SOAS University of London

International Foundation Courses and English Language Studies

International Foundation Programme (ICC) (2022 entry)

  • Structure
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Fees and funding
  • Apply


Who is this programme for?:

Click here to view the latest ICC Brochure

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.

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.

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.

Recognised English Tests:


IELTS** iBT TOEFL Pearson Academic Cambridge FCE GCSE/IGCSE in English Language
ICC Foundation 5.5 overall with at least 5.0 in each subscore 74 overall with at least 15 in each subscore 50 overall with at least 46 in each communicative skills  C C or 4
ICC Foundation Plus (including Summer Pathway Preparation Course) 5.0 overall with at least 5.0 in each subscore 65 overall with at least 15 in each subscore 46 overall with at least 46 in each communicative skills - -

Please bear in mind that although we accept these forms of evidence when assessing an ICC Foundation application, if you require a Student Visa to study in the UK you will need to provide UKVI-approved SELT evidence, which achieves CEFR B1 in each of the four language skills, in the form of IELTS for UKVI ( at least 4.0 in each sub-score) or Pearson Academic UKVI (at least 43 in each Communicative Skills score) 

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 International Foundation Courses and English Language Studies
Intensive Academic English 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. 

Access to English Academic Studies course 

Prospective ICC students who want to develop their English further before starting the programme in September could consider joining the Access to English Academic Studies course. This part-time online programme can provide a pathway to the ICC programme.


Weishi Chen,  ICC Achievement Prize Winner 2017-18

Professor Deborah Johnston, SOAS Pro-director, Learning and Teaching, congratulated our ICC prize-winners on their achievements and presented their prizes at the IFCELS Welcome Reception.

"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, 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, now studying BSc Population Health at UCL

Entry requirements

  • The English language requirement to join ICC is IELTS for UKVI 5.5 overall with 5.0 in each subscore or an equivalent level in other recognised test. Please bear in mind that in order to successfully apply for a Student Visa, UKVI-approved test evidence will need to be obtained at some point before the submission of the visa application.

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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.

Important notice

The information on the programme page reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session. If you are a current student you can find structure information on the previous year link at the top of the page or through your Department. Please read the important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules.

Teaching and Learning

Teaching & Learning

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
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

ICC Student Blogs

"Have a look at some of our ICC students blogs where students talk about their experiences of taking ICC in London at SOAS"

Fees and funding

Tuition Fees (2022-23)

• ICC: £21,320 GBP (September entry)

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.

Additional Costs:

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

Please see the full Terms and Conditions.


The Application Process

When we receive your application and supporting documents we will review them and get in touch with you if we require any further documentation. In many cases we will then be in a position to make a decision on your application. However, as this programme acts as a bridge between your current education and undergraduate study, we may need to find out more about your undergraduate study plan or previous educational experience in order to ensure that this programme is suitable for your academic goals. In this case, we will ask you to have a brief online consultation, which gives us an opportunity to talk to you directly. This is an informal discussion and is not supposed to be a test. It also gives you the chance to ask us any questions that you may have about the programme. It takes about 20 minutes and can be carried out via Zoom, Skype, WeChat or Google Meet. Once we have reviewed your application, if we need to arrange a consultation with you, we will contact you to find out when you are available.

Apply now

Please click here to view the ICC Academic Entry Requirements 


Programme Dates:

  • ICC:Tuesday 20 September 2022 - Friday 16 June 2023.

 Term Dates:

  • Introductory Course: 20 - 27 September 2022
  • Autumn Term: 3 October - 16 December 2022 (Reading Week: 7 -11 November 2022)
  • Spring Term: 09 January - 24 March 2023 (Reading Week: 13 -17 February 2023)
  • Summer Term: 24 April - 16 June 2023 


The attendance requirement for this programme is 80%.