SOAS University of London

International Foundation Courses and English Language Studies

Why Choose ICC?

Choosing a foundation is a big decision and we know that many of our offer holders will also be considering other programmes, so we would like to remind you of some of the special features and advantages of ICC: 

1. Our research shows that progression to high ranking universities is the most important factor for students in choosing a programme

ICC has been running since 1985 and the quality of the programme is recognised by top universities across the UK. Since 2015 over 80% of ICC students progressing to a degree have gone on to a top 30 UK university (Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020).

Our students are guaranteed an offer for any degree at SOAS and receive comprehensive and unbiased UCAS advice from our own IFCELS Academic Adviser to help them apply for SOAS and other universities.

During the academic year 2018-19:
In September 2019:
  • ICC students progressed to 17 different universities for undergraduate study.
  • 70% went on to University of London Colleges, including 9 to UCL and 7 to King’s.
  • Over 90% of students were able to stay at SOAS or progress to a UK Top 30 University (Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020).
  • See a full list of ICC student destinations in 2019


Thu Thu
"My Academic Adviser was very supportive throughout the UCAS process and I was delighted to receive offers from all my five choices, including one from my first choice: University College London."
Thu Thu from Myanmar, after ICC progressed to BA in Education Studies, UCL Institute of Education                                                                                                                                                

2. The IFCELS Department, which runs the foundation, is a full department of SOAS and all the staff are employed directly by the university

ICC is a University-run International Foundation Programme and we pride ourselves on the expertise of our stable and experienced teaching team. In fact, 80% of the teachers currently working on ICC have been with us for at least 10 years. Our 35 years of experience running foundation programmes, and the high quality of the teaching, lead to exceptional student success rates. ICC makes progression to a top university a reality for our students. Last year, the pass rate was 93%. 75% of those achieved at least a “merit” grade of more than 60% overall, and more than 40% gained a “distinction” score of over 70% overall.


Xiaohan LIN

"It has been an incredible year studying on ICC. The dedication and remarkable passion of the staff bring high quality teaching and well-structured modules, making it much more than a standard Foundation Programme. The topics I studied introduced me to new academic fields and enhanced my critical thinking ability. What ICC has taught me is more than just academic knowledge intended for universities, but also the principle that nothing is unachievable with great effort, and sometimes you can even exceed your expectations"
Xiaohan Lin from China, 2018-19 ICC student, now on BSc Economics and Statistics at UCL

3. We offer a unique study environment and student experience in the heart of London

As an ICC student you will be a full member of SOAS and the University of London and will have the same access to SOAS and University of London facilities as undergraduate students. This includes libraries, student societies and activities, and sports facilities. All your teaching will take place on SOAS’ central London campus in Russell Square, sharing the same teaching rooms as undergraduate and postgraduate students. Living in the SOAS or University of London student halls (all within walking distance of the campus) is a great way to make friends with undergraduate students from the UK and around the world. See the SOAS Accommodation pages for information.

Tae Young KIM

"The School library has an extensive collection of books in foreign languages; I was extremely pleased to be able to find a way to appreciate literature in my mother language whilst staying in the UK. Becoming a member of SOAS student societies is a perfect way to socialise and stay healthy. I have taken mindfulness and relaxation yoga class provided by the SOAS Yoga Society. Despite the fact that I am a complete beginner in yoga, people were welcoming, and the class was easy to follow.

"At the Law careers fair, I also signed up for the SOAS Law Society since I am planning to study Law for my undergraduate degree. Through the Law Society, I was able to get access to practical information about job opportunities and law networking events."                                                                                                                                                                                                  Tae Young Kim from South Korea, current 2019-20 ICC student                                                  

4. SOAS is a friendly and welcoming global community

With more than half the students coming from outside the UK, SOAS is one of the most international universities in the world. People come from over 140 countries to study the languages, societies and cultures of the world: people with passion and a truly international perspective. Come and meet the world and broaden your horizons at SOAS.

Quaner YUAN

"In my opinion, studying at SOAS is just like climbing high and gazing far – you have an incredible range of views. On the Foundation Programme, I have been treated more than just a number, but as a person. Each student has their own Personal Tutor. I can talk about almost everything with my Personal Tutor, my state of mind, my learning conditions, and the process of applying for undergraduate programmes."                                                                                                                                                  Quaner Yuan from China, current 2019-20 ICC student  


5. ICC has a flexible structure so you can individualise your studies and pursue your academic interests

Unlike most foundation programmes, we do not restrict students to particular “streams” but we offer a range of 10 optional modules, ranging from Business and Economics to the Social Sciences and Humanities, and you choose two of these to create your own pathway to prepare you for undergraduate study. So, for example, if you are interested in a degree in a Business-related subject, you can combine the Business Studies module with Economics, Media and Communications, International Law, Development Studies or even World Art & Literature. So, whatever aspect of Business appeals to you – Finance and Accounting, Marketing and Advertising, Business Economics or Commercial Law – you will be well-prepared for your degree.

Kazuki SAKAI

"ICC helped me to bridge the gap between high school and university, especially the study style at UK universities. The Issues in Development Studies module on ICC prepared me to study International Development successfully at undergraduate level. It showed me how to shape the ways of thinking towards the field of international cooperation and to understand the issues more deeply and critically."
Kazuki Sakai from Japan, 2017-18 ICC student, now on BA Development Studies and International Relations at SOAS 

If you would like to talk about ICC or have any questions, please contact William Hetherington at, Head of IFCELS. Also check our International Visits page for details of when our staff will be in your country.