Foundation College

International Foundation Programme

Key information

10 months
Start of programme
Attendance mode
Russell Square, College Buildings


Course overview

The Intermediate Certificate Course (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 these two conditions apply to you:

  1. You have finished school in your own country, but your school-leaving certificate does not qualify you for direct entry to a UK university.
  2. 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 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 programme started in 1985 we have prepared students each year for progression to undergraduate study at institutions in the University of London and across the UK.

High-ranking British universities recognise the ICC International Foundation as a value-adding academic and English-language programme for international students.

Entry requirements

For a full list of entry requirements, see our Intermediate Certificate Course entry requirements page

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 for the first year 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.

Information about recent progression to undergraduate study at SOAS and other universities can be found in our Student Destinations Lists

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.

Scholarships and discounts

There is an Early Bird Discount of £1,000 off tuition fees to offer holders who accept their offer by 30 April 2024.


This 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
  • give students the linguistic and academic skills needed to be successful on a degree programme
  • increase the range of undergraduate subject areas accessible to students through subject-based English language tuition
  • give students the chance to experience a year of campus life and study in London

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.

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.

These are led by an academic lecturer. Students also attend Academic English module classes, and English support classes connected to their academic subject modules.

Important notice

The information on the website reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session. The modules are indicative options of the content students can expect and are/have been previously taught as part of these programmes.

However, this information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability is subject to change.

Study Modules

Students take six modules during the period of the programme, comprising two 30-credit compulsory modules and four 15-credit elective academic subject module.

Compulsory modules (30 credits)

Elective Modules

Students choose an additional four elective modules, two for each of the two terms.

Term 1

Term 2

Teaching and learning

Special features of the ICC programme

  • 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

Programme assessment

Students are assessed through coursework and final examinations.

  • Coursework – students complete coursework for each of their academic modules. For some modules, this could account for 100% of the marks and for others it could make up 50% of the total module marks. Coursework could take the form of structured written tasks, essays, case studies, presentations or seminar performance. It could also include timed written tasks in class, for example in the Intensive English for Academic Study module.
  • Examinations – students sit final written examinations for each 30-credit compulsory module and 15-credit elective modules taken in Term 2. They also take a final oral examination for the Intensive English for Academic Study module.

ICC student blogs

Have a look at some of our ICC students blogs where they share their experiences of studying in London at SOAS

ICC Welcome reception and prizewinners

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. The teachers were excellent and treated their jobs with extraordinary passion, and helped me build up my confidence and learn to study by myself. 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

Fees and funding

Tuition fees 2023/24


All fees must be paid in full before the start date of the programme. You do not need an invoice to pay your fees - you just need to quote your student ID/reference number. If you are sponsored by a funding or government body or Embassy, you must provide written proof from them that your fees will be paid, with the contact details of the sponsor, before enrolment. If the sponsor does not pay, you are responsible for paying the fees.

How to pay

1. Online with a credit or debit card 

This is the most efficient way to pay and will mean we can process your paperwork quicker. We accept Visa, Mastercard, Eurocard, Switch, Maestro, Solo and Delta.  You need your student ID/reference number and you will be able to make as many payments as is necessary to pay your fees.

2. By bank transfer

Payment of fees at banks must only be made via a bank transfer (that is, from your account into the School's bank account). Please do not deposit money directly into the School's account.

Important note: A bank transfer fee is often charged by both the sending and receiving banks, so you must pay these independently of you course fee. If not, the actual amount received by SOAS will be less than the course fee. If funds are received without bank transfer fees being paid this will lead to delays in processing your application documents.

Please ask your bank to provide you with a Remittance Slip or proof of transaction, and be sure they quote your full name and your 6 digit ID number.

School's account details
  • Natwest Bank plc, 94 Moorgate, London, EC2M 6XT
  • Account number: 08622655
  • Sort code: 56-00-23
  • Account holder: School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)
  • Swift number: NWBKGB2L
  • IBAN: GB77NWBK56002308622655 (International Bank Account Number)

3. At enrolment

If you have not paid your tuition fees before arriving in the UK you can do so on the enrolment day, but as this is a very busy time you may have to wait in line to do so. Please try to pay before you arrive.

4. If you are sponsored by a funding or government body

You should email with proof that your tuition fees will be paid and with contact details of the funding body. If the sponsorship is not confirmed before the start of the academic year then please bring that information with you to enrolment. 

Please note that if your sponsor does not pay, you are responsible for paying your tuition fees.

Accommodation fees

For details please see IFCELS accommodation .

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 for ICC Foundation.