IFY FAQs: 1. What is the International Foundation Year? The International Foundation Year is a 1 year course that leads to the award of an International Foundation Certificate. The course runs from the end of September until the end of June and aims to prepare students to study a degree at a British University. This programme provides extra English language and study skills support and is specially designed for international students who do not meet the requirements for direct entry to either UK higher education, or the year 0 programmes offered by the Foundation Centre. 2. How is the International Foundation Year different from other Foundation programmes on offer at other institutions? There are many significant differences between the International Foundation Year at Durham University and what is on offer at other foundation-level courses offered at UK colleges or universities. We believe the most important difference is in the level of support that we offer, not only academically, but also outside of class time. In addition to the College system of support, you will find Foundation Centre staff to be extremely helpful and friendly. Our staff offer an open-door policy, which means that you can come and speak to a member of the team whenever you need to during normal working hours. We pride ourselves on being available to help our International students settle into life at university in the UK. Studying in the Foundation Centre at Durham University offers a unique global experience. In your English language and study skills modules, you will be studying with students from a variety of other countries, which in previous years have included Bahrain, China, Egypt, Ghana, India, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Thailand, to mention just a few. This international learning environment enables our students to become global citizens and to form friendships with people from a variety of backgrounds, religions and cultures. Likewise, during your other modules, which vary depending on your progression route, you will be studying alongside British students. This means you will gain valuable experience in communicating and working with British students before beginning your degree, at the same time as building friendships and learning more about British culture. 3. How is the International Foundation Year Programme different from the other programmes on offer at the Foundation Centre? The International Foundation Year is very similar to the other Foundation courses on offer at Durham University’s Foundation Centre, with a few important differences. Firstly, the International Foundation Year is provides a high level of English language teaching and support for students, depending on level. As a result, we are able to accept students with a lower level of English language. International Foundation Year students will study a minimum of 6 hours of English and Study Skills each week in order to prepare them for progressing onto undergraduate degree level studies at British universities. Another important difference is that we do not have direct progression with any Durham department, which enables our students the flexibility to study modules that will best prepare them for the course that they wish to pursue at undergraduate degree level, regardless of whether that programme is offered by Durham University. Staff will assist students with their UCAS applications and will also assist students in finding a suitable place at university in the UK. 4. Who can apply? The International Foundation Year Programme offered by Durham University’s Foundation Centre is designed for students who have not had the opportunity to study qualifications of an acceptable standard for direct entry to UK undergraduate study. In addition to this, the course is designed for students whose English language ability currently falls below the acceptable level for direct entry to undergraduate level studies (IELTS 6.5, with no element less than 5.5, or University approved equivalent) or direct progression to our other Foundation programme routes (IELTS 6.0, with no element less than 5.5, or University approved equivalent). The programme may also be attractive for students whose chosen degree path is not currently offered at Durham. Finally, we also consider students who are wishing to change the focus of their academic studies (e.g. from Sciences to Social Science), or students who have experienced mitigating circumstances (e.g. illness), which have prevented them from completing their studies to the expected level. In most cases, our students are International, although in some circumstances we have accepted students with British nationality but who may have been educated abroad. Upon completion of the International Foundation Year, students have the choice of applying to Durham University’s undergraduate programmes, or other Higher Education establishments in the UK through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). In any case, applications are considered on an individual basis. Any prospective students requiring further information is welcome to contact the Foundation Centre on email@example.com . 5. What are the entry requirements for the course? Applications are welcomed from students around the world. All students are required to demonstrate academic suitability for the course as well as a minimum English language requirement of IELTS 5.5, with no element less than 5.0, or university approved equivalent. Students are encouraged to contact the Foundation Centre before making an application in order to discuss the suitability of their academic qualifications. 6. What can I do if I do not achieve an IELTS score of 5.5 (with no element less than 5.0)? Durham University Language Centre offers a 12-week pre-sessional course over the summer from June to September. Provided your IELTS score is between 4.5 and 5.5 (with no element less than 4.5), you will be offered the opportunity to attend the pre-sessional course. Successful completion of the course will lead directly onto the International Foundation Year course. More information about the course can be found <here>. Alternatively, students can re-take the IELTS exam after further study in order to achieve the required level. 7. Can I study at Durham before I begin the International Foundation Year? Yes. In addition to the 12-week pre-sessional course that is offered over the summer, Durham Language Centre also provides year-round English language courses. Click <here> for further information. 8. How should I apply? Please complete our on-line application form to apply for the International Foundation Year at Durham University <link here>. This form can be filled in and submitted on-line, or you can print it off and complete it to return to us by post or email. Please be aware that submitting a postal application may result in a delay in processing your application for the programme. For this reason we recommend that you apply on-line. Alternatively, you may apply through the University and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) using course code Y001. 9. What documents are needed to support my application? Applicants are required to provide evidence of their most recent academic qualifications and English Language ability. We also ask for a letter of reference from a person who knows you well and is able to comment on your suitability for the course. Most importantly, we want to see a personal statement, which describes your interests in and motivation for studying the International Foundation Year. 10. How should I send my supporting documents? You may send photocopies of your documents, either by post or as high quality scans in an email to firstname.lastname@example.org . 11. Should I send the originals or copies of my supporting documents? Please do not send the originals documents to the Foundation Centre as you will need these with you for your visa. High quality photocopies or scans will be fine. 12. When should I apply? The Foundation Centre operated a 12 month rolling application system. Applicants apply any time within the twelve months prior to the start date of the International Foundation Year programme (the first week in October). It does not matter if you have not yet completed your academic or English Language qualifications at the time you make your application. The University can make you a conditional offer upon successfully completing those qualifications, if necessary. 13. What happens after I send in my application? We will assess your application and decide whether you are qualified to study on the International Foundation Year Programme. If we decide to make you an offer, we will contact you and also enter your details onto the University and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) system on your behalf (unless your application was submitted via the UCAS system already). We will continue to contact you by email and post at each stage of the application process to inform you of the progress of the progress of your application. 14. How long will it take before I get an offer? We aim to take no longer than ten days to process an application to the International Foundation Year. However, it is not always possible to reach decisions that quickly. In addition, incomplete applications will require us to request additional information, which will result in a delay. 15. Can I apply even if I do not have an IELTS score? If you have not yet taken a formal English language qualification, you are welcome to apply, but we will require evidence of your English language ability before you will be given an unconditional place on the course. 16. Can I apply even if I have not yet finished my High School qualification? If you have not yet completed your academic qualifications, you may still apply, but we will require evidence that you have completed your qualification to a suitable level before you will be given an unconditional place on the course. 17. I have not finished the final year of high school in my home country but I would like to start studying in the UK. Is the International Foundation Year suitable for me? We advise all students to finish the highest level of schooling available in their home country before applying to us. 18. When will I get my visa letter? The University will issue you with a Certificate of Academic Study (CAS) by email when you have met all the conditions of your offer and have accepted your offer on the University and Colleges Admissions Service website (UCAS). The emails will be issued within two to three days after you have accepted your offer. 19. When will I get information about accommodation? You will be sent details of accommodation from your College in the summer before your course begins. 20. When will I get information about my course? The Foundation Centre will be sending out more details of the course and arrival in July/August. 21. When will I get information about welcome and induction? Information about International Welcome Week can be found <here>. 22. What are the fees for the course? There is one fee for all students on the International Foundation Year (regardless of fee status). That means that all students pay the same fees, whether they hold British, EU, or other nationality passport. Fees for the academic year 2010/11 are GBP 10560. 23. Where will I study? The International Foundation Year is based at Durham University’s Queens Campus, which is approximately 40 minutes from the main campus at Durham City. There is a free bus which operates during term time that runs between the campuses. Several other degree programmes are located here at Queens, such as Business, Medicine, Applied Psychology, Human Sciences, and some Education courses. After the International Foundation Year, should you decide to apply at Durham and if your UCAS application is successful, you will progress to the campus where your degree is based.
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