Course information

Entry requirements



1 year full-time


English Language Centre

Course overview

This one-year programme gives you the opportunity to develop your English language, become familiar with UK academic culture, and prepare to study for a BMus in Music or Popular Music.

The International Foundation Certificate (IFC) programme is aimed at undergraduate students who need a year to:

  • develop or consolidate their language skills in academic English
  • undertake preliminary study in the subject areas they would like to study at undergraduate level
  • familiarise themselves both with ways of working in British academic culture and in the standards required at degree level

Half of the programme will focus on the four core modules of language development:

  • Academic Writing
  • Reading
  • Listening
  • Speaking

The other half of the programme will introduce you to the historical and cultural context of music studies and give you an opportunity to develop your own musicianship. The music modules will give you a taste of undergraduate study in that area at Goldsmiths.

You will have a personal tutor, who you meet in small groups or on a one-to-one basis to discuss progress on the course, general approaches to study, and ways of maximising language learning. Tutors will also support you in finalising your plans for future study.

You are encouraged throughout the programme to work independently and in particular to use the resources available in the Goldsmiths Library.

Guaranteed progression

If you pass the programme at the required level (a pass in all modules with an overall score of 50% or more), you are guaranteed a place on a related Goldsmiths degree programme:

Alternatively you may choose to continue your studies at another university. 

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Dr Naomi Matsumoto

What you'll study


The programme is made up of the following modules: 

  • English for Academic Purposes (2 x 30 credits)
  • Department of Music foundation modules (4 x 15 credits)

English for Academic Purposes modules (30 credits each)

Students on all IFC Pathways take both of these core modules, designed to develop your ability and confidence in the four key areas of writing, reading, listening and speaking.

Academic Reading and Writing

The module covers the key aspects of writing an essay. These include features of academic style, the planning process, structuring an argument, summarising, paraphrasing techniques, referencing, avoiding plagiarism, and drafting and editing. Emphasis is given to the logic underlying Western academic writing conventions, rather than simply looking at the procedural aspects. This is supported by work on the main areas of English grammar, with a focus on improving grammatical range and accuracy in your writing. Reading skills are also developed.

Textual analysis helps you learn about cohesion, extend your vocabulary, read for gist and specifics, infer meaning, as well as develop summary skills. The texts generally focus on a background to Western thought and culture, taking into account ancient Greeks and Romans, the Renaissance, the Enlightenment and the influence of modernity, feminism and Marxism. There is an emphasis on how to use reading in writing – learning from other writers’ style and using their points as evidence for your arguments.

Academic Listening and Speaking

To enhance listening skills, the module makes use of a wide range of texts, drawing firstly on commercially produced EAP materials to help you acquire the skills of listening for gist and specific information, and taking useful notes. Later, the module moves on to recordings from Goldsmiths library as well as BBC radio shows. You are exposed to a range of challenging and interesting recordings related to the arts, current affairs, media, education and aspects of British culture.

Many of the recordings are relevant to subjects studied at Goldsmiths, for example race and ethnicity, representation, identity and culture. Where possible, the recordings are exploited for vocabulary development. To develop speaking skills, you will research and give seminar presentations and lead the class through discussion of your chosen topic. You will receive input on effective seminar techniques and functional language.

Department of Music foundation modules

You take the following four modules in the Department of Music:

Music in Context (15 credits)

You will be introduced to the development of music in its historical and cultural context. The module explores musical repertoires of all kinds (from classical, electronic, to popular) and of all periods (from medieval, renaissance to contemporary). You will focus particularly upon the stylistic/formal changes in music. As part of the course, you will develop your understanding and aural perception of diverse musical styles, and familiarise yourself with technical terms and definitions important in musical studies.

Topics in Music Studies (15 credits)

You will develop your understanding of music studies and be introduced to a variety of musical works that have acquired importance in western culture/ The works will be chosen from not only the art music category but also from music in popular or commercial vein to demonstrate a variety of forms, performance forces, styles and cultural functions. Also the module will require you to reflect on why musical works have become accepted in the way they have, and whether things might have been otherwise.

Performance and Analysis (15 credits)

You will develop not only performance techniques, which makes you a more confident performer, but also analytic methods of musical investigation, which enable you to understand music more fully and to reflect that understanding in your performance. As part of the module, you will be given 12 hours of individual instrumental/ vocal tuition.

Composition and Music Technology (15 credits)

You will be introduced to a number of compositional techniques and develop basic musico-technological skills.


The English for Academic Purposes modules of the programme are assessed by a mixture of coursework, written examination and presentation. The music modules will include assessment of a portfolio of harmony exercises and composition, a research project and a listening assessment. 

Download the programme specification for this degree to find out more about what you'll learn and how you'll be taught and assessed.

Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements for the International Foundation Certificate in Music are:


A good high school leaving certificate or equivalent academic study with some evidence of learning in relevant subjects.

You will need to demonstrate achievement in practical exams in music equvalent to ABRSM Grade 6.


Evidence of English language proficiency:

UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) IELTS 5.0. 

If you have a lower English language score you may be accepted after successfully completing one of our Pre-sessional English courses


You must normally be 17 years of age or above. 

Country of residence and nationality

Only international students can apply. Applications from home/EU students will not be accepted.

If you are not sure which type of IELTS test you need to take, contact our Immigration Advisory Service ( 

We also accept a wide range of international qualifications. Find out more about the qualifications we accept from around the world.

If English isn’t your first language, you will need an IELTS score of 5.0 with 5.0 in writing to study this programme. If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for degree-level study.

Fees & funding

How to apply

As part of your application you'll need to include: 

  • A reference
  • English Language certificates
  • Transcript or student record

Student work

Students from the International Foundation Certificate programme made this film about studying at Goldsmiths

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