Foundation Program

The Foundation Program is 'outcome-based', to meet the learning outcomes and skill competencies as prescribed by the Commission for Academic Accreditation (CAA). The curricula is set for the various components to include sets of learning outcomes, associated methods of instructional delivery, and assessment for measuring achievement of the outcomes.

The Foundation Program comprises five core components (courses):

  • English Communications
  • Arabic Communications
  • Mathematics (I and II)
  • Information Technology
  • General Study Skills

The Mathematics component is available in two distinct pathways. Mathematics I accommodates the need of learners intending to advance into arts/humanities/design and selected business programs. Foundation Mathematics II is appropriate for those who wish to move into Higher Education programs in science/technology/engineering and the more quantitative business programs. The specific eligibility of students entering and graduating from each of the two Mathematics pathways will be determined by the receiving institutions.

Students intending to progress into Higher Education programs delivered in Arabic, would be required to undertake the English Communications component, but the exit standard would be TOEFL 400 (Paper-Based Test) or equivalent score in an internationally recognized test approved by the Commission.

No credit will be awarded for the program or components within the program. A final certificate will be awarded by the participating licensed institution to students successfully completing all courses, and this certificate will be recognized by the Ministry of Education - Higher Education Affairs.

CAA Standards

The Commission for Academic Accreditation (CAA) provides standards for the 'Learning Outcomes' and 'Assessment' in each of the areas of learning and the 'Resource Requirements', including teaching staffing criteria and their appropriate qualifications. The objective of the Foundation Program is to provide a preparatory program that meets the minimum standards required for students to progress onwards into non-federal higher education institutions in the UAE. The exit standards of the Foundation Program may not teach the levels required for entry to some private HE institutions in the UAE, where the admission requirements defined by the CAA Standards have been exceeded for valid reasons.

Institutions may not admit students who complete the Foundation Program into specific programs such as Medicine or Dentistry, where admission requirements exceed the expected outcome level of the Foundation Program; each HE institution can determine the appropriate entry credentials.


Methods of assessing the program components will be a combination of formative and summative techniques as appropriate to the component discipline.

Entry and Exit Standards

Admission requirements to the tertiary non-federal institutions are prescribed by the Commission for Academic Accreditation in the Standards for Licensure and Accreditation. The transition into vocational institutions may be subject to some variations as stipulated in the Standards for Licensure and Accreditation of Technical and Vocational Education and Training. The minimum admission standards into Higher Education have guided the exit criteria for the Foundation Program.

Two principals are followed in considering the assessments strategies and exit standards for the Foundation Program:

  • The standard examination for each of the components should be taken by students at the start and end of the program. This will provide a basis for placement within appropriate levels of the respective courses (where applicable) and will, in due course, directly measure the progress achieved over the duration of the program.
  • The exit standards will be based upon levels of achievement expected within High School Certificates and those measures prescribed by the CAA for admission to Higher Education in its Standards for Licensure and Accreditation.

Program Duration

The Foundation Program is designed such that it can be delivered in full-time mode within two semesters in its complete form. No extension on this time-frame will be acceptable. A minimum number of students are required to launch a cohort.