International Study Centre

International Foundation Year in Arts and Social Sciences

A pathway leading to undergraduate degrees in creative arts, politics or humanities

The Arts and Social Sciences foundation programme at the International Study Centre prepares you for a range of undergraduate degrees at Royal Holloway.

Key facts

Course length: Three terms
Entry points: September and January
Age: 17+

See entry requirements

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What you will study

The programme consists of core and pathway-specific modules. The core modules will improve your academic and English language skills, while the pathway-specific ones will build specific knowledge about your chosen progression degree.

Academic English Skills

Academic English Skills aims to provide thorough training in the language and related academic skills which will enable international students to best achieve their academic potential at the Royal Holloway University London, and ensures you are able to meet the requirements of the UKVI through demonstrating an English language level of CEFR B2 in the skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking.

You will develop awareness and competency in a range of language-related skills required for successful study at Higher Education level. These skills include the processes of academic writing, effective and extensive reading strategies, effective participation in seminars and delivery of presentations, and listening to and recording information effectively from lectures. You will also develop the accuracy and range of written and spoken language required to use language effectively and appropriately, with clarity and confidence in an academic context.

Introduction to Literature

The module provides a broad introduction to the study of the arts at university, focusing not only on the historical background of literature but also aiming to introduce a wider range of non-canonical texts, meaning that you will be encouraged to engage with a range of texts from Aristotle through to the twentieth century. These are, in turn, analysed through a number of theories, including, but not limited to, postcolonialism, feminism and disability studies.

On successful completion of the module, you will be able to: demonstrate knowledge of canonical literary texts and apply a broader understanding of world cultures; display awareness of different perspectives when reading texts, including explaining and evaluating the process of construction of identity in narratives; demonstrate knowledge of literary texts ranging from the ancient Greek period to the twenty-first century; analyse and reflect on different discourses or literary theory and read and interpret texts and write about them using appropriate evidence, whether in a creative or critical context.

Sociology

This course aims to provide a grounding in sociology as a study of human society and will introduce you to key theories, concepts and research methods relevant to sociological investigations. The emphasis in the module is on the structure and functions of societal institutions such as the family, education, work and the prison system, as well as on a range of issues affecting contemporary society such as poverty, crime, race and gender.

On successful completion of the module, you will be able to: display an understanding and ability to apply sociological theories and sociological concepts in understanding society and social processes; appreciate the significance of a range of issues and historical events which have had an impact on the nature and development of a society; analyse what culture is, how it relates to identity and how it is manifest in society; critically evaluate and discuss the importance of social stratification in key institutions of society and analyse and evaluate the contributions made by sociology in understanding the role and function of different aspects of society such as family, religion, work, poverty, education, deviance and crime.

Film and Media Studies

This module provides a broad introduction to the study of film and media at the university, focusing not only on the historical background of film studies and media studies but also aiming to introduce you to the notion of textual criticism and theory. Additionally, you will be encouraged to consider the role and impact of the media in the context of wider society.

On successful completion of the module, you will be able to: demonstrate an understanding of how the visual medium of film or photography makes, shapes and/or communicates meaning; show proficiency in film and media language when discussing visual texts; demonstrate close analysis of specific texts illustrating the ways texts may be interpreted differently and reflect a critical understanding of broader issues and debates within media and film studies.

Music

The module provides a broad introduction to four subdisciplines within the study of music: theory/analysis, musicology, ethnomusicology, and performance. You will develop the skills, knowledge, and understanding needed to communicate through music and to take part in making music. You will come to recognize the interdependence of those skills and that knowledge and understanding, as well as the links between the activities of realizing and performing, as well as appraising and composition.

On successful completion of the module, you will be able to: use a wide range of subject-specific terminology and techniques to critically analyse music; demonstrate appropriate technical, expressive, interpretive and communicative skills; demonstrate an understanding of the way in which music is put together; develop an understanding that performing uses expressive detail; use a wide range of subject-specific terminology and techniques to critically analyse music; demonstrate appropriate technical, expressive, interpretive and communicative skills; be able to produce critical analyses of music studied; demonstrate stylistic awareness in performance skills, and analyse and synthesise key concepts to demonstrate effective academic writing skills.

Global Politics

The course explores key themes in global politics among which climate change, identity and power politics, colonialism, neoliberalism, political violence and human rights. Each theme draws out specific historical and geographical locations and uses a wide range of illustrative examples to examine the complexity of responses and to evaluate the broader theoretical approaches. The aim of this module is to provide you with a grounding in key concepts of global politics and to introduce you to the central assumptions and theoretical approaches in the study of global politics.

On successful completion of the module, you will be able to: show solid foundational knowledge and understanding of politics, critically engage with the dominant assumptions and theoretical approaches that have shaped the understanding of global politics and analyse and reflect on the impact of different events on the nature and development of global politics.

Psychology

This module aims to provide you with an understanding of concepts, methodology and practical and ethical issues relevant to the study of Psychology. Such focus will allow you to develop independent study skills in research, group work and effective note taking. The main focus of study is on the various approaches to the subject in general terms, but you will have the opportunity to deepen your theoretical understanding and knowledge of psychological research.

On successful completion of the module, you will be able to: explain in general terms key concepts and theories underpinning the main approaches to studying Psychology; describe the strengths and weaknesses of a range of research methods in Psychology; critically evaluate key empirical and theoretical studies in core areas of Psychology and evaluate the contributions made by different approaches to the study of Psychology.

Study plans

IELTS Length Jun Aug Sep Dec Jan Jun Jul Aug Sep
4.5 4 terms         Start your degree
4.5 4 terms        
5.0 (5.0 in writing) 3 terms          
5.0 (5.0 in writing) 3 terms          

   International Foundation Year    English Language Preparation

Term dates

September 2021

Term 1: 20/09/2021 - 10/12/2021
Term 2: 10/01/2022 - 25/03/2022
Term 3: 25/04/2022 - 10/06/2022

January 2022

Term 1: 10/01/2022 - 25/03/2022
Term 2: 11/04/2022 - 24/06/2022
Term 3: 27/06/2022 - 12/08/2022

Progression degrees

You can continue your studies at Royal Holloway as an undergraduate when you successfully complete your International Foundation Year. This means that you have to achieve the required grades for progression. The requirements might change. Our staff will speak to you about them when you are close to finishing your programme.

Progressing to study Music at Royal Holloway

If you would like to progress to an undergraduate degree in Music at Royal Holloway, you will need to demonstrate an ability to play to a proficient level. As evidence of your practical skills level, we accept:

  • Certificates of achievement
  • YouTube video (submitted to the Head of Centre).

You will also be required to demonstrate your knowledge of music theory.

Additional entry conditions for progressing include:

  • Reaching the equivalent of a Grade 7 in music theory and practical performance
  • A possible short interview and audition to assess your level.

You can also arrange additional practical and theory music tuition during your International Foundation Year.

Progression to degrees with a language

Students will need previous experience of the chosen language to A-level standard before joining the International Study Centre.

Latifa

“Studying at the International Study Centre has definitely prepared me for my first year at Royal Holloway. It helped in terms of knowing how to structure my essays the way the university would like them, bringing forward my basic knowledge of sociology into my current course, and adapting very well to the degree.”

Latifa from Bahrain
Studied International Foundation Year in Social Sciences, progressed to BSc Criminology and Sociology

You can study one of the following undergraduate degrees:

Degree Programmes Award Overall Grade English Grade Additional Grade
BA History, Politics and International Relations BA (Hons) 65% 60% overall with 70% in writing, 40% other skills -
BA American Literature and Creative Writing BA (Hons) 70% 70% overall with 70% in writing, 40% other skills -
BA Ancient & Medieval History BA (Hons) 65% 60% overall with 70% in writing, 40% other skills
BA Ancient History BA (Hons) 65% 60% overall with 70% in writing, 40% other skills -
BA Ancient History and Philosophy BA (Hons) 65% 60% overall with 70% in writing, 40% other skills -
BA Ancient History with Philosophy BA (Hons) 65% 60% overall with 70% in writing, 40% other skills -
BA Classical Archaeology and Ancient History BA (Hons) 65% 60% overall with 70% in writing, 40% other skills -
BA Classical Studies BA (Hons) 65% 60% overall with 70% in writing, 40% other skills
BA Classical Studies and Comparative Literature and Culture BA (Hons) 65% 60% overall with 70% in writing, 40% other skills -
BA Classical Studies and Drama BA (Hons) 65% 60% overall with 70% in writing, 40% other skills

Please note

Certain progression degrees on this list run for a duration of four years, rather than the standard three years. Check the list below for all longer-running degrees.

  • BA European and International Studies (French)
  • BA European and International Studies (German)
  • BA European and International Studies (Italian)
  • BA European and International Studies (Spanish)
  • BA Liberal Arts with a language year abroad
  • BA Liberal Arts with International Year
  • BA Modern Languages
  • BA Modern Languages and Classical Studies
  • BA Modern Languages and Comparative Literature and Culture
  • BA Modern Languages and Drama
  • BA Modern Languages and English
  • BA Modern Languages and Greek
  • BA Modern Languages and History
  • BA Modern Languages and History of Art and Visual Cultures
  • BA Modern Languages and Latin
  • BA Modern Languages and Music
  • BA Modern Languages and Philosophy
  • BA Modern Languages and Translation Studies
  • BA Modern Languages with History of Art and Visual Culture
  • BA Modern Languages with International Film
  • BA Modern Languages with International Relations
  • BA Modern Languages with Music
  • BA Modern Languages with Philosophy
  • BA Modern Languages with Translation Studies
  • BA Translation Studies & Comparative Literature and Culture with a year abroad
  • BA Translation Studies & History of Art and Visual Culture with a year abroad
  • BA Translation Studies with a year abroad
  • BA Translation Studies with History of Art and Visual Culture with a year abroad
  • BA Translation Studies with International Film with a year abroad

Careers after graduation

Arts and Social Sciences graduates work in marketing, law, public relations, business, management, the civil service, or creative arts. Sample careers include:

  • Actor
  • Broadcast presenter
  • Composer
  • Editor
  • Film producer
  • Lecturer
  • Politician
  • Publisher
  • Researcher
  • Theatre director
  • Writer.
Find out more about starting your studies or check the latest COVID-19 information.