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International Foundation Courses and English Language Studies

Undergraduate Foundation Programme (ICC)

Duration: 10 months


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Who is this programme for?:

The ICC undergraduate foundation programme is designed for international students who want to study for an undergraduate degree at a British university. You may need to complete a foundation programme if either of the two conditions below apply to you:

  • You have finished school in your own country, but your school-leaving certificate does not qualify you for direct entry to a UK university
  • You have been partly-educated in an English-medium school in Britain or elsewhere, but have not achieved the A-level, IB or AP grades needed for university entrance because of language difficulties.

The ICC undergraduate foundation programme is a 10-month programme combining academic and language study for students whose academic background does not allow them to enter a British university directly. Since the ICC undergraduate foundation course started in 1985 over 2000 of our students have gone on to degree courses at British universities.

A distinguishing feature of the programme is that language teaching and learning is directly linked to the material covered in academic subjects, so that students learn to understand and use the language required for the subjects they intend to study at university.

See the new ICC Brochure Undergraduate Foundation Course ICC Brochure (pdf; 2mb)

Natavan Guliyeva
Winner of ICC Achievement Prize 2012-13
Studying BSc Economics at City University

  Natavan Guliyeva - Winner of ICC Achievement Prize 2012-13  

“ICC was a great start to my academic life in the United Kingdom. It helped me to prepare to study in a higher education institution and also to make new friends from different parts of the world. A year spent in SOAS was an unforgettable and useful academic experience.”

Xinrui Zhang
Winner of ICC Progress Prize 2012-13
Studying BA History of Art (Africa, Asia, Europe) at SOAS, University of London

  Xinrui Zhang - Winner of ICC Progress Prize 2012-13  

“It was valuable for me to study on the ICC foundation programme at SOAS because it helped me develop critical thinking and analytical skills for further study. Moreover, it was a really fascinating experience to study in a multicultural environment.”

Students who successfully complete the ICC programme can continue their undergraduate studies at SOAS if they meet the normal entry level standards of the department and will receive a 5% discount in all 3 years of undergraduate study. However the ICC certificate award from the University of London is recognised by all British universities as an entrance qualification for undergraduate degree programmes and the Academic Advice Unit in the department helps students with every stage of the university application procedure. Listing of the destinations of students who finished the programme last year

All teaching is done by SOAS staff on the Central London campus, within walking distance of the SOAS Hall of Residence and the West End of London.

Programme Aims

  • to help you gain entry to degree programmes at British universities in the humanities, social sciences, law and business-related studies
  • to give you the linguistic and academic skills you will need to be successful on a degree programme
  • to make a wide range of academic subjects accessible to you through subject-based English language tuition
  • to give you the chance to experience a year of life and study in London

Features of the Programme

A distinctive feature of teaching and learning in the Department is the integration of language and subject teaching to consolidate and develop the language skills and academic knowledge you will need to successfully complete an undergraduate degree programme in the UK.

The ICC undergraduate foundation programme aims to provide:

Academic study
  • intensive study of academic subjects in much more depth than is usual in most countries' school systems
Critical thinking skills
  • analysing concepts
  • assessing & interpreting evidence
  • examining connections between ideas
  • asking critical questions
  • forming opinions & developing arguments within your subject areas

Dates and Fees

Dates 2015 - 2016

ICC: Tuesday 15 September 2015 - Friday 24 June 2016
ICC Plus: Monday 3 August 2015 - Friday 24 June 2016

Term Dates

Summer Vacation Term (ICC Plus): 3 August - 11 September 2015

Introductory Course: 15 - 23 September 2015

Autumn Term: 28 September - 11 December 2015 (Reading Week: 2 - 6 November 2015)

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

ICC: £15,350 (September entry) 
ICC Plus: £17,800 (July entry) 

Application fee: £90.00 Please pay at our online store

Details of Accommodation Fees

All fees must be paid in full before the start date of the programme. For instructions on how to pay see IFCELS Fees

Please see the full Terms and Conditions

Entry Requirements and Application

August and September entry points

ICC has entry points in early August and mid-September. Students who need to focus on their reading and writing skills before they start the academic subject courses will be asked to join the programme in August.

Academic Qualifications

You should have successfully completed high school in your own country with good grades in a range of subjects.

Language level

You need to have an intermediate level of English before starting the programme. Preparatory English language programmes in the department start in September, January and April and during the summer there is a range of summer courses offering academic subject study together with English language classes. 

Entrance Test

After you apply, you will be asked to take an entrance test and interview either in London or in your own country. If you already have the following English language qualifications, you will not have to do certain parts of the test.

  • GCSE English Language grade C
  • IELTS 5.5 with 5 in the writing section
  • Cambridge First Certificate in English grade C
  • Pearson PTE Academic: 36 in each sub-score
  • iBT TOEFL 76 with 12 in writing

ICC applicants who require a student visa must achieve CEFR B1 level in an approved English test - for example IELTS 4.0 in each sub-score. IELTS tests taken after 6 April 2015 and being used for visa purposes must be from one of the approved IELTS for UKVI test centres. Check this list of centres carefully

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

Application Procedure

Please print and fill out the ICC Application Form 2015 -16 (pdf; 163kb) then you can e-mail it to us at ifcels@soas.ac.uk

OR post it to:

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


Summer vacation term
Students who need to improve their reading and writing skills before tackling the academic courses on ICC, will be asked to take the summer vacation term.
Using a combination of intensive language study, frequent controlled practice and close monitoring by an English tutor, students will achieve a sound basis of reading and writing skills which will enable them to approach their future study programme with confidence. A feature of the term is regular one-to-one tutorials with the teacher in order to address a student’s individual problems and a focus on drafting, proofreading and redrafting writing to achieve grammatical accuracy.

The Summer Vacation term is 6 weeks long and students have 18 hours of classes a week.

Number of hours

From September, students have a total of 19 hours of classes a week, and you will be expected to study at least as many hours outside class reviewing and preparing for classes, reading, completing homework tasks and writing course assignments.

Types of classes

There is a range of class styles - students attend lectures, small group tutorials of 10 students and English language classes with a normal maximum of 12 students.

Timetable of classes

From September to June, classes are taught over 3 terms, each 10 weeks long. There is a reading week (a week without classes) in the middle of both the Autumn and Spring terms to give students a chance to catch up with their reading and work on their assignments.

There are practice exams ("Mocks") at the end of the spring term and final exams take place in the last three weeks of the academic year.

Subjects of study

All students on the undergraduate foundation programme study:

2 compulsory units
2 optional academic units drawn from this list

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