The European Education Directory

International Foundation Diplomas

By Teresa Woodbridge MA (Oxon), RSA Dip TEFL, Senior Lecturer


If you have finished your High School studies in your own country and are thinking of studying for your first degree in the UK, one of our Foundation programmes might be just the bridge you need to build your language and study skills and confidence before embarking on your first year of undergraduate study. Below are some of the questions prospective students ask us:

Who are the Foundation Diploma programmes for?

Our students come from all over the world - anywhere from Australia to Zimbabwe – and have satisfactorily completed High School in their own country. You must be at least 17 years of age at the start of the programme and have a minimum score of IELTS 5.0 with 5.0 in each skill. Some students may have a higher IELTS score than this, or have been educated in an English-medium school, or may even speak English as their first language. We have different ‘pathways’ through the programmes according to English language level of the student.

One thing our students have in common is that they all wish to improve their study skills by studying for one academic year in the UK. This may be because they plan to enter Higher Education in the UK or another English-speaking country or intend to return to Higher Education or work in their own country with better language and academic skills.

How long does the programme take?

The programme takes a full academic year, which includes two Semesters. Semester 1 runs from mid September to late December, with a ‘Freshers’ Week’ at the beginning for all new students, and Semester 2 runs from late January to late May, with a two-week spring break.

Assessment is made each Semester through a variety of tasks, including coursework essays, portfolios, individual and group presentations, in-class tests, seminars – in fact everything you’d expect to find on a normal undergraduate programme, except formal examinations. Final results are published in mid-June.

What form does the programme take?

Our Foundation programmes offer modules which provide a mixture of ‘core skills’ and ‘content’. On our programmes most of the modules are especially designed for our International students, but you are also required to take at least one first year undergraduate module (Basic) and study alongside students from the UK and elsewhere.

You take eight modules or module credits in all, four each Semester. There is one compulsory Foundation module each Semester, and the rest of your programme is made up from a choice of Foundation plus one Basic undergraduate module. For example, a student entering the programme with IELTS 5.0 might take the double module Introduction to University Studies plus Foundation Business Studies and Introduction to IT in Semester 1 and go on to do the International Foundation Project, Foundation Economics, International Relations and Foundations of Business (a Basic undergraduate module) in Semester 2. There is a wide range of modules; a personal tutor helps each student choose a programme which reflects their individual interests and language level.

What happens after I have completed the Diploma programme?

Some of our students may progress to an undergraduate programme at Brookes or another university, or return home to resume study or work If you want to continue studying at Oxford Brookes University or another UK University, you will be given help and guidance to apply through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) through preparation sessions in Semester 1 and individual sessions with personal tutors and administrative staff. Some Universities, including Brookes, may ask you to achieve a particular grade on the Diploma programme, and you may also be asked for a specific IELTS score. IELTS preparation classes are also available to Foundation students, but do not form part of the modular programme.

What can I gain from the ‘International Foundation Experience’ at Oxford Brookes?

Studying on the International Foundation Diploma gives you a grounding in the language and study skills you need for Higher Education in an English medium and provides a choice of content modules to reflect your personal and career interests. It also supplies you with an opportunity to study alongside home and international students in Foundation and Basic undergraduate modules and enables you to benefit from meeting others from different backgrounds on academic, social and sporting arenas. All this takes place in a University setting, where you can make full use of all the facilities including 24 hour computer rooms, libraries, accommodation, Sports Centre, Student societies and social events, near the centre of the beautiful and historic City of Oxford.

If you would like to know more about the Foundation Diploma programmes or other courses, you can look at: or email us:


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