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International Foundation Courses and English Language Studies

Pre-Master's Programme (FDPS)


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NEWS: FDPS students are now guaranteed offers on most Master's programmes at SOAS. See Study After FDPS for details

The SOAS pre-master's programme is a ten-month course providing academic and language preparation for international students who want to enter Master's 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's degrees at British universities or at universities, research institutes or business schools abroad where the language of instruction is English.

 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.

Lisa Azzouzi

Winner of FDPS Achievement Prize 2014-5
Studying LLM International Law at SOAS

Liza Azzouzi  

Lisa with SOAS’ new Director Valerie Amos at the IFCELS Welcome Reception September 2015

“SOAS has been one of the most inspiring and challenging experiences of my life. This rare and magic institution gave me the opportunity to develop myself in a cosmopolitan and vibrant environment. FDPS’ amazing and supportive teachers enabled me to acquire and expand my critical thinking but also to appreciate other’s approaches and perspectives. I am very glad to pursue my Master’s at SOAS in International Law. It’s something that I could probably never have done without my unforgettable time on the FDPS Pre-master’s.”

Zeyu Chen

Winner of FDPS Progress Prize 2014-5
Studying MSc Management at Birmingham

  Zeyu Chen  

“The FDPS programme is a very good choice for pre-master study. At SOAS, I found there was no distance between students and teachers. The teachers were always enthusiastic, friendly and ready to help me with my problems. Hence, SOAS is like a family of teachers and students. This big family helped me build up my confidence and stimulate my potential. The period of time spent in SOAS has become a precious experience that will change my life.”

Click here to view the   FDPS Brochure (pdf; 1967kb)

FDPS students who progress to a Master's programme at SOAS will receive a 5% discount on their 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 2016 - 2017

Introductory Course: 21 - 28 September 2016

Full academic year dates: 21 September 2016 - 30 June 2017

Autumn Term: 3 October- 16 December 2016 (Reading Week: 7 - 11 November)

Spring Term: 9 January - 24 March 2017 (Reading Week: 13 - 17 February)

Summer Term: 24 April - 30 June 2017 (No Reading Week)

FEES 2016 - 2017 
Tuition fee:
Application fee: NO FEE before 30 April 2016, £90 (non-refundable) after 1 May 2016. Please pay at our online store after 01 May 2016

Details of Accommodation Fees

Note: all fees must be paid in full before the start date of the programme

Please see the full Terms and Conditions

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, equivalent to CEFR B2 or 5.5 in each sub-score in IELTS, to be able to join the programme. 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. You can be offered a place on FDPS and we can issue a CAS for visa purposes on the basis of our secure English test covering all four skills so it is not necessary to take IELTS if you are planning to take our test. See here for details of test dates and venues.

Please note: iBT TOEFL and Pearson Academic are no longer an approved test for visa purposes

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 2016 -17 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


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:

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