International Foundation Year in Business, Economics, Accounting and Finance

About this pathway

The International Foundation Year in Business, Economics, Accounting and Finance prepares you for an undergraduate degree at Durham City. This programme lasts for three terms.

Upon successful completion of the programme you can choose from a range of related degrees at Durham University.

Who is this programme for?

This programme is for international students aiming to study an undergraduate degree in a business, economics, accounting or finance field at Durham University.

  • Develop the academic and English language skills you need to meet the entry requirements for your chosen degree.
  • Gain a grounding in study skills and terminology as well as practical experience with research methods and critical thinking.
  • Adjust to the UK education system and build a foundation in business concepts at a university level.
  • Build a foundation of economics or a foundation in accounting and finance subjects before starting your degree.

Key facts

  • Course facts
  • Start dates
  • Study plans
  • Admissions


  • Three terms


  • September and January

September 2020

  • Term 1: 14/09/2020 to 04/12/2020
  • Term 2: 04/01/2021 to 19/03/2021
  • Term 3: 29/03/2021 to 02/07/2021

January 2021

  • Term 1: 04/01/2021 to 19/03/2021
  • Term 2: 29/03/2021 to 04/06/2021
  • Term 3: 07/06/2021 to 20/08/2021
IELTS Length Jun Aug Sep Dec Jan Apr Jun Aug Oct
5.0* 4 terms       Start your degree
5.0* 4 terms      
5.5** 3 terms      
5.5** 3 terms    

*5.0 in reading and Writing, 4.5 in all other skills
**5.5 in reading and Writing, 5.0 in all other skills

   International Foundation Year    English Language Preparation

Admissions information

If you do not meet the entry requirements for the International Foundation Year you can study one or two additional terms of English language preparation. Find out about English language preparation.

What will you study?

  • Academic English Skills

    Academic English Skills supports students to develop their skills in reading, writing, listening and speaking, with a particular focus on the language uses that will prove most useful throughout their studies at Durham University. This critical module runs throughout each term at the International Study Centre, and features particular emphasis on grammar and language skills for those requiring a boost in this area, whilst also allowing able students to stretch themselves in their written and spoken work.

  • Core Foundation Maths for Business and Economics

    This module seeks to improve confidence in algebraic manipulation through the study of mathematical techniques and development of investigative skills. The module will also introduce and develop a knowledge of logarithms and their uses, furthermore introducing and developing a knowledge of trigonometry. Students will be introduced to and develop an understanding of a range of standard techniques for differentiation and integration, and the module will include trigonometric and logarithmic functions. 

  • Extended Research

    This module will allow students to pursue and develop subject specific interests, and encourages students to work independently with supervision in some depth. This module will also allow students to develop methods of research and analysis appropriate to their specific progression route.

  • Foundations of Business

    This module will support students to develop a critical understanding of organisations and the markets they serve, taking into account the internal workings and management of organisations. It will also work to raise awareness of the diversity of perspectives on business behaviour (customer, manager, creditor, owner, employee, etc). Students can expect to have outlined some of the economic, environmental, ethical, governmental, legal, social and technological issues surrounding business activity. There will also be a focus on exploring the current structure of business and business practice. Students will acquire a range of key skills, including decision making and problem-solving. 

  • Foundations of Statistics

    This module will introduce and develop understanding of basic statistical principles to provide a foundation for future study. It will also develop skills that help students to apply statistical tools to real life problems. Ultimately this module will encourage students to develop confidence in their own abilities in statistics.

  • Academic Practice (for Business)*

    This module looks to provide students with a background in academic conventions and expectations in Business to prepare them to join the Community of Practice of their chosen discipline;  The module also aspires: to provide students with a grounding in study skills and their supporting technology; to support students in developing an academic voice; and to develop critical analysis.

    *this is not a core module for the Economics pathway

  • Studying Social Life (for Business)*

    This module looks to encourage students to think sociologically; to stimulate the ‘sociological’ imagination. It will introduce a foundational bank of social science knowledge, paradigms and themes, and it will also provide a framework of academic and analytical skills upon which students can build either in further directed study or by the process of self-study. The module will above all develop confidence and students’ learning and assessment skills.

    *this is not a core module for the Economics pathway

Designated modules 

Alongside core modules you will study designated modules that relate to your progression degree route. When you successfully complete this pathway and achieve the required grades, you can begin your undergraduate degree at Durham University.

Why study this programme?

Prepare for a highly-ranked undergraduate degree at Durham University Business School and explore theories, techniques and concepts ready for university.

  • Durham University Business School is ranked 10th in the UK and 43rd in Europe (Financial Times European Business School, 2019).
  • Top 150 in Business and Management and Accounting and Finance (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2020). 
  • 12th for Accounting and Finance (Complete University Guide, Subject League Table 2020).
  • 9th for Business and Management Studies (Complete University Guide, Subject League Table 2020). 
  • 8th for Economics (Complete University Guide, Subject League Table 2020).

Find out more about business subjects at Durham University.  

English language preparation

If you do not meet the English language entry requirements for this academic programme you can enrol on our English language preparation course first. 

Progression degrees

When you successfully complete your International Foundation Year and achieve the required grades, you can progress to one of the following undergraduate degrees at Durham City:


Places may be limited so you are advised to apply and confirm as soon as possible.

Jad from Lebanon at Queen's Campus

Students who are applying to the International Study Centre are going to have a great experience, like I’m having now. Studying here is going to have a huge impact on their future careers and their future in general.

Jad from Lebanon
Now studying International Foundation Year in Business, Economics, Accounting and Finance
Aiming to study BA (Hons) Business and Management


Find out the tuition fees for your course.

Entry requirements

Find out the entry requirements for your course.

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