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What is a foundation course?


A foundation course is designed specifically for international students to prepare you for entry to an undergraduate degree at university. This qualification will help bridge the gap between your local High School qualification and starting a university degree overseas. Leading overseas universities in locations such as in Europe, Australia and the US, usually require that international students complete a foundation course before applying to them. Foundation courses are designed to give you the academic and English language skills you will need to succeed at an international university.

Typically a foundation course runs over one academic year and takes on average 9 months to complete. It is usually made up of specific academic modules that are directly related to your chosen subject area. As well as providing a broad introduction to specific core subjects, a foundation course will help you gain valuable academic and English language skills.

A Foundation Year is recognised as an equivalent standard to A– Levels for university admission purposes. However, a foundation programme is delivered over an average of just 9 months, rather than 2 years for A-Levels.




Develop your English language skills

If you don’t speak English every day in your home country, studying at an English speaking university can be intimidating. English language development is an integral aspect of a foundation course. You will develop the required English language skills you need to communicate in your everyday life, as well as to complete your studies at university. The skills you gain will ensure that you are proficient in reading, writing, listening and speaking the English language which is essential if you are to succeed at university. In addition you will develop your academic writing, presentation and group discussion skills, all of which will be invaluable when you start your university degree.


Specifically designed for international students

A foundation course is designed to meet the needs of international students who want to study abroad, by ensuring that you are academically ready to progress to a degree at an English speaking university. You will gain the confidence you need to succeed living and studying abroad. You will also learn to tackle the unique challenges faced by international students, such as adjusting to a new environment and culture. Class numbers on foundation courses are small in size in comparison to the hundreds of students on a typical university course. This facilitates one-to-one feedback on your work which will allow your academic skills to flourish in a supportive, caring environment.


Widely accepted at leading universities worldwide

Education standards vary widely from country to country across the world. A foundation course is designed to ensure that international students have the required standard to gain entry and succeed on an undergraduate degree. Foundation courses are globally recognised by many of the world’s top universities for admission to their programmes. They allow you to build your knowledge on the subject area you want to study at university by completing subject-specific modules where you will gain key skills and competencies.


Supportive environment

Studying abroad is an excellent learning opportunity but it can also be a challenging time as you settle into a new environment and culture. Completing a foundation course where you will be taught in a similar environment to a university but with significantly smaller class sizes, will help you adjust to living and studying abroad. Your foundation year will give you time to get used to being in a multinational and multicultural setting. You will adapt to new teaching styles, lecture environments and academic standards. The small class sizes will allow you to receive more personalised academic support from your teachers. You will receive one-to-one feedback on your work which will advance your learning. You will settle into your new home country, make friends and learn to live independently. All of this will ensure you are happy, confident and completely ready to start your degree at university




At DIFC (Dublin International Foundation College) based in Dublin, Ireland, there are four broad foundation course pathways to choose from:




Foundation course
Progress to University Undergraduate degrees in
Health Science/Medicine  Medicine
 Dentistry
Science  Pharmacy
 Nursing
Science-related degrees including Biomedical Science, Biochemistry & Environmental Science
Business & Management
Business-related degrees including Business, Commerce, Digital Marketing, Finance, Accounting & Marketing
Engineering & Technology
Engineering-related degrees including Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Computer Engineering.
Technology-related degrees including Computer Science & Software Development

Our foundation courses provide you with a solid preparation for your university studies.  They bridge the gap between your local high school qualification and studying at one of our top University partners which are located in Ireland, the UK, Europe, Australia and worldwide.


What are the entry requirements for the International Foundation Year at DIFC?

For entry to the International Foundation Year (IFY), you need to:

  • Be at least 17 years old on the course start date.
  • Successfully completed your High School certificate (minimum grades required): GCSE, IB, SPM, AS levels, A levels, WAEC, Year 11 or 12 depending on your country.
  • Achieved a minimum English language score of 5.0 IELTS or equivalent (5.5 IELTS for Health Science).

Taking the first step to study abroad through completing a foundation course opens up so many opportunities for international students. The skills that you gain during your foundation year will remain with you for the whole of your life and will have a positive impact on shaping your future possibilities.




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