Foundation Studies Certificate

Students outside the University of Auckland

What is the Foundation Studies Certificate?

The University of Auckland’s Foundation Studies Certificate (Level 3) prepares you to enter an undergraduate degree at the University of Auckland. This programme offers university preparation for international students who need additional English language and academic support to progress to study at the University of Auckland. You can choose from two programme lengths depending on your academic grades and English language level:

  • Standard
  • Intensive 

This programme is delivered by Taylors College on behalf of the University of Auckland, and taught on the Taylors College campus.

Key facts


  • Standard: 4 terms (46/47/42 weeks)
  • Intensive: 3 terms (35/33 weeks)

See: intake dates for more information.

Entry requirements

Minimum age: 16

English language:
Standard: IELTS 5.0 (no band less than 4.5)
Intensive: IELTS 5.5, no band less than 5.0, or approved equivalent

Visit the Entry requirements page for full list of entry requirements.


Visit the Fees page for full details.

Benefits of studying this programme

Find out more about this programme from the Taylors College Principal and Academic Director. 

What you will study

During the Foundation Studies Certificate programme, you will study English language and four elective subjects to prepare you for your undergraduate degree. Both the standard and intensive length programme offer the same subject options and you will study core and elective subjects. You will also develop important study skills and employability skills. 

Core subject

  • English for Academic Purposes

    This subject aims to develop students' confidence and competency in understanding, speaking, reading and writing English. Attention is paid to all areas of study, including accuracy of grammatical structure, spelling, punctuation and word use.


    • Listening (in small groups, classroom situations and lectures, showing understanding through listening exercises).
    • Speaking (one-to-one and small group discussions, formal presentations).
    • Reading (note-taking, extended reading, study of a range of newspaper and magazine articles, showing understanding through formally-assessed comprehension exercises).
    • Writing (practice of different styles, paragraph and note-form summaries, preparation of research reports).

Elective subjects

You will choose four of the following elective subjects based on your progression degree at the University of Auckland.

  • Accounting

    An introduction to accounting methods and concepts.

    Topics include:

    • Cash and Accrual Accounting
    • Budgeting
    • Cash flow
    • Depreciation
    • Assessment of performance
    • Accounting systems
    • Job costing
    • Cost-volume-profit analysis
    • Financial statements for sole traders, partnerships and companies.
  • Art*

    A practical understanding of visual arts and art in context. Ideas are developed through observation, analysis, interpretation and evaluation.

    *Art is offered for January and July intakes only. Studio space is limited and a place in Art is not guaranteed. Priority will be given to students who intend to apply for a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Bachelor of Design, Bachelor of Architecture or another similar discipline. If you wish to enrol in this subject, please check availability when you apply for this programme and subject.

  • Biology

    Develops your understanding of Biology and the ability to communicate facts. You will plan and perform experiments, develop critical analysis skills, look for solutions and learn how to acquire, present and interpret evidence effectively.

    Topics include:

    • Structure and function of cells
    • Responses of plants and animals to biotic and abiotic factors
    • Genetics
    • Evolution – primates and hominids.
  • Chemistry

    A practical course that provides a basis for a science-related degree. You will gain the knowledge and confidence to experiment and test your ideas, and learn how to make informed decisions.

    Topics include:

    • Atomic theory
    • Chemical bonding and the shapes of molecules
    • Chemistry of transition elements, metal hydroxides, halogens, selected ions
    • Analysis of laboratory solutions and commercial products
    • Energy involved in physical and chemical changes
    • Aqueous Chemistry
    • Oxidation-reduction and applications
    • Organic Chemistry; spectroscopic identification of organic compounds.
  • Classical Studies

    An introduction to the history, literature, art, architecture and politics of ancient Greece (600-400 BC) and Rome (753 BC-14 AD). This subject teaches key skills that are important for any university degree, including critical thinking, analysis and writing argumentative essays.

    Topics include:

    • Greek myths
    • Athenian social life
    • Athenian Democracy
    • Athenian art and architecture
    • Roman history and Augustus
    • Roman architecture
    • Euripides' Medea.
  • Economics

    Covers a wide range of economic issues, such as basic economic concepts and principles, policy options for government, and consequences of economic decisions.

    Topics include:

    • Relative scarcity and production possibilities
    • Demand, supply and the market
    • Market structures including monopoly
    • Externalities, public goods and government intervention
    • Equity and efficiency
    • The financial markets
    • Aggregate demand and supply and the macroeconomic economy.
  • Geography

    The study of Human and Physical Geography, and the relationship between them.

    Topics include:

    • Formation of natural features
    • Interpreting topographic data
    • Analysis of cultural processes (urban growth, migration, development, sustainability)
    • Human impacts on natural processes.
  • Information Technology

    Gain a broad understanding of computer technology, and develop your practical skills in programming and using software and applications.

    Topics include:

    • Computer hardware
    • Computer software
    • Operating systems
    • Specific business applications
    • Problem solving techniques used for programming.
  • Mathematics with Statistics

    A prerequisite for many university courses, Mathematics A provides a range of knowledge and skills.

    Topics include:

    • Algebra and graphing of functions
    • Exponentials and logarithms
    • Correlation and regression
    • Probability and set theory
    • Random variables and their distributions
    • Time series
    • Linear programming
    • Mathematical modelling
    • Numerical equation solving
    • Binomial, poison and normal distributions.
  • Mathematics with Calculus

    A solid foundation for university degrees that require prior knowledge of Mathematics with Calculus.

    Topics include:

    • Calculus
    • Algebra
    • Trigonometry
    • Geometry.
  • Physics

    Develops a deeper understanding of theoretical knowledge, problem solving skills and experimental techniques.

    Topics include:

    • Light
    • Waves
    • Kinematics
    • Mechanics
    • Electricity and magnetism
    • Atomic and nuclear physics.


On completion of this programme, a Foundation Studies Certificate (Level 3) will be issued.

Progression to the University

You can progress to your undergraduate degree at the University of Auckland when you successfully complete your Foundation Studies Certificate programme and you meet the University’s entry requirements. You can also apply to other universities in New Zealand, Australia or across the world. Find out about other progression options.

Intake dates

  • Standard length (2021)
    Intake Length Orientation* Term 1 Term 2 Term 3 Term 4 Start Uni
    January 46 weeks 15/01/2021 18/01/2021
    Feb/Mar 2022
    July 47 weeks 09/07/2021 12/07/2021
    July 2022
    August 42 weeks 14/08/2021 16/08/2021
    - July 2022

    *Learn more about Orientation.

  • Intensive length (2021)
    Intake Length Orientation* Term 1 Term 2 Term 3 Start Uni
    April 33 weeks 16/04/2021 19/04/2021
    Feb/Mar 2022
    October 35 weeks 01/10/2021 04/10/2021
    July 2022

    *Learn more about Orientation.

Evita from Malaysia

"My favourite thing about studying at Taylors College is the teachers, because they always help us when we have any problems. They ask if you have any questions after every lesson and they make sure they settle your problems before you leave."

Evita from Malaysia

Studied the Auckland Foundation Year (now replaced by the Foundation Studies Certificate)


Find out about the costs of studying at Taylors College Auckland, including tuition fees, accommodation, and insurance. 

Entry requirements

See the English language and academic entry requirements for the University of Auckland's Foundation Studies Certificate programme, delivered at Taylors College.