International College

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 2 or 3 term 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.

Choose from three subject routes


A dentistry student

New for 2020/21, we’ve introduced a dedicated Dentistry route to the University of Sheffield’s prestigious five year Dental Surgery Bachelor’s degree. We work with the University’s prestigious School of Clinical Dentistry to deliver a unique, purpose-built dentistry foundation programme. Each year up to 10 ambitious students complete this programme and progress to the Dental Surgery degree.

his route has a longer duration than the other two International Foundation Year routes due to components of the programme delivered at the University’s School of Clinical Dentistry (TUOS) and some of the additional assessment requirements that take place during the summer. Our full term dates can be found here.

Once you complete your International Foundation Year and achieve the below required grades, you can progress to the University of Sheffield:

Progression degree Overall grade requirement % English grade requirement
BDS Dental Surgery 70% 70% with min 65% in all skills

*This route is available as a 3 term, September entry only. Students wishing to progress to this degree must turn 18 by the end of September of the academic year when they start their undergraduate course at the University.

Please note: all foundation students embarking on a clinical dentistry degree will need to have read and agreed to the terms and conditions set out in the Clinical Student Entry Agreement.

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 term / module assessments
  • examinations
  • presentations
  • extended essays.

Key facts

Course length: 2 or 3 terms*

Entry points: 
3 terms – September and January*
2 terms – 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

University-style teaching 

The University of Sheffield International College introduces you to the style of teaching that you will experience during your degree. Taking part in tutorials, seminar-style classes and larger group lectures will prepare you well for undergraduate study 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 2 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 3 terms + 2 ELP terms       Start your degree
4.0 3 terms + 2 ELP terms      
4.5 3 terms + 1 ELP term        
4.5 3 terms + 1 ELP term        
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 Student visa, or are exempted in another way, we can accept equivalent proof of English.
^ An Academic IELTS for UKVI 6.5 (with no lower than 5.0 in all skills) is required for the Dentistry route.
Find out more about starting your studies or check the latest COVID-19 information.