International Foundation Programme (IFP)


Gain the skills and knowledge required for undergraduate study with a structured learning experience with academic focus

The University of London International Foundation Programme is a challenging and inspiring new programme that has been designed to provide you with the skills and knowledge to prepare you for rigorous undergraduate study. The programme is equivalent in standard to qualifications studied in year 13 in a UK school (e.g. ‘A’ levels. When you successfully complete the programme you will gain guaranteed entry to a degree in the field of economics, management, finance and the social sciences offered through the University of London International Programmes, with direction academic from LSE.

Further progression

You will also be able to transfer to a Diploma in Economics or Social Science or almost all other undergraduate degrees offered through the University of London International Programmes.* You may also apply to study for an undergraduate degree offered by other universities, both in the UK and elsewhere. Read more about applying to another University.**

Programme structure

The International Foundation Programme consists of four courses (one compulsory course and three elective courses). The programme can be completed in a minimum of one academic year and a maximum of three academic years. Each approved teaching centre will offer its own study schedule and the number of hours study you need to undertake each week will be dependent upon the institutions’ study timetable. As a guide, each course requires 150 hours of study time including classroom and private study.

You study for this programme at one of our teaching centres that have been approved to provide teaching and support for this programme. This programme may not be studied independently.

For a list of the institutions approved to teach the International Foundation Page please visit the Directory of Institutions. You should contact institutions directly for information on their teaching start dates and schedules.


The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) provides academic direction for this programme. LSE is regarded as an international centre of academic excellence and innovation in the social sciences.

Key dates  
Application deadline You must apply directly to the International Foundation Programme teaching institution. Please contact them for their application deadline.
University application deadline 15 September (you must already have received an offer from your institution before applying to the University)
Registration deadline 15 October
Examinations take place late April

*If after completion of your University of London International Foundation Programme you want to study for BA English, you will need to register initially for the Certificate in Higher Education in English and then progress onto the Diploma in Higher Education in English and then the degree.

**Most UK Universities will accept successful completion of the International Foundation Programme as meeting their entry criteria for certain courses and will consider  the applications of students who have this qualification.

In particular, the following Universities have indicated that they will consider students who have successfully completed the International Foundation Programme.

We will be shortly adding other Universities to the list once their names are confirmed.

All universities have their own application criteria and processes and so you should speak to the university directly to ensure you are eligible and find out if there are any specific grades you will need to achieve or further entrance tests that you will need to sit. Some universities have early application deadlines and so you are advised to check their deadlines.


The International Foundation Programme consists of four courses:


  • The structure shown above is subject to confirmation in the 2014-2015 Regulations. The Regulations also contain full details on the rules that govern the choice of any course. If you have already registered on the programme you should consult the current Regulations section of our website.
  • Course Information Sheets are updated annually and you should ensure you are reading the correct information sheet for your year of study. Registered students can access these from the VLE.
Study materials

How you study

You study at an approved teaching centre that provides face-to-face teaching and the opportunity to interact with fellow students and study facilities. Attending classes at an institution helps you structure your studies, gain study skills – learn how to learn; understand difficult concepts and gain feedback on your progress.

You will receive specially written online study materials

Your study materials and resources are developed by academics appointed by LSE. They are provided to you online and, alongside the tuition you receive at your institution, they guide you through your studies.

Your study materials and resources include:

  • A virtual learning environment (VLE), which contains interactive resources, discussion forums, news alerts and a study skills area which explains how to study successfully.
  • A subject guide for each course studied - these introduce and develop the topics and are accessed online through the VLE.
  • A Programme handbook containing practical information and advice (for example, how to enter for exams).
  • Worked examples of mock examination papers and examiners' commentaries, which provide general feedback on examination performance.
  • A University of London email account and web area which you can use to manage your personal information.

The Virtual Learning Environment (VLE)

The Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) provides access to your subject guides, interactive resources and materials to help you learn and study. There is also an online space for you to interact with other students to discuss subject materials, support and motivate each other, and to work collaboratively to solve problems.

Online support

When we offer you a place on the course, we send a username and password so you can undertake the registration process to become a student and log in to the Student Portal. You can then access your University of London email account, read the news items and explore the virtual learning environment.

Sample study materials

Below are examples of examination questions, Examiners' reports and the first chapter of the study guide for the six foundation courses, all available in PDF format:

Note: for registered students, the full version subject guides are available in the International Foundation Programme VLE portal.

Past exam papers

Exam papers for 2014 are availble to download in PDF format here:



The International Foundation Programme is designed to be completed in one year and you are therefore required to pay the equivalent of the first year’s fees in full when you start the programme. There is however, flexibility for you to extend your study period if required, but additional fees will be payable.

The fees below are for the 2015-2016 session and are reviewed annually.

Academic year2015-2016
Initial registration fee £ 810
Course fee (includes first examination attempt)£ 210
Total for International Foundation Programme (first year)£ 1650
Other fees (as applicable)
Continuing registration fee (for second year and each subsequent year)£ 325
Examination re-entry fee (per course)£ 210
New Course fee (includes first examination attempt)£ 210
ConvertGBP x 1

Disclaimer: the currency conversion tool is provided to you for convenience only and does not constitute an endorsement or approval by the University of London; the exchange rates are provided dynamically via a third-party source, consequently, the University of London International Programmes is not responsible for their accuracy.

The total fee listed above is an example of the fees payable to the University for the whole programme of study if completed in one year. The example is calculated using the current fees and does not reflect any annual change in fees if you take more than one year to complete your course. If you study for longer than one year, you will need to pay additional fees.

When to pay

Once you have received an offer from the University, you should inform the institution at which you plan to study. You should then complete your registration with the University of London and pay the University's fees.

The closing date for registrations and payment of fees is 30 November.

Examinations take place in late April each year and you can apply to sit your examination from mid-December to the closing date of 1 February. Students will also need to pay their local examination centre fees as part of their examination entry.

How to pay

The easiest way to pay is online while completing your registration with the University.

All University fees must be paid in pounds sterling (GBP). The University accepts:

  • Western Union - Quick Pay
  • Credit/debit card (Visa, MasterCard, Maestro, Electron, JCB)
  • Sterling banker's draft/cheque
  • International money/postal order

Further details are given in payment methods.

Other costs

In addition to the fees payable to the University, you should also budget for:

  • tuition costs for your teaching institution
  • textbooks for your course (if applicable)
  • the fee charged by your local examination centre to cover its costs; this fee will vary.


Fees are subject to annual review and the University reserves the right to amend previously announced fees, if necessary. For a full list fees that may be applicable, please see the fee schedule.



When you decide you are ready, you can sit your examinations. These are in the form of unseen written papers which are set and marked by academics appointed by the LSE.

Examinations are held once a year, in late April, at examination centres in over 190 countries as well as in London. You will be charged a fee by your local examination centre (this fee will vary).

For each course on the International Foundation Programme you will sit an examination of about two hours. Your results will be given a  grade - Pass, Merit or Distinction.

In certain circumstances, the Board of Examiners may invite students who meet a specific criteria to resit examination(s) in July. Further details are available in the Regulations.


Academic Requirements

In order to satisfy the entrance requirements you must:

  • normally be aged 17 or over before 31 December in the year of registration;
  • have passed at least four separate subjects at GCSE or GCE O level, with grades A to C or the equivalent; and
  • provide proof of competence in English which is acceptable to the University. (A test of proficiency may be required - see below for more details) and
  • have been admitted to a full- or part-time course of instruction at an institution which is recognised to teach the International Foundation Programme.

Note: Applicants with other qualifications not listed above will be considered by the University on an individual basis. There are many other acceptable entrance qualifications [pdf: 6pgs, 91KB](both from the UK and overseas), which the University accepts instead of UK GCSEs or 'O' levels.

If you do not satisfy the criteria for automatic acceptance we will still consider your application on an individual basis under our Special Admissions procedures. If we cannot accept you with your current qualifications, we will advise you what qualifications you could take in order to become eligible in the future.

English Proficiency Requirements

For the International Foundation Programme, you must provide evidence showing that you have:

  1. passed acceptable examinations equivalent to GCSE or GCE ‘O’ level English language at grade C or above; or
  2. demonstrated fluency in academic English gained through either:
  3. a) five years at a secondary school where you were taught only in English; or
  4. b) have, within the past three years, passed a test of proficiency in English language at the appropriate level from an organisation that is acceptable to the University (see the Proficiency in English page for more information).

Where an applicant does not meet the prescribed English language proficiency requirements but believes that they can demonstrate the requisite proficiency for admission the University may, at its discretion, consider the application.

Computer Requirements

You must have regular access to a computer (or mobile device*) with an internet connection to use the University of London International Programmes website and the Student Portal. These are where your programme’s study resources are located. Through the Student Portal you can register as a student, enter exams and use your programme’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). The VLE provides you with electronic learning materials, access to the University of London Online Library, networking opportunities, and other resources.

To get the most from your studies, your computer should have at least the following minimum specification: 

  • a web browser (the latest version of Firefox, Chrome or Internet Explorer). This must accept cookies and have JavaScript enabled
  • screen resolution of 1024 x 768 or greater
  • sufficient bandwidth to download documents of at least 2 MB

and the following applications installed:

  • a word processor that reads Microsoft Word format (.doc)
  • Adobe, or other pdf reader.

* Full mobile access is not available for all programmes.

Additional computer requirements for this programme:

You will need Adobe Flash Player 7.0 or later and a media player that plays MP4 files to view video material in the VLE.


LSE academic leadership

The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) is one of the Colleges of the University of London and a world-leading social science institution. Academics from LSE provide the academic direction for this programme.

Since its foundation in 1895, LSE has been regarded as an international centre of academic excellence and innovation in the social sciences. Its teaching and research is recognised worldwide as a benchmark of quality.

The School’s academic profile spans the broad range of social sciences – disciplines that reflect how we interact with one another and with society. LSE is an institution renowned for focusing on ‘real world’ issues. Current areas of research and expertise include globalisation, human rights, risk and business management, new communications technologies, urban and regional policies, and new forms of governance.

LSE alumni and former staff include 16 Nobel prize winners and 34 past or present heads of state. LSE academics come from all over the world and from many social, educational and ethnic backgrounds. They are in constant demand as commentators and analysts in the media, act as advisors to governments, and are seconded to national and international organisations.

Academic leaders

Lynne Roberts - Head of Learning and Teaching

Head of Learning and Teaching, University of London International Programmes at LSE, and academic coordinator for the International Foundation Programme.

Lynne was an educational developer at the LSE’s Teaching and Learning Centre for six years and previously worked at King’s College London and Imperial College London. She has a strong interest in education and international development.

Lynne acts as the academic co-ordinator for the International Foundation Programme and also has overall responsibility for the EMFSS programmes’ learning and teaching strategy


Apply online

How to apply

To apply for the International Foundation Programme, you should first make your application to an approved teaching centre. When they have offered you a place you should complete the University of London International Programme online application. Download the application process document which explains how to apply.

Introduction to the International Foundation Programme

This overview, by Dr Keith Sharp and Lynne Roberts of LSE, introduces the International Foundation Programme and explains the course structure, study method, and potential outcomes of taking the programme.