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International Foundation Programme for Science

Students on the International Foundation for Science Programme (IFPS) experience university teaching and research from the first day of their studies. They attend lectures and practical laboratory sessions in the University's Science Schools combined with special academic, personal and language support from the staff of the CIFP. The programme has a high success rate, and graduates of the foundation programme have gone on to study for degrees at St Andrews and other top UK universities. 

There are several study routes on the Science programme and students will be advised on the appropriate route based on their intended degree subject. The routes available are: Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Earth Science, Geography, Mathematics and Statistics, Pathway to Medicine, Physics.

Throughout the IFPS, students improve their academic knowledge, linguistic skills, social skills, communication skills, ability to think critically and work indepenently.

A human in front of an image of the Universe

The International Foundation Programme for Science is designed to introduce and support students at the beginning of their academic studies in science. The students take classes to improve their English language and study skills, and knowledge and skills of science.

Students are encouraged to improve critical thinking skills, group working skills, discussion and debating skills during the whole programme which will be essential throughout their university and working lives.

Students develop research skills which will be valued in a research-led university.

Students also receive small class teaching, are fully-matriculated into the university and have access to support services, career services and sports facilities.

As part of the Programme, students take three modules each semester:

Language and Study Skills for Science Module

Students improve their abilities to research and present their ideas accurately in both writing and speaking.      

IFP (International Foundation Programme) Science Module

Students take a course in a science related to their degree subject. They attend lectures and tutorials on the subjects and complete mid-semester tests, tutorials, microprojects and exams. They also submit an essay written on a relevant academic subject. Tutors have written courses which take account of their classes varied educational backgrounds.

Faculty of Science Module

Students take a module in which they attend lectures, tutorials, practicals, and field trips.  They complete the module’s required coursework assessments and an end of semester exam.  CIFP provides extra tutorial support to help students adjust to university study.

See Science Course information 2018-19 (PDF, 29 KB) for more details.

Academic evidence

  • Excellent grades in Science and Maths subjects from High School
  • IELTS 6.0
  • Excellent reference on headed paper from a teacher from your High School

Language evidence



Interview with a Programme Director to assess oral capability, listening comprehension, knowledge of relevant subjects and preparedness for study away from home.


Progression from the Science Foundation Programme is based on performance in all the modules.

In order to progress into the University of St Andrews, students must get an overall Final Grade of 14.0 or over*. Progression from the Science Foundation Programme is based on performance in all the modules.

If students wish to apply to enter the 2nd year of a degree in the Faculty of Science, they need to pass and demonstrate good grades in the IFP and Faculty of Science modules they have taken. The exact grades depend on the School requirements.

The majority of graduates from the IFPS have applied for and achieved entry to the 2nd year of degrees in the Faculty of Science at the University of St Andrews.  Some apply to other universities in the UK.

When they finish their degrees, graduates have gone on to postgraduate studies (Masters and PhDs) at universities in the UK (including Cambridge) or US, or are employed by companies in their home countries or global companies such as Bank of America and Amazon.

*CIFP uses the University's 20-point grading scale

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.


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 £26,000. 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: Ally Malcolm-Smith

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

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