University Foundation course

• guaranteed entry to university

• choose English and Business

• choose English and International Affairs

• 28 or 35 week course

Your pathway to university

We guarantee entry to university if you successfully complete the University Foundation Course. You can choose to study:

English + Business


English + International Affairs

Business Subjects
Business Studies + Mathematics for business + Economics
International Affairs Subjects
Philosophy + Politics + 20th Century History

Why should you choose St Clare’s?

  • we have expert teachers, many of whom teach at the University of Oxford
  • we provide expert careers advice — we help you find the best course for you
  • you will improve your IELTS score
  • if you start in September, for the first seven weeks you will study 21 hours per week of intensive English
  • if you start in November you will study 10 hours of English per week
  • we have great accommodation in college houses or homestay
  • you will enjoy a great social programme with lively international students
  • There are two start dates:
    • early September for 35 weeks where minimum entry level is IELTS 5.0
    • late October for 28 weeks where minimum entry level is IELTS 5.5

Course content

Both courses follow a combination of English Language and academic subjects:

English for IELTS
From early September to late October
Duration: 7 weeks Lessons: 21 per week
English for Academic
Purposes (EAP)
Academic Subjects
From late October to December
Lessons: 10 per week Lessons: 9-11 per week
English for Academic
Purposes (EAP)
Academic Subjects
From January to mid-June
Duration: 21 weeks Duration: 21 weeks
Lessons: 10 per week Lessons: 12-14 per week

One lesson = 55 minutes

English for IELTS
From September to October, the primary focus is on improving your score at IELTS (the International English Language Testing System).

This examination is recognised worldwide by more than 4,500 institutions in 120 countries, including the UK, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. It is the single most important requirement for non-native speakers who wish to enter a university in the UK or other English-speaking country.

Our teachers have many years’ experience in preparing students for IELTS and success rates are extremely high.

English for Academic Purposes
Your lessons explore contemporary, cross-course themes through the medium of English and develop high-level English Language and study skills.

You concentrate on more advanced English for Academic Purposes (EAP) and the study skills required at university including:

  • researching, evaluating source material, note-taking, referencing, avoiding plagiarism
  • analysing essay questions, paragraphing, developing arguments
  • developing reading strategies, building academic vocabulary, presentation skills and strategies

There are a number of formal assessments during the course:

  • formal and informal writing activities
  • an extended essay based on your own research and
  • academic oral presentations

Academic subjects
The academic element of the University Foundation Course takes place over 28 weeks. You must select one of the following academic streams:

Business Stream Subjects
Business Studies + Mathematics for business + Economics
International Affairs Stream Subjects
Philosophy + Politics + 20th Century History

These academic subjects are taught at pre-university level by specialists who bring the benefits of the latest research in their own areas of expertise. Each subject requires background reading and research and is assessed through:

  • coursework
  • extended essay
  • final examination, which is externally-moderated

You receive comprehensive advice and support with your applications to university from our Helen Forey our Careers and Higher Education adviser.

Contact the Department
This course is perfect for you to prepare for a university degree. Because it is such an important decision, we encourage you to contact Manuela Williams, Admissions Registrar, for more advice.
Manuela Williams
Admissions Registrar
+44 1865 517706
Louis Jobin
Client Relations Coordinator
+44 865 517184

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The programme consists of two broad streams — you choose either the Business Studies or International Affairs stream. These subjects are taught at pre-university level by subject specialists who bring the benefits of the latest research in their own areas of expertise.


Business Studies


  • Microeconomics: Theories of supply and demand; Distribution, Market structures
  • Macroeconomics: Political economy and economic theories, government policy objectives, consumption, saving and investment; fiscal and and monetary policy; balance of payments; the Global Economy.

Business Studies

  • Marketing
  • Finance
  • Business ethics
  • Human resources
  • Operations management
  • Establishing, building and managing the business
  • European Union and small to medium-sized enterprises

Maths for Business

  • Algebra
  • Functions
  • Trigonometry
  • Calculus
  • Matrices
  • Statistics and probability

International Affairs

World History of the 20th Century

  • The Cold War and its aftermath
  • The state, religion, minorities
  • Causes, practices and effects of war
  • Nationalist and independence movements
  • The rise and rule of one party states
  • Decolonisation and challenges facing new states
  • Peace and cooperation: international organisations and multiparty states


  • Political ideologies
  • Contemporary global issues
  • Theories of international relations
  • International political economy
  • Regime types and machinery of government
  • Parties, interests and social movements
  • Modern state: domestic and international politics


  • Epistemology
  • Problem of evil
  • Free will
  • Mind-body problem
  • Self and personal identity
  • Moral philosophy / ethical theory
  • The nature of philosophical enquiry
  • Causation, induction and the scientific method
Sample timetable
Lesson 1 Language development Global issues in the media English Teacher
Lesson 2 Discussion and report English Teacher
Lunch Meet friends in the College dining room
Lesson 3 Academic Subject Saving and investment or Parties and interest groups Subject Teacher
Self-study Consolidation activities Adviser
Activities Join the the regular activities


You will be assessed at the end of each module using a combination of coursework, project work, presentations,extended essays and examinations. Your final assessment includes:

  • end of semester and final examinations in each academic course
  • a presentation and extended essay in English language
University success

Our Foundation Course prepares international students for university study worldwide. You will receive personalised careers advice from specialist staff who will help you apply for any university in the UK, Europe and the rest of the world.


The Business Stream can lead to a university course in:

  • Business
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Accounting
  • Economics
  • Travel and Tourism
  • Hotel Management and related areas

The International Affairs Stream can lead to a university course in:

  • Politics
  • International Relations
  • Law
  • Sociology
  • Social Anthropology
  • Psychology
  • Philosophy and many others

These are just some of the universities that our graduates have chosen for their future studies.

UK University destinations

  • University of St. Andrew’s
  • University of Sussex
  • University of Edinburgh
  • University of Glasgow
  • University of Manchester
  • Imperial College London
  • SOAS, University of London
  • City University London
  • Oxford Brookes University
  • University of York
  • New College of the Humanities

Europe and worldwide University destinations

  • Utrecht University
  • Maastricht University
  • Bocconi University
  • Munich Business School
  • University of Seoul
  • University of Oregon
  • Université catholique de Louvain
  • École hôtelière de Lausanne

IELTS is the International English Language Testing System. It measures your ability to communicate in English across the four language skills — listening, speaking, reading and writing — and is for people who intend to study or work where English is the language of communication.


It is recognised worldwide in more than 4,500 institutions in 120 countries including the UK, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Not surprisingly, therefore, it is the most popular examination for St Clare’s students.

IELTS is regarded as the single most important requirement for non-native speakers who wish to enter a university in the UK. Tests can be taken in Oxford every month and the results are available within three weeks. You will normally need a score of 6.0 or higher to join a university in the UK.

Monitoring progress

The team at St Clare’s is very experienced and successful in preparing students for IELTS. We can help you in the following ways:

  1. Entry test: we give you a number of tests on arrival to help assess your level on entry.
  2. Setting goals: your teacher discusses your needs and agrees “learning milestones”.
  3. Classroom tasks: small classes provide a supportive learning environment.
  4. After-class: teachers set homework tasks which extend your classroom learning.
  5. Self-Access: you are given guidance on computer-aided learning and test packages.
  6. Regular tests: you take internal tests in class to help decide the date of your examination.

Success at IELTS

During the classes you practise the skills required for success at IELTS:

  1. Examination strategies
  2. Practice tests
  3. Speaking and listening tasks
  4. “Against the clock” activities
  5. Top tips from the examiners
Careers and Higher Education

An additional lesson each week focuses on Careers and Higher Education during the first term. This allows students to spend time considering their strengths, exploring potential educational and career opportunities and learning about university applications.


Helen Forey, our Careers and Higher Education Adviser is always on hand to help you with:

  • advice on courses and careers throughout your stay
  • guidance with the draft of your personal statement, and
  • support in selecting the right university for you

Students can visit the Careers Library at any time or sign up for an appointment with our specialist adviser.

Inspection Reports

Three rigorous Inspection Visits and three outstanding Inspection Reports confirm that St Clare’s is truly a “centre of excellence” for all of our adult courses.

Every part of the college (academic, pastoral and legal) has been carefully monitored by the independent inspection regimes below:

  1. The British Council Inspection: with the focus on teaching and course design for English Language classes. Read the Report here
  2. The British Accreditation Council: with the focus on teaching and course design for Academic Subject classes. Read the Report here
  3. The Independent Schools Inspectorate (Private Further Education): with the focus on teaching and course design for both English Language and Academic Subject classes. Read the full Report here

University endorsement for the course

Extract from External Examinator’s Report 2014

The programme is clearly of a high quality and provides excellent preparation for Higher Education. The curriculum is well-planned, coherent and current. I feel that the inclusion of the IT and Global Issues modules provide added value to the overall programme.

I was very impressed by the quality of the students as evidenced by the work I reviewed and by the University offers received by current students. In comparison to the levels of performance achieved by other International Foundation Programmes with which I am familiar, the St Clare’s UFC has students of a very good level. I saw work reflecting a range of abilities/performance, including some of very high quality.

The range of grades was reasonable and in general grades were quite high. Furthermore, students with lower marks had clearly been given a high level of support in order to provide them with every chance to succeed. There is substantial evidence of very careful monitoring of student progress and staff involvement in this process.

Dr Elizabeth Wilding
External Examinator – University of Reading

Entry requirements

Entry Requirements

Students wishing to enrol on the University Foundation Course must:

  1. have successfully completed secondary school in their own country
  2. be 17 years or over
  3. have a knowledge of English at or above the following:
    • for entry in September; IELTS score 5.0 or equivalent CEFR B1
    • for entry in November; IELTS score 5.5 or equivalent CEFR B2

Application procedure

  1. Complete this online registration form and pay the £100 registration fee
  2. Send your high school leaving certificate and / or most recent transcript of grades
  3. Show proof of English level, either by:
    • sending an official English language test certificate or
    • by completing the St Clare’s grading test and have an interview via SKYPE
  4. We assess your application and if successful you will receive an offer letter detailing the fees
  5. Once you have accepted the offer and paid the deposit of £500, you will receive full course confirmation with useful pre arrival information and visa support documents (if necessary)
  6. If needed, apply for a visa. If you have questions about your visa please do not hesitate to contact us.
  7. Full fees are due three weeks before the start of the course
  8. Please read the terms and conditions
Dates and fees

Students can choose to study for 28 or 35 weeks. Each student’s level of English will be tested before a place is offered on the course. Those students with a specific IELTS score will be given the choice of starting the course in late October and follow a 28 week course. Those students who need to improve their IELTS score will need to start the course in early September and follow a 35 week course; the first 6 weeks will be intensive English preparation.


Students may register for the course if they have the correct standard of school qualification and if they turn 18 in the first term of the course (ie. before the end of December). Students who are still age 17 when they start the course will be required to live in homestay until they turn 18.

Course dates and fees

September 2017 to June 2018 35 weeks £18,795
October 2017 to June 2018 28 weeks £15,036
  • includes fees insurance and travel insurance

College holidays

Spring 2018 Saturday 24 March – Sunday 8 April 2018
Autumn 2018 Monday 22 October – Friday 26 October 2018
Christmas 2018 Saturday 15 December – Sunday 6 January 2019
Spring 2019 Monday 8 April – Friday 19 April 2019

Accommodation fees

Type of Accommodation 36 weeks 28 weeks
Self catering — room only
Twin Standard £8,244 £6,412
Twin Superior (ensuite) £10,008 £7,784
Single Standard £10,620 £8,260
Single Superior (ensuite) £13,032 £10,136
Homestay (includes breakfast and dinner)
Single Standard £8,244 £6,412
Single Superior (ensuite) £10,872 £8,456
Meals — lunch Monday – Friday £44 per week

Some course elements may incur additional costs:

Personal Language Training
Students can add one-to-one lessons to their language classes. Lessons last 55 minutes and are charged at £55 per lesson.

Examination fees
Fees for the following examinations are currently between approximately £30-£150. Please contact Manuela Williams, Admissions Registrar, for more details. Cambridge examinations (may be taken each term except CPE and CAE). Entry and fees are due about three months before the exam date.

  • FCE First Certificate in English
  • CAE Certificate in Advanced English
  • CPE Certificate of Proficiency in English

Other examinations

  • TOEIC, TOEFL (for further study in USA) SAT I, SAT II, (3 sets)
  • IELTS (for further study in the UK)

Optional college weekend trips / theatre visits / excursions, etc.

  • Day excursions at weekends — free to £40
  • Theatre tickets and transport — £25 to £45
  • Weekend trip with overnight stay (two nights) — £70 to £300
  • Additional sports and other activities — £10 to £15 per week
  • Stationery/book purchase (loan of books is included in fees)
  • General spending money — allow around £80 per week
  • Remember, key deposit, police registration (for students from countries outside the EU) and book purchase all need to be paid for in the first week
Registration Fee £100 Non-refundable
Deposit £500 Refundable after the end of the course less any
outstanding charges
To confirm acceptance of an offered place. The deposit is forfeit if a place is accepted but subsequently not taken up. The deposit is refundable after the second semester when all charges have been met, including the cost of avoidable loss or damage to the College and its property. In case of withdrawal without due notice the deposit is forfeit.
Balance of fees The balance of your tuition and accommodation fees are due for payment not less than three weeks before your course begins. You will not be able to attend classes or take up residence in St Clare’s accommodation if there is any outstanding balance.

Please read our Terms & Conditions

What the Accommodation fees include

College houses

  • Accommodation from the day of arrival to the morning after the last day of the course; bed linen and towels; room cleaning (weekdays); heating and lighting.
  • Accommodation fees include your stay in your house during the mid-semester breaks but not the two week spring break.
  • If you have chosen to include meals you are entitled to lunch Monday to Friday (excluding the semester breaks)


  • Fees include accommodation as a guest with a local host (appraised and inspected regularly by our Student Services Officer), single room, bed linen and towels, laundry facilities, breakfast and dinner every day (lunches can be bought in college Monday to Friday) and support provided by the Student Services Officer in college. Some of our hosts offer a single superior option (ensuite facilities).

Travel Insurance
All students studying on our academic year courses are covered by our travel insurance. This insurance policy covers, for example, medical expenses, personal accident, cancellation expenses, personal belongings and travel delay. This detailed Travel Insurance policy document lists those items that are covered. There is no extra charge for this insurance. All students are advised to take out personal possessions insurance for items such as laptops, cameras, mobile devices, and phones.

Do you want to apply to university in the UK, US or Europe?

Our University Foundation Course is perfect for you.

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St Clare's, Oxford