International Foundation in Architecture

The International Foundation in Architecture is a design-led programme preparing you for your undergraduate degree in Architecture at Newcastle University. 

Why apply for the International Foundation programme?

  • guaranteed university placement for all successful students
  • a quality assured university programme
  • full university student status and access to university facilities

There are two course options available:

  • International Foundation (3 terms) – this is the standard option
  • Extended International Foundation (4 terms) – this features an additional term of English at the beginning for extra language support

What's special about this programme?

  • a campus based programme with access to university facilities
  • multiple start dates
  • the highest levels of personal care and support
  • brand new architecture studio in the INTO Centre

Teaching methods

The programme introduces you to an explorative and creative route into architecture. Key aspects of architecture such as space, materiality and aesthetic qualities are explored. You will expand your skills and knowledge on various projects and tasks, from two to three dimensions, sketching and drawing to constructing physical models. You will also learn how to research, analyse and present your work effectively thanks to your improved language and communication skills.

Who should apply for the International Foundation programme?

If you have completed secondary school education in your home country, the International Foundation programme provides academic preparation for first year entry and ensures that you meet the minimum English language requirement for entry to your chosen undergraduate degree programme. In some circumstances you may be able to enrol on the Foundation programme in order to change your specialist subject.

What will I study?

You will study the following modules:

Architectural Design 1

This module introduces students to the foundation elements of architectural design through lectures, study trips, design projects, tutorials and skills workshops. The conveyed content is intended to stimulate and strengthen personal interests in architecture, develop general design skills and promote a comprehensive understanding of architecture and its contexts.

Architectural Design 2

This module aims to sharpen and test the knowledge gained during semester one through a small-scale architectural design project. Students learn to apply basic principles of site analysis, considering the environmental, social and cultural implications of architectural intervention. Basic construction methods are introduced, and students gain a deeper understanding of materials, scale and form.

Architectural Communication

This module aims to enable students to process, transform and communicate information in support of design projects and culminating in an architectural portfolio. The module focuses on practical professional skills such as sketching, documenting and drawing as well as on communication and presentation skills, both manual and digital. This is complemented by an introduction to research methods, with particular emphasis on precedent studies in support of design projects.


How will I be assessed?

Entry to all honours degrees at Newcastle University is highly competitive, and students hoping to progress to Newcastle must maintain high standards throughout their programme.

Whilst your grades in the Foundation programme do not count towards the final degree, your performance will be used to determine whether you meet the specified progression grades for direct entry to your chosen degree at the University. Assessment is both formal and informal.

Informally you will be given advice and feedback throughout your programme from your teachers. You will also be assessed via a combination of examinations at the end of each semester and coursework including

  • a design portfolio
  • design project
  • sketch books
  • written essays
  • reports
  • practical exercises
  • group and individual research projects
  • bibliographical searches
  • oral and video presentations
  • problem solving

View the INTO Newcastle University Yearbook


How do I qualify?

Academic requirements:

You need to have completed 12 years of schooling (or the local equivalent to meet the same standard) with very good grades to study architecture in the UK.  

For information about country-specific entry requirements please contact us.

English requirements:

Three term: a minimum of IELTS 5.5 (with a minimum of 4.5 in any subskill) or an equivalent score

Four term: a minimum of IELTS 5.0 (with a minimum of 4.5 in all subskills) or an equivalent score

From 6 April 2015, the Centre can only accept a UKVI approved IELTS test for this course. Read more about UKVI IELTS or contact us for more details.

If you do not meet the minimum English language level you can apply for our Academic English course.

Portfolio requirements:

You will be expected to provide a portfolio as part of the application. The portfolio should demonstrate core skills and illustrate your genuine interest in architecture.  It must include: at least 12 annotated pieces of work (sketches, drawings, photographs of models, art work etc.) on A3 sheets (see portfolio guidelines below), title and contents page and a personal statement (300 words).

Portfolio Categories: There are three compulsory categories - 'Where I live', 'What I do' and 'What I want to be'. Within these categories there are mandatory and optional elements. Additionally, you are free to add another personal category and/or whatever pieces of work you consider important to illustrate your talents and skills.

View the Foundation in Architecture portfolio guidelines.

Portfolios that do not comply with these guidelines will not be considered suitable for entry and applicants will be required to resubmit. Portfolio review takes place throughout the year.  


17 years and above

All students commencing courses on a published September start date must be 17 years old by 31 December of that calendar year. For all other start dates, students must be 17 years old on the published start date of the course.

When can I start?


Start date Term dates Fees

July 2017 start
(4 term)

Term 1: Mon 03 Jul 2017 to Fri 08 Sep 2017

Term 2: Mon 25 Sep 2017 to Fri 15 Dec 2017

Term 3: Mon 08 Jan 2018 to Fri 23 Mar 2018

Term 4: Mon 09 Apr 2018 to Fri 15 Jun 2018


September 2017 start
(3 term)

Term 1: Mon 25 Sep 2017 to Fri 15 Dec 2017

Term 2: Mon 08 Jan 2018 to Fri 23 Mar 2018

Term 3: Mon 09 Apr 2018 to Fri 15 Jun 2018


September 2017 start
(4 term)

Term 1: Mon 25 Sep 2017 to Fri 15 Dec 2017

Term 2: Mon 08 Jan 2018 to Fri 23 Mar 2018

Term 3: Mon 09 Apr 2018 to Fri 15 Jun 2018

Term 4: Mon 18 Jun 2018 to Fri 07 Sep 2018


January 2018 start
(3 term)

Term 1: Mon 08 Jan 2018 to Fri 23 Mar 2018

Term 2: Mon 09 Apr 2018 to Fri 15 Jun 2018

Term 3: Mon 18 Jun 2018 to Fri 07 Sep 2018



Tuition fees do not include:

  • enrolment fee - an additional charge of £150 per academic programme (to be charged upon confirmation)
  • text books - an additional charge in the region of £210 per academic course (3 terms), £270 per academic course (4 terms)


Is accommodation included in the fees?

Accommodation is not included in the fees. View our accommodation options.

How do I pay?

You can pay by bank transfer or by credit card. Please contact us for bank transfer details.

What's the difference between the 3 and 4 term course?

The Extended International Foundation 4-term course has an additional term of English at the beginning and will typically have a lower English language entry requirement.

How do I apply?

You can apply online or by post. Find out more about how to apply.

Where will it take me?

Our progression guarantee:

We guarantee to find you a place to study on an appropriate degree and university if you successfully complete your International Foundation programme, follow professional advice offered by INTO staff and meet minimum attendance requirements.

As a successful pathway student, you’ll have access to a number of university progression options. Each progression option will follow a specific pathway and specific requirements for both English/study skills and overall grade. You’ll also find some courses have specific requirements, such as:

  • successfully completing an interview;
  • having previously studied a relevant discipline;
  • having previously completed a degree; or
  • having IELTS 6.0 or equivalent in English language.
6th in the UK for Architecture
(The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017)

This course leads to the following undergraduate degrees at Newcastle University:

Architecture, Planning and Landscape

BA (Hons) Architecture

BA (Hons) Architecture and Urban Planning

BA (Hons) Urban Planning

MPlan (Hons) Master of Planning

General, UK and China enquiries: +44 (0)1273 876 040 [email protected]
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