Prospective Students

International Foundation Certificate


Fact File

CAO Code:
Duration: 1 year
Type of degree: Full-time
Contact: Ms Fiona Gallagher

Understanding the Course:

International students - helping you to meet the English Language requirements for your undergraduate courses in DCU

The International Foundation Certificate (IFC) programme is a pre-sessional undergraduate university course offered in Dublin City University, Ireland.

Are you looking to pursue an undergraduate degree at DCU, but lack the necessary English language skills? If so the International Foundation Certificate (IFC) will help you to achieve these skills, as well as preparing you for the adjustment to university learning in the Irish context. You will also sample a number of modules from your target/destination degree course.

The International Foundation Certificate (IFC) Programme is specifically designed for non-native English speakers who do not meet the English language requirements for direct entry onto degree programmes in DCU. The International Foundation Certificate (IFC) is taken on a full-time basis over one academic year. You will take a mixture of core and specialist modules. The core modules will help you to achieve the English language skills necessary for DCU undergraduate degree programmes and help facilitate your adjustment to learning in an Irish university. The specialist modules allow students to take 1/3 of the modules from the first year of their chosen degree programme. This means that if you successfully complete the IFC programme and transfer to the first year of the degree programme, you will only have 2/3 of the first year workload..

IFC Arabic Version (PDF version - 165K)

IFC Chinese Version (PDF version - 313K)

IFC Polish Version (PDF version - 260K)

About You:

If you complete this course successfully you will be guaranteed a place on your target degree course in DCU. You will also be entitled to exemptions from the modules you successfully complete in the Foundation Year.

You will need:

  • A school education that is equivalent to the Irish School Leaving Certificate standard, and
  • Specific requirements for the targeted degree courses (e.g. Mathematics for the engineering degrees), and

English language requirements:

Course Structure:

The IFC course provides a transition to your target university course by allowing you to sit appropriate Year 1 modules. This corresponds to 1/3 of your first year degree course, meaning that you will only have to complete 2/3 of the workload when you progress to Year 1 of your target degree. When you progress to the second year, you will have become an integral part of the Irish third level education system.

Programme Academic Structure 2013-2014
Semester 1 Semester 2
FC001 Language Skills and Intercultural Communication FC002 Reading and Writing Skills
FC003 English for Academic Purposes I FC004 English for Academic Purposes II
EN306 English Integrated Skills 1 EN307 English Integrated Skills 2
Level 1 Module(s) - 10 credits (Target Degree Programme 1st Year Modules Level 1 Module(s) - 10 credits (Target Degree Programme 1st Year Modules

Each applicant is required to indicate a target degree programme when applying for admission to the IFC. The following programmes will accept IFC students for the academic year 2012/2013:

Target Degree Programmes for the IFC:

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

Faculty of Engineering and Computing

Faculty of Science and Health

DCU Business School

Why DCU:

Why DCU?

  • Guarantee yourself a place on your chosen degree course when you pass the IFC.
  • Benefit from taking at least two modules that form part of Year one of your chosen degree course. Pay a reduced Year one fee the following year as a result.
  • Improve your academic English skills so that you can engage fully with your studies in an English-speaking university.
  • Study with other Irish students for your degree course modules and with other International students for your English language modules.
  • Experience University life at first hand and be well prepared for continuing your studies at DCU the following year.

International Students

Apply directly to DCU. Applications forms can be obtained from the Registry at DCU or downloaded directly from the Web at: (PDF document)

State your target degree course on your application form, e.g. if you wish to study the B.Sc. in Computer Applications on completion of the IFC then the title of the course should read: IFC - B.Sc. in Computer Applications.

You can also include a second and third choice of degree course on your application form.

What Our Graduates Say

"I would recommend this course. It is like a bridge, helping us to get into university." Liu Chun Yang (IFC - International Business and Languages, Japanese)

"It is true that other universities lecture you about the real world - but DCU puts you there." Desheng Qu (IFC - Economics, Politics and Law)

Career Prospects:

Successful participation in the IFC course will help you make the transition to your target university course and thereafter to your chosen career.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long is the IFC?

The International Foundation Certificate (IFC) is a one (academic) year full-time course, running from late September to late May. Repeat exams will take place in late August.

What will I achieve from the IFC?

If you pass all the modules in the IFC you are guaranteed to progress onto the first year of the degree programme you have chosen.

Do I need to take IELTS or TOEFL again if I successfully complete the IFC?

If you successfully pass all modules in the IFC, it is deemed that you have met the minimum English language requirements for admission to DCU degree programmes, so you won't need to take IELTS or TOEFL again in order to continue your studies at DCU.

How many times can I sit the examination for each module?

There will be examinations/assessments at the end of each semester (or in some cases at the end of the year) for the modules you have studied. If you fail any of the examinations, you can repeat them in the autumn, usually in late August. So you have two chances to pass each module.

What if I don't fulfil the IELTS or TOEFL requirements?

DCU is arranging a special English examination for students who do not have satisfactory evidence of competency in the English language. If you achieve 55% in the DCU English examination, then it is considered that you have met the minimum English language requirements for the IFC. Please also refer to question 6 below.

Can you tell me more about the DCU Foundation English Language Test?

Please contact the Chairperson of the programme (Tel: +353 1 7005794 / e-mail: If you wish to apply to sit the DCU Foundation English Language Test. The DCU Foundation English Language Test focuses on reading and writing skills. The duration of the examination is 2 hours. We would advise you to arrive at least 15 minutes before the commencement of the examination. (Download English Test form:

Are there any extra costs in addition to the application fee and tuition cost?

No, the programme fee includes all costs.

When will I know if I have been accepted?

A decision on your application will be made within two weeks after you have provided all required supporting documents to DCU. Please ensure that you always keep DCU up to date on your correspondence address and telephone number.

Entry Requirements:

  1. Secondary School education that is equivalent to Irish Leaving Certificate standard, and
  2. Specific requirements for the targeted degree programmes (e.g. Mathematics for engineering degree programmes), and

English language requirements:

  1. IELTS: 5.5 with no component less than 5.0 or
  2. TOEFL: 500 (paper based)/TOEFL 200 (computer based) or
  3. DCU Foundation English Test: above 55% (Download Foundation English Test application form.)

Cost of the IFC

The IFC fee is €4,500 for EU students. For Non-Eu students the fee is €8,557. This fee is payable upon acceptance of a place. IFC students who progress to degree programmes will be entitled to a maximum of a 1/3 reduction of the 1st year fee for module exemptions.

How to Apply:

  1. Complete an Application Form: Applications forms can be obtained from The Registry at DCU or downloaded here. State your target degree programme on your application form. For example: if you wish to study the B.Sc. in Computer Applications after the IFC, then the title of the programme should read: IFC - B.Sc. in Computer Applications
  2. Return your completed form (on or before 11th August), together with the documents listed below and your application fee of €60, (cheque or bank draft only, no cash) to:

    The Registry
    Dublin 9

    1. Copy of second level education School Leaving examination results (original copy and English translations)
    2. Evidence of English language competency, i.e. IELTS or TOEFL results
    3. Any other documents that you think may be helpful to your application, e.g. university entrance exam results, offer letters from other universities, letters of recommendation etc.

Fee information