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International Preparation for Fashion (Certificate in Higher Education)

Work by Ashley Lee,
London College of Fashion
Start date
September 2024
Course length
1 year

International Preparation for Fashion (Certificate Higher Education) is a unique international Level 4 course designed to prepare students for undergraduate study at London College of Fashion.

Course subject to re-approval

Please note that this course is undergoing re-approval. This is the process by which we ensure the course continues to provide a high quality academic experience. During re-approval there may be some changes to the course content displayed on this page. Please contact us if you have any questions about the course.

Why choose this course at London College of Fashion

  • Skill development: the course is dedicated to developing and integrating your academic language and communication skills in the context of fashion studies.
  • Creative opportunities: the course provides opportunities to explore your creative potential within a range of fashion-related disciplines linked to the 3 schools within London College of Fashion: Fashion Business School, School of Design and Technology and School of Media and Communication.
  • Cultural and historical studies: a cultural and historical students unit prepares you for the theoretical study of fashion.
  • Internal progression interview: the course guarantees an internal progression interview in the summer term.
  • Outstanding facilities: Based at our dedicated UAL Pre-degree Studies site in Lime Grove, West London, you’ll have access to facilities including a dedicated library, learning zones and digital suites, workshops, photography and media facilities and a loan store.

Course overview


This is a unique international course designed to prepare you for undergraduate study at London College of Fashion. It provides opportunities to explore your creative potential within a range of fashion related disciplines.  You will develop your academic communication skills in visual, verbal and written forms. The course team will direct you to an appropriate specialism for LCF degrees. 

What to expect 

You are required to complete 120 credits at level 4 in order to complete your Certificate in Higher Education: 

  • Introduction to Study in Fashion (20 credits) 
  • Cultural and Historical Studies for Fashion (20 Credits) 
  • Academic Language and Communication for Undergraduate Study (20 Credits) 

Specialism Studies in a pathway: 

  • Specialism Studies: Fashion Business and Management (20 credits)  


  • Specialism Studies: Fashion Design and Technology (20 credits) 


  • Specialism Studies: Fashion Media and Communication (20 credits) 
  • Progression Project (40 Credits) 

A 20-credit unit is approximately equivalent to 200 hours of learning time, which includes a mixture of taught time, independent study and assessment. 

Mode of study 

International Preparation for Fashion (Certificate Higher Education) runs in full time mode and is delivered over three terms: Autumn, Spring and Summer. 

Climate, Social and Racial Justice

The course is committed to embedding UAL’s Principles for Climate, Social and Racial Justice. 

Course units

Term 1, you will study: Introduction to Study in Fashion

This unit introduces you to a range of subjects covered at London College of Fashion. You will investigate different approaches to visual, spoken and written communication. You will begin to explore the specialist pathways to help identify your direction for future studies.

Term 1 and 2, you will studyCultural and Historical Studies for Fashion

This unit helps to prepare you for the study of fashion and its relationship to culture and history. You will be introduced to a range of ideas relating to art, design, culture and identity, in order to prepare you for undergraduate study at London College of Fashion. You will begin to develop the analytical and communication skills needed to produce academic essays at undergraduate level.

Term 2, you will study: Specialism Studies: Fashion Business and Management

The unit will help you to develop creative and theoretical approaches to fashion business and management. You will be introduced to the importance of research and analysis for investigating and communicating business ideas. This will include practising a range of strategies used in analysing and developing fashion businesses. You will start working more independently to produce a portfolio of written and visual work. This portfolio will show your research and development process.


Specialism Studies: Fashion Design and Technology

The unit will help you to develop creative and theoretical approaches to fashion design and technology. You will be introduced to the importance of research and analysis for investigating and communicating your ideas. This will include experimenting, analysing and developing your ideas for a range of fashion products. You will start working more independently to produce a portfolio of visual work. This portfolio will show your research and development process.


Specialism Studies: Fashion Media and Communication

The unit will help you to develop creative and theoretical approaches to fashion media and communication. You will be introduced to the importance of research and analysis for investigating and communicating your ideas. This will include experimenting, analysing and developing your ideas for a range of media outcomes. You will start working more independently to produce a portfolio of visual work. This portfolio will show your research and development process.

Term 2 and 3, you will study: Academic Language and Communication for Undergraduate Study

This unit helps you to develop academic literacy and specialist vocabularies. You will begin to enhance your written and spoken communication skills in line with the academic conventions for undergraduate study at London College of Fashion. You will also develop skills to research, structure and analyse in order to produce a critical essay.

In term 3, you will study: Progression Project 

This unit encourages you to take further responsibility for your learning through the construction of your own project – ­­­reflecting your personal interest in fashion. Building on knowledge gained in all previous units you will research, develop and evaluate your ideas. You will select and present your work in a visually considered way appropriate to your specialism.

Learning and teaching methods

The following teaching and learning methods are employed to support the integrated aims of the course outcomes:

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Blended Learning
  • Critiques
  • Studio-based workshops
  • Open access facilities
  • Demonstrations
  • Self-directed study
  • Collaborative working

Student and graduate work

Latest news from this course

LCF facilities


Sarah Le Marquand is the course leader for IPF. Sarah holds a degree in Fashion and Textiles and is a fellow of the higher education. She has extensive knowledge and experience of working on art and design foundation courses prior to working on the IPF (Certificate HE). She has also worked in Beijing to deliver 2 condensed art foundation experiences to a cohort of students and observed by teaching staff and key management. Her key research interests have been in the quality of student learning, focusing on assessment. Her past research has been disseminated through conferences, staff development, student induction and publication. Prior to entering a career in education she designed her own label and worked as a buyer for a high end designer womenswear independent retailer.

Suzanne Rankin-Dia, Academic Language and Language Acquisition Skills lecturer, is an English for Academic Purposes (EAP) lecturer on the International Preparation for Fashion (IPF) cert. HE course. She holds a BA in French and an MA in Education and has worked at HE level for 20 years in France, Senegal and the UK. She has been working with international students at UAL since 2001. She has a particular interest in global citizenship and multiple perspective approaches to teaching and learning and aims to implement innovative and creative approaches into an EAP classroom and to empower International students to reach their full potential.

Mandeep Ahira is Cert HE IPF Pathway tutor and Pathway leader for Fashion Media & Communication on the IPF course. Mandeep is responsible for introducing students to the wide range of exciting opportunities in fashion media. He uses his professional experience of lens-based and contemporary interactive media to inform his teaching and learning practice. Mandeep has a growing research interest in alternative pedagogies and curricular innovation. He also works on the Fashion Media Degree. Mandeep’s professional practice is focused on the interaction between video, print and digital formats. He continues to work as a freelance filmmaker and editor.

David Garner, senior lecturer LCF. David teaches in Fashion Media and Communications, focusing on theory and practice of photography, visual research methods and reflective practice. He has extensive interdisciplinary experience of undergraduate courses at LCF, from year one to dissertation supervision, which he brings to his learning, teaching and enhancement work across the IPF curriculum. In his role as Referral Officer, David draws on his knowledge of University academic systems and experience of leading funded pedagogic research projects at LCF to help students to build towards future academic success. David has presented on art and design pedagogy at international conferences, and is currently studying for a PhD in Philosophy of Education at UCL: Institute of Education. David has a professional background in journalism and documentary photography. In 2007, an image he shot at LCF was selected for the National Union of Journalists '100 Years: 100 Photographs' Exhibition, celebrating editorial photography. He was invited to speak to students about photography, and his career teaching at LCF began soon after. David is now a senior member of the team with experience of academic leadership, quality assurance processes and course development.

Nadege Sokolowski is an Academic English Tutor on the International Preparation for Fashion at London College of Fashion. Specialising in Academic skills, such as essay and project proposal writing, research methodology and presentation skills, she has been a member of UAL since 2013. Her extensive teaching experience of 20 years in London, during which she obtained her MA in Applied Linguistics and English Education has enabled Nadege to lead many academic roles including Academic Management, teacher training, course design and development, test assessment for Cambridge and French teaching. Her current projects include collaborating on the development of the Academic English unit of the International Preparation for Fashion, at the London College of Fashion and raising IPF students’ awareness towards sustainability issues within the industry.

Supporting staff

  • Martha Zmpounou
  • Heidi Stokes
  • Eleanor Warrington
  • Sina Shamsavari

Fees and funding

International fee


This fee is correct for 2024/25 entry and is subject to change for 2025/26 entry.

Students from countries outside of the UK will generally be charged international fees. The rules are complex so read more about tuition fees and determining your fee status.

Scholarship search

Entry requirements

The standard minimum entry requirements for this course are:

  • An internationally recognised qualification which is equivalent to one A level at Grade C or above, plus passes in three other subjects at GCSE Grade C or above (UK qualifications). For equivalent International qualifications, you can consult the UCAS Guide.

APEL (Accreditation of Prior (Experiential) Learning)

Applicants who do not meet these course entry requirements may still be considered in exceptional cases. The course team will consider each application that demonstrates additional strengths and alternative evidence. This might, for example, be demonstrated by:

  • Related academic or work experience
  • The quality of the personal statement
  • A strong academic or other professional reference
  • OR a combination of these factors

Each application will be considered on its own merit but we cannot guarantee an offer in each case.

English Language Requirements

IELTS level 5.5 with a minimum of 4.5 in reading, writing, listening and speaking. You must take the IELTS Academic Test for UKVI, no other test can be accepted. Please check our main English Language Requirements 

Selection criteria

The course team seeks to recruit students who can demonstrate:

  • A focused interest in a particular area of fashion, such as fashion business, fashion media or fashion design
  • A broad interest in the arts, the media and current affairs
  • Motivation to succeed on the course
  • Evidence of research and investigative skills

We are looking for focused students and all students will study the same units and do the same projects in Term One before going into the relevant specialist pathway in Term Two. Please note that you may change direction as a result of consultation with the course team, in conjunction with the work done in the diagnostic first term.

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Application deadline

This course is for International students only.

Apply now

Application deadline

28 February 2024 at 1pm (UK time)

If there are places available after this date, the course will remain open to applications until places have been filled.

Apply to UAL

Start your application

Apply with a UAL Representative

Based across the world, our local UAL representatives can support you with your application from your home country. Check to see if there is a representative available in your country currently.

Find your representative

How to apply

Follow this step-by-step guide to apply for this course

Step 1: Initial application

You will need to submit an initial application including your personal statement and digital portfolio.

You’ll need to submit these via PebblePad, our online portfolio tool.

Personal statement advice

Your personal statement should be maximum 500 words and include:

  • your reasons for choosing the course
  • your current creative practice and how this course will help you achieve your future plans
  • any relevant education and experience, especially if you do not have any formal academic qualifications.

Visit our personal statement page for more advice.

Step 2: Digital portfolio

For your portfolio, we would like you to focus on at least 1 of the following tasks. You can cover all of them if you think this best demonstrates your knowledge and skillset but it is not compulsory. You should also include other work that you have completed in your current studies or free time. Your portfolio must be maximum 30 pages long.

Task 1:

  • Make individual drawings by hand of 4 items in your wardrobe. They can be on a hanger or freestanding. They do not need to be on models.
  • 2 should be in pencil only and show details of seams and construction.
  • 2 should be in colour or mixed media.
  • Please do not use digital drawing tools.

Task 2:

  • Create 3 photos that show your creative approach to contemporary fashion imagery.
  • These photos should communicate a fashion statement and something unique to you.
  • Think about how you can reflect your personal aesthetic, personality, culture and more in your images. We want to see your creative style.

Task 3:

  • In 300 words, describe a new idea for a fashion concept and explain what makes it new and unique.
  • It could be a new brand, shop or product but it must represent a gap in the market for contemporary fashion.
  • If relevant, you can use images to support your idea.

For more support, see our Portfolio advice and PebblePad advice.

Step 3: Interview

You may be invited to an interview following our review of your application. All interviews are held online and last 15 to 20 minutes.

For top tips, see our Interview advice.

You also need to know

Communicating with you

Once you have submitted your initial application, we will email you with your login details for our Applicant portal.

Requests for supplementary documents like qualifications and English language tests will be made through the applicant portal. You can also use it to ask questions regarding your application. Visit our After you apply page for more information.

Visas and immigration history check

All non-UK nationals must complete an immigration history check. Your application may be considered by our course teams before this check takes place. This means that we may request your portfolio and/or video task before we identify any issues arising from your immigration history check. Sometimes your history may mean that we are not able to continue considering your application. Visit our Immigration and visas advice page for more information.

External student transfer policy

UAL accepts transfers from other institutions on a case-by-case basis. Read our Student transfer policy for more information.

Alternative offers

If your application is really strong, but we believe your strengths and skillset are better suited to a different course, we may make you an alternative offer. This means you will be offered a place on a different course or at a different UAL College.

Deferring your place

We do not accept any deferral requests for our pre-degree courses. This means that you must apply in the year that you plan to start your course and you will not be able to defer your place to start at a later date.



All of our undergraduate courses offer career development, so that you become a creative thinker, making effective contributions to your relevant sector of the fashion industry.

LCF offers students the opportunity to develop Personal and Professional Development (PPD) skills while studying through:

  • An on-course work experience or placement year. Please note, this is not available on every course; please see the Course Details section for information about work placement opportunities.
  • Access to to speaker programmes and events featuring alumni and industry.
  • Access to careers activities, such as CV clinics and one-to-one advice sessions.
  • Access to a graduate careers service
  • Access to a live jobsboard for all years.
  • Advice on setting up your own brand or company.

Career paths

Students who successfully complete the course gain a Certificate in Higher Education award, which is recognised nationally and internationally.

The course represents the scope of opportunity within the global fashion industry and reflects the progression opportunities available to the three undergraduate Schools of London College of Fashion:

  • School of Fashion Business.
  • School of Design and Technology.
  • School of Media and Communication.

The course will encourage you to maximise your individual potential. It will provide the stimulus and creative environment necessary to support your progression, through theoretical, multidisciplinary and experimental approaches to your studies. You will develop a range of transferable skills that will support both your development on the course and in your future educational career.

You will embark on a specialist pathway and be supported throughout your studies towards an appropriate undergraduate course in negotiation with your tutors. Application from the International Preparation for Fashion (Cert HE) course to undergraduate courses at London College of Fashion is via direct entry application to the UAL Central Admissions Office. Students who successfully complete the course gain a Certificate in Higher Education award, which is recognised nationally and internationally. Please note that the offer will be conditional on meeting UAL Language Centre test outcome with a minimum of 6.0.

You may need to hold a further up-to-date IELTS test (or equivalent certificate) depending on your destination course entry requirements.