Durham University Foundation Year

Durham University is among the top 10 universities in the UK and the university’s International Foundation Programme is the perfect programme for international students. Read on to find out more about Durham and all about their foundation programmes.

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About Durham University

Established in 1832, Durham University is a public research university located in Durham, a city in northeast England. The city is well known for its rich history, which can be observed through its many landmarks such as the Durham Cathedral and the Durham Castle, which is also the home of Durham University. The university’s International Study Centre where the foundation programme is conducted is based in Durham’s second campus in Stockton-on-Tees, a town with a population of around 85,000 people.

Durham University offers prospective students a broad range of subjects, an excellent student experience, and the opportunity to complete a research or industry placement anywhere in the world in their undergraduate programmes. Studying at Durham lets you experience the city’s rich culture, histories and surrounding lush landscapes while pursuing further education at a top research university in the UK.

Durham University has climbed to the 78th position in the QS World University Rankings 2024, marking a 14-place improvement. The university excelled in sustainability, ranking joint 30th globally, and has committed to the UN Sustainability Development Goals. Notable additions include a new MSc in Plant Biotechnology and Enterprise, contributing to the university’s dedication to addressing global challenges. Recognised for the impacts of its International Research Network, Durham solidified its global reputation in Employer and Academic Reputation categories, ranking 50th and 124th, respectively. This reinforces the university’s position as a leading institution with a commitment to excellence in research and education.

durham university foundation programmes

Durham University International Study Centre

Durham University’s International Study Centre (ISC) is a dedicated centre that specialises in preparing international students for a number of programmes. The centre offers the International Foundation Year, which is a pre-university programme. It also offers a pre-Masters course and English courses for incoming students who did not meet English requirements. 

The ISC specialises in conducting modules for academic skills and the English language – this ensures that international students have adequate academic support before progressing to undergraduate studies and that they are able to meet the university’s stringent requirements.

If you’re a school-leaver contemplating taking a foundation year instead of the A-Levels, we have an article that discusses the pros and cons of foundation programmes in our article, Should you do a UK foundation year?

Durham University Foundation Courses

Durham University’s International Foundation Year is a preparatory programme that bridges between secondary education and university. It is made specifically for international students to prepare them for the level of academic English and other skills required for undergraduate studies, as well as to ease them into university life.

School leavers who have achieved the equivalent qualifications of GCSE O-Levels may apply to the programme. Therefore, the foundation year is taken in place of the A-Levels which is the requirement for entry into undergraduate programmes. Upon completion of the International Foundation Year with the required grades, students may progress to their choice of undergraduate programmes at the university.

The foundation programmes at Durham are customised to best prepare students for the future undergraduate course that they intend to undertake. The programmes include modules that are related to the subject. There are three types of International Foundation Year programmes offered at the university: 

  • Business, Economics, Accounting and Finance
  • Humanities, Law and Social Science 
  • Science and Engineering

Durham University Reviews

Former student

“Durham University is the best choice I’ve made. All the professors and tutors are always so keen on helping me succeed in my modules! The collegiate system is top of the line, literally enhanced my university experience.”

Former student

“The teachers are very responsible and the students are lovely. The curriculum is well designed and there are plenty of activities in school.”

International student

“Being an international student, Durham was one of the most welcoming and supportive communities. It is an inclusive, accepting and loving environment where every student is given equal opportunities. There is so much diversity and people from different cultures. It’s a beautiful and historical city with 16 colleges spread all across town. There are so many opportunities and clubs you can get involved with and it’s truly an amazing experience!”

Durham Foundation Year Entry Requirements

GCSE O-Levels or equivalent qualifications. We recommend a minimum of Grades 4 or higher for a successful application.

IELTS is required to apply for a UK visa. We recommend a minimum score of 5.5 overall.

Our Complete Guide to IELTS in Malaysia has further information about the exam, required scores, and more.

Durham University International Foundation Year Tuition Fees (2023 Intake)

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