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After the shock of the rapid spread of the COVID-19 outbreak, you may be worried that you will not be able to study abroad this year. You are not alone. That is why DIFC has tailored our International Foundation Year and Pre-Master’s Programmes – now starting online in September 2020 – to help keep you on track for your progression to university.

You will start with classes online from September while you still live in your home country and then travel to Ireland to join in-class teaching from January 2021 – when you’ll be ready to immerse yourself in the unique Irish culture and connect in person with your international network of classmates.


Exclusive 2020 Scholarship!

All student’s applying to study with DIFC in September will automatically receive a scholarship against their tuition fees. These scholarships are worth:

Full details of tuition and registration fees are available here


How will it work?

The NCUK International Foundation Year and Pre-Master’s programmes are specifically designed to help you to successfully progress to university. This will not change. However, given the uncertainty surrounding international travel in the present climate, we have decided to allow a little more time for things to settle down – without comprising your ability to progress your studies. To do this, you’ll start your Foundation studies online from September and then travel to Ireland in January 2021 to commence in-class teaching, as well as get to meet your classmate face-to-face and experience the unique Irish culture.


What will be involved with online classes?

We run our online programme much like a classroom. We use Zoom to deliver our live online classes, so the content will be the same as if delivered in the classroom and you’ll also have the opportunity for small group discussion using the Zoom Breakout Rooms feature. A timetable is given and attendance is recorded and monitored.  Your place on the course is dependent on your attendance and active engagement in your classes online. Your teachers and tutors will remain fully accessible to you to help support you remotely during the first term.


How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed as per usual via a combination of coursework and examinations. At the end of the first semester (online), there will be a end of semester exam, which will be taken once you arrive in Ireland to commence in-class teaching.


Will my progression to university be delayed?

No. We have designed this combined online/in-class Foundation option for that exact reason – to allow you to progress to university as you had planned. All students starting with DIFC in September 2020 will be applying for entry to university in September 2021.


What are the Admissions Requirements

We recognise that many high school and university examinations have been disrupted this year. Therefore, we can review your progress transcripts, mock exam results and/or predicted grades to assess your eligibility to join. For our undergraduate pathways, we accept students who have completed:


Country Qualification Minimum IFY Entry Minimum IFY Health Science Entry
All IGCSEs C,C,C,C,C (including English and Maths) A,A,A,B,B (including English and Maths)
All AS Levels E,E An average of D across AS Level scores to include Maths, and Science


All A Levels E Must have 3 A Levels passed if looking at European universities
All International Baccalaureate Minimum 22 points Minimum 30 points
China Gao Kao (China) 70% and above 85% and above
Malaysia SPM C,C,C,C,C (including English and Maths) Minimum Bs
Middle East Middle Eastern High School Certificates Generally minimum 50% including Maths (with some exceptions) 85% average including Maths
Saudi Arabia General Certificate of Secondary Education 80% average including Maths 85% average including Maths
USA US High School Diploma Successful completion with good passes in Maths 85% GPA with SATs or ACTs
Vietnam Upper Secondary School (Vietnam) Successful completion with an overall average of 5.0 or more (with at least 5.0 in Maths and English).


Successful completion with an overall average of 7.0 or more.


Those looking to progress to a Master’s degree, need to have a Bachelor degree qualification from their home country (3-year Diplomas from China may be accepted with limited progression options available to them).

To check country specific entry requirements, visit or contact us

And, we have also confirmed with many of our university partners that these will also be accepted as part of your university applications following your studies with DIFC.


What are the English Language requirements?

Generally, students are required to complete an IELTS, TOEFL or Pearson PTE test, and if you have already done so in the last 18 months, then this is fine. However, we are delighted to confirm that for our 2020/21 academic year, we will also be accepting the DuoLingo English test for admission purposes.

Our minimum English language requirements are as follows:

September 2020 Intake

Test IFY & PMP IFY Health Science
IELTS 5.0 overall 5.5 overall
TOEFL 35 46
Pearson PTE 35 43
DuoLingo 80 90

January 2021 Intake

Test IFY IFY Health Science PMP
IELTS 5.0 overall 5.5 overall 5.5 overall
TOEFL 35 60 46
Pearson PTE 35 51 43
DuoLingo 80 100 90


How many places are available?

Even though we are starting online, admissions will be capped at a small number of places for each course to ensure the each student receives the appropriate level of support needed to help you achieve you study abroad dream. Therefore, we recommend you apply and secure your place as soon as possible.


How do I confirm my place?

Once you have an offer, you may confirm your place by:

  1. Sign and return the Place Acceptance Form
  2. Pay your tuition fees using Flywire

The minimum deposit is 50% of the total fee invoice, however student’s from some countries may be required to pay fees in full due to the visa requirements.

 Apply Now

What about my visa to travel to Ireland?

If you need a visa to travel to Ireland, you need to apply for your visa ahead of starting your studies online in September – allowing for the relevant visa processing times. However, due to the unique circumstances this year, the Irish Naturalisation & Immigration Service have agreed to post date the visa start date, once approved, to the 1st December 2020. Therefore, you can start your studies in the comfort of knowing  that your visa has already been approved.


What kind of visa do I need to apply for?

To have your visa start date post-dated, you must apply for a multi-entry visa. Students should always apply for a multi entry visa, if they are intending any travel out of the state during their first four months in Ireland.


What if my visa is refused?

If your visa is refused, we will assist you to prepare an appeal. If there is still time, you can lodge your appeal with a view to starting in September. However, it may be required for you to defer your start date to our January 2021 intake to allow for the appeal to be processed.

In the event of a visa refusal after the student has commenced studying online, the following options are available:

  1. Defer to January 2021 intake
  2. Refund of tuition fees paid less the following deductions
    • €500 administrative fee, plus
    • €1,500 if participating in online classes for up to 1 month
    • €3,000 if participating in online classes for up to 2 months
    • €4,500 if participating in online classes over 2 months


What happens if I can’t travel in January due to the COVID-19 travel restrictions?

Our expectation is that all students will be able to be in-class for teaching from January 2021. Should that be impossible for any student due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, we would assess on a case-by-case basis, and in exceptional circumstances there may be an option to defer your Foundation studies to September 2021 intake.

Apply Now

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