International Foundation Year in Humanities, Law and Social Science

About this pathway

The International Foundation Year in Humanities, Law and Social Science prepares you for an undergraduate degree at Durham City. This programme lasts for three terms.

Upon successful completion of the programme you can choose from a range of related degrees at Durham University.

Who is this programme for?

This humanities, law and social science foundation year is for international students looking to study a related degree at Durham University but need additional time to prepare.   

  • Improve your academic and English language skills needed for your chosen degree. 
  • Explore concepts, terminology and practical skills needed to succeed at a world-class university. 
  • Study core modules for humanities, social science and law with this foundation year, developing your critical skills and understanding of key themes and models. 
  • Take the time to adjust to the UK education system so you can be ready to start your degree with confidence. 

Key facts

  • Course facts
  • Start dates
  • Study plans
  • Admissions

Length:

  • Three terms

Intakes:

  • September and January

September 2021

  • Term 1: 13/09/2021 to 03/12/2021
  • Term 2: 05/01/2022 to 18/03/2022
  • Term 3: 28/03/2022 to 03/06/2022

January 2022

  • Term 1: 05/01/2022 to 18/03/2022
  • Term 2: 28/03/2022 to 10/06/2022
  • Term 3: 13/06/2022 to 26/08/2022
IELTS Length Jun Aug Sep Dec Jan Apr Jun Aug Oct
5.0* 4 terms       Start your degree
5.0* 4 terms      
5.5** 3 terms      
5.5** 3 terms    

*5.0 in reading and Writing, 4.5 in all other skills
**5.5 in reading and Writing, 5.0 in all other skills

   International Foundation Year    English Language Preparation

Admissions information

If you do not meet the entry requirements for the International Foundation Year you can study one or two additional terms of English language preparation. Find out about English language preparation.

What will you study?

Core modules

  • Academic English Skills
    Academic English Skills supports students to develop their skills in reading, writing, listening and speaking, with a particular focus on the language uses that will prove most useful throughout their studies at Durham University. This critical module runs throughout each term at the International Study Centre, and features particular emphasis on grammar and language skills for those requiring a boost in this area, whilst also allowing able students to stretch themselves in their written and spoken work.
  • Academic Practice

    This module looks to provide students with a background in academic conventions and expectations in Social Science to prepare them to join the Community of Practice of their chosen discipline. The module also aspires: to provide students with a grounding in study skills and their supporting technology; to support students in developing an academic voice; and to develop critical analysis.

  • Extended Research

    This module will allow students to pursue and develop subject specific interests, and encourages students to work independently with supervision in some depth. This module will also allow students to develop methods of research and analysis appropriate to their specific progression route.

Designated modules 

Alongside core modules you will study designated modules that relate to your progression degree route. When you successfully complete this pathway and achieve the required grades, you can begin your undergraduate degree at Durham University.

  • Modules by route

    Archaeology

    • Biology of the Environment
    • Introduction to Ancient History
    • Introduction to Liberal Arts
    • Introduction to Modern History

    Chinese Studies/Classics/Japanese Studies/Liberal Arts/Philosophy/Theology and Religion/Visual Arts and Film

    • English Literature
    • Introduction to Ancient History
    • Introduction to Liberal Arts
    • Introduction to Modern History

    Combined Social Sciences/International Relations/Politics

    • Introduction to Liberal Arts
    • Introduction to Modern History
    • Politics, Democracy and Government
    • Sociology

    Criminology/Sociology

    • English Literature
    • Introduction to Liberal Arts
    • Politics, Democracy and Government
    • Sociology

    Education

    • English Literature
    • Numerical Skills with Statistics
    • Psych of Thinking and Learning
    • Sociology

    English Literature/History

    • English Literature
    • Introduction to Ancient History
    • Introduction to Liberal Arts
    • Introduction to Modern History

    Geography

    • Geography
    • Introduction to Science
    • Numerical Skills with Statistics
    • Sociology

    Health and Human Sciences/Anthropology

    • Human Health and Disease
    • Sociology
    • Biology of the Environment
    • Foundation of Statistics  

    Law

    • English Literature
    • Law 1
    • Law 2
    • LNAT
    • Sociology 

    Music

    • English Literature
    • Foundations of Music
    • Introduction to Ancient History
    • Introduction to Liberal Arts

    Philosophy, Politics and Economics

    • Core Foundation Mathematics
    • Politics, Democracy and Government
    • Pure Mathematics and Strategic
    • Sociology 

    Sport and Exercise Sciences/Sport, Exercise and Physical Activity

    • Biology of the Environment
    • Foundations of Statistics
    • Human Health and Disease
    • Sociology
  • Module descriptions

    Biology of the Environment

    This module will encourage students to develop confidence in their own abilities in a science subject, and will develop students' learning skills. A basic bank of knowledge will be introduced, on which students can build either by the process of self study or in further courses of directed study. 

    Pure Maths and Strategic

    This module seeks to introduce students to both Pure and Strategic Maths. Pure mathematics explores the boundary of mathematics and pure reason. It has been described as "that part of mathematical activity that is done without explicit or immediate consideration of direct application," although what is "pure" in one era often becomes applied later. Strategic mathematics involves applying analytical methods to help make better decisions. The approach often involves constructing and using mathematical models and problem structuring methods to represent the wide range of problems encountered in the real world. The results of these models allow decisions that are more informed. 

    English Literature

    This module will introduce students to a wide variety of literary texts from various periods and different genres. It will introduce ways of reading texts which include an analysis of form, narrative perspective, intertextuality, literary theory, and some knowledge of the context in which the text was produced. The work they undertake will increase students’ confidence in their personal response to literature, and it will also develop accuracy in writing. 

    Foundations of Music

    This module will enable students to extend the skills, knowledge and understanding needed to communicate through music. It will help students to recognise the interdependence of musical skills, knowledge and understanding, and the links between performing, composing and appraising. The module will provide a framework within which analytical skills may be developed. 

    Foundations of Statistics

    This module will introduce and develop understanding of basic statistical principles to provide a foundation for future study. It will also develop skills that help students to apply statistical tools to real life problems. Ultimately this module will encourage students to develop confidence in their own abilities in statistics.

    Geography

    This module seeks to develop knowledge and understanding of selected physical geographical processes. Students will be encouraged to develop observational and interpretative skills. They will also use a range of skills and techniques, including the use of maps and images at different scales necessary for geographical study  It will also be possible for students to carry out research and fieldwork as appropriate to the topics selected.

    Human Health and Disease

    This module will encourage students to develop confidence in their own abilities in a science subject, and will develop students' learning skills. A basic bank of knowledge will be introduced, on which students can build either by the process of self study or in further courses of directed study. 

    Introduction to Ancient History

    This module will provide an introduction and basis for further study of a specified period of Ancient History and culture. Students will be encouraged to investigate central themes and topics of at least one ancient culture. They will gain familiarity with and develop a critical perspective of the studied historical period and the various sources of evidence.

    Introduction to Liberal Arts

    This module will introduce key theories, ideas and philosophies, that inform present day British and other Western societies; It will also introduce students to the relationship between cultural icons and values of society. Students will become familiar with studying primary source materials alongside relevant critical work, which locates these sources in their historical/sociological/artistic contexts as well as within a body of academic scholarship; It will also work to develop students’ ability to demonstrate critical thinking by describing, analysing and evaluating relevant primary source materials. 

    Introduction to Modern History

    This module looks to develop knowledge and understanding of selected periods of Modern History as well as the nature of historical sources and the methods used by historians. Students will also gain familiarity with and develop a critical perspective of differing interpretations of historical problems and alternative and conflicting sources of evidence.

    Introduction to Science

    This module works to encourage students to develop confidence in their own abilities in science, and to introduce a basic bank of knowledge on which students can build either by the process of self study or in further courses of directed study. The module will help to develop confidence in a laboratory situation, to introduce a range of equipment, and to develop observational and interpretative skills. The module looks to develop students' ability to apply science concepts to problem solving, and to develop scientific report-writing, data handling and critical evaluation. 

    Law 1

    This module aims to introduce students to the law and legal system in England and Wales, including its underlying principles, the personnel who administer it, the mechanics of the legal process, and justice in a wider sense.  

    Law 2

    The Law 2 module will focus on (English) Contract Law, which is one of the core modules of an LLB degree. Through the Law 2 module, students will develop a knowledge and understanding of the key topics in contract law and, following on from the Law 1 module, students will also continue to build their understanding of how to use legal sources, statutory provisions and case law.   

    Numerical Skills with Statistics

    This module works to introduce and develop a bank of mathematical skills, which students can apply in a range of contexts.  It will help to introduce and develop understanding of basic statistical principles to provide a foundation for future study. By developing a problem solving approach, the module aims to encourage students to develop confidence in their own abilities in mathematics and statistics.

    Politics, Democracy and Government

    This module seeks to introduce students to UK politics and government, familiarising students with a range of democratic concepts and contemporary political issues ranging from political rights to executive power. It will also seek to introduce students to political theory and ideologies such as Conservatism and feminism. Students will also have the opportunity to develop important skills such as persuasive argument, critical thinking and evaluative reasoning.

    Politics, Democracy and Government

    This module seeks to introduce students to UK politics and government, familiarising students with a range of democratic concepts and contemporary political issues ranging from political rights to executive power. It will also seek to introduce students to political theory and ideologies such as Conservatism and feminism. Students will also have the opportunity to develop important skills such as persuasive argument, critical thinking and evaluative reasoning.

    Psychology of Thinking and Learning

    Students will be given with an introduction to the psychological processes of thinking and learning, to develop students' knowledge of theories of thinking and learning. The module looks to familiarise students with methods used to assess thinking and learning, and to raise awareness of psychological conditions that can affect the thinking and learning processStudents will be introduced to questions in the application of psychology in real life settings, and will have an opportunity to reflect on their own learning experiences and self-development.

    Sociology

    This module looks to encourage students to think sociologically; to stimulate the ‘sociological’ imagination. It will introduce a foundational bank of social science knowledge, paradigms and themes, and it will also provide a framework of academic and analytical skills upon which students can build either in further directed study or by the process of self-study. The module will above all develop confidence and students’ learning and assessment skills.

  • Progression to Durham Law School

    All students who want to study LLB (Hons) Law after completing the International Foundation Year are required to pass the Law National Aptitude Test (LNAT) with a satisfactory performance in Section A and Section B, in addition to achieving the International Study Centre progression requirements. The definition of satisfactory performance for entry to Durham is set by Durham Law School and is reviewed annually. The passing score for Section A is typically around 17.

    What is the LNAT?

    The LNAT is used by universities to help them select the right people to take undergraduate law qualifications.

    The test doesn’t test your knowledge of law. Instead, it allows for a university assess whether your ability and skills are a good fit to study law.

    Section A is a Multiple Choice Questionnaire consisting of 42 questions, based on 12 passages of provided text. You will need to complete the 3-4 questions per passage within 95 minutes.

    Section B is an essay. You will be need to answer one of three essay questions and complete this within 40 minutes.

    If a student is unable to reach the requirements, they will be unable to progress to Durham Law School, even if they reach their overall grade.

    For more information, visit the LNAT website.

    Support for students taking the LNAT

    As the LNAT is based on UK law and culture, international students with limited experience of the UK can be at a disadvantage. Students at the International Study Centre who are aiming to progress to LLB (Hons) Law are given weekly one-hour LNAT preparation sessions. These sessions are taught by law tutors, all of whom have experience with the LNAT and are in a good position to support and advise students.

    Preparation sessions are held up until students sit the LNAT. During the session students will gain an understanding of the background to the questions, and have an opportunity to practice answers and get feedback. They will also be supported with their reading comprehension, critical thinking, and logical and analytical reasoning.

Why study this programme?

This programme leads to a wide range of highly-ranked undergraduate degrees at Durham University. The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021 rankings include:

  • 2nd for Geography and Environmental Sciences in the UK
  • 3rd for Archaeology in the UK (Complete University Guide 2021 and The Guardian University Guide 2021)
  • 4th for History in the UK
  • 6th for Law in the UK
  • 9th for Anthropology in the UK

Find out more about these degree subjects, and more, on our subject pages.

English language preparation

Study our English language preparation course first if you do not quite meet the entry requirements for this academic programme.

Progression degrees

When you successfully complete your International Foundation Year and achieve the required grades, you can progress to one of the following undergraduate degrees at Durham City:

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Please note:

In addition to achieving the International Study Centre progression requirements, all students wishing to progress to LLB (Hons) Law must sit the Law National Aptitude test (LNAT).

The degree Education Studies BA (Hons) is subject to availability.

Places may be limited so you are advised to apply and confirm as soon as possible.

Arts and humanities subject areas ranked in the world top 50

(QS World Subject Rankings 2021).

Gwen from Singapore on the Infinity Bridge by Queen's Campus

I feel like this foundation year is really geared towards preparing you for what university really is like in England. In classes, the teachers are always drawing comparisons towards what they’re doing in class now and what classes at university will be like at Durham.

Gwen from Singapore
Studied International Foundation Year in Humanities, Law and Social Science
Now studying LLB (Hons) Law

Fees

Find out the tuition fees for your course.

Entry requirements

Find out the entry requirements for your course.

Durham University students on City Campus

Skills for success

Prepare for your future and develop the skills you need for success while you study at the International Study Centre.

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