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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.

This programme is designed for overseas high school students. 

Summer scene of students sitting on green grass

Students on the International Foundation Programme for Social Sciences and Humanities study six modules. 

The first semester focuses on guided reading and writing for university studies. In the second semester there is a stronger focus on independent learning and supported preparation for a range of written assessments and presentations. Students will choose academic subjects related to their future degree intention.

The programme comprises six modules:

  1. Social Sciences & Humanities: Academic Skills
  2. Language and Criticality in Social Sciences & Humanities
  3. Social Sciences & Humanities: Academic Core
  4. Social Sciences & Humanities: Integrated Skills
  5. Communicating in Social Sciences & Humanities
  6. Social Sciences & Humanities: Academic Electives

In the first semester we concentrate on the key study skills required of an undergraduate student. These include reading for essay writing, listening to take part in seminars and discussions, and classes to build your academic vocabulary and expression as well as improve your language accuracy. All students take courses in Literature and Sociology, where you will be given guidance on how to approach studying an academic subject at undergraduate level. You are then expected to apply these skills and strategies to your lectures and tutorials in the core subjects of Sociology, History and Psychology. These sessions will introduce you to many of the key theories and concepts in the arts, humanities and social sciences. 

In the second semester you will be encouraged to become a more independent learner and you will read and research for the purpose of completing a range of written assessments. There is also a project where you will be assessed through presentations on topics chosen in consultation with your tutors. You will given different pathways from which to choose your own academic subjects in this semester, and we will provide advice on the most suitable options related to your future degree intention. Common combinations of subjects in this semester are: International Relations, Philosophy and History, and Art History, Literature and Film Studies. We offer other subjects and combinations depending on the needs of individual students each year.

By the end of the programme you will have a strong foundation on which to base your undergraduate degree studies. You will have a clear understanding of the key political, philosophical and economic ideas that underpin many of the subjects that you will be going on to study. You will also have knowledge of the university system and experience of undertaking different types of assessment. Students who have completed the foundation programme have gone on to win academic prizes and awards as well as secure competitive internships leading onto successful and fulfilling careers.

Academic evidence

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.

Language evidence

IELTS 6.0 or equivalent


  • A positive official academic reference
  • A personal statement outlining reasons in support of your application
  • An interview with the Programme Director

In order to progress into the University of St Andrews, students must get an overall Final Grade of 14.0 or over.

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

Popular degree options: 

  • International Relations
  • Philosophy
  • Art History
  • English Literature
  • Film Studies.

Students who have completed the foundation programme have gone on to win academic prizes and awards as well as secure competitive internships leading on to successful and fulfilling careers.

Careers include public relations, law, marketing and advertising, museum/gallery management, etc.

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

Foundation students are allocated a room in a David Russell Apartments (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.

Bedding pack

A bedding pack is available for collection at David Russell Apartments when students check-in. The bedding pack contains:

  • One duvet (10.5 tog)
  • One duvet cover
  • One flat sheet
  • Two pillows
  • Two pillowcases.


Foundation programme students have a meal plan giving them 14 meals per week during semester (i.e. not during University vacations).

  • Monday to Friday: students are provided with breakfast and an evening meal.
  • Saturday and Sunday: Students are served breakfast and lunch.

See sample menus for the 14-meal plan at David Russell Apartments.


Applications for September 2018 are now closed. Applications for September 2019 open on 01 October 2018.

Semester dates: 

Start date: Monday 10 September 2018
Christmas vacation: Saturday 15 December 2018 to Sunday 13 January 2019
Spring vacation: Saturday 16 March 2019 to Sunday 31 March 2019
End date: Friday 07 June 2019

Fees: The all-inclusive fee package for 2018-19 is £25,000. This includes tuition fees, accommodation and meals. For further information see our Fee Package.

CIFP undergraduate brochure (PDF, 8,523 KB)

M‌eet us in your country

Programme director: Lorna Fleming

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

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