What is the International Foundation Year (IFY) Business Pathway

The International Foundation Year (IFY) Business Pathway is a one-year academic qualification for international students aged 17+, that provides guaranteed access to thousands of university degrees.

It is designed to prepare international students for first-year entry to undergraduate degree courses at reputable English speaking universities around the world. The programme is particularly suited to those seeking a career in business, finance and all areas of management.

As well as academic knowledge, the International Foundation Year will give you specialist English language study and cultural skills that are an essential part of your degree course. This unique combination will help you to get into the University of your choice and be successful in your future career.

On successful completion of your International Foundation Year at Oxford Sixth Form College you are guaranteed a place at one of the below universities:

NCUK Partner Universities

What do I study on the International Foundation Year?

Similar to A-Levels, you study three academic modules designed to prepare you for the study of business, finance or management at undergraduate degree level. In addition, you will also study a module in English for Academic Purposes.

The academic modules are as follows:

  • IFYMB002 Mathematics (Business)
  • IFYBS002 Business Studies
  • IFYEC002 Economics

English for Academic Purposes (FYEN001)

The International Foundation Year (IFY) English module provides essential preparation for university study. Your options are:

  • English for Academic Purposes for non-native speakers of English

Six-Month IFY Business Pathway

Traditionally delivered over one academic year (nine months), the IFY Business Pathway is now available as an intensive six-month programme starting in January. This is achieved by introducing an additional eight hours of teaching each week in order to condense the delivery time to six months instead of the traditional nine.

One of the main benefits of this 6-month programme is that it can be studied on a six-month short term study visa, rather than requiring a full Tier 4 student visa.

Though it requires a great deal of focus and commitment, the intensive nature of this programme means that students can achieve a full qualification equivalent to a two-year A-Level course in just six months!

Unsure which IFY Business option is right for you? See the table below for a direct comparison:

One-Year IFY Business Pathway Six-Month IFY Business Pathway
September start, nine-month programme January start, six-month programme
Equivalent to 3 A-Levels Equivalent to 3 A-Levels
23 hours of lessons per week (including EAP) 31 hours of lessons per week (including EAP)
8 hours of English for Academic Purposes 13 hours of English with Academic Purposes
Requires full Tier 4 student visa Can be studied on a 6-month study visa
Requires IELTS 5.0+ Requires IELTS 5.0+
Requires one year of accommodation Requires six months of accommodation
Senior Tutor and help with university applications Senior Tutor and help with university applications
Access to Oxford Union as well as College clubs and activities Access to Oxford Union as well as College clubs and activities

How is it assessed?

The International Foundation Year (IFY) is assessed 20% by coursework and 80% by examination. All assessments are set and moderated by NCUK.

What are the entry requirements?

You must be at least 17 years old, completed 11 years of high school education and have a recognised English language qualification e.g. IELTS 5.0.

Please note, students will be required to sit an UKVI IELTS exam in order to meet Tier 4 visa criteria.

For further (including country-specific) details, please see NCUK’s Entry Requirements.

Who awards the qualification?

NCUK awards the final certificate. Upon successful completion you will receive a certificate showing that you have passed the course and a transcript that details your individual module results.

Universities worldwide and UK NARIC (National Recognition Information Centre) formally recognises the International Foundation Year as a comparable level to GCE A-Level, Australian high school (SSCE), and American high school (AP) qualifications.


About NCUK

  • NCUK is a consortium of leading universities dedicated to giving international students guaranteed access to universities and helping students succeed when they get there.
  • NCUK qualifications are recognised by NCUK universities and by most others across the UK, including many in the Russell Group (UK’s Ivy League), and also by universities internationally.
  • Since 1987, NCUK has helped over 30,000 international students gain guaranteed access to leading UK universities.

How do I apply?

We are currently accepting applications from students looking to start the International Foundation Year (IFY) in September or January. You can apply by filling out our online form here.

Frequently asked questions

How long does it take to complete the International Foundation Year?

Starting in September each year, the International Foundation Year in Business takes one academic year to complete. Depending on final exam dates, this is usually 9 months from start to finish.

As mentioned above, there is also a six-month intensive IFY Business programme that starts in January and ends in June.

How much does the International Foundation Year cost?

One-Year Business Pathway: £7,250 per term
Six-Month Pathway: £9,250 per term

Where will I live when I study at Oxford Sixth Form College?

We have a selection of accommodation options for international students, all within walking distance of the main school in the city centre. You can find further information about our accommodation options here.

How do I apply to university?

We will help you with your application and let you know about all the deadlines. With the NCUK guarantee we ensure you get at least two conditional offers and, if you pass the IFY, a guaranteed place.

What is student life like at Oxford Sixth Form College?

Your wellbeing whilst studying at Oxford Sixth Form College is very important to us. We have a Welfare and Safeguarding team at the college who are ready to help and support you with anything you may need, as well as an action-packed social calendar to make sure you’re making the most of your time in this fantastic city. Find out more about College life here.