foundation pathways and explain how to find the right one for you.

A foundation programme is primarily designed to be a ‘bridging’ year between school and university. Originally designed to cater for students from a K-12 year curriculum with qualifications which do not meet UK entry requirements or for students who do not have the right level of English language skills, Foundation programmes now offer an alternative entry point for UK universities for students in many different situations.

So what are the options?

1. International Foundation Programmes (IFP):

These are a useful tool for International students for whom English is not their first language. They offer a year of study with a 50% focus on English Language and a 50% subject specific focus, in order to prepare students for university in the UK. Even with these courses there is often still a minimum IELTS requirements of around 4.5.

An IFP is a great way to transition into a new education environment in a new country. During this preparation year you can work out all those questions such as: How do the classes run? What do people do for fun here? What is the weather like? Having had this time to process and adapt to the culture, will make the beginning of your studies a lot smoother. It also provides you with knowledge about all the paperwork and formal procedures you’ll need to go through to study and live abroad, making your life much easier in the long run!

Interested in knowing more about alternative education pathways? Call Carfax Consultants now on +971 4 438 5276 to begin mapping your education journey now!

2. Integrated Foundation Year:

Many universities now offer an Integrated Foundation Programme as part of a degree, a Year 0 which effectively makes it a four year programme. This allows students who do not meet the grade requirements for the 3 year degree to apply to still apply to the university of their choice. It also provides a safety net if your results don’t meet the conditions of your offer as you can start in the Year 0. What is helpful about this route is once you have been accepted onto the course you are then guaranteed progression into undergraduate study at the university. It also means you are fully integrated into the university from day one alongside all the other undergraduates.

An Integrated Foundation Programme will give you the specific set of skills and knowledge necessary for the first year of the course, making it easier when you start the full degree as you will be ready to tackle the challenges armed with the right study skills and an understanding of the subject. Most integrated Foundations are accessed through UCAS, although some offer a direct application for international students.

3. Commercial Providers

Some universities outsource their foundation courses to external providers such as Kaplan or INTO. In this case applications are made direct to the provider not via UCAS or the University. They will provide a course that is designed to prepare students to transition on to certain universities providing they reach the grade thresholds. These courses are generally a blend of study skills, language provision and a general introduction to the area you want to go on to study.

Some Universities, such as the University of London or the Northern Universities of the UK have grouped together to offer a single foundation programme to provide access to a range of different Universities. The UoL Foundation programme can lead to acceptance at universities such as LSE, Royal Holloway or London Met, depending on which course you want to take and how highly you achieve on the programme. This pathway is offered by independent providers globally, for example, the PwC academy offers the UoL Foundation programme here in Dubai.

If you would like more information about the different Foundation pathways and some advice on how to find the right one for your academic ambitions then do contact Shelly Man on +971 4 438 5276 for more information.


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