Coronavirus information and guidance

Who can apply for a foundation programme

The foundation programmes at St Andrews are open to overseas students with a high school qualification that is not recognised for application to our degree programmes.

To apply for a foundation programme, you will normally need to be all of the following:

  • Designated as 'Overseas' for fees purposes by the University. Students with 'Home' or 'Rest of the UK' fee status are not eligible to study a foundation programme. Find out more about fee status.  
  • Due to leave school soon or have achieved a high school qualification within the last three years.
  • Studying or have completed a national high school qualification to meet the academic requirements for the following programmes:
  • If you're applying to the International Pathway or Foundation programme for Medicine, you need to have studied sciences, especially chemistry and biology, in high school. 
  • If you're applying to the Science programmes, International Year One (IYO) and International Foundation programme (IFP), you need to have studied science subjects in high school. For IYO or IFP Science with a degree intention of computer science, you need mathematics.
  • If you are applying to the International Foundation programme for Social Sciences and Humanities with a degree intention of English, you need to have studied English literature. If your degree intention is history, you need to have studied history.
  • If you are applying to the International Foundation Programme for Business, no previous experience is required, but for those wishing to study economics or finance, advanced school mathematics is an advantage, and an ability to learn mathematical skills is essential.

If you wish to check your eligibility before applying, please email

You should not apply if you have:

  • 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.

Foundation programmes cannot be used as ‘insurance’ for a degree application at St Andrews. If you have qualifications that are accepted for degree entry, you will not be considered for a foundation programme. Therefore, you should apply to either a degree-level programme or a foundation-level programme, not both. 

If you are not sure which level you should apply to, please email for advice.

If you are not eligible for foundation

If you are not eligible for a foundation programme, you may be interested in exploring our access and outreach programmes. Our Admissions team can offer advice on your individual circumstances - contact them by emailing