Foundation Courses

Foundation courses are a fast route to university for students aged 16.5 and over.

St Andrew’s offers Foundation Courses in Cambridge. There are two intakes per year. One in September which is a 9-month course or one in January which is a 6-month course. St Andrew’s College currently offers the following foundation courses:

Art, Architecture, Business, Economics, Engineering, Fashion & Textiles, Humanities, International Relations, Law, Media, Psychology and Science


  • Small classes 
  • Personal Tutors 
  • Many years of experience of getting students into top UK universities 
  • Over the last 5 years, our students have been offered places at 25 out of 30 of the UK’s top universities 


  • All UK universities accept A Levels. Therefore, if you choose to study A Levels you will have more choices of where to go and what courses you can study 
  • Not all universities accept Foundation Courses. The top 5 UK universities do not accept Foundation courses ( this is currently Oxford, Cambridge, LSE, Imperial and St Andrew’s) 
  • For some courses such as medicine, universities will only accept A Levels. Firstly, it’s important that you check in advance that a foundation course is accepted at the university you want to go to and secondly that it’s accepted on the course you want to study 
  • The failure rate is higher for international students on A Level courses than it is on foundation courses. You should start any course with a good level of English 
  • Foundation courses are often designed with international students in mind and will always include language support such as IELTS and EAP  
  • A Foundation course is generally shorter. Normally 9 months with some colleges like St Andrew’s offering 6/7 month accelerated options 
  • Students who have not succeeded at A Levels can sometimes be successful on a Foundation course 
  • On Foundation courses, students will generally choose the area they wish to specialise in and therefore do not need to study the range of subjects that is normally expected at A Level  
  • Foundation courses do not bring students up to the same level as A Level students. Consequently, some students can find their first year at university challenging as a result 


Firstly, this depends on the individual and their academic achievements and level of English. The higher your achievements, the more likely it is that you’ll be aiming for one of the top universities and should therefore opt for an A Level course. 

Many universities accept Foundation Courses. They offer a good standard of education and are also shorter. This means students can get to university sooner. They are a great option for students who didn’t do well at A Level or who have changed their mind about what they want to study. Foundation courses are also suitable for slightly older students in their late teens/early 20s who have decided that they want to go to university. It’s a great choice for international students as there’s lots of English language support available.