The International Foundation Year (IFY) is a one year foundation course for students who have finished (or are close to finishing) high school in their home countries, but whose qualifications are not considered suitable for admission into a UK university. In many cases, this is simply because the education system of the student’s home country is structured differently to the UK. The IFY is based around a qualification called the ‘Access to HE Diploma’, a Level 3 qualification which bridges the gap between the academic level that the student is currently at and the level that they need to get into a UK university. As well as the ‘Access to HE Diploma’, IFY students also take additional units in British Culture and English Language & Communication. The Access Diploma, combined with these additional units, is what makes the York College International Foundation Year.
The International A Level programme is available to students who want to study towards their A Level qualifications in the UK. A Levels are the qualifications that are taken by most UK students before progressing to University. Certain kinds of career, such as medicine or law, may need A Levels. This is because an A Level course takes two years. More information about A Levels and how to apply can be found here.
- I want to take the IFY but I think my English is not currently good enough, does York College offer a preparatory English course?
York College offers the IFY Extra course for students who need extra help with their English language skills. The IFY Extra includes one month of intensive English lessons before the start of the main IFY course, and these lessons continue throughout the course. You will need an IELTS score of at least 5.0 (with at least 4.5 in each band). This is slightly lower than the standard IFY which requires at least 5.5 (with at least 5.0 in each band).
York College does not provide any preparatory English courses for a longer period than this. If you do not have the 5.0 IELTS score that you need to be accepted onto the IFY Extra, we recommend that you try to improve your English in your home country or look into doing an English course at a specialist language school. There are several language schools in York that offer English courses, but these are not affiliated with York College.
- I want to become a doctor, is the IFY right for me?
The IFY is not suitable if you are aiming to study medicine. Entry to these courses is incredibly competitive and the entry requirements are therefore very high. Most medical schools therefore ask students to have A Levels in relevant subjects with high grades. If you want to study medicine in the UK you should therefore apply for admission onto the A Level programme.
Law is a highly specialised subject area and York College does not offer a dedicated Law pathway within the IFY. For this reason, we do not recommend the IFY for students who want to progress onto a Law degree programme. However, some universities may accept Access Diplomas for their entry criteria. You should therefore researrch your progression options if you intend to study Law after the IFY.
- Will the IFY allow me to be admitted into any university?
The IFY is based around a qualification called the 'Access to HE Diploma'. This is a UK qualification designed as a bridging year to get students prepared for university study. All universities that accept Access Diplomas will accept IFY students. This is the overhelming majority of UK universities. However, it is of course important to get the required grades in order to progress and this will require hard work. It is also important to realise that it is up to individual university admission teams to make decisions about individual students.
- Does the College have a January intake?
York College does not offer a January intake for any of its courses. This is because the exams are externally administered and assessed. Therefore, they only occur at set times in the year and a January intake would not give students enough time to prepare.
- Does York College have scholarships or bursaries for international students?
York College does not have any scholarships or other financial support available for International students.
- I want to apply for an Undergraduate programme at the College, how do I do this?
Undergraduate programmes such as Bachelor’s Degrees are handled by the 'Universities and Colleges Admissions Service' (UCAS). We cannot process applications for these courses ourselves. Information on how to apply through UCAS as an International applicant can be found on their website:
You can be sponsored for a student visa for any course that is at least Level 3. Most overseas students studying at the College study either the IFY or A Levels. However, we do have students studying on Level 3 Vocational programmes in the College and on our HE programmes. Further information about the full range of courses available at York College is given here.
To apply to any of these courses as an International student, you should use the International application form.
We ask that students have submitted a completed application pack at least 6 weeks before the start of the academic year, which is in September. However, we advise students not to wait until the last possible moment to submit their application. This is because the application for a visa can take a long time. It is also possible that a visa can be rejected and if this happens you may have to apply for a second time. Lastly, it is also neccessary to demonstrate mantainance funds that have been available for at least 28 days as part of the visa application. For all of these reasons, you should try to apply several months in advance of the course start date.