International Foundation Year

Foundation courses to prepare for undergraduate study

The International Foundation Year will give you all the preparation required to succeed at the University of Sheffield. It includes English language tuition, study skills and an introduction to your degree programme. 

What is the International Foundation Year?

The International Foundation Year is an intensive 1.5 or 2 semester programme designed specifically to provide you with a path to undergraduate degree study at the University. Once you complete the programme and achieve the required grades, you can enter the first year of your chosen undergraduate degree at the University. 

Why study one of our foundation courses?

  • Gain the academic skills need to study at undergraduate level.
  • Raise your English language level needed to achieve a place at the University.
  • Develop study skills such as essay writing and research.
  • Adjust to the UK education system.
  • Settle in to university life before you start your degree.

Key facts

Course length: 1.5 or 2 semesters

Entry points*: 
2 semesters – September, November and January
1.5 semesters – March

Age on entry:
Students will normally be 17 years of age or older

Entry requirements: Check academic and English language entry requirements

Fees: Check fees for your programme

*Dentistry is only available in September.

Course content

The programme includes academic subjects, study skills and English language preparation. It has been developed for international students and designed specifically to provide you with the skills and knowledge to succeed on your degree. You will study subject-specific modules that focus on the academic areas most useful to your chosen degree.

Degree progression

Your offer of entry will contain the level you need to achieve on your International Foundation Year. Once you complete the programme and achieve the required grades, you can enter the first year of your chosen undergraduate degree at the University.

Study structure

You will study core modules common to each route, plus subject-specific modules. These have been carefully designed to focus on the academic areas most useful to your chosen degree.


You will be assessed regularly throughout the course. This may include a mixture of the following:

  • continuous coursework
  • end of semester module assessments
  • examinations
  • presentations
  • extended essays.

University-style teaching

The University of Sheffield International College introduces you to the style of teaching that you will experience at postgraduate level. You'll build on your research skills and immerse yourself in critical writing, analysis and literature reviews to prepare you for your masters at the University.

Skills for your future success

Teamwork, problem solving and communication are all skills you will develop during your programme. These are the skills employers are looking for and will help you stand out in the job market. Through various activities, you will develop the self-awareness and confidence to be successful in a professional working environment.

Study plan options

You can start the International Foundation Year at several points in the year, as long as you meet the entry requirements. There is also a 1.5 semester option for those with an Academic IELTS for UKVI score of 6.0*. If your Academic IELTS for UKVI score is less than 5.0* you could take one of our English language courses to prepare you for the International Foundation Year.

New November start

If you want to be better prepared for the start of your January programme of study, join us in November.

Study Plan Table for the International Foundation Year

Why join this November?

Join us in November and stay on track to progress to your degree in September 2023.

By starting in November, you will benefit from three additional weeks of study and life skills before commencing your main pathway programme in January 2023. There will be no additional tuition fee for this period, and this will provide you with a great opportunity for an enhanced student experience focusing on three key areas: orientation; practical support and academic and digital skills. Topics will include a digital skills health check; managing your money; practical tips on finding study and life balance; and an introduction to assessments in UK higher education.

What will I study in the additional three weeks?  

You’ll benefit from a 15-hour per week face-to-face classes, allowing you to:

  • feel more confident and better prepared for the start of your January programme of study
  • practice your English by interacting with the fellow students and build friendships
  • assess your own digital skills proficiency
  • meet the key Centre staff who will provide advice for success
  • familiarise yourselves with the support available
  • apply a range of academic study skills to meet your individual needs
  • have more time to adapt to the UK life and settle in before you begin your January programme.

Are there any additional cost or fees?

There will be no additional tuition fee, as November starts will have the same tuition fee as the respective January programme. However, there will be additional costs to consider, as expected with being in the UK for a longer period (i.e. accommodation). If you request accommodation on your application form, our Central Student Support Team will contact you directly in October regarding the options available.


Find tuition fees for all International College programmes, as well as information on insurance and taxi transfers from the airport.


Entry requirements

Find out the academic and English language entry requirements for your chosen programme at the International College.

Entry requirements

Degree subjects

Find out more about selected subjects, degree options at the University of Sheffield and popular career paths. Degrees range from architecture, civil engineering and chemical engineering to biomedical science, international relations and politics.

Degree subjects