Two students in the library

International Foundation Year in Social Studies

Social Studies

The International Foundation Year in Social Studies leads to a choice of undergraduate degrees in the Faculty of Arts and Social Studies and the Faculty of Science and Technology. To prepare for your degree, you will study core English language modules and subject modules. Degree options include Philosophy, Sociology, and Film.

Is this programme for me?

Social Studies is an exciting and varied subject which can lead to many different careers. If you want to learn more about it, whilst studying at a top-ranking UK university, then this pathway programme can help. You will learn about global issues and contemporary events – including business, culture, politics and the environment. Other areas of study include advertising, social media, psychology, and theories that relate to media and modern society.

What will I study?

You will study core modules within the International Foundation Year programme alongside subject specific modules designed to help you on your degree.

Core modules focus on your English language and university-level study skills. At the end of the programme you will feel confident in taking notes, writing essays, giving presentations, and contributing to discussions. Study areas include:

Academic English Skills*

  • develop your English communication skills
  • presenting and seminar preparation
  • time management and organisational skills
  • meeting deadlines and responding to feedback

Project and research skills

  • a self-study project related to your undergraduate degree
  • completed over two terms.

*Subject to approval

Subject modules that relate to Social Studies give you the academic knowledge and confidence you need to progress to your chosen degree.

Study areas include:


  • Interpreting global issues
  • Interpreting contemporary events
  • Critical thinking and a range of other skills


  • British political system
  • British constitution
  • Civil liberties and their relation to the judicial system
  • How parliament works
  • Composition and functions of the government
  • Civil service and Britain’s relationship to the EU

Media & Culture

  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Branding
  • Social media
  • Popular culture
  • Critical thinking and analysis and a range of other skills
  • Analysing how media works in modern society


  • Main approaches to psychology
  • Psychological theories
  • Analyse and evaluate approaches and theories
  • Psychological concepts and methods of research

Plus a choice of two modules from:

  • Law 1 and Law 2 OR
  • Principles of Economics 1 & 2 OR
  • Business Studies 1 & 2

*Degrees in Psychology are taught at the Faculty of Science and Technology

Study plans

Why study the International Foundation Year in Social Studies at Lancaster?

  • Top 100 in the world (86th in QS World University Rankings 2021)
  • 1st in the UK for Creative Writing (Complete University Guide 2021)
  • 12th in the world for Linguistics (QS World University Rankings 2021)

Progressing to your degree

You will progress to your chosen degree when you have completed the International Foundation Year and achieved the grades you need.*

Faculty of Arts and Social Studies

You will be studying at Lancaster’s largest faculty and one of the most prominent in the UK. The University is also home to Lancaster Institute for Contemporary Arts. All departments have excellent reputations for research.

Degree options

You can choose between more than 70 different degrees within the Faculty of Arts and Social Studies. Your degree options include Film, Psychology and English Language.

To see all degree options, visit our progression degrees page.

Robyn from Hong Kong works in a lab on campus

"My English speaking and listening have really improved because [the International Study Centre] helped me a lot. They always put me in the group to speak in English, they didn’t put me with the people from Hong Kong, so I won’t have the chance to speak in Cantonese so I will have more chance of speaking English and practising my English, and then I can understand all the things they speak to me now."

Robyn from Hong Kong studied International Foundation Year in Life Sciences

* Please note the degree aim / selected degree path is not fixed or guaranteed. During your first term at the International Study Centre you will be asked to select three degree choices from progression list. You will receive a conditional offer, this offer will be made unconditional on successful completion of the course and on achieving the required progression grades.

Key facts

Course length

Three terms

Entry points

October and January

Visit our term dates page for specific dates.

Entry requirements

Visit our entry requirements page to learn more.


Visit our fees page to learn more.

Top rankings

10th in the UK for Communications and Media Studies

11th in the UK for English

The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022