Everything you need to know about a foundation programme


Studying abroad is a life-changing opportunity for every student. The experience is amazing and that’s why more and more students decide to take this step. Discovering a new culture, exploring new places, and making friends from all over the globe is as enriching as you would imagine it to be. And not to forget that choosing to study abroad allows for personal and academic development in a way that would not have been possible by staying at home. 

But, as an international student, being somewhere and doing something for the first time, can be a bit of a challenge in the academic area. Luckily, international universities have a foundation programme that will provide you with all the necessary information and give you all the support while making sure that you are well prepared for your chosen study programme.

What is a foundation programme?

A foundation programme is a study programme designed to fill the gap between your current level of qualification and knowledge and the level needed to be admitted to the study programme of your choice at an international university. Foundation degrees, also known as preparation courses or pathway programmes, complement any knowledge or qualification you might still be lacking. 

Preparation is key!

If you want to study successfully in Germany, then thorough preparation is key! PFH’s foundation programme will make your entrance into the desired study programme easier. It will prepare you both from a language and from a technical point of view. You will undergo, in PFH’s case, intensive German language training and at the same time take selected course modules from your chosen course of studies. That means you will already be learning some of the study content and important academical terms. 

Enrolment in foundation programmes

Foundation programmes target both local and international students from all over the world, regardless of where they come from. They don’t usually award students an academic degree upon completion but guarantee a certain level of qualification that allows them to follow a higher education degree such as a Bachelor’s or Master’s programme. 

In the case of PFH, the foundation programme is aimed at those prospective students who:

  1. are interested in studying in German language,
  2. already have a university entrance qualification, 
  3. already have basic German language skills (min A2 level).

Programme duration and format

Most universities in Europe offer preparation courses that usually take one academic year to complete. PFH’s foundation programme starts 12 to 16 months before the official start of the course of studies. 

Foundation programmes are usually divided into two semesters (or phases), each with its own number of modules. The modules then are split into minor and more generic subjects, as well ale major ones which are more specialised towards the student’s future career. 

If you are studying in Germany, taking PFH as an example, you will first begin with one or more intensive German courses. Whether you will start your language training in June, July or September depends on your level of German skills. PFH develops an individual study plan for every student.

During the first semester which is from October to March as well as in the second semester from April to September of PFH’s foundation programme, you will attend selected seminars and lectures from your chosen course of studies and you will have the chance to gain insight into what exams look like. If you pass any of the exams, the credits will be transferred to your study programme, resulting in reducing your workload or even shortening the length of your study time.

After completing the foundation year

When you successfully complete your foundation programme you will be enrolled into the study programme at PFH, starting the following October. If your German is not at the level it needs to be, you will continue to attend lessons during the next one or two semesters. 

Foundation programme assessment 

Usually, the evaluation system is very similar to any other study programme and includes exams, presentations, projects, single assignments, etc. The foundation programme can be based in the country of study or can also be taught in the student’s local country by an institution that has an agreement with the university. An assessment includes a number of academic credit points, assigned differently for coursework or exams. 

In conclusion, foundation programmes are very useful when you have decided to study abroad but don’t have the required qualification to be admitted. The right foundation programme focuses on your particular interests, making sure you are in a fully supported environment and are qualified for admission. 

We hope we’ve answered any doubts you might have about our foundation programme. At PFH we make sure that you are well-prepared for your study programme and that you enjoy your student life