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

  • train your language and related academic skills
  • develop the accuracy and range of your written and spoken language
  • your studies will be supported by an online learning platform to develop and extend your language and academic skills outside the classroom
  • Academic English programme is validated by UK ENIC, the UK government agency responsible for providing information and expert opinion on qualifications and skills worldwide.

Project and research skills

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

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?

  • 8th in the UK for Creative Writing (Complete University Guide 2023)
  • 12th in the world for Linguistics (QS World University Rankings 2022)

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.

Why join this November?

Join us in November and stay on track to progress to your degree in September 2023.

By starting the 3-term International Foundation Year in November, you will benefit from three additional weeks of study and life skills before commencing your main pathway programme in January 2023. There will be no additional tuition fee for this period, and this will provide you with a great opportunity for an enhanced student experience focusing on three key areas: orientation; practical support and academic and digital skills. Topics will include a digital skills health check; managing your money; practical tips on finding study and life balance; and an introduction to assessments in UK higher education.

What will I study in the additional three weeks?  

You’ll benefit from a 15-hour per week face-to-face classes, allowing you to:

  • feel more confident and better prepared for the start of your January programme of study
  • practice your English by interacting with the fellow students and build friendships
  • assess your own digital skills proficiency
  • meet the key Centre staff who will provide advice for success
  • familiarise yourselves with the support available
  • apply a range of academic study skills to meet your individual needs
  • have more time to adapt to the UK life and settle in before you begin your January programme.

Are there any additional cost or fees?

There will be no additional tuition fee, as November starts will have the same tuition fee as the respective January programme. However, there will be additional costs to consider, as expected with being in the UK for a longer period (i.e. accommodation). If you request accommodation on your application form, our Central Student Support Team will contact you directly in October regarding the options available.

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, November 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

2nd in the UK for Communications and Media Studies

12th in the UK for English

The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023

New November start

If you want to be better prepared for the start of your January programme of study, join us in November.