Key Facts

Course Title: International Foundation Year (IFY) or Degree Programme (IDP)
Course Duration: 1 + 3 or 4 years (IFY) / 4 - 6 years (IDP)
Who Can Apply: Non-EU international students with at least IELTS level 5.0 and 5.0 in all subtests (IFY), or at least IELTS level 5.5 and 5.5 in all subtests (IDP). For Medicine IELTS 7.0 is required with 7.0 in all subtests. For Physiotherapy, IELTS 7.0 is required with 6.5 in all subtests. For Pharmacy, IELTS 7.0 is preferred. IELTS 6.5 is accepted with 6.5 in all subtests and students will be required to take English language modules as part of their programme. For Adult Nursing, applicants will normally have IELTS level 7.0 (with 7.0 in each subset); the University may be able to accept alternative English Language qualifications from applicants from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) on a case by case basis in line with the appropriate Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) guidelines.
Funding: Self-funded
Fees: Read more about fees
Progression: IDP: progression to the next year is guaranteed subject to successful completion of the year with the required threshold marks. IFY: a place on a degree programme at Keele is guaranteed, subject to successful completion of the Foundation Year with the required threshold marks, successful performance at interview and a new visa being obtained.
Mode of Study: A mixture of lectures, tutorials, seminars, workshops, placements, computer classes, computer exercises, field trips and laboratory classes together with independent study and revision
Website: Our webpage
E-mail Print for later
Share |


The International Foundation Year provides an excellent preparation for degree level study for overseas students. It is suitable for students whose current academic qualifications and/or English language level do not allow direct application to the first year of a Bachelor’s degree programme.

The course prepares you academically for your future studies but also enhances your learning skills, employability and integration into British culture and society. The entry point to the International Foundation Year and Degree Programme depends on your English language level and visa conditions.

Our International Foundation Year students are truly international. In the last three years we have welcomed students from countries including, among others, Brazil, Mexico, Turks and Caicos Islands, the US, Zambia, Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Bangladesh, Brunei, China and Japan.

Course Routes

There are many subjects to choose. The full list of honours courses can be found in the prospectus or at (  

Entry Requirements

For 2018 Entry

The minimum entry requirements for the International Foundation Year are a national high school leaving diploma or 64 UCAS points made up from, for example, A levels or the International Baccalaureate.  Students should also have GCSE English Language grade C, IELTS 5.0 (including at least 5.0 in all subtests) or acceptable equivalent qualifications.  They should in addition have GCSE Mathematics at grade C (which is compulsory for students who will take a mathematics module during the Foundation Year) or an equivalent level 2 numerate qualification considered on an individual basis.

Students intending to progress to Music must have a practical music qualification to the equivalent of at least ABRSM grade 5, or (for the non-performance route only) ABRSM grade 5 Music Theory or equivalent (e.g. GCSE Music Grade C or higher), plus (for both routes) demonstrable musical experience.

Adult Nursing: for entry to the IDP for Adult Nursing (Health Foundation Year route) IELTS 7.0 is required, with 7.0 in all subtests. Contact the School of Nursing and Midwifery for information on academic qualifications required.

Medicine:  for entry to the IDP for Medicine (Health Foundation Year route) IELTS 7.0 is required, with 7.0 in all subtests, and academic qualifications equivalent to AAA at A level.

Pharmacy: for entry to the Foundation Year for Pharmacy (Health Foundation Year route), IELTS 7.0 is preferred. IELTS 6.5 is accepted with 6.5 in all subtests and students will be required to take English language modules as part of their programme.  For Pharmacy entered via the IDP (Health Foundation Year route) academic qualifications equivalent to 300 UCAS points are required.  If you have lower qualifications, then entry to the IFY is possible.

Physiotherapy: for entry to the IDP for Physiotherapy (Health Foundation Year route), IELTS 7.0 is required, with at least 6.5 in all subtests, and academic qualifications equivalent to ABB at A level.

Please note: All non-native English speaking students are required to undertake a diagnostic English language assessment on arrival at Keele, to determine if English language support may help you to succeed with your studies.  An English language module may be compulsory for you during your Foundation Year.

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) is considered on a case-by-case basis and those interested should contact the Programme Director.  The University's guidelines on this can be found at

How to Apply

All applications for the International Foundation Year and International Degree Programme can be made through UCAS using the codes below.  Alternatively, if you have not applied through UCAS, applications can be made directly to the University using the IFY/IDP Application Form . Students wanting to take a health course should normally apply for the Health Foundation Year and will require IELTS 7.0 for Medicine or Physiotherapy, and IELTS 6.5 for Pharmacy. See UCAS for application deadlines.  The application route does not affect the fee structure.

UCAS Code Codes

Y002 - IFY

Y008 - IDP

Teaching and Assessment

The programme will be delivered through a mixture of lectures, tutorials, seminars, workshops, placements, computer classes, computer exercises, field trips and laboratory classes.  In addition, you are expected to undertake a large amount of independent study and revision.

Lectures are normally 50 minutes long and consist of a member of staff talking to the whole class with the aid of PowerPoint presentations, whiteboards and other visual aids.  Many lectures involve only teaching by the lecturer, although there is usually opportunity to ask questions.  However, some lectures are more interactive and may involve activities for you to undertake.

Tutorials and seminars are small group sessions with a member of staff.  Usually there is much more participation by students in these than in lectures.  There is often opportunity for you to suggest the topics to be discussed, to ask questions and even to lead part of the session.  Tutorials and seminars usually support the material delivered in the lectures; seminars often allow you and/or staff to introduce supplementary material.

Workshops are small group sessions based around an activity.  These may be individual or group activities.  A member of staff facilitates the session but the learning comes largely through the undertaking of the activity.  Some workshops will complement the material delivered in the lectures rather than build on it directly.

Laboratory classes provide opportunity for you to perform experiments and other practical work under supervision.

Field trips allow you to carry out supervised investigations outside the class room.

During placements you have the opportunity to observe professional practice.

In computer classes you complete tasks using a wide variety of computer applications.  Members of staff are available to provide guidance.

Independent study includes revision, wider reading around the subject, preparation and writing of assignments, preparatory reading, preparation for seminars and tutorials, and developing skills to complement the material delivered in class.  Reading lists are provided to help you direct your reading.

Assessment (The following list is representative of the variety of assessment methods used within the International Foundation Year).

Unseen closed and open book examinations in different formats test your knowledge and understanding of the subject. Examinations may consist of essay, short answer and/or multiple choice questions.

Essays and reports allow you to demonstrate your ability to articulate ideas clearly using argument and reasoning skills and with close reference to the contexts and critical concepts covered in the modules. Essays also develop and demonstrate research and presentation skills (including appropriate scholarly referencing).

Class tests taken either conventionally or online via the Keele Learning Environment (KLE) assess your subject knowledge and your ability to apply it.

Research projects test your knowledge of different research methodologies and the limits and provisional nature of knowledge. They also enable you to demonstrate your ability to formulate research questions and to address them using appropriate methods.

Oral and poster presentations and reports assess your individual subject knowledge and understanding. They may also test your ability to work effectively as members of a team, to communicate what you know orally and visually, and to reflect on these processes as part of your own personal development.

Portfolios may consist of a range of different pieces of work but routinely include a requirement that you provide some evidence of critical reflection on the development of your own learning.

Peer assessment - in some cases you will be involved in peer evaluation of other students’ work, particularly in group work.  This helps you to take responsibility, improve your performance, and reflect on both your own work and that of others.

Course work assignments consist of short written pieces completed in your own time and provide the opportunity to test a range of deeper learning concepts; you are expected to make use of a variety of source material, as well as your lecture notes and text books etc., to complete these assignments. 

Laboratory reports – structured pro formas and full laboratory reports are formal summaries of work carried out in the laboratory.  They test your understanding of the practical aspects of the programme and develop the skills necessary to enable you to present and analyse your results, as well as explain the rationale behind an experiment, describe an associated replicable methodology and draw valid conclusions.


Contacts & Further Information

For course information and any other enquiries please contact:

Simon Rimmington

Tel: +44 (0)1782 733764


Foundation Year Centre

Keele University

Staffordshire, ST5 5BG

Additional Costs

As to be expected there will be additional costs for textbooks and other course books, inter-library loans, potential overdue library fines and printing.

Students taking a mathematical or scientific module will require an approved calculator.

Students taking the module 'Education in Practice', which involves a placement in a school, will be expected to fund your own travel in that regard.

Students working in the chemistry and biology laboratories will be required to wear protective equipment.  These can be purchased from the University for a total cost of about £15.

Students taking the module 'Exploiting the Earth' will be required to provide a £10 deposit with regard to the field trip, returnable on attendance.


There are two versions of the course: the International Foundation Year (IFY) and the International Degree Programme (IDP). The courses cover the same content and normally require the same academic entry requirements. They differ in the English Language requirement and visa conditions. The entry requirements differ only in the case of Pharmacy.

The IDP is a 4, 5 or 6-year degree programme for students with IELTS 5.5 or above. Students complete the Foundation Year component and, upon successful completion of the course, progress onto the remaining years of an honours degree at Keele.  Progression to the next year of study via the IDP is automatic on passing the Foundation Year with the required grades.  A visa will cover the full four years; therefore there is no need to apply for a second visa at the end of the Foundation Year.

The IFY is a 1-year foundation course for students with a English language IELTS level of 5.0. There is a progression agreement guaranteeing a place on a Keele degree programme for all students completing the International Foundation Year, subject to the obtaining of certain threshold marks and obtaining a new visa.  In the case of Pharmacy, progression from the IFY is subject also to obtaining 70% in all modules and satisfactory performance at interview.  A visa will be granted for the duration of the IFY and a second visa will then need to be obtained for the 3-year degree stage. Hence, the IFY is classed as a 1-year + 3-year (or 4-year) programme. Alternatively, IFY students may choose to continue their studies at another university, by applying through UCAS.

You will take a combination of modules to a total of 120 credits: core modules, those related to your intended degree programmes after your Foundation Year and some free choice. Modules are worth 10, 15 or 20 credits.

Core module

The core module is either:

  • Academic Development, or
  • A Guide to Success for International Students (15 credits), for students deemed to require English language training during the Foundation Year

Most students also take at least one English language module.

Subject-specific modules

Modules related to particular subjects are taken on an individual basis, as appropriate to your intended subsequent study.  Since this is a one-year programme designed for students who will not necessarily continue their studies at Keele, the specific combination of modules taken by particular students is very flexible and may be influenced by the Universities to which they intend to apply.  Available modules including those taken by students intending to progress to particular Keele degrees are listed in the Indicative Modules tab.  

Option modules

Additional modules can be taken to bring the total module credit value to 120.  These can be in any subject available at Foundation level and modern foreign languages, subject to timetabling constraints and room capacity.

Our Course Information Documents (CIDs) are designed to give you all of the details you need to make an informed decision about what and where to study.

International Foundation Year Course Information Document 2017-18

Students on the International Degree Programme (IDP) should refer to the specific Course Information Document (CID) for their Foundation Year route:

Business Foundation Year Course Information Document 2017-8

Health Foundation Year Course Information Document 2017-8

Humanities Foundation Year Course Information Document 2017-8

Science Foundation Year Course Information Document 2017-8

Social Science Foundation Year Course Information Document 2017-8

If you are eligible to apply for a KISS scholarship you could receive £2000 for each of the remaining years of your degree programme at Keele, if the application is successful.

Science, Humanities and Social Science students who do not receive a KISS scholarship will automatically qualify for the Foundation Year bursary of £1000 for each remaining year of your degree at Keele University.

My Foundation Year at Keele was an amazing experience. It gave me countless essential skills, which I lacked, in order to progress to my chosen degree program. On the other side, I had the opportunity to befriend wonderful students from all over the world, nourishing my cultural knowledge as well. 
As an international student, I learnt how to balance my work and social life and how to improve my English skills, especially in oral communication. The modules are taught using several approaches, giving me different ways to build and improve the skills I was expected to accomplish. The staff are always supportive and although there are many students in Foundation Year, they still made me feel relevant and helped me whenever I needed it. Moreover, every student has a personal tutor, with whom you can discuss academic or personal matters. 
I encourage both international and home students to take part in the Foundation Year. It is a big family and no matter where you come from, you will not ever feel alone.
Cristal Collado: International Degree Programme 2014-2015, studying Biochemistry and Biology

Please refer to the list of subject-specific Foundation Year modules available to International Foundation Year students.

Please refer to the list of Foundation Year modules associated with each Keele degree subject.