Welcome to our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page, designed to provide you with answers to common queries about the International Foundation Programme, the application process, visas and immigration, finances, student accommodation, campus life, and more.


What is an International Foundation programme and why should I study it in the UK? 

Our International Foundation Programmes are designed to help international students prepare for their undergraduate degree studies at University of South Wales (USW). You’ll develop your academic skills, subject knowledge, and improve your ability to use English in an academic context.

An IFP may be the best solution if you want to study a degree in the UK, but you do not meet the standard entry requirements for an undergraduate course. 

The course will also benefit students who have completed the equivalent of A-levels in their country and want a smooth transition to university-level education in the UK, as well as those who might be returning to education after a break.

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Who can study an International Foundation Programme (IFP)? 

International Foundation Programmes at University of South Wales are for international students who need to: 

  • Bridge educational gaps 
  • Improve their language skills 
  • Develop academic readiness before starting a degree at a UK university

What is the difference between an International Foundation Programme and International Year One Business? 

Our International Foundation Programmes (IFPs) and the International Year One Business are both designed to prepare international students for study in the UK, but they differ in duration, scope, and focus.  

International Foundation Programme 

The IFP is a comprehensive preparatory course that is taken before you begin undergraduate studies.  

It is designed to provide you with the necessary academic skills, language proficiency, and subject-specific knowledge to meet the entry requirements for your chosen undergraduate degree.  

The duration of study for an IFP will vary depending on which English language entry requirements you meet. For example: 

  • If you hold an IELTS 5.0 or equivalent from a UKVI-Approved Centre, you will enrol on the 2-term IFP.  
  • If you hold an IELTS 4.5, you will need to complete an additional term of English before starting the IFP (3-term IFP).  

International Year One Business 

The International Year One Business programme typically lasts for one academic year and provides a direct pathway to the second year of a specific degree program. It is a fast-track route for those that have a higher English language level and know what field they would like to specialise in.  

View the full list of entry requirements. 

How will I be taught and where will I study? 

You will study at our Pontypridd campus. USW Pontypridd is our largest campus and is made up of two sites: Treforest and Glyntaff.  

USW Pontypridd is surrounded by green open spaces and there is a train station next to campus with regular trains to Cardiff and links to the rest of the UK. Our students say they love the community atmosphere, and the convenience of living and studying in the same place.  

Discover more about Cardiff and check out our virtual campus tour. 

Most of the time, you will be taught in small groups, and we will provide you with a creative and secure environment in which you will learn new knowledge and skills. You will also meet with your tutors individually for additional academic support. Find out more about our courses. 

What do I need to know about progression and passing my foundation programme? 

Following the successful completion of your programme, you will progress on to the undergraduate degree you applied for at the University of South Wales. 

If you don’t meet the necessary requirements upon completion of your IFP, progression will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. In this instance, it’s best to contact your regional team who will do all they can to help find the best solution for you. Rest assured, both the academic and recruitment teams are here to help, offering one-to-one guidance.

Find out more about the progression degrees available.

What are the entry requirements for a foundation year? 

View the specific entry requirements for each of our programmes, and if you need advice on your application feel free to contact us at qahe.admissions@qa.com 

Can I apply for both an undergraduate degree and IFP? 

An IFP is designed for international students to transition directly onto their chosen undergraduate degree, so there’s no need to duplicate your application.  

During your IFP, you may also get a better idea of what you would like to study for your Bachelor’s degree and wish to alter your choice after the IFP is completed. 

If you meet your chosen undergraduate degree’s entry requirements, including the required English language level, and are academically ready to study in the UK, you can apply directly for the degree and bypass the IFP. 

There is no need to apply for both an undergraduate degree and an IFP at the same time. 

How do I apply for my course? 

Learn more about our application process, including application deadlines. 

When will I know if my application is successful? 

If you are accepted, you will receive an offer letter for the International Foundation Programme followed by the appropriate degree programme.  

Once you have successfully completed the IFP and achieved the required grades, you will gain direct admission to your chosen degree at the University of South Wales. Find out more about how to apply. 

What happens if I get rejected? 

You will receive an email from the Admissions team letting you know that your application was unsuccessful. Before applying, it is best to read the information about our entry requirements. Alternatively, you can reach out to our recruitment team who can review the decision and advise you on the reasons for this decision and/or any appeal processes. 

What type of visa do I need to apply for? 

You’ll need to have a Student Route Visa to be able to study the IFP. Other visa types, including a Visitor’s Visa and Short-term Study Visa, won’t be considered as eligible.  

If you are dependent on a UK student, you can enrol onto the course on their existing dependant visa.  

How can I apply for a student visa? 

Students need to secure their unconditional offer place with a deposit payment and request a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) to be able to apply for a Student Route Visa.  

Once the initial deposit has been paid and you’ve received an unconditional offer you’ll then need to pass the Pre-CAS interview. The Pre-CAS interview is conducted between a compliance officer and a student. 

Once you’ve passed your Pre-CAS interview, you’ll need to submit your CAS documents, consisting of the TB certificate and bank documents. Some countries are TB-exempt and will not need to show this. The TB certificate needs to be valid at least 2 months after the enrolment date.  

The bank documents will need to show funds to cover the remaining course fees and living expenses that have been held in the account for a minimum of 28 consecutive days to show a 28-day maturity. If the funds are not matured and you submit these documents with the visa application, the visa will be refused.  

Once these documents have been checked and verified, the CAS will then be issued. 

Visit UKCISA’s website for more information. 

When will my Certificate of Acceptance of Studies (CAS) be issued? 

The CAS will only be issued once all the relevant checks have been completed. 

If there is a delay in receiving your CAS or visa, and depending on the circumstances, you can request an extension, and this will be at the discretion of the university. Alternatively, you can either defer to the next intake or apply for a refund. 

How much does the IFP cost in the UK? 

For the full cost please refer to the tuition fees on the course page of your chosen programme. 

How do I pay for my programme and are there payment deadlines? 

International students are required to pay a deposit towards their tuition fees. You can find more information about this in your offer letter and find out how to pay for your course.

Is there any financial support available?  

USW offers bursaries and scholarships to self-funded students applying for Pathway or International Year One courses. Our team will review your application and contact you if you qualify for a bursary or scholarship.

Find more finance information and advice, including information on living costs during your studies with us.

If you have financial difficulties or need financial advice, please contact the Student Money Advice Team who provide support and advice to help students budget and manage their money.  

You can also use our Student Budget Calculator to help you plan your budget better.

I’m having trouble paying my tuition fees. What do I do? 

We are committed to helping you wherever possible. If you are experiencing any unforeseen financial difficulties that may affect your ability to pay your tuition fees, please contact the Finance Team for support and advice as soon as possible: 

What support is available for international students on and off campus? 

We offer students a range of support to help with their well-being. Find out more information about the academic, career, financial, and wellbeing support available. 

Are there any societies/activities for students? 

The Students’ Union offers a lot of opportunities for students to join a society or sports club, with over 100 clubs, teams, and societies to choose from. You can play sport, make new friends from all over the world, get advice, find work, and have your voice heard.  

You automatically become a member of the Students’ Union when you enrol.  

If you join a club or society, you will meet lots of new people and have the chance to get involved in all sorts of activities. It’s a friendly place, where you can watch live sport on the big screen, enjoy a meal, grab a coffee, or just take a break and relax.  

In the evenings, you can enjoy live bands, pub quizzes, film screenings, theme nights and more.  

How much does accommodation cost? 

The university has halls of residence on campus at USW Pontypridd, so you can live and study in a friendly, community-led atmosphere that our students love.  

For example, Pontypridd Halls start from £111 per week (based on 2023 prices – please note this is subject to change).  

If you don’t want to live in halls of residence, private accommodation could be an option. We keep a database of registered landlords whose properties meet the required standards and safety regulations. Find out more about student accommodation and contact us if you have any questions. 

How can I find accommodation? 

Living in halls of residence is a great way to meet people and make new friends. You’ll be close to the library, lectures, and the Students’ Union, plus you won’t have to budget for travelling costs.  

You can also choose to live in private rented accommodation with other students if you wish.
Find out more about available accommodation 

How do I apply and pay for accommodation? 

Contact us

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