It is a misconception that there is only one way to start your academic journey when considering options to study abroad. You might think that applying to undergraduate or postgraduate programs is the only way to fulfil the dream of pursuing education abroad. Luckily, there are several other options that can enable you to make your dreams come true. To put it exactly, there are many universities that have programs to offer that prepare one for a full-time degree. Not only this but they are designed in a way that helps you meet academic eligibility requirements. Such programs are known as foundation programs. If you have been looking to pursue your dream of higher education abroad but couldn’t find anything to make it happen, you are at the right place.
In this article, we are going to talk about the foundation program in detail. So, without any further ado, let’s delve straight into it.
What is a Foundation program?
A foundation program is a one-year structured course with a special focus on developing the required knowledge base and skill set of the students set to pursue their higher studies. Foundation programs are also known as “gateway” programs. The program encompasses courses that aim to focus on building an academic-specific skill set in addition to subject-oriented knowledge one may need for their chosen degree program.
On another note, this foundation program you opt for will either be stand-alone or a part of the degree’s curriculum. This aspect is largely dependent on where you chose to study. Since we are on the topic, it is pertinent to mention that these foundation programs are commonly found in the UK. However, that does not mean they are not available anywhere else. These foundation programs are also available throughout Europe, the USA, Australia as well as New Zealand.
Generally speaking, foundation programs are ideal for students who have not managed to achieve the desired results in their A-level or International Baccalaureate results. In addition to this, these programs are also appropriate for students who did not manage to acquire formal, academic education.
What exactly do foundation programs teach?
While it is true that foundation programs tend to vary from university to university, they still come with certain common elements. First and foremost, these programs cover a vast range of subjects as well as specializations. On one hand, it can offer you a general academic preparation course while on the other hand, a subject-specific course if you are looking to prepare yourself for a certain professional degree program.
Following is the list of subjects that you could study with a foundation program:
For a clearer picture, allow us to mention the fact that foundation programs are mostly offered in modules, spread over two semesters. For instance, one can take up to four modules in a single year. Where some components will be strictly subject-specific, others may include study and academic skills and of course English language support. Also, take note of the fact that these programs can be taken at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. At the postgraduate level, this may be termed a pre-masters course.
How is it different from a pre-sessional course?
A foundation program differs from a pre-sessional course on a number of grounds. First and foremost, the duration and structure of both of them are different. A pre-sessional course is short and lasts for up to six weeks. However, a foundation program generally is 12 months long. Secondly, both of them come with a different set of focus when it comes to the course’s aim. A pre-sessional course focuses on building general skill sets pertaining to academics and language instead of focusing on subject-specific skills.
Furthermore, pre-sessional courses in comparison to foundation programs have a way more condensed approach. The curriculum they offer is not very in-depth. Also, the learning objectives of each of these courses are very different, too. To put it precisely, a foundation program’s goal is to prepare and make you ready for a professional university degree. A good way to have a better understanding of a foundation program is that it is similar to a pathway program in essence with minor structural differences.
What are the entry requirements to get enrolled in a foundation program?
The requirements may vary depending on the university you have opted for. But, there are a few generalities that everyone must tick. For starters, to acquire admission, an applicant must be 17 years or older. In addition to this, the applicant must have a GSCE or a qualification equivalent to O-Level.
There is also an English language proficiency certificate requirement to bag admission. An applicant must have a band of 5.5 in IELTS score of 5.5 with no band below 5.0 in each of its components. Other than this, most foundation programs require that an applicant must have had an education in English for at least five years.
What qualification do you obtain from completing a foundation programme?
When you complete your foundation program, you end up with a qualification that stands equivalent to a diploma. Speaking of this, it is important to keep in mind that not all of these qualifications can transfer between universities or countries. Therefore, it is crucial to check this beforehand making the registration.
Since many foundation courses are offered as a component of a degree course, it makes one eligible to continue full degree study in the same university where the foundation program is completed.
More benefits are:
- The chance to study at a world-renowned university in the country of your choice
- Students can improve their language skills in the local language spoken in that area.
- An international foundation program gives you a chance to explore different fields and make an informed decision about your major. This is because; attending an international foundation program will give you an insight into these different fields.
- The opportunity to learn about the culture and society of the country that you’ll go to. You will also be able to explore different cultures of the world and make new friends with the other students in the foundation program. You can then be an active part of international communities in any field of life
- You can use it as a stepping stone to move ahead in your career and switch to a completely new field. You can also use it to change your job or career path within your current field.
- If you have always wanted to study abroad but can’t make the move now, you can use the program to get a taste of life abroad without having to make a long-term commitment.
In which country can you study a Foundation program?
Foundation programs can be studied in different countries all over the world like Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
In particular, for the UK, Universities that offer foundation programs for international students include:
For further information regarding the International Foundation Program please visit or book an online session with Edvise Hub.