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Frequently asked questions

We understand that choosing a foundation programme is an important step in your academic career, and that you will have many questions before you make the decision to apply. 

The following links include answers to the questions that prospective students ask us most frequently. If your question is not answered here, please contact us and we will do our best to help.

Who are these programmes for?

Our programmes are for international students who do not have the academic or language qualifications that the University requires for direct entry to a degree programme.

We know that there are many good students whose first language is not English, who benefit from our integrated approach to the study of language and academic subjects, and even if you have a strong command of English, the demands of studying at a university like St Andrews can be very different from your previous studying experience.

How many students study on the programmes?

We have a limited number of places for each programme, so we recommend that you apply early. If you have not yet graduated from high school or university, or achieved your final qualifications, you should still apply. We can make you an offer conditional on your results.

In the academic year 2013/14 we had around 120 undergraduate foundation students and 30 postgraduate foundation students.

How many nationalities are there at the CIFP?

Our programmes are all multi-national and our current and former students represent the following countries from around the world: 

  • Bahamas
  • Bahrain
  • China
  • Egypt
  • Georgia
  • Hong Kong
  • India
  • Iran
  • Japan
  • Jordan
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kuwait
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Malaysia
  • Mexico
  • Pakistan
  • Philippines
  • Romania
  • Russia
  • South Korea
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Singapore
  • Sri Lanka
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • Turkey
  • Ukraine
  • Vietnam
  • Zambia

How many hours will I study each week?

You will be in class for a minimum of 20 hours a week, and if you are studying Science or Medicine, you will have additional hours dedicated to practical sessions in the laboratory.

How big are the classes?

Our class sizes are small - typically 12 students - so that tutors can monitor the progress of individual students closely, and the number of places is limited so that we can provide each student with as much individual support and guidance as possible.

Support tutorials tend to range between 6 - 12 students and personal tutorials, which are compulsory for all CIFP students in the first term, are on a one-to-one basis with a CIFP tutor.

Science and Medicine students will also study 1000 level science modules along with first year University students. For these modules, lectures tend to be between 150 - 200 students, laboratory practical sessions are small at around 12 students per group.

Where will I study?

All classes and lectures take place in the University teaching facilties. Small group teaching - English for Academic Purposes classes and some academic seminars and tutorials - are mostly at the English Language Teaching building, Kinnessburn, which is the home of the CIFP.


Where will I live during the programme?

All foundation students are guaranteed an individual study bedroom in a University Hall of Residence.

Undergraduate foundation students will all be allocated rooms in David Russell Apartments.

Postgraduate foundation students can choose between superior accommodation in David Russell Apartments or standard accommodation in Fife Park.

Am I qualified to study at the CIFP?

We welcome applications from students from all over the world – we typically have some 30 different nationalities studying with us. What they have is common is that they were successful in their own country’s school system.

We are looking for evidence of a good academic record because we aim to select students who will be successful not only on their foundation programme but also when they progress onto a degree programme at the University. Check the particular webpage of the programme you are interested in to see if there are any specific academic requirements.

For language entry requirements, please refer to our foundation language requirements webpage.

All students are interviewed in person or on Skype, and you may also be asked to write an entrance test paper. Students applying to study Medicine must also complete the UKCAT before taking up their place on the programme.

What do my fees include?

To ensure you can focus on your studies when you come to St Andrews, the Centre for International Foundation Programmes offers an all-inclusive fee package. This covers all the major costs of your foundation year so that there are no hidden extra costs. The package includes:

  • Tuition
  • Accommodation, including a bedding pack and 14 meals per week - see below*
  • An airport transfer when you first arrive
  • Course books, handouts and other materials
  • Laboratory coats and dissection kits, if required
  • 24 hour emergency phone number
  • Programme-led and seasonal social events
  • Access to all University facilities

*Bedding and Meals

We will provide a bedding pack which will be ready for collection at David Russell Apartments when you arrive. Your bedding pack contains: 1 duvet (10.5 tog), 1 duvet cover, 1 flat sheet, 2 pillows and 2 pillowcases.

Foundation programme students have a meal plan giving them 14 meals per week during semester (i.e. not during University vacations). On Monday-Friday students are provided with breakfast and an evening meal, on Saturday and Sunday they are served breakfast and lunch. You can see sample menus for the 14-meal plan at David Russell Apartments.