University College Dublin
Ireland's Global University 

UCD International Study Centre: Renewal of Foundation Studies Agreement


James Pitman (Study Group Ltd.) and Douglas Proctor (UCD International) shake hands.

Following in-depth negotiations since late last year, a new contractual agreement between UCD and Study Group in relation to the operation of the UCD International Study Centre was signed on 14 September 2017 (with an effective commencement date of 01 September 2017).

Located on-campus in Richview Newstead Block A, the UCD International Study Centre ( offers International Foundation Year pathway programmes for international students and is a crucial channel for UCD in its international recruitment strategy.

In line with the recent tender document issued by the university in respect of these pathway programmes, key aspects of this new agreement include:

  • Detailed service levels, and a clear understanding about how service levels will be monitored and acted upon if they are not met

  • A clearer academic and strategic governance framework for the partnership and for the International Study Centre, including a joint Steering Committee and a university Oversight Board

  • Refreshed financial arrangements, including how space allocation to the International Study Centre is planned for and managed.

In Semester 1 2017, the UCD International Study Centre has enrolled 88 foundation year students from 17 countries, with sizeable cohorts from the Middle East (Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Oman) and from China. With further enrolments in train for Semester 2 in January, the Centre is well on track to meet, and indeed exceed, the agreed target of 102 enrolments in the 2017/18 academic year.
To recruit and admit these students, UCD staff in Colleges and in UCD International work closely with the Study Centre, and the students then have nearly full access to UCD services and facilities during their Foundation Year programmes. UCD expects at least 75% of eligible graduates from these programmes to then progress to a Bachelor's degree at UCD, and there is close coordination to ensure that this percentage is achieved.
As a testament to the quality of this pathway, former Foundation Year students have been shown to be well-prepared for their university studies. HongBo Sun, for example, undertook the international foundation year in Engineering and Sciences as preparation for entry into the Bachelor of Computer Science. As per his testimonial below, HongBo has now founded his own company 'SimpliFly', an airport shopping mobile application.
"When I first came here I felt lonely. The International Study Centre was the first touch point for me to meet my teachers and they were willing to listen. My English wasn’t good but they made me feel like this was my second home and that gave me confidence when I progressed into UCD. I feel like I have a home here. It all started with the International Study Centre and I appreciate all the help I received there.

I applied to graduate one year earlier as I already had my own company and wanted to devote myself one hundred per cent on pursuing my career.  I founded my company (SimpliFly) with another partner who I met at an entrepreneurship event called Startup Weekend. SimpliFly is a global, airport shopping smartphone application that lets you browse any airport in the world. You can make a purchase before your journey or on your flight and we deliver it to your destination or give it to you at your arrival terminal. We are very ambitious and many world-class leaders have joined the company as advisors."

If you have any queries about the UCD International Study Centre and/or the partnership between UCD and Study Group to run this Centre, please feel free to reach out to Dr Douglas Proctor, Director of International Affairs at
Hongbo Sun, International Study Centre alumnus