Qualification Details

Units per qualification8
DurationFull-time over one academic year or part-time over two to three years
Delivery methodClassroom
Qualification Overview
Specification Document

Level 3 International Foundation Diploma for Higher Education Studies


The International Foundation Year (IFY) is a one year pre-university qualification, including a significant degree of English language teaching. The qualification is designed to provide you with an entry route to UK university courses or progression onto the NCC Education Level 4 Diplomas in Computing, Business and Business IT.

To complete the qualification you must study and pass 8 units, six of these are compulsory, two of these are electives. For a more specific look at the content and learning outcomes please refer to the specification document on the right hand side of the page.

The IFY aims to improve your general and academic English language ability, enhance your study skills and cultural understanding and equip you with the language and skills to go on to academic study in English in the fields of computing and/or business at a suitable level. The qualification also leads on to a number of progression routes in other subjects.

For a comparison of similar NCC qualifications, please click on the ‘Foundation’ tab on the menu on the left-hand side of the page and this displays the details of parallel qualifications.

The IFY is recognised and supported by numerous universities around the world, for a full list of progression opportunities, please see the Academic Progression tab lower down this menu.

This qualification is not available as part of an apprenticeship.

For entry onto the NCC Education IFY qualification you must have:

  • Successfully completed secondary education in an appropriate range of subjects;


  • A valid score of 4.5 or above in the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) examination or equivalent. Alternatively you can take the free NCC Education Standard English Placement Test which is administered by our Accredited Partner Centres.

To complete the qualification you must study and pass eight units.

The qualification consists of the following six core units:

  • Developing English Language Skills - develops your English language skills to be able to communicate effectively beyond simple everyday contexts. It aims to improve all four skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking and enables you to acquire a broad range of knowledge which you can use to confidently and effectively communicate in English. The unit guides you through Intermediate and then Upper Intermediate levels of English language study.
  • Advanced English Language Skills - enables you to put into practice the language you have acquired and develop into an advanced user of English. You will make extensive use of the four skills of speaking, reading, listening and writing, as well as extending your knowledge of complex grammar and advanced vocabulary.
  • English for Academic Purposes - develops your understanding and use of the key linguistic skills necessary to engage effectively in an academic environment where you are being taught in English.
  • Study and Communication Skills - equips you with the essential study skills needed to succeed at university level. You will learn the basic skills necessary to conduct independent research, write academic papers, give formal oral presentations and apply what has been taught during lectures to your studies.
  • Culture Studies - enables you to gain awareness and increased understanding of other cultures. You will learn about various features of a foreign country and its culture, with a particular focus on student life and studying abroad.
  • Foundation Mathematics - builds upon your existing knowledge in the areas of mathematics whilst introducing new topics appropriate across a range of academic disciplines and for your future career.

A further two units must be taken from a choice of six electives:

  • Introduction to Computing - provides you with a basic introduction to a range of IT topics including organisation of a computer system, the relationship between hardware and software, applications of computers, databases, networking (with a focus on the Internet), graphics and multimedia.
  • Introduction to Programming - exposes you to extensive practical use of the modern programming language Visual Basic to illustrate the classic programming principles of sequencing, selection and iteration in the context of object-oriented computer programming.
  • Introduction to Business - provides you with an introduction to the purpose, types and organisation of businesses. You will also become familiar with a range of business concepts such as basic marketing practices.
  • Introduction to Accounting and Economics - introduces you to the key principles of accounting and economics. You will become accustomed to concepts such as market structures and monetary policy and also learn how to produce simple financial statements.
  • Further Mathematics - provides you with an understanding of different mathematical concepts and ideas, building on the work covered in the Foundation Mathematics unit. It will allow you to develop further algebraic techniques on a broad range of mathematical topics, building towards areas often seen and used in university courses.
  • Physics - equips you with a fundamental background of the principles of physics. The unit focuses on Newton’s mechanics, electrostatics and electrodynamics. The principles of thermal physics and magnetism are also introduced.

Optional Module: Introduction to IELTS - prepares you for assessment by the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). This unit does not carry any credits towards the qualifications and is not assessed by NCC Education.

Assessments and Examinations Assessments for all units will be offered in a number of assessment cycles throughout the year. The units are all assessed by either examination or assignments.


Access past papers and sample assessments here.

Progression routes can be found on our University Progression page.

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