Student reading in library


About this pathway

The International Foundation Year in Business, Economics, Accounting and Finance prepares you to study an undergraduate degree in the exciting setting of 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


  • 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.

What will you study?

Academic English Skills aims to provide thorough training in the language and related academic skills which will enable international students to best achieve their academic potential at university. Our Academic English programme is validated by UK ENIC, the UK government agency responsible for providing information and expert opinion on qualifications and skills worldwide.

You will develop awareness and competency in a range of language-related academic skills, including the processes of academic writing, effective and extensive reading strategies, effective participation in seminars and delivery of presentations, and listening to and recording information effectively from lectures. You will also develop the accuracy and range of written and spoken language required to use language effectively and appropriately, with clarity and confidence in an academic context.

Alongside your classes, your studies will be supported by an online learning platform, providing you with a range of tasks and activities specifically designed to develop and extend your language and academic skills outside the classroom and to give you more control over your own learning.

Students will be assessed in all four skills areas: listening, reading, speaking and writing, this is assessed through examinations, coursework, seminars and presentations.

The recommended text for this module is Academic Writing Skills for International Students by Read and English for Academic Study: Reading Course Book by Slaght.

This one-term module reviews and builds on many of the topics typically studied in mathematics in the latter years of high school. This module hopes to improve confidence in algebraic manipulation through the study of mathematical techniques and development of investigative skills. It will introduce and develop a knowledge of logarithms and their uses. The module also seeks to introduce and develop a knowledge of a range of standard techniques for differentiation and integration.

This module is assessed by an invigilated examination.

Recommended texts for this module are Edexcel AS and A level Mathematics, Pure Mathematics Year 1 and Edexcel AS and A level Mathematics, Pure Mathematics Year 2.

This module aims to introduce and develop key academic skills such as writing, referencing, research skills and critical analysis. Students will undertake a research project selecting a topic of their own interest related to business. Students will work with tutors on a 1-2-1 basis in order to conduct research and complete the project.

This module is assessed by an artefact which can be in the form of a written report or poster presentation.

Recommended texts for this module include Pearson’s Research Methods for Business Students (by Saunders et al.).

This two-term module covers some fundamental techniques in statistics. Students will be given an opportunity to apply the skills studied to create a report by analysing a large data set. The module content includes sampling techniques, data exploration, correlation and regression, probability distributions and hypothesis testing.

This module is assessed by an invigilated examination and a statistical report.

Recommended texts for this module are Edexcel AS and A Level Mathematics – Statistics & Mechanics Year 1 and Edexcel AS and A Level Mathematics – Statistics & Mechanics Year 2. 

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.

Study modules

Finance/Business and Management/Accounting/Accounting and Management/Accounting and Finance

  • Foundations of Business


  • Pure Mathematics and Strategic
  • Economics

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.

This module is assessed by a written business report, an examination and a podcast.

Recommended texts for this module include Pearson's Edexcel AS and A level Business (by Dave Hall et al.) and AQA’s Business for A-Level (by Ian Marcouse et al.).

Pure Mathematics and Strategic

This module seeks to introduce students to both pure and strategic maths. Pure mathematics explores the boundary of mathematics and pure reason. It has been described as "that part of mathematical activity that is done without explicit or immediate consideration of direct application," although what is "pure" in one era often becomes applied later. Strategic mathematics involves applying analytical methods to help make better decisions. The approach often involves constructing and using mathematical models and problem structuring methods to represent the wide range of problems encountered in the real world. The results of these models allow decisions that are more informed. The module content includes calculus, trigonometry, complex numbers, linear programming, game theory, and critical path analysis.

This module is assessed by two invigilated examinations.

Recommended texts for this module are Edexcel AS and A Level Mathematics, Pure Mathematics Year 2 and Edexcel AS and A Level Further Mathematics – Decision Mathematics 1.


This module seeks to introduce students to the fundamentals of economics in order to prepare them for further study in this subject. It will develop students’ theoretical and practical skills in economics, equip students with the ability to evaluate different forms of economic policies and enable students to correctly interpret economic data.

This module is assessed by an examination.

Recommended texts for this module include Pearson Edexcel’s A and AS Level Economics (by Alain Anderton).

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 13th in the UK and 66th in Europe (Financial Times European Business School, 2022).
  • 9th for Economics (The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024).
  • 14th for Business and Management Studies (The Guardian University Guide 2024).
  • 11th for Accounting and Finance (Complete University Guide, Subject League Table 2024).

Find out more about business subjects at Durham University.

Ranked 15th

in the UK and Top 100 in the world for Accounting and Finance

(QS World University Rankings by Subject 2024)

Jad from Lebanon

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

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.

Degree Programme NameAwardOverall GradeEnglish GradeGrade Module
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Our student enrolment advisors are here to help with your application and answer any questions you have about studying with us.