International College
Student pathways to The University of Sheffield

What is the international foundation year?

The international foundation year is an intensive two or three-term programme designed specifically to provide you with a path to undergraduate degree study at the University. You can choose from two foundation routes:

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.

Degree progression

Your offer of entry will contain the level you need to achieve on your 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.

international students sitting in the lecture hall

Business, Social Sciences and Humanities

This will prepare you for an undergraduate degree in the Faculty of Social Sciences, including the Management School and the School of Law.

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science engineering students in lab

Science and Engineering

This will prepare you for an undergraduate degree in the Faculty of Engineering or Faculty of Science.

Find out more

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.

University-style teaching

The University of Sheffield International College introduces you to the style of teaching that you will experience on your degree. Taking part in tutorials, seminar-style classes and larger group lectures will prepare you well for undergraduate study at the University.


You will be assessed regularly throughout the course. Your development is monitored through continuous coursework and assessments at the end of each term or module. This may include examinations. You will also need to complete a series of presentations and extended essays as part of your overall assessment.

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 two-term 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.

IELTS* Length Apr Jun Sep Dec Jan Apr Jun Aug Sep
4.0 5 terms       Start your degree
4.0 5 terms      
4.5 4 terms        
4.5 4 terms        
5.0 3 terms        
5.0 3 terms          
6.0 2 terms            
   International Foundation Year    English Language Preparation

* Academic IELTS for UKVI. If you do not need a Tier 4 visa, or are exempted in another way, we can accept equivalent proof of English.

International Foundation Year Key Facts

Course length: Two or three terms, dependent on English language Academic IELTS for UKVI* score

Entry points:

Three terms - September and January

Two terms - March

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

Term dates

Entry requirements


* If you do not need a Tier 4 visa, or are exempted in another way, we can accept equivalent proof of English

Bassey Made in Sheffield


Born in Calabar.

Made in Sheffield.

“I came to university very much ready to focus on my studies and not once did I consider how I would be changed through my experiences or how I would grow as an individual.

“I have had a fantastic experience as an international student at the University. The population of the University is very multi-cultural and students are encouraged to integrate with each other. This is showcased no more so than in the Students’ Union where there is a diverse range of societies, clubs and activities to participate in.”

Bassey, studying Software Engineering