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How to apply for a foundation programme

To apply, you need to complete an online application form and submit some supporting documents with your application. This page will help you find out if you are eligible for a foundation programme, when and how to apply, what documents to prepare and what to expect after you submit your application.

Applications made easy

  • It is free to apply.
  • There is no entrance test.
  • Choose a programme to start in January or September, whatever suits you best.
  • Apply directly to the University of St Andrews, not through UCAS or Common App.
  • Work at your pace, save your progress on your application and finish it later.
  • Join live question and answer sessions to get the information you need.

Eligibility to study on a foundation programme

To be eligible for an International Foundation Programme or an International Pathway to Medicine programme, you will normally meet the following criteria.

You will be:

You will not have:

  • a qualification that is recognised for degree entry, irrespective of the grades achieved. If you have three A-Levels, the HKDSE, a full IB Diploma or any qualification from the EU (excluding Greece and South Cyprus) you will not be eligible for an International Foundation programme.
  • previously studied on a foundation programme in the UK
  • previously studied at University. 
  • previously been employed full time and now looking to study as a mature student. 

Applying to foundation and a degree at the same time

Foundation programmes cannot be used as ‘insurance’ for a degree application at St Andrews.

It is unlikely you will be eligible for both foundation and a degree at St Andrews at the same time. This is because an applicant with a qualification accepted for degree entry would not be considered for foundation. Therefore, you should apply to either degree level or foundation level at St Andrews.

If you are not sure which level you should apply to, based on your education background, please email so that we can advise you.

You may have other options if you are not eligible for foundation

If you are not eligible for a foundation programme but would still like to ask about entering a degree programme at St Andrews, please contact We can explain our access and outreach programmes and offer advice based on your individual circumstances.

How to apply in four simple steps

1. Create a new user account in our applicant portal

2. Complete an application form

If you already know how to apply and what documents you will need to present with your application, go to the application form for your programme.

3. Upload the required documents:

  • a scanned copy of your passport
  • a strong personal statement outlining why you wish to study your chosen foundation programme and why you feel you would be successful on this programme
  • your most recent high school transcript.

4. Press submit

That's all you need to provide to allows us to make an initial decision on your application.

Apply early

You should apply early in the application cycle as there are limited spaces available on our foundation programmes and we make offers as applications come in.

Late applications

If the application deadline has already passed but you still wish to apply, please email to check if we can still consider an application from you. We can only consider late applications if there are places available on the programme and after we have considered all applications made before the deadline.

Application deadlines

For programmes starting in January 2021
Applications open in: March 2020
Deadline to apply: Monday 30 November 2020

For programmes starting in September 2021
Applications open in : October 2020
Deadline to apply: Sunday 1 August 2021

Deadline for IFP scholarship applicants

Scholarship deadline for programmes starting in January 2021
Sunday 15 November 2020. Find out more about the IFP January scholarship.

Scholarship deadline for programmes starting in September 2021
Tuesday 30 March 2021. Find out more about the IFP September scholarship.

Interviews and tests

Will I need to attend an interview?

Medicine programmes
Offer-holders for the following programmes will receive an email invitation to attend an interview shortly after receiving an offer to study at the University:

  • International Foundation Programme for Medicine
  • International Pathway to Medicine

Your interview will:

  • be conducted online on Skype, Teams, Facetime or a similar app
  • take place within two weeks of the date of issue of your offer
  • last approximately 20 minutes.


Non-Medicine programmes
Applicants for non-Medicine foundation programmes will only be invited to attend an interview when we consider an interview to be beneficial to their application.

Will I have to take an entrance test?

No, you do not have to take an entrance test when you apply for a foundation programme.

Additional supporting documents

In addition to your personal statement and your recent high school transcript, we will ask you to provide three more documents before your offer can be unconditional but you don't have to provide these when you first submit your application.

You can provide your additional supporting documents later. These are:

  • your final high school transcript
  • a positive academic reference letter
  • an appropriate English language test result (if required)

If you do not provide your academic reference letter and your English language test report when you first apply, these may become a condition of your offer. If they are available now, please submit them with your application form.

Students who need a visa to study in the UK

All documents in support of your application should be submitted with enough time to allow you to apply for a visa a few weeks before the start of your programme. The right time to submit your documents depends on the visa process in your country, but typically we recommend a deadline of 15 August for applicants starting in September, and 5 December for applicants starting in January.

Will I need a visa?

More on supporting documents

Final high school transcript

You should apply before your final results are available as the University can make you a conditional offer based on your past exam performance, predicted grades or both. Submit your most recent transcript when you apply, you can provide your final high school transcript later on. 

Academic reference letter

Your academic reference letter must:

  • be on your school's letterhead or be sent from your school's email account
  • have your teacher or counsellor's name and contact details.

English language test report

Foundation applicants who require a student visa to study in the UK will typically need a result in a Secure English Language test (known as a SELT) to satisfy visa regulations. 

If you already have an English language test result but it is not a SELT, you can provide this with your application but we will include a SELT as any condition of offer we make you. See the SELTS we accept and the required test scores for International Foundation Programmes.

All English language test results must have been taken within two years of the start of your foundation programme.


Get ready to start your application

  • You can use a range of web browsers but we recommend using Chrome for the best online experience. Download Chrome.
  • Have your passport and your supporting documents by your side.
  • Remember, you can save your progress and finish your application later if necessary.

If you are unsure what programme to apply for or need help understanding the options and progression opportunities, we'll be happy to guide you.

Ask us a question

Ready to apply?

Choose the programme you wish to study.