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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.

Quick facts

  One year
Foundation Programme
Two-term Fast-track
Foundation Programme
What are the age requirements? September: 16.5+ years
January: 17+ years
17+ years
What are the English language requirements? September: IELTS 4.5+
January: IELTS 5.0+
IELTS 5.0+, or upper intermediate
How long will I study each week? 20+ hours of study per week 30+ hours of study per week
Where can I study? You can study your foundation course in London, Cambridge and Canterbury Fast-track is available in Canterbury and London
When can I start? September (3 terms) All schools
January (3 terms) Cambridge & Canterbury
January (2 terms)
April (2 terms) London only
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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