Skip navigation to content

International Foundation Programme for Social Sciences and Humanities

The overall aim of the International Foundation Programme for Social Sciences and Humanities is to provide a bridge between high school and university and to equip students with a robust intellectual and linguistic foundation appropriate for the demands of an undergraduate degree programme.

Successful students have the potential to progress onto a Single or Joint Honours degree programme.

Students discussing book in cathedral


There are two main elements of the programme:

  1. Academic study skills
  2. Academic lecture courses

Study Skills encompasses the language and study skills you will need to be a successful student. This part of the timetable includes academic writing, academic reading, oral presentations and listening, as well as other complementary micro-skills.

Through the study of novels, poetry and short stories from a variety of periods of literature, you will enhance your appreciation of literature and your ability to be an active and critical reader. You will be introduced to a wide variety of approaches to literary criticism and will be encouraged to apply diverse strands of interpretation drawing on aspects of arts, humanities and social sciences.

Lecture courses boost your knowledge to a level appropriate for undergraduate studies. By the end of the programme you will have knowledge of the subject that you plan to study as an undergraduate and be confident when talking and writing about your subject's key points and issues.

These subjects provide an extremely useful basis for all academic disciplines in the Social Sciences and Humanities, and allow you to understand some of the underlying political, philosophical and economic ideas which underpin many of the subjects which you will study in terms two and three. 

Lecture courses include International Relations, Literature, Philosophy, Psychology and Statistics.


There are three terms in the programme. You will have regular coursework assignments throughout each term, and some of these will contribute towards your final grade. In addition, you will have three sets of examinations, one set at the end of each term.

We use a variety of types of assessments, to give you experience of different ways of being examined - essays, multiple choice tests, short paragraphs, interviews, presentations and so on. 

Entrance requirements

You need to complete high school in your own country and graduate with good grades.  Because we accept students from a wide range of countries, we look at each application on an individual basis (as school systems vary greatly from country to country). 

You can contact us for specific details about the grades needed from your high school system.

You may apply before your results are available and we can make you a conditional offer. We also require IELTS 6.0 or equivalent.

For an overview of language requirements please see our language requirements and pre-degree pages.


Accommodation is included in the International Foundation Programme’s fee package.

Foundation students are allocated a room in a David Russell Apartment (DRA), just a 10-15 minute walk from the Centre for International Foundation Programmes. In each apartment there is a shared kitchen and living space and 5 bedrooms (typically same gender, all foundation students), each with a shower-room and study area.

Undergraduate students have a meal plan giving them 14 meals per week during semester (i.e. not during University vacations). On weekdays (Monday-Friday) students are provided with breakfast and an evening meal, on Saturday and Sunday they are served breakfast and lunch. View sample menus for the 14-meal plan at David Russell Apartments (scroll to the bottom of the page).

Apply for 2017-18

Apply here for September 2017.

Semester dates: 

Start date: Monday 11 September 2017
Christmas vacation: Saturday 16 December 2017 to Sunday 14 January 2018
Spring vacation: Saturday 17 March 2018 to Sunday 01 April 2018
End date: Friday 08 June 2018

Fees: The all-inclusive fee package for 2017 is £24,000. This includes tuition fees, accommodation and meals. For further information see our Fee Package.

Stats 2011/12: 

100% of students were successfully placed on degree programmes

100% of students said they would recommend this programme to students

CIFP undergraduate brochure (PDF, 8,523 KB)

Programme director: Lorna Fleming

English Language Teaching
Kennedy Gardens
St Andrews
KY16 9DJ
Scotland, United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (1334) 462255
Fax:+44 (1334) 462270