Undergraduate Course

International Foundation Programme

International Foundation Programme


The details
International Foundation Programme
January 2018
1 year
Colchester Campus
Essex Pathways

Are you an EU or international student who wants to study in the UK? Do you need to improve your English language and academic study skills?

On our one-year International Foundation Programme (IFP), we work with you to help improve your language skills, to develop your subject-specific knowledge, and to improve your academic skills. You receive a thorough grounding in these areas so that you can achieve the right academic level for a UK undergraduate degree.

You may find that the education system in the UK is slightly different from other countries and, sometimes, that the transition to the British system can be challenging. Our course can help you to settle in and adapt to life in the UK.

You study three or four academic subjects relevant to your chosen future course. You also study an Academic Skills module which focuses on developing your academic language and study skills so that you can participate effectively in your studies both during the International Foundation Programme and in your subsequent undergraduate course.

Our Essex Pathways Department offers some of the best routes for international students to enter higher education in the UK. Our innovative courses and programmes have proved very successful with international students because of the distinctive learning environment we offer.

You can apply to begin your IFP in either January or October, with the exception of students in mathematics, electronics, or telecommunications engineering, whose courses all begin in October.

Why we're great.
  • We equip you with the necessary knowledge and skills to succeed at Essex and beyond.
  • Small class sizes allow you to work closely with your teachers and classmates.
  • Access to both our Essex Pathways Department and University of Essex facilities.

Specialist facilities

By studying within our Essex Pathways Department, you will have access to all of the facilities that the University of Essex has to offer, as well as those provided by our department to support you:

  • We provide computer labs for internet research; classrooms with access to PowerPoint facilities for student presentations; AV facilities for teaching and access to web-based learning materials
  • Our new Student Services Hub will support you and provide information for all your needs as a student
  • Our social space is stocked with magazines and newspapers, and provides an informal setting to meet with your lecturers, tutors and friends

Your future

Completion of our IFP puts you in a great position to go on to study an undergraduate degree in the UK. While most of our students love Essex and choose to stay here for their undergraduate degree, our prestigious IFP enables you to apply for any undergraduate course in the UK.

Essex graduates can be found in a variety of roles around the globe where they use the skills and knowledge they gained by studying with us.

We work with our Employability and Careers Centre to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

Companies around the world that employ Essex graduates include:

  • Alcatel
  • Amnesty International
  • Bank of Mexico
  • BBC
  • BT Group
  • Fujitsu
  • Government Statistical Service
  • Intel
  • KPMG
  • Lloyds Bank
  • Microsoft
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Qatar
  • Morgan Stanley
  • National Gallery
  • QinetiQ
  • Panasonic
  • Pfizer Pharmaceuticals
  • PricewaterhouseCooper
  • The Royal Shakespeare Company
  • United Microelectronics Corporation
  • United Nations
  • Victoria and Albert Museum
  • Vodafone

Entry requirements

UK entry requirements

A good academic record at senior secondary/high school or junior college. If you have taken A-levels, International Baccalaureate or similar examinations, but have not met the achieved grades required for direct entry to the first year of our courses, you may also be eligible to apply

Please note some subject areas will require you to meet additional course-specific GCSE requirements. Please email us for further information.

International & EU entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Get in touch with any questions you may have about the qualifications we accept. Remember to tell us about the qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.

English language requirements

English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 5.0 overall. Specified component grades are also required for applicants who require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK.

If you are an international student requiring a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK please see our immigration webpages for the latest Home Office guidance on English language qualifications. Please note that date restrictions may apply to some English language qualifications.

If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.


Example structure

Below you will find an outline of the module combinations you need to take for each subject area.

Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field, therefore all modules listed are subject to change.

School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering

  • Computers and Electronics
  • Core Mathematics and Statistics or Pure Mathematics
  • Academic Skills
  • Computer Programming

Essex Business School

  • Core Mathematics and Statistics
  • Introduction to Business Management
  • Introduction to Economics
  • Academic Skills

Department of Economics

  • Core Mathematics and Statistics
  • Introduction to Business Management
  • Introduction to Economics
  • Academic Skills

Humanities and Social Sciences

(Art History, Philosophy, Drama, Film Studies, History, Literature, Humanities, Politics, International Relations, Sociology, Criminology)

  • Western Philosophy: Fundamental Questions, Major Thinkers
  • Major Writers in English Literature
  • An Introduction to the History of the United Kingdom during the Twentieth Century
  • Political and Social Theory from Plato to the Present Day
  • Academic Skills

School of Law

  • Introduction to Law
  • Academic Skills
  • Legal Theory in Practice
  • Introduction to Human Rights

Department of Mathematics

Mathematics Pathway (leading into all mathematics degrees except Actuarial Science):

  • Pure Mathematics
  • Introduction to Business Management
  • Introduction to Economics
  • Academic Skills

Actuarial Science Pathway (leading into all mathematics degrees including Actuarial Science)

  • Pure Mathematics
  • Computer Programming
  • Introduction to Economics
  • Academic Skills


  • Your teaching mainly takes the form of lectures and classes, the latter involving about 20 students
  • A typical timetable includes a one-hour lecture and a one-hour class for each of your four modules every week
  • Any language classes involve language laboratory sessions
  • Our classes are run in small groups, so you receive a lot of individual attention


  • Your assessed coursework will generally consist of essays, reports, in-class tests, book reviews, individual or group oral presentations, and small scale research projects

Fees and funding

Home/EU fee


International fee


International students: The standard undergraduate degree fee for international students will apply in subsequent years

Fees will increase for each academic year of study.

Home and EU fee information

International fee information

What's next

Open Days

Our Colchester Campus events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex. In 2017 we have three undergraduate Open Days (in June, September and October). These events enable you to discover what our Colchester Campus has to offer. You have the chance to:

  • tour our campus and accommodation
  • find out answers to your questions about our courses, student finance, graduate employability, student support and more
  • meet our students and staff

Check out our Visit Us pages to find out more information about booking onto one of our events. And if the dates aren’t suitable for you, feel free to get in touch by emailing tours@essex.ac.uk and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.


You can apply for one of our undergraduate pathways using our new online application form. You will be required to submit additional information, so don't forget to read the application carefully as we won't be able to process it until we have received all completed information.

Our International Foundation Programme has many subjects available, before you make your application please check the document below to see which is the best pathway for you:

International Foundation Programme pathways (.pdf)
Colchester Campus

Visit Colchester Campus

We want you to throw yourself in at the deep end, soak up life and make the most of those special Essex moments.

Home to over 13,000 students from more than 130 countries, our Colchester Campus is the largest of our three sites, making us one of the most internationally diverse campuses on the planet - we like to think of ourselves as the world in one place.


Virtual tours

If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tour allows you to explore the Colchester Campus from the comfort of your home. Check out our accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.


Our staff travel the world to speak to people about the courses on offer at Essex. Take a look at our list of exhibition dates to see if we’ll be near you in the future.

The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its course finder is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep prospective students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.

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