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Foundation Year

A bridging qualification for international students

Designed specifically for international students, the University Foundation Programme (UFP) acts as a bridge from students’ high school education in their own country to university in the UK.

Why study with CATS?

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What is a University Foundation Programme?

The foundation programme is a pre-university qualification specially designed to prepare international students to enter a UK university. CATS Colleges offer a one-year (three-term) option starting in September and a two-term fast-track option starting in January.

In addition to developing your English language and academic skills, you choose three subjects to study, with exams at the end of the course. There is also a significant amount of coursework which contributes to your final grade.

The programme is designed in conjunction with academics from top universities, including Loughborough, Exeter and Bristol, to ensure that it consistently meets the expectations of leading universities.

What will you achieve?

You will:

  • have an accredited qualification accepted by 90 of the 100 top UK universities;
  • have developed as an independent learner;
  • have improved your English language fluency and proficiency;
  • have the foundation needed for undergraduate study in your chosen subject.

Key features

  • Choose from a wide choice of subjects, including Sciences, Humanities and the Arts.
  • Improve your English for university entry and develop your fluency and proficiency to give you the competitive edge in your university application.
  • Prepare for an English qualification recognised by international universities.
  • Join a variety of clubs and after-school programmes with a focus on key professions, such as law, medicine and engineering, to develop your skills to boost your personal statement for university.
  • Experience life at an international school with access to a broad range of extra-curricular activities, sports and trips that will give you the edge when it comes to applying to university.
  • Develop skills needed to succeed at university with a focus on improving your capacity to learn with confidence and independence.

Quick facts

  Foundation Programme
(3 terms - 1 year)
Fast-track Foundation Programme
(2 terms)
Age requirements September: 16.5+ years
January: 17+ years
17+ years
English language requirements September: IELTS 4.5+
January: IELTS 5.0+
IELTS 5.0+ or Upper Intermediate
Average class size 11 11
Hour of study per week 20+ 30+
Location London, Cambridge and Canterbury Fast-track is available in London
Start of course

Cambridge
3 terms (September, January)

Canterbury
3 terms (September, January)

London
3 terms (September)

London
2 terms (January)
How much does it cost? Visit our admissions section for our fees.

Reasons to choose a CATS College


Study in a top university city

Study your university foundation programme in London, Cambridge or Canterbury, close to some of the UK's most prestigious universities.

Study in a top university city

Prepare for your dream career

Prepare for competitive careers such as Medicine, Business and Law on the CATS Key Professions programme (KPP).

Prepare for your dream career

Small class sizes and expert teachers

Get individual attention from your teachers, who are all teachers of English and include published authors and examiners.

Small class sizes and expert teachers

Conditional progression to a UK university

Receive one-to-one guidance to help you prepare your application for university. You can also take advantage of conditional progression to one of over 30 universities.

University application support
  • "The University Foundation Programme is great. The style of teaching and the coursework is similar to university."
    Marta from Poland
    met her offer to study Engineering Mathematics
    at the University of Bristol
  • "I chose CATS College because their University Foundation Programme is very high quality. I got offers to lots of universities including Sheffield - my dream university."
    Hana from Egypt
    progressed to the University of Sheffield

Choosing your subjects

Choosing your University Foundation Programme subjects is important as universities look for students that have good grades in the right subjects. As well as this, it’s important that you enjoy studying these subjects, as you will only get high grades in your University Foundation Progamme if you are really interested in the work you are doing.

At CATS, we work with you to choose the best combination to help achieve your university and career aspirations.

Subjects you can study

How will I be assessed?

You take examinations in each subject at the end of the year with results published soon after. To ensure that you are well prepared you will also take part in mock exams so that your teachers can help with anything you are finding difficult. English is tested through an IELTS examination.

Most subjects have 30% coursework which is written or practical work completed throughout the year and counts towards your overall grade.

In 2020, CATS is introducing electronic testing so that candidates can work on a computer in a way they are familiar with, rather than using pen and paper. 80% of CATS University Foundation Programme (UFP) students will benefit from some form of online testing in the first year.

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