Foundation College

Pre-Master's Programme

Key information

September to June
Start of programme
Attendance mode
Russell Square, College Buildings


Entry requirements

We normally require applicants to have a full undergraduate degree, but we are happy to consider those with an ordinary degree or college diploma qualification on a case-by-case basis, taking in account any relevant work experience, a strong personal statement or clear mitigating circumstances relating to any shortfall in undergraduate performance. We may also invite applicants for a brief online consultation in cases where further information or clarification relating to the application is needed. This is also an opportunity for applicants to ask any questions that they may have about the programme.

The minimum English language requirement to join the FDPS Pre-master's is IELTS 5.5 in each skill subscore or Pearson PTE Academic 59 in each of the four communicative skills. Applicants who do not achieve this requirement level but have evidence of at least 5.0 in each skill subscore (UKVI-approved) can join our 6-week Intensive Academic English Course in the summer on campus. Successful completion allows them to progress to pre-master's study in September. Students receive a combined Student Visa covering both programmes of study. 
Applicants who do not achieve the requirement for direct entry may also consider taking our online Access to English Academic Studies, which they can study in their own country from April to June.

See English language requirements

Course overview

The SOAS Foundation Diploma for Postgraduate Studies (FDPS) Pre-master's programme is a 10-month course providing academic and English language preparation for international students who want to enter Master's degrees (taught and researched) in Social Science, Business and Management-related studies, Arts and Humanities at British universities.

Since the FDPS Foundation programme was started in 1993 our students have progressed to Master’s study at institutions in the University of London, and over the UK. Students who achieve a minimum level of academic and English language performance on the FDPS Pre-master’s programme are guaranteed progression to SOAS postgraduate programmes in most subject areas (subject to satisfying eligibility requirements), and will receive a 20% discount off their tuition fees. 

However the FDPS diploma award from the University of London is recognised by British universities across the UK and our Academic Advice Team provides one-to-one support with every stage of the postgraduate application procedure. All high-ranking British universities recognise the FDPS Pre-master’s as a value-adding academic and English-language programme for international students.

Why study Pre-Master's Programme (FDPS) at SOAS?

At SOAS we have a: 

  • wide range of academic modules available to students
  • unique integrated approach to English development, where the language teaching and learning are directly linked to the material covered in the academic modules.
  • experience and expertise of our teaching and lecturing staff
  • extensive individual support provided to our students through regular one-to-one meetings with lecturers, teachers, personal tutors, academic supervisors and academic advisors
  • 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.

Who should apply?

The Foundation Diploma for Postgradute Studies (FDPS Pre-master’s programme) is designed for international students who want to study for a postgraduate taught or research degree at a British university. You may need to complete a pre-master’s programme if any of the conditions below apply to you:

  • You have a undergraduate degree which meets the requirements of postgraduate programmes, but would like to develop your English or academic study skills on a UK university campus, in preparation for Master’s study.
  • You have a full undergraduate degree but you wish to change your academic focus for postgraduate study, or you do not have the required background experience for a particular postgraduate subject area, and so you want to develop or deepen your knowledge or the relevant subject area.
  • Your current undergraduate qualifications do not fulfil the requirements of the postgraduate programme(s) you want to apply for and so you wish to add value to your academic performance through a pre-master’s year.

Progressing to Master’s study

FDPS students are now guaranteed a conditional offer for all Master's programmes at SOAS. View the FDPS progression table (PDF) to find a full list of postgraduate programmes, eligibility requirements and offer conditions.

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

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.


Programme aims

  • help students gain entry to postgraduate degree programmes at British universities in the humanities, social sciences, law and business-related studies
  • enable students to extend and deepen their academic knowledge
  • give students the linguistic and academic skills needed to be successful on a degree programme
  • give students that opportunity to carry out extended, supervised research
  • 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 taken up with revision and final written examinations.

Weekly timetable

Students attend 14 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. Students also have regular one-to-one contact with lectures, academic English teachers, academic supervisors and personal tutors.

Intensive Academic English Course

IFCELS delivers this 6-week course in the summer to help students develop the language and skills required to successfully participate on the FDPS Pre-master's programme. 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 Intensive Academic English Course info sheet, or you can apply online.

Access to English Academic Studies

Those 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 FDPS programme.

Students achieving 4.5 overall and 4.5 in each sub skill in IELTS should consider applying to the online Access to English Academic Studies course. This part-time online programme can provide a pathway to the FDPS programme.

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 academic subject module, of which one is compulsory.

Two compulsory modules (30 credits)

Additional modules (15 credits)

Students choose an additional two modules in Term 1 and a further one module in Term 2 alongside the compulsory Research Methods module.

Term 1

Term 2

Term 2 – Compulsory module

Teaching and learning

Programme assessment

  • 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 Academic English module. Students also submit an 8,000-word 'dissertation' for their Independent Study Project.
  • Examinations – students sit final written examinations for the 30-credit Academic English module and 15-credit elective module taken in Term 2. They also take a final oral examination for the Academic English module.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees 2024/25

£14,920 (FDPS full fee)

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. 

Please note that if you require a visa, you will need to pay a £4000 deposit (which forms part of your tuition fee). Further details can be found here: CAS request.

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 detailed information about different accommodation options and fees, please visit 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.