International Foundation Year

Guaranteed access to thousands of university degrees

Universities worldwide and UK NARIC (National Recognition Information Centre) formally recognises the NCUK International Foundation Year as a comparable level to GCE A Level; Australian high school (SSCE); American high school (AP); and Hong Kong high school (HKDSE) qualifications.


What is the NCUK International Foundation Year (IFY)?

A qualification designed with our university partners to prepare you for first year entry to undergraduate degree courses. Studying in small classes with NCUK in your home country before you start your degree will give you the confidence you need before you start your degree course.

Quality is at the heart of everything that we do so our qualifications meet the highest academic standards set by our university partners. As well as academic knowledge, the NCUK International Foundation Year will give you specialist English language, study and cultural skills that are an essential part of your degree course. This unique combination will help you to get in to the University of your choice and get on with your future career.

About the IFY

Do I need to take the IFY?

A foundation qualification is normally required by students who have completed high school outside of the UK education system and/or in a language other than English.

If you have applied directly to university and were not eligible, the IFY qualification may be able to help you bridge the gap between your current qualification and university study. If you’re not sure, please speak to one of our Study Centre counsellors.

How long does it take?

  • Accelerated Programme: Six months
  • Standard Programme: Nine Months
  • Extended Programme: Two years

Please check with your Study Centre to see what options are available.

What do I study on the IFY?

Like A Levels, you choose three academic modules from the list below depending on which degree you want to study at university. You may also need to study one of our English for Academic Purposes modules. If you’re not sure which modules would be best for you, our local NCUK Counsellors will be able to advise you.

Which modules can I study on the IFY?

You can choose 3 subjects from:

  • Mathematics for Business
  • Mathematics for Engineering
  • Mathematics for Science
  • Further Mathematics
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Business Studies
  • Economics
  • International Relations
  • Society and Politics
  • Art and Design – This module supports students in the preparation of a portfolio in order to apply for UK university programmes in a range of art-related subjects.
NCUK Students from various different countries listening to a speech in a conference room.

Our Guarantee

NCUK always acts in your best interests, helping you to realise your dreams and ambitions both at university and afterwards, in your life and career. That’s why upon successfully completing the NCUK International Foundation Year, you are guaranteed a place on a suitable course at an NCUK University.

The NCUK Guarantee means you have an excellent choice of leading universities who will offer you a suitable place based on your grades and area of interest. NCUK gives you that offer on results day and takes the stress out of the application process.

English for Academic Purposes

All NCUK English modules provide essential preparation for university study. Your options are:

  • English for Academic Purposes for non-native speakers of English
  • English for Academic Purposes for Proficient Users for students who have previously studied in English but need a an English language qualification for visa purposes
  • Research and Communications Skills for students who already have an English language qualification such as IELTS.

What exams do I need to take?

The NCUK IFY is assessed 30% by Coursework and 70% by examination. All assessments are set and moderated by NCUK.

Where can I Study the IFY?

NCUK’s Global Network consists of 80+ Study Centres in more than 24 countries, across four continents! You can choose to study locally at a Study Centre near you or you can choose to study in the UK and Ireland. Search for your Study Centre here.

Who awards the IFY qualification?

NCUK awards the final certificate. Upon successful completion you will receive a certificate showing that you have passed the course and a transcript that details your individual module results.

How much does it cost?

Fees vary depending on where you choose to study. Please contact your nearest Study Centre for details.

What are the Entry Requirements?

You must be 17 years old and have completed 12 years of high school education and have a recognised English language qualification e.g. IELTS 5.0. For further (including country-specific) details, click the ‘Entry Requirements’ button at the top of the page.

NCUK students outside the Sackville Street Building in Manchester, where NCUK is based.

What degree can I study?

NCUK students have the choice of thousands of degree courses. Whether you want to study Art or Computer Science and Engineering, Life Sciences and Pharmacy or Business, Law and Management, your NCUK qualification guarantees you two conditional offers and one guaranteed place.

Where can I study my degree after the IFY?

NCUK qualifications are accepted by universities worldwide. Please use our Course Finder or visit our University pages to see where your qualification could take you. If you can’t find the university you want to study at on our list, please Contact Us.

Where can I study the IFY?

There are over 45 NCUK Study Centres in more than 15 countries. You can choose to study in the UK or Europe or find a Study Centre closer to home.

Can I study a full UK degree in my home country?

NCUK currently offers students the chance to complete a UK degree at our University College, the Sino British College in Shanghai, China. You can choose from the following:

  • Business Management – Sheffield Hallam University
  • Events Management – The University of Huddersfield
  • Electrical & Electronic Engineering – Liverpool John Moores University
  • Mechanical Engineering – Liverpool John Moores University

How do I apply to university?

NCUK has a dedicated team that helps you with your university application. We also have Counsellors in each of our Study Centres that are dedicated to helping you. We will help you with your application and let you know about all the deadlines. With the NCUK guarantee, we ensure you get at least two conditional offers and if you pass the IFY, a guaranteed place.

What happens if I don't get the results I was expecting?

We know that not all students achieve their predicted grades. Because of our unique relationship with the NCUK Universities, we are able to offer a Clearing Service. If you don’t get into your first choice University, we can still find you a suitable alternative. You receive a set of guaranteed offers at the same time that you get your results. All you have to do is choose the one that is right for you.

UK Signpost

Why Choose NCUK?

NCUK is a unique organisation. Our qualifications are specially designed with our universities to give international students the skills they need to succeed at university.

As a university consortium, we can also offer our students a guaranteed place on thousands of degree courses at leading universities

Tens of thousands of successful students and a 30-year track record of creating opportunities internationally

We’ve helped tens of thousands of international students gain guaranteed access to leading UK universities, choosing from thousands of different courses, and earning good undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in a huge range of subjects.

Where Next – Career Opportunities?

UK university graduates have the knowledge and skills that are valued by employers all around the world. At your NCUK university you will have access to top level careers advice and guidance to help you focus on the right job for you and to stand out from the crowd in an increasingly competitive jobs market. Choosing your NCUK qualification is the first step to realising your dreams and ambitions.


James Kairu

James Kairu

The greatest achievement i've had would be receiving my NCUK results, this opened doors for a whole new myriad of opportunities, beginning with university.

University of Bristol MEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering

Punnatad Punwatanaskul

Punnatad Punwatanaskul

I chose to study at The University of Manchester because of the world reputation of the university and the city; the university is globally well-respected and will boost my employability.

The University of Manchester BSc (Hons) Accounting with Industrial/Professional Experience

Burenkhuu Burendelger

Burenkhuu Burendelger

Due to studying an NCUK qualification I am now studying abroad which has made me more independent. Meeting people from different countries and learning about their cultures helped me enjoy this experience.

Queen Mary University of London BSc (Hons) Computer Science with Business Management and Accounting

Get in, Get on.

Enquire today to start your journey with NCUK.