The International Foundation Year helped me improve my spoken and written English. I also learned study skills that will help me when I continue with my chosen degree.


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1 year

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The International Foundation Year (or IFY) is designed to help you improve your English language skills up to the level so that you can enter an undergraduate degree at Canterbury Christ Church University.

It is not just a simple language improvement course: you will need to learn the kinds of language and skills which are necessary in university study, and in your subject area. You may also need to revise and expand the basic knowledge you need to study your subject in English.

Entry requirements

English Language

Normal entry requirements for students who wish to join the stand-alone IFY primarily to improve their academic English—after successful completion of the IFY, you can progress to a 3-year degree programme of your choice, so long as you have met any additional requirements.

IELTS 5.0 overall with no score less than 4.0, and a 4.5 in Writing (recommended).
We are also able to consider equivalent qualifications in line with our standard overseas entry requirements.

Students who need a Tier 4 visa and want to enter the integrated 4-year pathway should have English already at B2 level:

IELTS 5.5 overall with 5.5 in each element.
Applicants who have taken other English language tests, or who have studied English as part of their secondary school qualifications may be considered in line with our standard overseas entry requirements. We can also accept the equivalent of B2 in other English Language tests (such as Pearson and TOEFL).

Certain degrees may ask for higher levels of English. In these cases you will normally need to achieve a higher grade in the IFY.

Students who want to move on to undergraduate programmes that include professional qualification, e.g. Nursing & Midwifery, may have admission requirements in addition to passing the IFY, such as an interview or higher language level. If you intend to take these degrees you should check their requirements directly or ask Admissions. In these cases, you may be advised to enter the IFY at a higher language level in order to ensure you can make the necessary progress over the year.


We advise all applicants that they should already have satisfied the academic requirements for the undergraduate degree they want to take after the IFY. Check these requirements or ask Admissions.

Contact Admissions for the UCAS code required for the course you wish to study.

All about the course

So that you can enter your chosen degree, and also complete it to the best of your potential, the IFY aims to develop your: knowledge and use of English language, so that you can live and study in the UK university environment; academic study skills and knowledge, so that you understand the requirements of UK undergraduate degrees, especially in your subject area. In addition, like all education, the IFY will develop you as a person more broadly, so that you can live and work more successfully both at university and in your life afterwards.

This is a full-time programme that last one academic year. It is structured into two semesters with teaching from September to December, and January to April. After each semester there is an assessment period (and an opportunity for re-assessment at the end of the year).

In Semester 1 you will be taught normally by core IFY staff in classes with students from a range of academic subject interests. The main aim is to improve your language and skills so that you can study your own intended academic subjects more effectively in Semester 2.

Semester 2 focuses on the development of university-level academic skills, and the English language for dealing with your intended subject area. There is a mixture of core modules, which all students take, and option modules which will depend on your intended degree subject and their availability in that year. Depending on the module, you may be studying alongside other UK-based foundation students.

Module information

Core/optional modules

How you’ll learn

You will learn through a mixture of face-to-face sessions of different kinds, and also very importantly, through study in your own time. 

The aim of these is not just to expand your grammar, vocabulary etc., but also to improve the skills you need to use your English in university study. As a result much of class time is spent on tasks: actively doing things with your language. These may be small in-class exercises (reading & analysing a text, listening to a recorded conversation, writing a paragraph etc.); or they may be part of a larger preparation for a final product: e.g. reading several texts to produce a written assignment or inform a group discussion. A normal part of doing these tasks is working with other students, in pairs or groups; so learning to communicate effectively with other students is an essential part of what you learn.


Different subjects are taught in different ways, so you may well not just experience a normal ‘lecture’ where the teacher presents and you take notes; even these will include questions to answer, short tasks to discuss in groups etc. There may also be:

  • seminars: a chance to present and discuss prepared material (e.g. your analysis of an important text; solutions to a problem) in whole-class or in smaller groups
  • tutorials: an opportunity to discuss individually or in very small groups specific things in the course: e.g. helping you plan and write an assignment
  • practicals: these may vary from lab work in sciences to field trips or even making a short video; again, they may well involve working with other students

The focus will be on the knowledge, theories, methods etc. of particular subjects such as the study of contemporary media or analysing business processes. In other words, you will experience teaching as you will expect to experience it in your main degree course.

The IFY core module tutors are experienced teachers specialising in English for Academic Purposes. In the subject modules you may also be taught by tutors from the relevant academic departments.

For more language-focused modules, a lot of the learning needs to be done in class. Therefore, in Semester 1, you should expect to be on campus 4 days per week (although not usually for the whole day), and on many days classes may begin at 9.00am. In Semester you may have fewer hours on campus, but you may well still need to attend at some point 3 days per week. If you are concerned about your ability to attend, you should discuss this when you apply.

A 40% pass mark is required to proceed to Year 1 of undergraduate study. However, for degree courses in Law and English Literature 60% is required, and 70% is required for Psychology and Multimedia Journalism.

The International Foundation Year has been running for many years and by now hundreds of students have successfully passed through this programme and onto undergraduate degrees. It is a full-time course, and the staff, both the tutors and support staff will do what they can to help you succeed. The rest is up to you.

Richard DavieInternational Foundation Year Programme Director

How you’ll be assessed

You will be assessed in a variety of ways so that you are familiar with the range of different assessment types across UK universities. These will also enable your tutors to give you feedback about your progress and areas you need to develop further.

The range of assessment types will include the following:

  • Individual and Group Presentations
  • Portfolios
  • Reflective Writing
  • Written Coursework Assignments
  • Written exams

For certain subjects, you may also need to do:

  • Artefacts: analysing or producing an artefact such as a short film is common across a variety of programmes in the performing arts and media.
  • Practical Tasks such as laboratory practicals and field trips train you in specific techniques and skills for many scientific, technological and professional subjects.


The 2020/21 annual tuition fees for this course are:

  UK / EU Overseas
Full-time - Foundation Year 0 £8,520 £11,975
Full-time - years 1-3 * £9,250 £13,000

Tuition fees for all courses are payable on an annual basis, except where stated.

* The tuition fees of £9,250 / £13,000 relate to 2020/21 only. Please read the 2020/21 Tuition Fee Statement for further information regarding 2020/21 tuition fees and year on year fee increases.

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1 year

UCAS code:



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