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International Preparation for Fashion (Certificate in Higher Education)

Work by Ashley Lee,
London College of Fashion
Start date
September 2021
Course length
1 year

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

Course closures

We are no longer accepting applications from students for 2021/22 entry to this course. Please check this page regularly as places may become available later in the cycle and if they do, we will reopen applications.

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.


This course is based at Mare Street in Hackney. Find out about the local area, including London Fields, Bethnal Green and Hackney Central in our local area guides on the Student Life pages.

London College of Fashion is planning to move to a new single campus on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in 2023. This is part of a new development for London, prioritising culture, education and innovation, known as East Bank. Some students studying this course from September 2021 may start their studies in Mare Street and transfer to LCF’s new site in East London to complete them. Please see LCF’s move to the Olympic Park for more information about the College’s relocation.

Student and graduate work

Latest news from this course


Library, John Princes Street
Library, John Princes Street Photography by: Ideal Insight

LCF Library

Take a tour of LCF's world renowned fashion library, ideal for research and study.

Mare Street

Mare Street facilities

Take a tour of Mare Street.

Canteen, Mare Street
Canteen, Mare Street Photography by: Ideal Insight

LCF's social spaces

Explore our social spaces, for collaborative study and breaks, across our six sites in London.

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) 
  • Personal 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. 

Contact us

For queries relating to the Coronavirus outbreak, read our Coronavirus guidance for prospective students.

To register your interest and receive information and updates about studying at UAL, please complete this form.

If you can’t find the information you’re looking for or to ask a question, please contact us.

Course dates

Autumn term:

27 September 2021 – 10 December 2021

Spring term:

10 January 2022 – 18 March 2022

Summer term:

19 April 2022 -  19 June 2022

Enquire about this course

Haven’t found the information you’re looking for? Want to ask us a question about this course?

Enquire about this course.

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: Personal 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

Assessment methods

The following assessment methods are employed to support the integrated aims of the course outcomes:

  • Formative Assessment is designed to support and improve learning, and concentrates on giving useful feedback to help students improve their work, rather than on giving a grade.  There is a number of formative assessment points throughout the course.
  • Summative Assessment is designed to formally assess work for each unit.  The following assessment methods are employed: portfolios of work; written work, including a critical essay and a visual essay.


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. He is also Academic Site Manager of the Mare Street campus where the IPF course is based, and is currently serving as academic representative on the UAL Academic Board.

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

How to apply

Opportunities for all

We are committed to making university education an achievable option for a wider range of people and to supporting all of our students in achieving their potential both during and after their courses.

We welcome applications from people with disabilities. If you have a disability (e.g. mobility difficulties, sensory impairments, medical or mental health conditions or Asperger’s syndrome) we strongly encourage you to contact us on or +44 (0)20 7514 6156 so that we can plan the right support for you. All enquiries are treated confidentially. To find out more, visit our Disability & Dyslexia webpages.

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.

Making your application

This section includes all the information you need on how to apply and how your application is considered, and what happens next.

How we assess your application

Your application is reviewed when you apply to the University. If you have achieved or expect to achieve the standard entry requirements you will be invited to submit a portfolio of up to 45 Images Our online portfolio collecting tool, PebblePad, allows you to upload multiple visuals & supporting information. Your portfolio is assessed by International Academics who will select applicants to attend an interview. Please note that not all applicants are invited to attend interview. When you have attended your interview, we will advise you of your outcome.

There are two ways you may apply to this course:

You can only apply to the same course once per year whether you are applying via UAL Representative or using the UAL online application system. Any duplicate application will be withdrawn.

For further advice on how to apply please visit the UAL International Application page.

Deferring your place

This course accepts requests from offer holders to defer their place for one academic year. Deferral requests are granted on a first-come, first-served basis until all deferral places are filled, or a deadline has been reached, whichever is sooner. Read our Admissions Policy for details, including how to request a deferral and by when.

Application deadline

We recommend you apply by 19 February 2021 for equal consideration.

Please note the application deadline date has changed from 15 March 2021. However this course will consider applications after that date, subject to places being available.

After you apply

What happens next

Immigration History Check

Whether you are applying online via  a UAL representative or direct application you will need to complete an Immigration History Check to identify whether you are eligible to study at UAL. Do be aware, if you do not complete the Immigration History Check we will not be able to proceed with your application.

Initial application check

All application forms, personal statements and references are read and considered by the academic team against the selection criteria listed in the Entry Requirements and Selection Criteria sections.

With your application, you will need to submit a PORTFOLIO OF WORK via our portfolio collection tool, PebblePad, to help us understand your experience and level. A portfolio is a collection of work to communicate your creative skills and knowledge. This should include a variety of your work (i.e. more than one project) and represent your interests, investigation, explorations and final conclusion(s). You will be asked to provide up to 45 images – think of this as 45 pages in a physical portfolio. You can also provide some text to accompany each image. You will need to upload your work to our digital portfolio tool: PebblePad. Further information will be shared when you apply.

Fashion Business orientated applicants should present:

  • Fashion Influences: for example research, exhibitions, books, designers.
  • Examples of your interest / experience of fashion: i.e. written work, reports, articles, blogs, images, website.
  • You may wish to communicate ideas around marketing, visual merchandising, planning, analysis of designers, trend forecasting.

Fashion Media orientated applicants should present:

  • Research book(s) / Sketchbook(s) / Folders – showing your interest and ideas in fashion media and communication.
  • Visual / written work exploring areas in relation to fashion media and communication – e.g. creative imagery / photo shoots / styling / magazine articles.
  • Websites / blogs.

Fashion Design orientated applicants should present:

  • Research and development work (i.e. sketchbook(s) / notebooks / journals). This could be thematic and could be drawings, design ideas, samples, photos and experimentation in relation to fashion ideas.
  • Design development showing your ideas (as above).
  • 3D work – this could be through photographs / observational drawings.

Once applications are reviewed, you may be invited to attend an interview with an International Academic. We will look at your portfolio and ask you questions to establish your suitability for the course.

If you are selected for interview, these will take place online using Microsoft Teams – please ensure that you download this software prior to the interview date; this is available as a free download from the Microsoft website. We will send you further details at a later point about how we will connect with you for your interview.

If you are successful at the interview stage you will be offered a place. Please note you may be offered an alternative course, which will be identified during the interview. Applicants are not guaranteed to be asked to upload work; they are also not guaranteed an interview.

Please note that if you are unable to attend interview, we may not be able to re-schedule.

How we notify you of the outcome of your application

You will receive the final outcome of your application through your portal. You will only receive further communication directly from LCF if your application has been successful. This will be in the form of a full offer pack including details of accommodation, fees, and other important information.

Making your application

After you apply

After you’ve submitted your application, you’ll receive a confirmation email providing you with your login details for the UAL Portal. We’ll use this Portal to contact you to request any additional information, including inviting you to upload documents or book an interview, so please check it regularly.

Once we’ve reviewed and assessed your application, we’ll contact you via UCAS Track or the UAL Portal to let you know whether your application has been successful.

Potential changes to course structure

Please note: the information outlined is an indicative structure of the course. Whilst we will aim to deliver the course as described on this page, there may be situations where it is desirable or necessary for the University to make changes in course provision, for example because of regulatory requirements or operational efficiencies, before or after enrolment. If this occurs, we will communicate all major changes to all applicants and students who have either applied or enrolled on the course. Please note that due to staff research agreements or availability, not all of the optional modules listed may be available every year. In addition, the provision of course options which depend upon the availability of specialist teaching, or on a placement at another institution, cannot be guaranteed. Please check this element of the course with the course team before making a decision to apply.

Webpage updates

We will update this webpage from time to time with new information as it becomes available. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please use the enquiry form above.

Fees and funding

International fee

£18,300 per year

This fee is correct for 2021/22 entry and is subject to change for 2022/23 entry.

Students from countries outside of the UK are currently charged international fees. The rules are complex so read more about our tuition fees.

From 2021/22 entry, most EU students will be charged the International tuition fee rate, depending on your individual circumstances. Read more advice for EU students.

Scholarship search

Careers and alumni


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.