Course information


1 year full-time

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 compulsory 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 compulsory modules, designed to develop your ability and confidence in the four key areas of writing, reading, listening and speaking.

Module title Credits
Academic Reading and Writing 30 credits
Academic Listening and Speaking 30 credits

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 the 2019-20 intake. If you would like an earlier version of the programme specification, please contact the Quality Office.

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

For 2021-22 and 2020–21, we have made some changes to how the teaching and assessment of certain programmes are delivered. To check what changes affect this programme, please visit the programme changes page.

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 equivalent to ABRSM Grade 6.


Evidence of English language proficiency:

UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) IELTS 5.0 overall with no element lower than 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

All non-native English speakers will be considered. However, please be aware that all students will be subject to the International rate of fees.

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

International qualifications

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 (or equivalent English language qualification) of UKVI IELTS 5.0 (with no individual score lower than 5.0) 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

Annual tuition fees

These are the fees for students starting their programme in the 2023/2024 academic year.

  • International - full-time: £16740

Find out about our undergraduate tuition fees and funding opportunities.

Additional costs

In addition to your tuition fees, you'll be responsible for any additional costs associated with your course, such as buying stationery and paying for photocopying. You can find out more about what you need to budget for on our study costs page.

There may also be specific additional costs associated with your programme. This can include things like paying for field trips or specialist materials for your assignments. Please check the programme specification for more information.

How to apply

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

  • A reference
  • A personal statement
  • 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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