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International students can undertake a range of different Pathways to prepare them for study at UK universities
Abbey College Manchester International Foundation Programmes

International Foundation Programmes are full-time courses designed to prepare international students for direct entry to most British universities. These universities include Bristol, Bath, Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds, Birmingham, Aston, Nottingham, York, Southampton, University College London, Salford and Queen Mary. It is usually delivered over one year. However, it can also be undertaken over 18 months or two years for those students who would suit a slower pace or have not studied at the equivalent of Level 3 (i.e. A-Level) before. Please note there are also 6 Month January start International Foundation Programmes in both Business and Engineering Pathways. However, these are only available to students who have already undertaken International Foundation before and who have either narrowly failed the course or failed to get into their chosen university.

It is fully accredited by NCFE in line with UK Visa Immigration (UKVI) requirements.


Students have a choice of six pathways, each of which comprises a range of Core Skills and Pathway Specific Modules.

All pathways are designed to give students a thorough grounding in the key concepts and theories they will meet during their undergraduate studies,

All International Foundation Programmes are accredited by the Northern Council for Further Education (NCFE) and offer opportunities of progression to the vast majority of UK universities.

Business Pathway

This covers Accounting, Business, Economics, ICT, Key Skills Mathematics and Research and Presentation Skills. IELTS is also undertaken if the student does not present a certificate showing a score across all four elements of Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking of at least 6.5.

Students can choose to substitute either Accounting and Economics for Advanced Mathematics or Business for Advanced Mathematics if they prefer.

Students will develop a critical understanding of organisations, markets, competition, global economies and added value.

Typical university courses accessed by this pathway include Finance and Accounting, Economics, Business Management, International Business, Banking and Marketing.

Click here to open Business Pathway Information Sheet.

Engineering Pathway

This pathway is designed for students who want to go on to study engineering or computer science disciplines at university.

Students will focus on Mathematics and Advanced Mathematics and either Physics or Chemistry or both depending on their academic interest. ICT and Research and Presentation Skills are also key components of the programme. IELTS is undertaken if the student does not present a certificate showing a score across all four elements of Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking of at least 6.5.

Typical university courses accessed by our Engineering pathway include Civil and Mechanical Engineering, Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, Electronics and Electrical Engineering, Mathematics, Mechatronics and Computing and Technology.

Click here to open the Engineering Pathway Information Sheet.

Medicine Pathway

Launched last year this is a fantastic route for international students who have done one year of level 3 study in appropriate subjects and then want to progress through the International Foundation Programme rather than the second year of A-level. The programme has been recognised by two leading universities.

For Aston Medical School (part of Aston University) students achieving a score of 75% overall with 70% or above in Chemistry and Biology can progress to further stages of the application process to the medical school. Students will apply through UCAS and will also have to take the UKCAT and gain IELTS of 7.5.

For the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) the programme has been recognised as meeting the academic requirements for application to their MBBS (Medicine) Programme. This does not exempt applicants from any stage of the MBBS at UCLan admissions process. Please visit the UCLan website at for further information and specific entry requirements.

If students have been offered a place on the UCLan International Medical Programme, they MUST achieve at least 70% overall on the course and also achieve 7.0 in IELTS in all components.

The Medicine Foundation Programme comprises the following strands:-



Advanced Mathematics and Physics


A programme of support for medical applications

Please note the following important information:-

The Programme is ONLY suitable for students who have undertaken at least one year equivalent of a Level 3 qualification already (e.g. the first year A-Level).

Students MUST be at least 17 years old at the start of the academic year (i.e. 1st September) to qualify for the Programme.

The Programme CAN OFFER an alternative route for students who have not achieved their potential in the first year of their Level 3 studies

The Programme is NOT suitable for Medical Degrees other than the Aston and UCLAN Medical Degree Programmes

If places at either Aston or UCLan ARE NOT gained students can apply for degree courses including Biomedical Sciences, Pharmacy or Health related courses at a range of other universities.

Click here to open the Medicine Pathway Information Sheet.

Science Pathway

This covers Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, ICT and Research and Presentation Skills. IELTS is also undertaken if the student does not present a certificate showing a score across all four elements of Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking of at least 6.5.

Students will develop an in-depth knowledge of chemical principles, study additional mathematics modules and gain practical scientific skills. These skills can be applied these skills to a range of university courses and careers.

Click here to open the Science Pathway Information Sheet.

Humanities Pathway

Our Humanities pathway covers Key skills in Mathematics or Communication Skills, ICT and Research & Presentation Skills Three specific humanities units in Geography, History or Religious Studies are studied alongside these core units. You can apply these skills to courses at university such as law, international relations, politics, geography or history.

Click here to open the Humanities Pathway Information Sheet.

Creative Arts Pathway

This pathway offers a flexible and challenging programme of study that responds to the need for students to work to their strengths within a tightly structured framework. Students can specialise in Art or Photography, or a combination of the two, and build a portfolio of work to show at interview if they choose to pursue a place on an Art Foundation course at university.

Enrolment dates

The enrolment date each year for the International Foundation Programme is September for either the One Year or Two Year Programme. If the 18 Month Programme is undertaken this would start in January each year.

Results and Destinations

Another outstanding set of examination results have been achieved by our Class of 2017 Foundation students. Around 85% of the students secured places onto their first choice degree course at their first choice university.

Please see below for a list of the recent university destinations for our International Foundation Programme students:

Aston University University of Bath
Birkbeck College, University of London University of Brighton
Brunel University University of Birmingham
City University University of Central Lancashire
Durham University University of Leeds
Keele University University of Manchester
Lancaster University University of Nottingham
Manchester Metropolitan University University of Reading
Newcastle University University of Salford
Nottingham Trent University University of Sheffield
Oxford Brookes University University of Southampton
Sussex University University of Surrey
University College London University of Westminster
University of the Arts, London University of York
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