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 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.

Choose from three subject routes

Key facts

Course length: 1.5 or 2 semesters

Entry points: 
2 semesters – September 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

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 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 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.

IELTS* Length Apr Jun Sep Dec Jan Apr Jun Aug Sep
4.0 2 semesters + 2 ELP terms       Start your degree
4.0 2 semesters  + 2 ELP terms      
4.5 2 semesters + 1 ELP term        
4.5 2 semesters + 1 ELP term        
5.0 ^ 2 semesters        
5.0 2 semesters          
6.0 1.5 semesters            

   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.