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International Foundation Programme for Medicine

The International Foundation Programme for Medicine is an innovative, unique and supportive, student-centred programme offering a balance between science, language, intercultural communication and medical ethics. The close collaboration between the School of Medicine, The Schools of Chemistry, Biology and Psychology and English Language Teaching provide students with the best preparation for entry into the BSc Medicine degree. After the 3-year BSc in Medicine, students transfer to the University of Manchester and complete a further 3 years in clinical training at one of the 4 teaching hospitals in the Manchester area, graduating with a MB ChB.

This programme is designed for overseas school leavers and High school students looking to study Medicine in the UK. 

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The International Foundation Programme for Medicine (IFPM) is designed to help international students to function effectively as undergraduates studying Medicine; developing knowledge and skills in a range of subjects and developing critical thinking and reflection. The programme aims to prepare students for their first year in the School of Medicine here at the University of St Andrews. As such, all aspects of the course link to the main aims of the first year syllabus in the School of Medicine, and are therefore designed to help students to develop the academic knowledge and practical skills required for study in first year Medicine. More specifically, language modules help develop academic and medicine-specific language skills, as well as helping students to foster the ability to learn independently and to think critically and reflectively; all these skills are important aspects of learning in the medicine curriculum and link closely to the core values of professionalism and competence.

The Foundation for Medicine Programme has approx. 25 students each year, as a result it provides a warm and supportive environment for personal and academic growth.  Each student is given personal tutorial slots each semester, where they can discuss all aspects of academic work and life with their tutor, and learn how to adopt and develop positive mind-sets and learning strategies in order to help them during the programme and their future degree.

Throughout the programme students are introduced to simulated and real patients, and are given opportunities to explore how to communicate effectively with local people from diverse backgrounds, with a variety of health conditions.

During the programme students are also encouraged to volunteer with a local charity. The Castle Befriending project provides support and companionship for the elderly and vulnerable in the local area. IFPM students who have participated in this project in the past have enjoyed meeting local people and making a difference to their lives.

At the beginning of semester 2 the IFM students go on a study retreat in the Scottish Highlands to an 18th century manor house near Glen Esk (The Burn), where they present their findings from a mini-research-project and attend a workshop on MMIs.

In semester 1, students take modules in Chemistry and Biology or Psychology (CH1401, and BL1101 or PS1001). They are shown the process of how to prepare for lectures, take notes, write up notes and then 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.

In semester 2, students take one further Science module, (Chemistry, CH1601 or Psychology, PS1002) and a CIFP module, Introduction to Medicine, which includes lectures and practicals on Human Biology and a series of lectures on a range of Medicine related topics, delivered by staff in the School of Medicine. 

Academic Language and Communication modules in both semesters focus on academic research and writing skills along with seminar skills and project skills. Students also have sessions on communication skills and attend workshops with simulated and real patients in the School of Medicine. There are additional workshops to help prepare for the various stations of the MMIs (Multiple Mini Interviews, held by the School of Medicine in semester 2). Students also study Medical Ethics, in order to help them transition into first year medicine with an understanding of how medical ethics link to clinical practice and medical professionalism. 

Academic evidence

Students should have excellent grades in the sciences, one of which must be Chemistry. Typically, our students have achieved 85% or 3.2 GPA or the equivalent in their high school curriculum. (Please note, we are not a means for A-level students to 'improve on' their grades. We prefer students who apply directly from their national high school, and have not attended A-level colleges in the UK.)

You must show proof of excellent academic achievements in other subjects and provide a well-written personal statement outlining their desire to study Medicine and any relevant work experience or clinical observations. We will also require a strong academic reference from your school.

Language evidence

A minimum of IELTS 6.5 overall, with a minimum component score of 6.0. If you require a visa then your IELTS must be for UKVI purposes. For an overview of language requirements please see our language requirements and pre-degree webpages.


  • An academic reference (from your high school)
  • A personal statement outlining why you wish to study Medicine at St Andrews and reflecting and detailing your learning and life experiences that explain why you feel you would be successful on the IFM programme.
  • An interview with the programme director. All applicants who meet the minimum requirements will be invited for interview with the Programme Director, either via Skype (or an alternative) or in person, in the UK or, if possible, their home country.
  • Work experience/clinical observations/volunteering. We advise students to keep a record (a diary for example) of any work experience or clinical observations they have carried out in a medical setting, or any volunteer work they have done in the community. In semester 2 students are given as assessment which is based on these experiences – either work experience/shadowing or volunteering. Through this students learn about the importance of reflection in medical practice, as they are encouraged to think more deeply about their experiences, behaviours and actions.

Students are required to meet the following requirements for assessments.

  • Obtain an overall grade of 14 or above for ET1030.
  • Obtain a grade of 12 or above for each University Science Module (BL1101, CH1401, CH1601, PS1001, PS1002).
  • Obtain an overall grade of 14 or above Introduction to Medicine Module in semester 2.
  • Obtain an overall grade of 14 or above for the Academic Communication and Language Modules 1 and 2 (semesters 1 and 2).

If students obtain the required grades listed above and meet the following entry requirements: (a competitive score in the UKCAT, successful MMIs and IELTS 7.0 WITH 7.0 in each component), then students can enter the BSc (Hons) Medicine.

Provided that students meet the above entry requirements for the School of Medicine at the University of St Andrews, then they will be given an unconditional offer to enter into first year of the BSc Medicine.

If students do not manage to meet all the requirements, then they may be able to study a science degree (Biology, Chemistry or Psychology) at St Andrews (dependent on science module grades and obtaining an overall 14 for the IFM programme).

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 22 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 £27,000. This includes tuition fees, accommodation and meals. For further information see our Fee Package.

CIFP undergraduate brochure (PDF, 8,523 KB)

Applying for Foundation for Medicine 2018 (PDF, 194 KB)

Meet us in your country

Programme director: Dawn Cremonese

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

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