Level 3 International Foundation Diploma for Higher Education Studies (IFD)

For entry onto the Level 3 International Foundation Diploma for Higher Education Studies (RQF) qualification a student 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 a student can take the free NCC Education Standard English Placement Test which is administered by our Accredited Partner Centres.

To complete the qualification a student must study and pass eight units.

The qualification consists of six core units:

  • Developing English Language Skills – develops 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 a student to acquire a broad range of knowledge which can be used to confidently and effectively communicate in English. The unit guides students through Intermediate and then Upper Intermediate levels of English language study.
  • Advanced English Language Skills – enables a student to put into practice the language acquired and develop this into an advanced user of English. Students will make extensive use of the four skills of speaking, reading, listening and writing, as well as extending knowledge of complex grammar and advanced vocabulary.
  • English for Academic Purposes – develops understanding and use of the key linguistic skills necessary to engage effectively in an academic environment where English is being taught.
  • Study and Communication Skills – equips students with the essential study skills needed to succeed at university level. Students learn the basic skills necessary to conduct independent research, write academic papers, give formal oral presentations and apply what has been taught during lectures.
  • Culture Studies – enables students to gain awareness and increased understanding of other cultures. Students 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 existing knowledge in the areas of mathematics whilst introducing new topics appropriate across a range of academic disciplines.

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

  • Introduction to Computing – provides 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 students 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 an introduction to the purpose, types and organisation of businesses. Students become familiar with a range of business concepts such as basic marketing practices.
  • Introduction to Accounting and Economics – introduces the key principles of accounting and economics. Students 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 area 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 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.

Progression routes can be found on our University Progression page.