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International Foundation Courses and English Language Studies

Pre-Master's Programme (FDPS)


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The SOAS pre-master's programme is a ten-month course providing academic and language preparation for international students who want to enter Masters degrees (taught and researched) at British universities in social science, business and management-related studies, arts and humanities.

The pre-master's programme was started in 1993 in order to provide international students with a thorough preparation for entering demanding Master degrees at British universities or at universities, research institutes or business-schools abroad where the language of instruction is English.

Weiwei Chen
Winner of FDPS Achievement Prize 2012-2013
Studying MSc Development Studies at SOAS, University of London

 Weiwei Chen - Winner of FDPS Achievement Prize 2012-13 

 “The FDPS helped open up a choice of Masters that I wouldn't have ordinarily been able to apply for. Not only did the programme help improve my confidence and help prepare me to study at the Masters level, but also allowed me to explore what Masters I wanted to pursue afterwards. I really enjoyed my time on the FDPS at SOAS.”

Wenjing Tuo
Winner of FDPS Progress Prize 2012-13
Studying MSc International Management (China) at SOAS, University of London

 Wenjing Tuo - Winner of FDPS Progress Prize 2012-13 

 “SOAS to me , in one word, means 'opportunity' and for that I have to thank the inspiring and supportive teaching at IFCELS. They have given me the opportunity to fulfil my potential and there is simply nothing better than that. I am delighted to be going on to a SOAS master's, International Management for China.”

All high-ranking British universities recognise the SOAS Foundation Diploma for Postgraduate Studies (FDPS) as a value-adding academic and English-language programme for international students.

Click here to view the 2013-14 FDPS Brochure (pdf; 2mb)

FDPS students who progress to a master's programme at SOAS will receive a 5% discount on their master's course fees.

Programme Aims

  • to familiarise students with the academic culture of British university education
  • to introduce students to further study in academic disciplines relevant to their chosen field of study
  • to develop the speaking and writing skills in Academic English, critical thinking and independent study skills necessary for success on a programme in a British university
  • to offer students a challenging and career-enhancing year of intensive study within the city and the University of London

Features of the Programme

Supervised Research Paper (The Independent Study Project)

A very valuable and popular feature of the pre-master's programme is the opportunity to carry out a research project of your choice, supervised by a suitable academic from the University of London. 

The weekly cycle and structure of classes:

A distinctive feature of English language study in IFCELS is that language and subject study are integrated: language classes are specific to each subject and classroom activities are designed to help you develop vocabulary, oral and written skills appropriate to the subject.

Reading class (English teacher)
  • academic reading
  •  note-making
  • vocabulary expansion
Lecture (Subject teacher)
  • academic listening
  • note-taking
  • critical thinking
Lecture review (English teacher)
  • concept analysis
  • vocabulary expansion
  • critical thinking
Seminar (Subject lecturer)
  • presenting an argument
  • critical questioning
  • academic debate
Writing Class (English Teacher)
  • essay writing
  • question analysis
  • structuring an argument

Dates and fees

DATES 2015 - 16

Introductory Course 16 – 23 September 2015

Full year dates 28 September 2015 – 24 June 2016

Autumn Term 28 Sept - 11 December 2015

(Reading week 2 - 6 Nov)

Spring term (2016)  4 January -18 March 2016

(Reading week 8 - 12 February)

Summer Term 2016  18 April - 24 June 2016 

(No Reading week)

FEES 2015 - 16 
Application £90 (non-refundable) The Application fee is waived for any application submitted before 30 April 2015

Details of Accommodation Fees

All fees must be paid in full before the start date of the programme

Entrance Requirements and Application Procedure

Academic requirements

You must have a Bachelor's degree from a recognised institution in your own country or elsewhere.

(If you have a three-year Diploma, you may in certain cases be considered for admission if you have substantial relevant work experience)

English Language requirements

You will need a good intermediate level of English (CEFR B2) before you join the programme.The minimum language requirements are IELTS 5.5 in each sub-score or TOEFL iBT L17, R18, S20, W17. If you have not taken an approved English test or if your scores are below these, you will be asked to do English language tests including Reading, Writing and Listening. All applicants will be interviewed either face-to-face in London or in their own country, or by telephone.

The department offers preparatory English language programmes starting in September, January, April and during the summer. You may be given an offer for FDPS requiring you to attend a language programme.

Application Procedure

Please fill out and print the 

FDPS Application Form 2014 -15 then e-mail it as an attachment to ifcels@soas.ac.uk


post it, together with the required supporting documents, to:

Head of Department
International Foundation Courses & English Language Studies (IFCELS)
SOAS (University of London)
23/24 Russell Square
London WC1H 0XG

To pay your application fee:

Students and agents can now pay the 90.00 GBP application fee online. Please note that this method will generate an online receipt for the transaction, and will not issue a corresponding invoice.

Go to the SOAS Online Store IFCELS Application Fee


Number of hours

You will have between 16 and 18 hours a week of timetabled classes. In addition, you will be expected to spend at least 20 hours of your own time preparing topics for discussion, completing assignments and doing independent research and further reading.

Timetabled classes involve

  • Lectures
  • English classes (maximum 12 students)
  • Seminars (maximum 10 students)
  • 1-1 tutorials

You are expected to attend all your classes regularly. SOAS has a minimum attendance requirement of 80% and poor attendance will probably affect your performance in class and the reports your teachers write for you, which will ultimately affect the references the department provides in support of your applications for postgraduate study or research.

Academic Study Units

All students are required to study 2 compulsory courses:

You are also required to choose 2 academic courses from the list below:


October 2013

Students who completed the FDPS premasters at SOAS in June 2013 were placed as follows:

Birkbeck MSc Business Innovation w Entre'ship & Innov'n Management
Birmingham MSc Marketing
Bradford MA Peace, Conflict & Development Studies
Bristol MSc International Relations
Cardiff MA Journalism, Media & Communications
City MSc Finance
City MSc Management
City Uni of HK MA Global Business Management
Exeter MSc HRM
Glasgow MSc Investment Banking & Finance
Goldsmiths MA Creating Social Media
Goldsmiths Mres Media & Communications
Goldsmiths MA Performance & Culture
Goldsmiths MA Radio
KCL MSc Security, Leadership & Society
Leeds MSc Finance & Investment
Leeds MSc Management
Loughborough MSc Finance & Management
Loughborough MSc International Financial & Political Relations
LSE MSc Health, Population & Society
LSE MSc Local Economic Development
LSE MSc Philosophy & Public Policy
Macquarie, Aus MA International Business
Manchester MA International Development: Public Policy & Management
Middlesex MA HRM
QMUL MSc Management
Reading MSc Investment Management
Reading - Henley Business School MBA full time
Reading ICMA Centre MSc Investment Management
RHUL MSc Economics
RHUL MSc International HRM
Roehampton MA Education
Sheffield MSc Creative & Cultural Industries Management
SOAS MSc Development Studies
SOAS MSc Development Studies
SOAS MSc Development Studies
SOAS MSc Development Studies
SOAS MSc Development Studies
SOAS MSc Development Studies
SOAS MSc Finance & Financial Law
SOAS MA History
SOAS MA History of Art
SOAS MA History of Art/Archaeology
SOAS MA History of Art/Archaeology
SOAS LLM International & Comparative Commercial Law
SOAS LLM International & Comparative Commercial Law
SOAS MSc International Management (China)
SOAS MSc International Management (China)
SOAS MSc International Management (Japan)
SOAS MSc International Management (Japan)
SOAS MA International Studies & Diplomacy
SOAS MA International Studies & Diplomacy
SOAS MA Migration & Diaspora Studies
SOAS MA Social Anthropology  
SOAS MA Social Anthropology of Development
SOAS MA South East Asian Studies
Sotheby's Institute of Art MA Art Business
Southampton MA Design Management
Strathclyde MSc International Marketing
Sussex MA Social Development (deferring?)
UCL MSc Technology Entrepreneurship
UCL MSc Urban Development Planning
UEA MA International Relations
UEA MA Language & Intercultural Communication
UEA MSc Marketing & Management
York MSc Global Marketing

A Student's Perspective

When I actually started my studies on the foundation course at SOAS, it confirmed in my mind that I had made a very good choice.

Sare Demir