Student smiling on campus


What is the International Foundation Year?

Our International Foundation Year provides the academic and English language training you need to succeed at a world-class university. Once you successfully complete this foundation programme and achieve the required grades, you can progress to your chosen undergraduate degree at Durham University.

Why study the International Foundation Year?

You may choose to study the International Foundation Year if you want to:

  • Prepare for an undergraduate degree at world-class Durham University
  • Improve your English language and study skills
  • Start learning modules related to your subject so you have a head-start on your degree
  • Choose from a wide range of progression degrees and subjects
  • Settle in to life on a small campus before transitioning to Durham City
  • Receive expert support from specialists at teaching international students
  • Develop the focus and dedication you need to succeed at university.

Key facts


  • Three terms

Entry Points:

Academic: Good high school graduation grades or equivalent, with relevant subjects

English language: Academic IELTS for UKVI 5.5 (5.5 in reading and writing, minimum of 5.0 in all other skills)*

Age: 17+

*We accept equivalent proof of English if you do not need a Student visa, or are exempt in another way.

Visit our entry requirements page for further details.


You can check the associated fees with your chosen programme by visiting our dedicated fees page.

A choice of undergraduate pathways 

Choose from a range of subject pathways depending on the degree you are looking to progress to at Durham University. Find out more about modules you will study and electives related to your chosen progression degree on the following pages.


of students who completed their International Foundation Year and achieved the required grades were offered a place at Durham University in 2023.

What to expect from this course

This is a three-term foundation course comprising core modules and designated modules that relate to your progression degree. All students will study our Academic English Skills module, designed to support you with your reading, writing, listening and speaking. This will help you reach the level you need to succeed at university.

Assessing your progress

You will be assessed throughout this programme so you know your studies are on track. Assessments will include exams, coursework, research and presentations. You will also be assigned a personal academic tutor who can provide support, monitor your progress and keep your studies on track.

Focus on your career

We will support you to develop the skills you need to be a successful and employable graduate. Our CareerAhead activities, built in to your pathway programme allow you to focus on your career as you identify strengths, build key skills and create a development plan.

Improve your English language skills 

We offer a specialist English language preparation course if you need extra time to boost your skills before starting one of our academic programmes. Find out more about our English language courses if you do not meet the entry requirements for our pathway programmes.


Our student enrolment advisors are here to help with your application and answer any questions you have about studying with us.