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International Preparation for Fashion (Certificate in Higher Education)

Start date
September 2018
Course length
1 year

Course summary

Applications for 2019/20 entry are now closed.

Disclaimer: This course is subject to revalidation. More information is available below.

About this course

This exciting and challenging course prepares you for entry into specialist undergraduate study at London College of Fashion, through a varied programme that combines study in fashion with communication and academic skills. The International Preparation for Fashion (Certificate in Higher Education) course is designed for international students (non EU countries) who want to progress on to a BA Honours programme (3/4 years) or an Integrated Masters programme (4/5 years) at London College of Fashion.


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.

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 details

This exciting and challenging preparatory experience course allows you to explore your creative, academic and professional potential in fashion. The Academic Language and Communication element of the course supports academic study skills and language development.

The diagnostic first term, followed by two terms in one specialist area will support you in making appropriate choices for undergraduate study at LCF.

Throughout the first term, the course team will direct you to the most appropriate area of fashion for your particular skills, talents and ambitions so that you can concentrate on either Fashion Business, Fashion Design or Fashion Media.

International Preparation for Fashion (Certificate in Higher Education) is based at Mare Street in Hackney. The surrounding area boasts a number of east end art galleries, fashion and clothing enterprises, interesting shops, Broadway market and the famed Hackney Empire theatre. London Fields, with its excellent open air lido (heated in winter), and Victoria Park provide nearby green spaces, and the Regent’s Canal runs through the area from east to west. A short bus ride will take you to the V & A’s Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green and the Geffrye Museum in Kingsland Road.

Course structure

  • 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: (20 credits)
  • Personal Progression Project (40 credits)


Information provided by the University is accurate at the time of first publication. Courses, however, remain subject to change. Changes may be necessary to improve the quality of educational services, in order to meet the latest requirements of a commissioning or accrediting body, in order to bring course content in line with best practice activities across the Higher Education sector, in response to student feedback, and/or due to a lack of student demand for certain units or options. Events may arise outside of the reasonable control of the University which lead to changes to courses. Such events may include industrial action, civil disorder, severe weather, and changes in applicable laws and/or safety requirements.

If you have accepted a place on a course, we shall notify you of any changes as soon as reasonably practicable.

Course units

Term one

Introduction to Study in Fashion gives you the opportunity to the range of fashion related subjects in each of three main areas: fashion business and management; fashion design and technology; and fashion media and communication. This diagnostic unit gives you the opportunity to consider which specialist pathway is most suited to your talents and potential. It will also introduce you to a variety of skills essential for successful study at undergraduate level, and will help you to identify your strengths and those areas in need of development through the introduction of Personal and Professional Development (PPD).

This unit will give you the opportunity to explore, at a preparatory level, a range of fashion-related subjects before focusing on your specialist pathways in term two of the course.

The unit will introduce you to a range of research methods and applications in the development and evaluation of ideas, visual communication and presentation of concepts for appropriate fashion audiences.

The diagnostic process will introduce you to all three specialist areas at London College of Fashion:

  • Fashion Media and Communication,
  • Fashion Business and Management,
  • Fashion Design and Technology.

It will help you and your tutors find your specialist pathway and signpost to future progression opportunities. It will establish a range of creative approaches to learning used within a higher education context and will allow you to explore the variety of resources that will support your educational career whilst at London College of Fashion. It will introduce you to a variety of skills essential for successful study and help you to identify your strengths and areas in need of development through the introduction of Personal and Professional Development (PPD).

At the end of the Introduction to Study in Fashion unit you will continue in a specialist pathway.

Term one and term two

Cultural and Historical Studies for Fashion aims to prepare you for the theoretical study of fashion. It will introduce you to the concepts and methods which shape the study of fashion from the broad discipline of Cultural Studies and will prepare you for subsequent undergraduate study in this area. The unit supports you in acquiring academic literacy and competencies and will therefore focus on the development of skills in academic communication in a number of formats both written and spoken combined with the acquisition of subject knowledge which draws on the broader discipline of Cultural Studies.  The unit will introduce the critical, communication and analytical skills that are essential to study on a range of Undergraduate Programmes at London College of Fashion.

Term one, term two and term three

Academic Language and Communication for Undergraduate Study aims to prepare you to be academically able to enter the first year of a range of undergraduate degree programmes at London College of Fashion. The unit supports you in acquiring academic literacy and study skills. You will develop specialist vocabularies;

enhance your language proficiency and understanding of academic conventions. The unit aims to aid you in becoming a self-directed learner and to gain transferable language and learning skills to prepare you for undergraduate university study.

You will progress to the most suitable pathway:

Specialism Studies: Fashion Business and Management will provide you with a range of academic, creative and specialist subject knowledge relevant to the business and management areas of the fashion industry. You will be encouraged to be open-minded in exploring and developing ideas for presentations for the variety of business audiences. You will conduct and evaluate research, develop ideas and learn to employ the appropriate techniques for the presentation of ideas within the context of fashion business and management.

Specialism Studies: Fashion Design and Technology will introduce you to a range of creative, practical and theoretical approaches within the subject of fashion design and technology allowing you to develop a preparatory body of knowledge and skill. You will be introduced to the importance of research as the basis for the creative development of ideas for a range of fashion products. You will carry out and evaluate original research, develop ideas and make use of the appropriate techniques for visual presentation.

Specialism Studies: Fashion Media and Communication will introduce you to a range of media subjects providing you with the opportunity to develop creative, practical skills and subject knowledge for fashion media content whilst introducing the techniques for the generation of original ideas for target markets. You will conduct and evaluate research, develop ideas and learn to employ the appropriate techniques for the presentation of ideas within the context of fashion media and communication.

Term three

The Personal Progression Project unit will enable you to take responsibility for your own learning through the development and construction of a project proposal in response to your negotiated specialist pathway. The unit provides practical, theoretical and contextual activities in the development of a personally established project. You will carry out investigations around an issue, or issues, connected with your chosen specialist area by proposing and realising a project which integrates planning, research, development, process, evaluation, reflection, and future progression within a chosen professional context.

Building on knowledge gained in previous units you will use a range of research methods and applications in the development and evaluation of ideas, visual communication tools and the presentation of concepts.


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.

Joanne McVey, Academic Language and Language Acquisition Skills Lecturer, has over 12 years teaching experience in Italy, Brazil and the UK. Having previously worked in the commercial furniture and fabric sector for nearly 10 years, working for the designer store The Conran Shop. Whilst at the UAL Language Centre, she developed an academic skills syllabus and material for short intensive courses preparing students for entry to undergraduate level. In addition to this she has provided on course support for foundation programmes for both CSM and LCC. She is now currently studying for an MA in Culture Language and Identity with a particular interest in research connected to intercultural communication and cultural awareness. Read Joanne McVey's full profile here.

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.

Ronke Fashola is the Business Pathway leader for the IPF level 4 course. Overseeing the business, fashion buying, merchandising, marketing and finance, Ronke spent 10 years working as a fashion buyer for various different brands in the UK, Germany and Hong Kong. Ronke also runs her own clothing brand which is sold in various boutiques in the UK. Most recently Ronke started the Future of Fashion which invites leading figure heads such as Cath Kidston to talk. Future of Fashion enables start-up companies and young brands to have a platform to learn, support and grow from each other.

David Garner, senior lecturer LCF.

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 five 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 form 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 no more than 45 images. Your portfolio is assessed by our academic team 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.

London College of Fashion does not accept applications for deferred entry. You should therefore apply in the year you wish to study.

Application deadline

31st January 2019.

After you apply

What happens next

Immigration History Check

Whether you are applying online via UCAS or through 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 to help us understand your experience and level which we can discuss at interview. 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 – please treat each image as though it were a page in your physical portfolio. You can also provide some text to accompany each image.

Fashion Business orientated applicants should:

  • present evidence of written and numerical skills
  • demonstrate an interest in fashion through both visual and text-based evidence

Fashion Media orientated applicants should:

  • present evidence of communication skills through a visual portfolio that may include evidence of, for example, photography, styling, illustration or journalism.
  • provide evidence of written skills
  • demonstrate an interest in fashion

Fashion Design orientated applicants should:

  • present evidence of creative skills through a visual portfolio that may include evidence of drawing, photography, 3D work or other media
  • provide evidence of written skills
  • demonstrate an interest in fashion

If the academic team wish to consider your application further, you will be invited to attend an interview either in person or via telephone where an international academic will look at your portfolio and ask you questions to establish your suitability for the course.

If you are successful at the interview stage you will be offered a place. Applicants are not guaranteed to be asked to upload work, nor are they guaranteed an interview.

Please note that if you are unable to attend interview, the College 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 the College 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.

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 & Funding

This course is open to international students only

International fee


This applies for the 2019/20 academic year.

Additional costs

In addition to tuition fees you are very likely to incur additional costs such as travel expenses and the cost of materials. Please read the information on our additional costs page.


Find out about the accommodation options available and how much they will cost.

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. Successful completion of this course will guarantee the offer of a place on a degree or Integrated Masters course at the London College of Fashion providing you pass all units and your progression interview. 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.

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