Students at Abbey College manchester

International Foundation Programme

These are an alternative to A-Levels and allow international students to choose from a range of different pathways to prepare them for study at a range of top UK universities.

International Foundation Programmes are full-time courses designed to prepare international students for direct entry to most British Universities. These include members of the prestigious Russell Group such as Bath, Birmingham, Bristol, Durham, King’s College, Manchester, Nottingham, Queen Mary, Sheffield, Southampton and York.

The programmes are usually delivered over one year commencing at the beginning of each September. However, most of the pathways can also be undertaken over 18 months or two years for those students who would suit a slower pace or have not completed the right level of education in their home country.

Our International Foundation students are able to apply to a wide range of univeristies, however we have a number of Partner Universities who we have offer agreements in place with. Our Foundation Students will be offered places at these universities providing they are predicted to meet their entry requirements.  Some of our partner universities are: Aston, Bradford, Chester, Keele, Lancaster, Liverpool John Moores, Manchester Metropolitan, Plymouth, Southampton, UWE, UA92, UCLAN.

The International Foundation Programmes are accredited by NCFE.


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,

The pathways available are:

  • Business
  • Creative Arts
  • Engineering
  • Environmental Science
  • Humanities
  • Medicine
  • Science
  • Sport

Business Pathways

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 the Business Pathways information sheet.

Creative Art Pathways

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, Photography and/or Fashion and Textile design and build a portfolio of work to show at interview if they choose to pursue a place on an Art Foundation course at university.


Engineering Pathways

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 Pathways Information Sheet.

Environmental Science Pathways

Be part of the solution. Environmental Science is a highly relevant interdisciplinary fourth science. It complements and connects the natural sciences such as biology and chemistry, with social sciences like geography, economics and ethics.

You will study the life support systems of the planet and how they keep you alive and healthy. You will study how human beings have changed the delicate balance which exists between us and the environment, sometimes threatening our very existence. You will also learn about solutions to create a more sustainable future.

Environmental science doesn’t just help you understand the planet and how we interact with its systems. It also helps you develop important skills which will help you, whatever your future direction. For example, how to collect, analyse and evaluate information, as well as numeracy and writing skills.

Humanities Pathways

Our Humanities pathway covers Key skills in Mathematics or Communication Skills, ICT and Research & Presentation Skills.  Humanities options include units in Business, RS, Photography or Environmental Sciences.

You can apply these skills to courses at university such as law, international relations or politics


Medicine Pathways

Our IFP Medicine 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 six leading universities and we have an excellent success rate of students being successfully placed.

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.

University of Buckingham Entry is onto the CertHE Medical Sciences Pre-Med (9-months)

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.

For the St George’s University Grenada students need to achieve a 75% Overall with 70% or above in Chemistry & Biology. Also IELTS  with 7.0 in all components.
UCAT is not required.

The Royal College of Surgeons, Ireland accept students onto the five and six year medical degree.

For entrance onto the five year track need a minimum 80% overall score, to include 75% in Chemistry and no other module score to be less than 70%

For entrance onto the six year track a minimum of 70% overall score, to include 70% in chemistry and no other module score to be less than 60%

University of Nicosia, Medical School, Cyprus requires students to have 75% Overall with no less than 70% in each module plus high school leaving certificate from home country. IELTS 6.5 Overall (6.5 in Wiring, no less than 6.0 in other components)

The Medicine Foundation Programme comprises the following strands:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Advanced Mathematics or 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
  • If places at one of the accepting universities ARE NOT gained students can apply for degree courses including Biomedical Sciences, Pharmacy or Health-related courses at a range of other universities.

Science Pathways

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 Pathways Information Sheet.

Sport Pathways

Launching in January 2021, our Sport Pathways are a great opportunity for students to enhance their knowledge of sport, but also combine with other subject areas as well to increase their University options.

There are two strands available:

Sport combined with another IFP pathway; Business, Psychology or Biology

Pure Sport Foundation Programme.  All units studied are related to Sport; theory or practical.

Both strands will cover; Sport Performance and Analysis, Human Body and Sport and Professional Athletes.  Students taking 100% sport IFP will also study Fitness, Practical Sport Leadership and Sport as a Vehicle for Change.  There is also a key skills element as there is with all Foundation Programme Pathways.

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.

Depending on the strand taken, we envisage students moving on from this course to study subjects such as Sports Management, Sports Science, Sport Performance, Sport Coaching at university.

Enrolment Dates

The enrolment date each year for all one or two year International Foundation Programme pathways is September. If an 18 month programme is required this would start in January each year.

Results and Destinations

In 2021 the total average score was 70% which breaks down by subject as follows:

Business and Economics 68%
Science 64%
Engineering 64%
Medicine 84%

100% pass rate

The highest score achieved was an incredible 94%.

Please click here for the destinations of this year’s IFP graduates.

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

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