International Study Centre

Sussex students sat in a classroom

International Foundation Year

What is the International Foundation Year?

The International Foundation Year is a university preparation programme designed to improve your English language and academic skills. The pathway programme will help you transition into university learning. 

After successful completion, providing you meet the entry requirements, you can progress to the first year of your undergraduate degree at the University. The skills you develop mean you can achieve success in all your ventures; in your degree, in your career and in the world.

Who is this programme for?

The University of Sussex International Foundation Year is suitable for those who do not meet the entry requirements for direct entry to an undergraduate degree at Sussex, or students who would like some extra support.

You will study a combination of core and subject-specific modules that focus on teaching you the English language, study skills, employability and academic areas most relevant to your chosen degree at Sussex. The teaching styles on this course mirror those at the University, so you will be familiar with Sussex's learning styles before you even start your degree.

Course facts

Course length

  • Two semesters

Entry points

  • September, November (Enhanced Induction) and January

Find out more about specific semester dates for this programme.

There are requirements you must meet to study an academic programme at the University of Sussex International Study Centre. Find out more about the specific entry requirements for this programme.

Your course fees will vary depending on the programme you choose to study. Find out more about fees at the University of Sussex International Study Centre.

Choose your subject route

You choose to study one of the two subject routes below, which have different "pathway" options that focus on particular subjects. You choose your pathway based on your intended undergraduate programme, as it provides the deeper level of specialist knowledge you need for degree study.

Students in class

Business, Media and Social Sciences

Venture into business with a pathway programme that will prepare you to study a degree at one of the UK’s top business schools. Start your career in business today.

A University of Sussex student using a microscope


The International Foundation Year – Medicine pathway offers the progression degree option to study Bachelor of Medicine Bachelor of Surgery (BM BS) at Brighton and Sussex Medical School.

Students in class

Science and Engineering

Boost your scientific and engineering knowledge with an exciting pathway programme at the University of Sussex International Study Centre. Succeed in science at Sussex.

Why study the International Foundation Year?

By studying this programme, you can benefit in the long term by getting an insight into your chosen subject ahead of beginning your university degree. You will be guided through your first year in the UK by our attentive staff, and be given all the emotional and academic support you need to feel comfortable and prepared for success.

Other reasons to study include:

Flexible programmes

At a certain point during your pathway programme, you will have the option to change your chosen progression degree, guided by our expert staff. This gives you the chance to explore the subjects in further depth before choosing the one that interests you the most. 

Focus on your career

We know that you may already be thinking about your future career, which is why we have integrated a careers element into our academic courses at the International Study Centre. Our Skills for Success module will guide you towards making the right choices and give you the tools you need to stand out in the competitive graduate job market.

Assess your progress

We will assess your progress regularly to ensure you are on track to complete your course successfully, so that you can go on to study your chosen degree at Sussex. You may take part in exams, seminar discussions, group projects, presentations, laboratory practicals, software exercises and essays as part of your overall assessment.

Improve your English

Need to improve your English language or raise your IELTS score? You can study one of our English language courses online before the International Foundation Year, or Language Lift – studied simultaneously with your course.

Language Lift is a 6-week course designed for students who need to improve the level of their written English. It will run alongside your other modules as a conditional requirement for International Foundation Year if you have IELTS 5.0 overall and 4.5 in writing.

Study plan options

English language levelSemestersStart dateEnd dateProgress to the University of Sussex
IELTS 5.0 overall (min 5.0 in writing)2 semestersSeptemberMaySeptember
IELTS 5.0 overall (min 5.0 in writing)2 semesters plus 3 weeks of additional study and life skillsNovemberAugustSeptember
IELTS 5.0 overall (min 5.0 in writing)2 semestersJanuaryAugustSeptember

Join us today

Our Student Enrolment Advisors are available to answer any questions you may have and help you with your application. We can't wait to meet you!