Many universities do not accept international secondary school qualifications unless there is an agreement between countries. The agreement I think compares the standard used in the country of the university (e.g. GCSE A-levels or SQA (Advanced) Highers in the UK) with the qualifications of another country.

International Students with unaccepted qualifications are given a conditional offer in some UK universities. The student has to do a "Foundation Course in ......" in an institution affiliated with the university (an "International College") and by passing with a certain grade, they go to 2nd year of a 4 year bachelor's degree or to 1st year of a 3 year bachelor's.

Beside the topics related to the degree, the foundation course focuses a lot on academic skills such as writing, presenting, note taking etc.. On the university transcript, the first year appears as a "credit transfer".

My question (finally), does the admission committee look down on such certificates even if the student got the bachelor's degree with a high GPA?

If it makes a difference, I would appreciate it if answers are given related to: 1- entry to MS degree 2- direct entry to PhD.

1 Answer 1


In general, if the GPA is high, this shouldn't be too much of a big deal. Normally I would look upon such a class as equivalent to an introductory-level course, and would not "look down" upon such a course. If the grade in such a course is poor, however, that could affect the decision.

If you are concerned about reviewers at another school evaluating this course appropriately, you could always include a note about it somewhere as part of your application (either master's or PhD).

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