University College Dublin
Ireland's Global University 

International Foundation Year Programme

The International Foundation Year is a three-term programme, specifically designed for international students who do not meet the requirement for entry to UCD bachelor programmes.



If you do not meet direct entry requirements for the degree you want, you can apply for a place on the International Foundation Year.

The International Foundation Year is specifically designed for international students who need additional study before starting an undergraduate degree programme at UCD.

If you have successfully completed the ATTESTAT/Certificate of Secondary Education with a grade of 4, you are required to complete the International Foundation Year Programme before entering on to the first year of a UCD Bachelor programme*. Depending on the degree you want to access, you can choose from two routes:

The course consists of modules. You will study four core subject modules and six subject-specific modules designed to focus on the academic areas most useful for your degree.

The International Foundation Year is a three-term programme, specifically designed for international students who do not meet the requirement for entry to UCD bachelor programmes.

The programme combines study skills, English language training and academic study to prepare you for degree-level study.

Practical information

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International Foundation Year Programme Entry Requirements

Academic Entry Requirements

You must apply with Successful completion of Senior High 2 at an average grade of 75% or Senior High 3 at an average of 70% or above

English Language Requirements

Teaching in Irish Universities is through the medium of English, therefore all applicants are required to demonstrate a high level of competence in English language.

The minimum English Language Requirements in relation to International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is overall band 5.0 (minimum of 5.0 in writing)

The minimum English Language Requirements in relation to Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) administered by Princeton University

  • In the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), a minimum score from 510 paper based TOEFL (with a minimum score of 475 in the Test of Written English), 180 computer based TOEFL or 64 internet based TOEFL (iBT)

The minimum English Language Requirements in relation to the Pearson Test of English is 43-45.

* Please note that this foundation year is for progression through to a selected number of bachelor programmes.

How to apply to IFY

You can apply for the International Foundation Programme online.

Visa Information

Do I need a Visa?

Yes – please apply early as Chinese students require a study visa.  Please see the Irish Embassy in China website and the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service website for further information.

Visa Office Contact Details


Please note that the Visa Office is located separately from the Embassy in Beijing

Please refer to the Irish Embassy in China website for a map to the Beijing Visa Office.

Embassy of Ireland , Visa Office 
Ta Yuan Diplomatic Office Building 2-11-1 
14 Liang Ma He Nan Lu 
Chaoyang District 
Beijing , 100600 
People's Republic of China

Telephone: + 86 10 65326945 / 65326971 / 72 / 73
Fax: + 86 10 65326956 

The Visa inquiry helpline is available from 14:30-16:30 Monday to Friday. Please dial the above number and press 4 when indicated.

The Visa Office is open to the public from 09:30 – 12:00; 14:30 – 16:00 Monday to Friday.

The Visa Office, Beijing accepts applications from the Peoples Republic of China and Mongolia

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Consulate General of Ireland , 
Suite 700A , Shanghai Centre, 
1376 Nanjing Road West 
Shanghai 200040, 
People's Republic of China

Tel: + 86 21 62798729 
Fax: + 86 21 62798739

The Shanghai Consulate General is open to the public from 09:30 – 12:30 Monday to Friday.
Telephone enquiries are only accepted in the afternoon from 14:00 to 16:00, Monday to Friday. 

The Shanghai Consulate General only accepts visa applications from Shanghai , Zhejiang , Anhui , Jiangxi or Jiangsu .

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Making a visa application

Typically it is necessary for applicants to provide the following information when applying for a visa 

  • Valid passport number
  • Date of issue and expiry of passport
  • Date, place and mode of arrival in Ireland
  • Letter from the University indicating that you have been offered a place in UCD
  • Letter from University indicating that the fees have been paid in full

Note: The Irish Government will only issue a student visa to students who have paid their tuition fees in full or paid a minimum deposit to the value of €6,000. Please ensure that you have paid and received a receipt to the value of the minimum visa payment requirement of €6,000, so as to avoid visa refusal on the basis of incomplete tuition fee payment.

UCD would encourage you to use our new payment facility - “PaytoStudy”. This facility is especially useful for International Students who require a VISA to travel and/or study. This service is provided by PaytoStudy and any queries relating to payments should be directed to PaytoStudy.

  • Evidence of sufficient funds to cover living and other expenses for the proposed stay - show that you have enough money to support yourself while in Ireland (bank account statements for six months previously, evidence of access to €7,000, sponsorship letter etc.)

A new pilot project by INIS allows you to lodge an amount of €7,000 to an ‘education bond’. Please refer to the INIS website for further details.

  • Recent passport photographs
  • Visa application fee (non-refundable)
  • Proof of medical insurance
  • show evidence of language proficiency. INIS requires IELTS of 5 but UCD generally require IELTS of 6.5.

Application Forms / On-Line Applications

A new on-line visa application system is now operational in China.

Visa applicants should fill out their application form on-line before delivering their supporting documents to the Visa Office. Please refer to our Study Visa Information page for further details.

On-line applications can be made on the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service website.

The page may take some time to load. Please be patient. Once the page has loaded, click “Apply Now” at the top left of the page to begin the application process.

All questions within the online application are in English and must be answered in English.

Help tips will be available in certain fields which will explain what information is being sought.

You will need to print a summary of your application form as part of the on-line application process. You will therefore need the ability to print from the computer on which you complete your application.

You should have the following information at hand before you apply:

             1. Passport and details of any previous passports – number, date of issue / expiry

             2. Details of any previous Irish visa applications

             3. Contact details for your host in Ireland

             4. Itinerary

During the application process you can save your application, exit the online form and return later to complete and submit it (within 30 days).

Following submission of your online application you will be required to submit a signed summary of your application form, original passport, passport-sized colour photograph, the relevant fee, and all supporting documents, to the relevant Consulate / Visa Office in China.

Please check General Information for All Visa Types for details of the required documentation, appropriate office, the fee payable, and the method of payment accepted.

A comprehensive guide is available to help you complete your on-line application form. Please thoroughly read this guide before applying. Click on the links below to view the guide in your preferred language.

English version

Chinese version

Schengen visa or UK D visa

Please note that a Schengen visa or UK D visa is not valid for travel to Ireland.

Arrival in Ireland – At the Airport

All non-EU/EEA citizens, whether visa-required or not, are subject to ordinary immigration controls at the port of entry/airport.

Please note:

  • The Immigration Officer makes the decision on who is actually allowed to enter Ireland.
  • He/she will stamp your passport for either one or three months.
  • This means you must register with the Garda National Immigration Bureau within the time limit stamped on the passport

To ensure you have no difficulties, we recommend that you have the following documents ready to show to the officer.

  • Passport (with entry visa if appropriate)
  • Letter of Acceptance from University College Dublin
  • Evidence of tuition fees paid or scholarship details if applicable
  • Evidence of private medical health insurance

Further Information

For further detail and application information on this programme please see the UCD International Study Centre website.

Contact Us

Ms Bei Gao

Regional Manager - China

Tel: +353 1 716 8542
Fax: +353 1 716 1165