International Foundation Programme for Medicine
Incorporating a unique blend of academic skills with medicine-related topics, the International Foundation programme for Medicine has been designed in conjunction with the School of Medicine to develop the intellectual and communication skills necessary for success in a degree in Medicine. The programme has a high success rate, with around 90% passing it each year.
This course is for academically-able international students (not from the EU/UK) whose high school qualifications are not recognised for application to an undergraduate degree at St Andrews. Applicants should be due to leave school soon or have left school within the past 12 to 24 months and not yet studied at university.
Applicants must have studied sciences at school, and Chemistry should have been studied in the applicant’s final year at school.
The International Foundation programme for Medicine has been designed with the University's School of Medicine to develop your sciences and communication skills to prepare you for success in a degree in Medicine.
Central to the Medicine foundation programme is an ethos of cooperation and collaboration amongst students, which is achieved through group work and projects in the context of a supportive environment for personal and academic growth. You will be given personal tutorial slots each semester where you can discuss all aspects of academic work and life; through these tutorials, you will learn how to adopt and develop positive mindsets and learning strategies in order to help you during the programme and your future degree.
English language teachers will work with you to develop your academic writing, your study techniques and your time-management skills.
Foundation programme classes integrate your science and English language learning through their focus on writing laboratory reports, structuring essays, critical thinking and scientific methods of investigation. In addition, you will practice doctor-patient interaction, including with simulated patients, and have opportunities to:
- enjoy a weekend retreat to a Highland country house to consolidate your learning and attend a workshop for the multiple mini interviews
- volunteer with a local charity which provides support and companionship for the elderly and vulnerable in the local area
- gain an accredited first-aid certificate.
The International Foundation programme for Medicine enables international students to function effectively as undergraduates studying Medicine, enhancing their knowledge and skills and developing critical thinking and reflection. The programme has a high success rate with around 85% of its students annually moving on to the Medicine degree at St Andrews.
Students take modules in Chemistry and Biology or Psychology. They are shown the process of how to prepare for lectures and write up lecture notes, and how to prepare for seminars and tutorials. All students have dedicated tutorial support in understanding the course content from specialist tutors in Chemistry and Biology or Psychology. In addition, there are practical laboratory sessions.
Students must take the following compulsory modules in Semester 1:
- Foundations for Medicine 1: This module focuses on academic research and writing skills along with seminar and project skills. Students also have sessions on effective communication and attend workshops with simulated and real patients in the School of Medicine.
- Introductory Inorganic and Physical Chemistry: This module covers the origin of the elements, atoms and the Periodic Table, shapes and properties of molecules, chemistry of the elements, properties of solutions, thermochemistry, thermodynamics and kinetics.
Students must also take one of the following two optional modules:
Alongside the compulsory modules, students further develop their science knowledge by studying one of the following modules. What they study will depend on whether or not they have studied on the Pathway to Medicine programme before joining the IFPM:
- Biology 1: introduces students to molecular and cellular biology. It covers cell diversity and the origins of life, cellular structures and fundamental processes.
- Psychology 1: introduces students to the theoretical foundations, historical perspectives and modern developments of psychology; provides an introduction to the variety of subjects which make up contemporary psychology; provides a thorough grounding in the empirical basis of psychology.
In Semester 2, students prepare for their move on to the Medicine degree.
- Foundations for Medicine 2: builds on the skills studied in Semester 1 to enhance confidence and competence in communication. In semester 2, students will also have a series of lectures introducing them to important themes in Medicine. These are delivered by staff from the School of Medicine.
- Human Biology: This module takes a ‘systems approach’, similar to the School of Medicine. Students will study all the key physiological systems within the topic areas, with an overarching focus on how disease affects these systems.
Alongside the compulsory modules, students further develop their science knowledge by studying one of the following optional modules. What they study will depend on whether or not they have studied on the Pathway to Medicine programme before joining the IFPM:
- Organic and Biological Chemistry 1: includes lectures on the structure, stereochemistry and nomenclature of simple organic compounds, fundamental organic reaction mechanisms, organic functional groups and their reactions, introductory bioorganic chemistry, and organic spectroscopy.
- Psychology 2: provides an introduction to the theoretical foundations, historical perspectives and modern developments of psychology; provides an introduction to the variety of subjects which make up contemporary psychology; provides a thorough grounding in the empirical basis of psychology.
To prepare for the multiple mini interviews (MMIs) held by the School of Medicine in Semester 2, there will be workshops on the various interview stations so that students can develop their interview skills and MMI performance. Students also study medical ethics in order to transition into first-year medicine with an understanding of how medical ethics link to clinical practice and medical professionalism.
Our typical academic requirements (PDF, 544 KB) are listed alphabetically by country. If your qualification is not shown here, please email email@example.com for details about the grades needed from your high school system.
You can demonstrate that you have met the academic requirements with a high school transcript from your final year at school. Any high school qualification you use as evidence of your academic ability should be dated within the previous two years.
You should apply before your final results are available, as the University can make you a conditional offer based on your past exam performance and predicted grades.
English language requirement
- An IELTS (Academic) test report form with a minimum of 6.5 overall and no component score below 6.0.
- If you require a visa, your IELTS test must be for UKVI purposes. For an overview of the English language requirements for foundation applicants, please see the pre-degree page.
- An academic reference from your high school and on their letterhead
- A personal statement outlining why you wish to study Medicine at St Andrews and reflecting on your life and learning experiences to explain why you feel you would be successful on this programme.
- Voluntary work experience relevant to Medicine, and/or clinical observations. Applicants are advised to keep a record (a diary, for example) of this, as students will reflect upon these experiences throughout their foundation programme.
All applicants who are made an offer will be invited for interview, either by video call or in person (in the UK or their home country).
Students are required to meet the following requirements in their assessments to successfully complete the International Foundation programme for Medicine. (Results are graded on the University's 20-point scale.)
- an overall grade of 14.0 or above for the International Foundation Programme for Medicine (ET1030)
- a grade of 12.0 or above for each Faculty of Science module (BL1101, CH1401, CH1601, PS1001, PS1002)
- an overall grade of 14.0 or above for Human Biology
- an overall grade of 14.0 or above for Foundations for Medicine 1 and 2.
Students must also meet the following entry requirements of the School of Medicine in order to move on to the BSc (Hons) Medicine at the University of St Andrews:
- a competitive score in the UCAT
- successful multiple mini interviews
- IELTS (Academic) with an overall score of 7.0 and at least 7.0 in each component.
Provided that you meet the above entry requirements for the School of Medicine at the University of St Andrews, you will be given an unconditional offer to enter first year of the BSc Medicine.
Students who do not pass the programme but meet all the requirements may be able to study a science degree (Biology, Chemistry or Psychology) at St Andrews or secure a place at another institution. Programme coordinators assist with advice and UCAS applications as necessary to work towards the best possible outcome for you.
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.
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.