Foundation Studies Program

Foundation Studies programs are a direct academic pathway to first-year undergraduate degree study, or equivalent. The programs act as a bridging course for international students who wish to study a university undergraduate degree course but don’t yet meet academic requirements and/or English language skills for tertiary study.
Charles Darwin University is one of the most unique study destinations in the world, and one that is rising fast in international rankings. UP Education partners with the university to deliver a range of bridging programs to enable international students to pathway from their home country into an undergraduate degree. Charles Darwin University International Pathway College is where these programs are delivered and is based at Darwin, Australia.
CDU Foundation Studies Program

Foundation Studies Program

A Foundation Studies program guarantees entry into a first-year CDU undergraduate degree course provided the student:
  • Meet all course requirements
  • Pass all required compulsory and elective units
  • Attain a 60% minimum grade in all English language units
*some degrees may have additional entry requirements – see CDU website for further details.

Teaching style

Teaching is face to face and utilises a ‘blended’ approach in a classroom setting. Classes introduce and develop knowledge and skills, with follow-up activities such as discussion, investigation, assignments and appropriate web-based and digital resources.

Academic English

Foundation Studies programs in Australia are bound by the accrediting authority (TEQSA) to include dedicated English studies to develop students’ English language proficiency required for entry into higher education studies.

The development of academic English skills is integrated into all activities. Individual projects, scaffolded learning and monitored small group discussions are encouraged, as well as tertiary skills such as listening to academic lectures, taking effective notes, reading academic texts in an effective and timely manner, and research and referencing skills.


Program Structure

From 2020, Charles Darwin University International Pathway College will offer:

Foundation Studies Program (8 units over 2 semesters)

Core units

The following units are compulsory for the Foundation Studies Program:

  • English A
  • English B
  • English C (Australian Culture and Society)

Elective units

(Choose 5 including at least 1 Mathematics)

  • Accounting
  • Chemistry
  • Design
  • Economics
  • Health Science
  • Marketing and Tourism
  • Mathematics with Calculus
  • Mathematics with Statistics
  • Media Studies
  • Physics

Each Foundation Studies program can be undertaken in one of 3 intake dates. In addition to core units, students select several elective units to fulfil the requirements for a stream.


Progressing to an undergraduate degree

Successful completion of a Foundation Studies Program enables students to progress to an undergraduate degree course at Charles Darwin University. Each undergraduate degree requires applicants to have achieved a specific GPA score in the Foundation Studies Program. The score varies from program to program

Explanation of Grade Points

Grade Range Contribution to GPA
High Distinction 85 to < 100% 7
Distinction 75 to < 85% 6
Credit 65 to <75% 5
Pass 50 to <65% 4
Pass ungraded   NA
Pass conceded May be used for mark 45 to <50% 3
Fail <50% 0
Fail not submitted    

For more detailed information please refer to this document.


Intakes and Fees

Program PROGRAM LENGTH Start Date End Date 2020 fees (AUD)
Foundation studies Program 2 semesters 9th November 2020 18th June 2021 $20,800
Foundation studies Program 2 semesters 26th February TBC $20,800

Entry Requirements

Age requirement

The minimum age for entry into the Foundation Studies Program is 17. Students close to their 17th birthday may be admitted, if approval is granted by the Head of the International Pathways College.

Entry Requirements

Academic entry requirements

Students must have completed Year 11 of Australian secondary school, or equivalent in another country. Please see refer to the CDU prospectus for a complete list of equivalent education levels by country.

English language requirements

Students must provide evidence of English language proficiency with an IELTS qualification, or agreed equivalent.

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