SOAS University of London

International Foundation Courses and English Language Studies

International Foundation Programme (ICC)

Duration: 10 months

  • Overview
  • Structure
  • Apply/Fees


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Who is this programme for?:

See the ICC International Foundation programme brochure for more information
Undergraduate Foundation Course ICC Brochure (pdf; 1732kb)

The Intermediate Certificate Course (ICC) International Foundation programme is a 10-month programme providing academic and English language preparation for international students who want to enter undergraduate degrees in Social Sciences, Finance and Management-related studies, and Arts and Humanities at UK universities,

Since the ICC International Foundation programme was started in 1985 we have prepared students each year for progression to undergraduate study at institutions in the University of London, and over the UK.

High-ranking British universities recognise the ICC International Foundation as a value-adding academic and English-language programme for international students. Our destinations list here shows the universities and programmes that our students joined last year.

To apply, use the ICC Application Form 2021-22 (pdf; 149kb)  . The ICC brochure has more information about the programme

The ICC International Foundation programme is designed for international students for whom English is not a first language and 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 wholly or partly educated in an English-medium school but have not achieved the A-level, IB or AP grades needed for university entrance because of language difficulties.

Special features of the programme include:

  • a wide range of academic subjects and a flexible structure which allows students to create their own 'pathway'
  • a unique integrated approach to English development, where the language teaching and learning are directly linked to the material covered in the academic modules.
  • the experience and expertise of our teaching and lecturing staff in a department with over 30 years experience of running International Foundation programmes
  • extensive individual support provided to our students through regular one-to-one meetings with lecturers, teachers, personal tutors, and academic advisors.
  • the central London location - all teaching is done by SOAS staff on the Central London (Russell Square) campus, within walking distance of the SOAS Hall of Residence and the West End of London
  • the UK campus experience that our students receive – all our students have full SOAS status and have access to all SOAS facilities including library, student support services and students’ union clubs and societies
  • guaranteed offers for all SOAS undergraduate degrees

Progressing to Undergraduate Study

Students who achieve a minimum level of academic and English language performance on the ICC Foundation programme are guaranteed progression to SOAS for undergraduate study (subject to satisfying eligibility requirements), and will receive a 10% discount in all 3 years of undergraduate study. However the ICC Certificate award from the University of London is recognised by UK universities as an entrance qualification for undergraduate degree programmes and our Academic Advice Team provides one-to-one support with every stage of the undergraduate application procedure.

2017-18 Prizewinners
Weishi Chen,  ICC Achievement Prize Winner 2017-18

Professor Deborah Johnston, SOAS Pro-director, Learning and Teaching, congratulated our ICC 2017-18 prize-winners on their achievements and presented their prizes at the IFCELS Welcome Reception for our new students in October 2018.

"My year at SOAS was such a great joy. What's more, all of the teachers there were excellent and treated their jobs with extraordinary passion. They helped me build up my confidence and learn to study by myself, which, I believe, will give me lifelong benefit. Studying at SOAS ICC is certainly one of the best choices I have ever made."

Weishi Chen,  ICC Achievement Prize Winner 2017-18, now studying BSc Economics and Statistics at UCL

Jiyeong Seo, ICC Progress Prize Winner 2017-18

"I wasn’t familiar with either of the subjects I chose for my optional modules (Economics and Development Studies), but by the end of the year, I definitely had a much firmer grasp and could debate issues with confidence. The structure of the programme and informative lectures helped me to navigate difficult topics and made learning all the more interesting and interactive."

Jiyeong Seo, ICC Progress Prize Winner 2017-18, now studying BSc Population Health at UCL


Programme Aims

  • to help students gain entry to degree programmes at SOAS and other British universities in the humanities, social sciences, law and business-related studies
  • to give students the linguistic and academic skills needed to be successful on a degree programme
  • to increase the range of undergraduate subject areas accessible to students through subject-based English language tuition
  • to give students the chance to experience a year of campus life and study in London


The Academic Year

The programme runs from September to June over 3 terms.  There is also a ‘reading week’ (a week without classes, which students use to catch up on their reading and work on their assignments) in the middle of the first and second terms. The teaching calendar runs for the first 20 weeks, and the third term is taken up with revision and final written examinations.


The Weekly Timetable

Students attend between 15 and 19 hours of classes per week for the first 20 weeks. There is a range of class styles. Students attend lectures with all the other students in their academic modules, and small-group seminar tutorial discussions, which typically have 10 students, with a maximum of 13. These are led by an academic lecturer. Students also attend Academic English module classes, typically in a group of about 12 and a maximum of 14, and English support classes connected to their academic subject modules, these normally have class sizes of 12-14 students, with a maximum of 15.


ICC Plus

Students whose English is slighly below the minimun requirement will be made an offer for ICC Plus, which includes an extra six-week period of study, known as the Summer Pathway Preparation Course.  This course develops reading, writing, listening and speaking skills, as well as strengthening grammar, academic vocabulary and independent study skills. Further details can be found in the Summer Pathway Preparation Course info sheet, or you can apply online. 

The Four Study Modules

Students take four modules for the whole period of the programme:

All students are required to study 2 compulsory modules:
Students choose an additional 2 academic elective modules from the list below:


Programme Assessment

Students are assessed through coursework and final examinations.
Coursework – students complete a term assignment in each of their academic modules. This may be a structured written assignment, an essay, a case study, a group presentation or a mark given for their seminar performance and participation. They also write timed essays for their Intensive English for Academic Study module.
Examinations – students sit final written examinations for each of their academic subject modules. They also take a final written and oral examination for their Intensive English for Academic Study module




The Application Process:

When we receive your application and supporting documents we will review them and let you know how we want to assess you:


Fast Track Offer – New for 2019-20:

For students who have achieved 6.0 overall in IELTS with 6.0 in the writing (or equivalent) and have a clear and well-focussed personal statement which includes a realistic study plan for their studies after ICC.

No testing, no essay. You will receive an email within 5 working days confirming that we will be offering you a place and a formal offer letter will follow.*


Essay and Interview:

For students who have achieved 5.5 overall in IELTS with 5.0 in writing (or equivalent).

We will assess your application by interview, either face-to-face in London or in your own country, or by Skype, WeChat or telephone. We will also ask you to write an essay to check your writing level and find out how you can express and develop your ideas in writing. Click here for details of test dates and venues.


Entrance Test and Interview:

For students who have not taken IELTS (or other recognised test) or who have not achieved our English language entry requirement (5.5 IELTS overall with 5.0 in writing).

We will wait for you to provide a qualifying IELTS score or we can assess your application by means of our own English language test, together with an essay test and an interview so we can assess all four skills. The internal test is available regularly in London from January to September and in other countries as well. Click here for details of test dates and venues.

*The majority of students with 6.0 overall and 6.0 in writing will have their applications fast-tracked but we reserve the right to ask applicants to have an interview and/or to write an essay if we have concerns about their study plan or English level.


Recognised English Tests:

IELTS** iBT TOEFL Pearson PTE Cambridge FCE GCSE/IGCSE in English Language
Fast Track Offer 6.0 + 6.0 W 90 + 21 W 55 in each B B
Essay and Interview 5.5 + 5.0 W 76 + 12 W 55 + 50 W C C
Entrance Test and Interview 5.0 + 4.5 W 60 + 12 W 46 + 41 W - -

 ** We accept IELTS for UKVI or non-UKVI but ICC students who require a Tier 4 General Student Visa will be required to achieve CEFR B1 (4.0 in each sub-score) in an IELTS for UKVI test for visa purposes.  


How to Apply

Please print and complete the ICC Application Form 2021-22 (pdf; 149kb)  . Then e-mail it as an attachment to us at



Programme Dates:
  • ICC:Tuesday 21 September 2021 - Friday 17 June 2022.
  • ICC (+SPPC): Monday 2 August 2021 - Friday 17 June 2022
 Term Dates:
  • Summer Pathway Preparation Course (SPPC): 2 August - 10 September 2021
  • Introductory Course: 21 - 28 September 2021
  • Autumn Term: 4 October - 17 December 2021 (Reading Week: 8 -12 November 2021)
  • Spring Term: 10 January - 25 March 2022 (Reading Week: 14 -18 February 2022)
  • Summer Term: 25 April - 17 June 2022 (No Reading Week)



The attendance requirement for this programme is 80%.



  • ICC: £19,750 GBP (September entry)
  • Summer Pathway Preparation Course: £1900 GBP

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


For details visit the IFCELS Accommodation page.

Late Application Fee:

Applications received on or after 1 August 2020 will incur a late application fee of £90.00.

Additional Costs:

You may be required to purchase books for some modules. Students taking the World Art module may be required to pay for some gallery visits where there is an entrance charge.

Please see the full Terms and Conditions.