A foundation programme is a UK-inspired study course designed to fill the gap between your current level of qualification and knowledge and the level needed to be admitted to a Bachelor's or Master's degree at an international university. Foundation degrees, also known as preparation courses or pathways programmes, complement any knowledge or qualification that you might still be lacking after finishing high school.
They help students coming from different education systems around the world (Asia, Australia, Europe, Middle-east, Russia, Africa, North or South America) to align their qualification to the education system of the country coming to and to become eligible for university admission.
Who can enrol in a foundation programme?
Foundation programmes target both local students and international students from all over the world, regardless of country of origin. Courses for foreign students (coming from a different country) also include English language learning courses.
Foundation programmes can be generic, designed to prepare the student for starting a degree in a certain field, for example, foundation programmes in business, in computer science or in humanities and arts. They can also be tailored for a specific type of degree course (specific disciplines).
Foundation programmes don't usually award students an academic degree upon completion but guarantee a certain level of qualification that allows them to follow a higher education degree such as a Bachelor’s or Master’s programme.
Foundation course duration, format and start dates
Most universities in the UK or continental Europe offer prep courses that usually take one academic year to complete (a total of 32 weeks). Preparation courses are usually divided into three semesters, or phases, each with its own number of modules. Modules are split into minor (more generic) subjects and major ones, more specialised towards the student’s future career. Usually, students start their foundation degrees in September, graduating in time to start their Bachelor or Master in October, the next year.
Intensive 6-months pathway programmes are available for students who want to complete their studies faster. Faster foundation study tracks start in January and end in August of the same year. However, many international foundation programmes have flexible start dates.
Foundation degree assessment
The evaluation system is very similar to any other study programme and includes exams, presentations, projects, assignments, etc. The foundation programme can be based in the country of study or can also be taught in the student's local country by an institution that has an agreement with the specific university. An assessment uses a number of academic credit points, assigned differently for coursework or exams.
When should I study a foundation programme?
A foundation programme is very useful when you have decided to study a degree in an international university but don’t have the required qualification to be admitted. The right foundation programme focuses on your particular interests, providing the best chance to become qualified for admission.
What are the advantages of studying a foundation programme?1. Increased chances of admission
Complete a foundation programme to be fully qualified to start an undergraduate or graduate degree in a university you like. Most students that follow a foundation programme get into great universities abroad.
2. Better language proficiency
Advance your English speaking skills to meet university admission requirements. Foundation programmes for internationals always include language courses, to help you communicate during your studies and in daily life.
3. Direct access to great universities
Discover the university you plan on attending during your Bachelor’s or Master’s studies and decide if it’s the right place for you. Learn more about requirements, practices and the country’s culture. Talk to teaching staff and to students at the university to get a unique insight into your possible future.
4. Relevant qualification for your future studies
A foundation programme will provide you with the specific set of skills and knowledge necessary for university admission. This targeted preparation will make studying infinitely easier and will provide you with a unique advantage over other international students.
5. Reduced culture shock
By spending already one year in the country where you wish to study, it’ll be much easier to move to a foreign country and get over the initial culture shock. This will make the beginning of your studies a lot smoother and comfortable. It also provides you with knowledge about all the paperwork and formal procedures you’ll need to go through to study and live abroad.
6. Getting into the right mindset
Maybe you don't have any problem meeting entry requirements for a Bachelor or Master abroad. This doesn't mean a foundation degree would be of no use to you. Many international students choose to take a pre-Bachelor or pre-Master in order to prepare mentally for their first year of studies abroad and have only good things to say about it. It's much easier to get going if you already know what to expect, know your location and some of your colleagues.
How much does it cost and how do I finance a foundation programme?
The tuition fee for an international pathway programme per year is usually lower than the tuition fee for a degree course. The fees range between 2.500 to 25.000 EUR/year depending on the institution that provides the preparation course, the level of study (general versus targeted), the city, the country and many other factors. Scholarships are available for this level of education as well. Check ScholarshipPortal for more information about that and a collection of scholarships for studying worldwide.
As the testimonies of the students who completed a Foundation Programme show, the cost of this level of education is, in fact, an investment. Ensure a remarkable higher admission probability and above-the-average performance during your higher degree studies. Not being prepared enough can lead to delays in the completion of your Bachelor or Master, resulting in higher overall costs.
What qualifications do I need to be accepted to a foundation programme?
Entry requirements of most foundation programmes are usually not difficult to meet. You’ll generally need:
- Successful completion of 12 years of basic education anywhere in the world
- Basic language proficiency depending on the requirements in the country
- Certain subjects in your high school syllabus relevant for the foundation programme
Read more about entry requirements for foundation degrees.
Interested to find the right foundation course for you? Check out PreparationCoursesPortal.com