What is a Standard Foundation Program? 

A Foundation Studies program is your supportive pathway to the First Year of any UNSW degree. The Standard Foundation Program goes for nine months, which is a faster pace than other Foundation Studies we offer.

Our programs are designed to suit your academic and English skills and prepare you for studying at university, with specific streams that align with your degree. We support you with personalised learning, small classes and social activities to help build your future at UNSW. Click the Program structure tab for further information. 

Intakes

March, August, November

Duration

9 months

Weekly class time

Approximately 24 hours

Progression

First Year, any UNSW bachelor’s degree

Delivery mode

On-campus

CRICOS Code

000725G

Who is this program for?

The Standard Foundation Program has been designed specifically for international students who have strong results in Year 11 or 12, but have not met the entry requirements for their chosen undergraduate degree. 

As a pre-university program, you can select the stream that best aligns with your chosen degree, so your learning is more tailored. You’ll also be supported to improve your English, critical thinking and presentation skills, participating in lectures and tutorials that will prepare you for university. 

Why study at UNSW College?

Flexible entry points

If you’ve just missed out on entry or need help to meet English and academic requirements for a bachelor’s degree, our range of Foundation Studies programs is for you. They are tailored to different abilities and move at a pace that works for you – with the right support and flexibility to reach your study and career goals faster. 

Be degree-ready

Do you want to study a degree in Architecture, Business, Cyber Security, Medicine, Quantum Engineering or any of our hundreds of other professional pathways? The content you study in our Foundation Studies program has been developed in consultation with the UNSW faculties so you will be prepared for your degree. 

A supportive pathway

You will enjoy a personalised learning experience with individual support from dedicated and experienced teachers. Regular feedback and ongoing assessments will keep you moving forward. Prepare to challenge yourself, get ready for life at UNSW and make lasting friendships along the way. 

Your future at UNSW

Once you successfully complete your Foundation Studies program, meeting the grade point average (GPA) and English requirements, you will progress to First Year at UNSW Sydney to study any UNSW bachelor’s degree. Take advantage of UNSW’s top 20 reputation to gain a career-focused education, explore opportunities and build your future. 

For more information on specific entry requirements for your chosen UNSW Sydney bachelor’s degree, view Progression to UNSW Sydney.

Top 20
Worldwide

QS World University Rankings, 2024.

Most
Employable Graduates

AFR Top 100 Future leaders Award.

Leading
Innovation

#1 Australian uni attended by start-up founders.

Overview

Standard Foundation Program is a pre-university program that prepares you for undergraduate study at UNSW. It is offered on campus in Sydney and at some International Centres. You will improve your English language and academic skills, while the stream you choose will prepare you specifically for your chosen degree.   

The added support you’ll receive in the Foundation Studies program will give you the skills to be prepared for your next step as an undergraduate student at UNSW Sydney.

For more information on each stream, see below. 

 

What is a stream? 

A stream is the area of study that will help you prepare for the UNSW bachelor’s degree you want to complete. If you’re planning to study a Foundation Studies program or a Transition program, you will need to choose the stream which aligns to your preferred degree.

  • Arts & Social Sciences stream

    Explore big ideas and critical social issues. The Arts & Social Sciences stream is designed for students planning on studying a degree within the UNSW Faculty of Arts, Design & Architecture. This stream can lead you to a range of degrees including International Studies, Languages, Media, Education, Arts, Social Work, Criminology, Social Science, Music, Humanities and more.

    Arts & Social Science stream subjects

    View an example of the subjects you will be studying in your Foundation Studies program:

    • Foundation Academic English will strengthen your abilities in reading, listening, writing and speaking, setting you up for university study. This subject also covers academic skills including presentation and discussion, research and reporting, group work, annotated bibliography, and self-reflection. Working with others, you’ll improve your teamwork, decision making, cognitive flexibility and cross-cultural understanding.

      Assumed knowledge
      IELTS skills level (or equivalent) required for entry into the Foundation Studies program you are enrolled in. You also must have the ability and willingness to work both collaboratively and independently. 

    • Computing for Business incorporates both a practical and theoretical component that prepare you for success at university. In Term 1, you will develop practical skills including recognising and discussing technological trends, impacts and issues; PowerPoint presentations; word processing and referencing. In Term 2, you will learn more advanced spreadsheet techniques using MS Excel to analyse, manipulate and visualise data. You will also have the opportunity to collaborate in groups, work on presentations, and develop and receive peer-generated feedback.

      Assumed knowledge
      Students should be able to use a keyboard to type accurately, and with reasonable speed.

    • This subject will encourage you to adopt diverse perspectives to analyse, interpret and discuss cultural phenomena and associated media representations. By exploring different notions of culture, you will understand how its representation contributes to and influences communication. You will learn a range of theoretical culture analysis tools then examine how and why media influences audiences and culture.

      Assumed knowledge 
      A willingness to actively engage in discussion and explore cultures from a variety of perspectives will assist student performance in this subject.

      Other Programs
      Standard Plus
      : If you’ve selected the Standard Plus program, you will also complete the Australian Studies subject where you will examine historical and social changes that have shaped Australian culture.

    • This subject takes on a problem-based learning approach, challenging you to develop informed opinions on contemporary international, regional and global issues. You will be taught problem solving processes in Term 1 and in Term 2, applying your insights to respond to and critically evaluate contemporary international issues. You’ll be assessed in both team and individual tasks, enhancing your skills in analysis, research, teamwork and action planning. 

      Assumed knowledge 
      There is no assumed knowledge for this subject. An openness to new ways of learning will be an advantage.

    • Providing important skills for your future career and study journey, the Management subject describes the connection of success on an individual, team and organisational level, while providing a basic understanding of the language of organisations and management. You will study management theory and decision-making frameworks, while developing skills in decision making, effective teamwork, time management, conflict resolution, coping with change, and developing clear written and oral communication practices.   

      Assumed knowledge
      There is no assumed knowledge for this subject. You will need to be able to read and collate information from a range of different sources. You will need to actively engage in classes, discussion and teamwork during this subject.

      Other Programs 
      Standard Plus
      :  If you’ve selected the Standard Plus program, you will also study the Critical Skills and Collaboration subject. Here you will learn key skills to help you work effectively in teams and collaborate in critical thinking scenarios.

    • In this subject, you should develop knowledge and skills encompassing mathematical facts, procedures and concepts necessary for understanding the various maths skills required for further study in Arts, Design & Architecture at university. Topics include basic skills, geometry and similarity, business applications of arithmetic, measurement and statistics.

      Assumed knowledge
      This subject assumes a level of knowledge equivalent to Stage 5.1 of the NSW Mathematics Years 7–10 Mathematics Syllabus. See the NSW Board of Studies website for details of the syllabus content.

  • Commerce or Actuarial Studies stream

    Make it your business to be the best. The Commerce stream is designed for students planning on studying a degree in Business, Accounting, Economics and Arts. The Actuarial Studies stream is for students with higher mathematical ability and intending to progress to a Bachelor of Actuarial Studies.

    Commerce or Actuarial Studies subjects

    View an example of the subjects you will be studying in your Foundation Studies program:

    • Foundation Academic English will strengthen your abilities in reading, listening, writing and speaking, setting you up for university study. This subject also covers academic skills including presentation and discussion, research and reporting, group work, annotated bibliography, and self-reflection. Working with others, you’ll improve your teamwork, decision making, cognitive flexibility and cross-cultural understanding. 

      Assumed knowledge
      IELTS skills level (or equivalent) required for entry into the Foundation Studies program you are enrolled in. You also must have the ability and willingness to work both collaboratively and independently.

    • This subject is designed to help you understand the basics in language, skills, concepts and relationships of general accounting. You will learn to analyse and communicate accounting information responsibly, and develop a capacity for problem solving, understanding how a business is run and the role accounting plays in decision making.

      Assumed knowledge 
      There is no prerequisite knowledge for this subject, but you are expected to have the ability to work independently and perform basic mathematical calculations.

    • This subject examines the relationship between the law and business. You will study an introduction to the Australian legal system, the legal implication of different business structures, contract law, negligence and consumer protection law. You’ll build skills in approaching legal scenarios in a structured way, reading legal texts and preparing formal answers both written and orally, individually and as a team. 

      Assumed knowledge
      There is no assumed knowledge for the Business Law subject. The study of Business Law requires an ability to assimilate specialist words and to develop the language of law. 

    • Computing for Business incorporates both a practical and theoretical component that prepare you for success at university. In Term 1, you will develop practical skills including recognising and discussing technological trends, impacts and issues; PowerPoint presentations; word processing and referencing. In Term 2, you will learn more advanced spreadsheet techniques using MS Excel to analyse, manipulate and visualise data. You will also have the opportunity to collaborate in groups, work on presentations, and develop and receive peer-generated feedback.

      Assumed knowledge
      Students should be able to use a keyboard to type accurately, and with reasonable speed.

    • This subject aims to give you the tools to understand basic economic principles and to question why people and businesses make particular decisions, and how government policies influence them. Subject topics include both microeconomics and macroeconomics, covering the behaviours of individuals and companies, up to the performance, structure, behaviour and decision making of an economy as a whole. 

      Assumed knowledge
      There is no prerequisite knowledge for this subject, however, competence in high school mathematics and an ability to draw and interpret graphs is an advantage. 

      Other Programs
      Transition
      :  If you’ve selected Transition program, you will undertake the Microeconomics component of the Economics Subject.

      Standard Plus:  If you have selected the Standard Plus program, you will also complete the Business Studies subject which covers the planning of a small business and the management of operations, marketing, finance and human resource in large businesses. This will help prepare you for other Commerce subjects with an introduction to concepts in Accounting, Economics, Business Law and Management.

    • Providing important skills for your future career and study journey, the Management subject describes the connection of success on an individual, team and organisational level, while providing a basic understanding of the language of organisations and management. You will study management theory and decision-making frameworks, while developing skills in decision making, effective teamwork, time management, conflict resolution, coping with change and developing clear written and oral communication practices.

      Assumed knowledge
      There is no assumed knowledge for this subject. You will need to be able to read and collate information from a range of different sources. You will need to actively engage in classes, discussion and teamwork during this subject.

      Other Programs
      Standard Plus
      :  If you have selected the Standard Plus program, you will also study the Critical Skills and Collaboration subject. Here you will learn key skills to help you work effectively in teams and collaborate in critical thinking scenarios.

    • Commerce Stream only

      This subject will prepare you for further study in Commerce, Business, Economics and Social Sciences. You will be introduced to mathematical techniques with an emphasis on applications to areas of commerce and finance. Topics include Algebra and Polynomials, Functions and Graphs, Differential Calculus, Logarithmic and Exponential Functions, Sequences and Series, Mathematics of Finance, Further Curve Sketching, Integral Calculus, Probability, Data Description and Probability Distributions, Further Calculus and Applications. This is a compulsory subject for the Commerce stream.

      Assumed knowledge
      This subject assumes a level of knowledge equivalent to Stage 5.2/5.3 of the NSW Mathematics Years 7–10 Mathematics Syllabus. See the NSW Board of Studies website for details of the syllabus content.  

      Other Programs
      Transition
      :  If you have selected the Transition program, during this subject you will develop skills to construct mathematical arguments in both concrete and abstract settings from a wide range of contexts including differential and integral calculus, counting techniques, financial mathematics, probability and statistics.

      Standard Plus: If you have selected the Standard Plus program, during this subject you will be required to solve a variety of practical mathematical problems using different learned strategies, methods and techniques. By the time you finish, you should be able to select and use appropriate mathematical language and notation to explain and verify mathematical arguments and concepts.

    • Actuarial Stream only

      In this compulsory subject for the Foundation Studies program (Commerce Actuarial Studies stream), you will develop skills to construct mathematical arguments in both concrete and abstract settings. Some of the topics covered include Algebra, Functions and Graphs, Quadratic Theory, Differential Calculus, Calculus of Trigonometric Functions, Calculus of Exponential and Logarithmic Functions, Applications of Calculus to the Physical World, The Binomial Theorem and First-Order Separable Differential Equations.

      Assumed knowledge
      This subject assumes a level of knowledge equivalent to Stage 5.2/5.3 of the NSW Mathematics Years 7–10 Mathematics Syllabus. See the NSW Board of Studies website for details of the syllabus content.  

      Other Programs
      Transition
      : In this fast-paced program, you will develop skills to construct mathematical arguments in both concrete and abstract settings from a wide range of contexts including differential and integral calculus, probability and statistics, mathematical induction and elementary differential equations.  

      Standard Plus: In this Standard Plus subject, you will be required to solve a variety of practical mathematical problems using a range of strategies, methods and techniques, and should be able to select and use appropriate mathematical language and notation to explain and verify mathematical arguments and concepts.

  • Design & Architecture stream

    Create a world the way you see it. The Design & Architecture stream is designed for students planning on studying a degree within the UNSW Faculty of Arts, Design & Architecture. This stream can lead you to a range of degrees including Architectural Studies, Interior or Landscape Architecture, Industrial Design, Design, Art Theory, Fine Arts, Planning, Construction Management and more. 

    Design & Architecture subjects

    View an example of the subjects you will be studying in your Foundation Studies program:

    • Foundation Academic English will strengthen your abilities in reading, listening, writing and speaking, setting you up for university study. This subject also covers academic skills including presentation and discussion, research and reporting, group work, annotated bibliography, and self-reflection. Working with others, you’ll improve your teamwork, decision making, cognitive flexibility and cross-cultural understanding. 

      Assumed knowledge
      IELTS skills level (or equivalent) required for entry into the Foundation Studies program you are enrolled in. You also must have the ability and willingness to work both collaboratively and independently.

    • Delivered in practical, hands-on tutorials, this subject is made up of two components, Digital Imaging (using Adobe Photoshop) and Publication (using Adobe InDesign). You will learn about design processes and workflows, and other skills to prepare you for your future studies in Design.

      Assumed knowledge
      There is no prerequisite knowledge for this subject, however, competence in high school mathematics and an ability to draw and interpret graphs is an advantage.

      Other programs
      Standard Plus:
       If you’ve selected Standard Plus, you will also learn about Digital Storytelling using Adobe Premiere Pro.

    • This subject will encourage you to adopt diverse perspectives to analyse, interpret and discuss cultural phenomena and associated media representations. By exploring different notions of culture, you will understand how its representation contributes to and influences communication. You will learn a range of theoretical culture analysis tools then examine how and why media influences audiences and culture.

      Assumed knowledge 
      A willingness to actively engage in discussion and explore cultures from a variety of perspectives will assist student performance in this subject.

    • This subject helps you develop an understanding of visual language common to all art and design disciplines, through exploring historical and theoretical issues in a design context. The Design Studies component is theory-based and gives an overview of iconic designers, design movements and designed objects essential for progressing to an Australian university. The practical Design Studio component you will develop technical and critical skills, and work towards managing an effective working process.

      Other Programs
      Standard Plus
      :  If you’ve selected the Standard Plus program, you will also learn the fundamentals of creative practice around short filmmaking which will be supported by technical knowledge from the Computing for Design subject. You will be tasked to create a one-minute film based on a stimulus image which you will choose from a curated gallery.

    • In this subject, you should develop knowledge and skills encompassing mathematical facts, procedures and concepts necessary for understanding the various maths skills required for further study in Arts, Design & Architecture at university. Topics include basic skills, geometry and similarity, business applications of arithmetic, measurement and statistics.

      Assumed knowledge
      There is no assumed knowledge for this subject. You will need to be able to read and collate information from a range of different sources. You will need to actively engage in classes, discussion and teamwork during this subject.

      Other Programs
      Standard Plus:
        If you have selected the Standard Plus program, you will also study the Critical Skills and Collaboration subject. Here you will learn key skills to help you work effectively in teams and collaborate in critical thinking scenarios. 

  • Physical or Life Science stream

    Feed your curiosity and change the world. Offering two paths, the Physical Science stream is designed for students wishing to undertake an Engineering or Science degree, while the Life Science stream is designed for people wanting to progress to a Biological or Health Science degree. This stream is for students with a higher mathematical ability and can take you to a broad range of degrees, including Engineering, Medicine, Aviation, Medical Science, Health & Exercise Science, Psychology and more.

    Physical or Life Science subjects

    View an example of the subjects you will be studying in your Foundation Studies program:

    • Foundation Academic English will strengthen your abilities in reading, listening, writing and speaking, setting you up for university study. This subject also covers academic skills including presentation and discussion, research and reporting, groupwork, annotated bibliography, and self-reflection. Working with others, you’ll improve your teamwork, decision making, cognitive flexibility and cross-cultural understanding. 

      Assumed knowledge
      IELTS skills level (or equivalent) required for entry into the Foundation Studies program you are enrolled in. You also must have the ability and willingness to work both collaboratively and independently.

    • Computing for Science incorporates both a practical and theoretical component that prepares you for success at university. In Term 1, you will develop practical skills including recognising and discussing technological trends, impacts and issues; PowerPoint presentations; word processing and referencing. In Term 2, you will focus on developing programming skills using Python. You will apply problem-solving methods to develop solutions to real-world problems, using established programming conventions and good programming practices.

    • Life Science Stream only

      This subject will give you a range of knowledge and skills required for further study in Life Science. You will develop a knowledge of the language and basic ideas of biology; learn and apply established scientific laws, theories and concepts; and be able to use the scientific method to solve problems. Some topics covered including biogeochemical cycles, ecological change, organ systems in animals, meiosis, Mendel’s laws of genetics and biotechnology. 

      Assumed knowledge
      Prerequisite knowledge for the subject includes cell structure and function; mitosis; chemical components of cells; classification hierarchy, classification of plants and animals. Those who have studied Biology previously will have an advantage.

    • This subject aims to provide a range of knowledge and skills required for further study in Science and Engineering. From basic principles, this subject develops a deeper knowledge of modern chemistry ideas and applications. Topics include names of common elements, symbols, formulas and equations; atomic structure and chemical bonding; states of matter – properties and structure; chemical equilibria (Ka and Ksp); organic compounds and an introduction to instrumental methods and structure analysis for organic compounds.

      Assumed knowledge
      While there is no subject-specific prerequisite knowledge, success in Chemistry requires an ability to think abstractly and the confidence to apply past learning in new applications. Prior achievement of basic mathematical skills, especially in algebra, is recommended.

    • In this compulsory subject for the Foundation Studies program (Physical Science or Life Science streams), you will develop skills to construct mathematical arguments in both concrete and abstract settings. Some of the topics covered include Algebra, Functions and Graphs, Quadratic Theory, Differential Calculus, Calculus of Trigonometric Functions, Calculus of Exponential and Logarithmic Functions, Applications of Calculus to the Physical World, The Binomial Theorem and First-Order Separable Differential Equations.

      Assumed knowledge
      This subject assumes a level of knowledge equivalent to Stage 5.2/5.3 of the NSW Mathematics Years 7–10 Mathematics Syllabus. See the NSW Board of Studies website for details of the syllabus content. 

      Other Programs
      Transition: 
      If you’ve selected our Transition program, in this subject you will develop skills to construct mathematical arguments in both concrete and abstract settings from a wide range of contexts including differential and integral calculus, probability and statistics, mathematical induction and elementary differential equations.

      Standard Plus:  If you’ve selected the Standard Plus program, in this subject you will be required to solve a variety of practical mathematical problems using a range of strategies, methods and techniques, and should be able to select and use appropriate mathematical language and notation to explain and verify mathematical arguments and concepts.

    • Physical Science Stream only

      This is a predominantly non-calculus based subject, providing a range of knowledge and skills required for further study in Science and Engineering. You will learn to collect and identify meaningful patterns within data collected from scientific experiments, apply the appropriate laws of physics to a range of scenarios and use objective reasoning and critical thinking skills to solve scientific problems. Topics covered include classical mechanics, wave motion and optics, and electricity and magnetism.

      Assumed knowledge
      Students should have achieved good results in intermediate to advanced high school mathematics before commencing Foundation Physics. Prior knowledge of trigonometry is essential.

Entry requirements

The Standard Foundation Program is designed specifically for international students, as a potential pathway to study at UNSW. To gain entry, students must meet specific English and academic entry requirements. For more information on these, view the Foundation Studies entry requirements or use the Entry Requirements estimator.

View entry requirements

In addition to academic and English language requirements, Foundations Studies programs may require specific subject minimum grade requirements or assumed knowledge depending on your intended stream.

Commerce Stream

Assumed knowledge – Mathematics

Commerce Actuarial Stream

Minimum grade required in – Mathematics

Life Science Stream/Physical Science Stream

Assumed knowledge – Relevant Sciences

You can find out more information about Streams under the Program structure tab.

There may be specific subject requirements, depending on your intended degree program; for example, a minimum grade in mathematics and/or science subjects may be required. 

If you need help meeting the English language requirements, you could study the Foundation English Entry Course before starting your Foundation Studies program. 

Academic calendars

The academic calendar consists of important dates throughout your study period such as orientation, census dates, study weeks, exam weeks and breaks for your program or course of study.

Standard Foundation Program fees

2024 tuition fees

A$39,500

2025 tuition fees

A$40,700

Note: The tuition fee that you will pay depends on the calendar year in which you undertake your study in the course. Fees are reviewed annually and may exceed the indicative figures listed, so it’s important to remember that indicative tuition fees shown above are not guaranteed. Any update to fees is effective from the start of each calendar year. The indicative fees listed here are for tuition only – other fees and charges are not included.

 

Scholarships

If you start a Foundation Studies program in 2024 or 2025, you may be eligible to receive a scholarship for the duration of your studies. 

Ready to apply?

At UNSW College, every application we receive is carefully considered. When you are ready to join us, click the button below – or visit how to apply for a step-by-step guide.

Why study with UNSW College?

Your path to a global top 20 university

Successfully complete the Standard Foundation Program and progress directly to UNSW Sydney.

Support as you learn

Standard Foundation Program is designed for international students like you, so you can enhance your English language and study skills to take the next step with confidence. 

Directly connected to UNSW

The program is accredited by UNSW Sydney and provides full access to UNSW’s world class libraries, clubs and societies. 

Sahel Mohammed Foundation Studies student from India
“Interacting with different people from different cultures while managing to participate in multiple activities and social sessions.”

Sahel Mohammed

Foundation Studies student

Note: The Standard Foundation Program and Standard Plus Foundation Program meet the requirements for Foundation Studies registered on CRICOS for delivery in Australia to overseas students providing academic preparation for seeking entry to First Year undergraduate study or its equivalent.

Foundation Studies CRICOS Provider Code 00098G, Standard Foundation Program CRICOS Course Code 000725G, Standard Plus Foundation Program CRICOS Course Code 019277D.

UNSW Global Pty Limited ABN 62 086 418 582 trading as UNSW College™.

Diploma & Foundation Studies
UNSW Global Pty Limited ABN 62 086 418 582 trading as UNSW College™ currently delivers Diplomas and Foundation Studies on behalf of UNSW Sydney - CRICOS Provider Code 00098G; UNSW Sydney TEQSA Provider ID: PRV12055 (Australian University).
From 26 August 2024, UNSW College™ will commence delivery of Diplomas under its own CRICOS Provider Code - 01020K and TEQSA Provider ID: PRV13020 (Institute of Higher Education).
From 13 January 2025, UNSW College™ will commence delivery of Foundation Studies under its own CRICOS Provider Code - 01020K and TEQSA Provider ID: PRV13020 (Institute of Higher Education).

Pre-Masters Program & Academic English
UNSW College™ delivers the Pre-Masters Program and Academic English programs under CRICOS Provider Code 01020K and TEQSA Provider ID: PRV13020 (Institute of Higher Education).

See https://unswcollege.edu.au/esos for more information. © 2024 UNSW Global Pty Limited.