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Why study a foundation programme

The International Foundation programmes enable students from a wide range of countries to develop the skills necessary to meet the demands of a degree programme at a top university in the UK.

You should consider studying an International Foundation programme, if you:

  • are an overseas student
  • have good academic results in your national high school qualification
  • wish to prepare for an undergraduate degree at the University of St Andrews or another UK university
  • need to improve your academic English language and study skills
  • want to increase your knowledge of your chosen degree subject.

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A St Andrews education

Students at the University of St Andrews benefit from high-quality teaching and research, a safe town, state-of-the-art facilities and popular traditions dating back to 1413.

When you study on a foundation programme at St Andrews, you are a fully registered student with access to all the University’s facilities, including the:

Students can also get involved in University clubs and societies, attend special events and enjoy a wide variety of activities in their spare time. Graduates of the University of St Andrews often say that the friends they have made during their studies are the kind of friendships that will last a lifetime.

Learn more about the St Andrews' student experience

Class size and teaching format

Our class sizes are small - typically a maximum of 16 students - so that tutors can monitor the progress of individual students closely. The number of places on our foundation programmes is limited so that we can provide each student with as much individual support and guidance as possible.

You will experience a mixture of lectures, seminars, tutorials and classes. Students on the Science or Pathway to Medicine programme will also have practicals including laboratories. Students spend between 18 to 21 hours a week in classes, depending on their chosen programme.

Tutorials offer additional support and tend to range between six to twelve students. Personal tutorials, which are compulsory for all foundation students in the first term, are on a one-to-one basis with a dedicated tutor.

Science and Medicine students also study modules along with first year University students. For these modules, lectures tend to be between 150 and 200 students. Laboratory practical sessions are small at around 12 students per group.

Students with an excellent academic record

What foundation students at the University of St Andrews have in common is that they were successful in their own country’s school system.

The International Education Institute aims to select students who will be successful not only on their foundation programme, but also when they progress onto a degree programme at the University or at other institutions.

Explore the list of subjects available at St Andrews to help you decide what foundation programme is more aligned to your career plan.

Guaranteed accommodation

All foundation students can have an en-suite study bedroom with high speed internet access and a shared kitchen at David Russell Apartments (DRA) which has won awards for its ecologically friendly design.

DRA accommodates almost 900 students, offers a community atmosphere and a strong student support system with a warden and a team of assistant wardens responsible for student welfare and conduct within DRA.

International Foundation students live in a secure environment and have someone to turn to if they are experiencing any difficulties. A member of the wardennial team is always on call, night and day.