NCUK International Foundation Year Programme

Starting every September, the NCUK International Foundation Year (IFY) Programme is an intensive one-year course designed to enable international students to progress on to study at a range of top UK universities.

The IFY is a modular programme that prepares students for first-year undergraduate degree courses. Students study a combination of modules that fit with their degree destination.

All NCUK qualifications also include a specialist English for Academic Purposes (EAP) module designed to give students the language ability and study skills that will give them a head start on their undergraduate degree in the UK.

Successful completion of the IFY provides guaranteed access to one of over 40 NCUK Universities. Progression options include University of Birmingham, University of Bristol, Durham University, University of Exeter and University of Manchester, as well as a number of high-ranking universities in the UK and worldwide.

There are four pathways available:


The Business Pathway prepares students in a variety of subject areas and offers a wide range of progression options, particularly for those with an interest in business, finance and all areas of management. This is a great option for students interested in studying Maths as one of their modules and who wish to keep their options open to both Business and Humanities degrees.

Academic Module 1 Academic Module 2 Academic Module 3 Core Module
Business Studies Economics Global Studies or Mathematics (for Business) English for Academic Purposes


The Engineering Pathway with compulsory Maths and Physics modules provides the perfect route for students wishing to study Engineering-related degrees at university. This pathway gives students access to virtually all Engineering degrees, whilst keeping their options open to most Business and Humanities degrees.

Academic Module 1 Academic Module 2 Academic Module 3 Core Module
Chemistry Mathematics (for Engineering) Physics English for Academic Purposes

Student Profile: Shima from Iran

“I wish to study Electronic Engineering or Computer Science at a leading university in the UK and believe that being at Padworth and studying the International Foundation Year programme has helped me prepare for this.”


The Humanities Pathway is ideal for students who wish to access a wide range of degree programmes in the Social Science, Humanities and specific areas such as Law and International Relations. This pathway is aimed at those students not wishing to include Maths as one of their modules, though many of the Business and Management degrees will be open as future choice to graduates of this route.

Academic Module 1 Academic Module 2 Academic Module 3 Core Module
Business Studies Economics Global Studies English for Academic Purposes


The Science Pathway provides the perfect preparation for and access to a wide range of Science and Medical degrees, through the addition of Chemistry and Biology module options. In addition, students can also secure a place on many of the same degrees as the Humanities, Engineering and Business pathways.

Academic Module 1 Academic Module 2 Academic Module 3 Core Module
Biology Chemistry Mathematics English for Academic Purposes

These pathways are only recommended pathways.  It may be possible for students to study different combinations of modules.  Further details are available on request.

Entry Requirements

Course Start Date September
English Level (minimum) IELTS 5.5, with 5.0 in any band
Other English language levels may be accepted. Highly academically qualified students with an overall IELTS of 5.5 will be considered on a case-by-case basis
Age (on entry) 17+
Academic Qualifications Academic completion of 12 years of schooling (or local equivalent) with good grades

About NCUK

NCUK is a consortium of leading universities dedicated to giving international students guaranteed access to universities and helping students succeed when they get there. NCUK qualifications are recognised by NCUK universities and by most other universities across the UK, including many Russell Group institutions and also by universities worldwide.

Since 1987, NCUK has helped over 30,00 international students gain guaranteed access to leading UK universities.