International Study Centre

International Foundation Year in Arts and Social Sciences

or apply now today.

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
Check fees

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 you with thorough training in the language and related academic skills which will enable you to best achieve your academic potential at University. 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.


A broad introduction to the study of Arts at university, focussing on the historical background and influences of the Arts on modern-day culture. You will explore a range of classical studies, which you will analyse through themes including ‘origins and transformations’, ‘origins of literature’ and ‘pre-colonialism’.


You will be introduced to a range of issues which affect contemporary society, and study the research methods relevant to sociological investigations. You will also study the way societies develop, their structure and the way in which they function, including aspects such as family, education, work and crime, and issues in which social divisions are prominent; poverty, health, race and gender.

You are welcome to choose any of the modules below. If you are not sure about your choice, ask our supportive staff. They will help you choose the best modules for you to suit your ambitions and plans for the future.

Film and Media

You will be introduced to the key concepts of media activities and consider the role and impact of the media through a study of the news. You will also learn basic textual criticism theory and broaden your knowledge base by studying the theoretical and practical aspects of film production.


You will enhance your skills, knowledge and understanding of communicating through music. This will include appreciation of the diverse and dynamic heritage of music, promoting spiritual and cultural development. You will broaden your knowledge base, deepening your understanding of topics studied and practising appropriate study skills, to include critical thinking and problem-solving.

*Please note this module will not be available for the January 2019 intake.


An introduction to International Relations theory, you will look at a range of issues that affect contemporary politics and develop an understanding of the principles of the legal system within England and Wales.

Topics include: Introduction to Global Politics; Historical Context of Global Politics; The Global Economy; States and Foreign Policy and UK Government and Politics.


You will learn about the historical development of psychology as well as key areas of contemporary research, including cognitive, biological, developmental and social psychology. You will also study the methods of psychological research and will be required to evaluate the scientific status of issues associated with research involving humans and animals.

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 2019 start

Term 1: 23/09/2019 - 13/12/2019
Term 2: 13/01/2019 - 27/03/2020
Term 3: 27/04/2020 - 12/06/2020

January 2020 start

Term 1: 06/01/2020 - 27/03/2020
Term 2: 13/04/2020 - 26/06/2020
Term 3: 29/06/2020 - 14/08/2020

Progression degrees

You can continue your studies at Royal Holloway as an undergradaute 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.


“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
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) 65% 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

Due to only the Music module not running for the January 2019 intake, the following progression degrees will not be available. These degrees will next be available for the September 2019 intake.

  • BA Drama and Music
  • BA History and Music
  • BA Mathematics and Music
  • BA Modern Languages with Music
  • BA Music and English
  • BA Music and Philosophy
  • BA Music with French
  • BA Music with German
  • BA Music with Italian
  • BA Music with Spanish
  • BA Music with Philosophy
  • BA Music with Political Sciences
  • BMus Music
  • BSc Physics with Music
  • BSc(Econ) Economics with Music
  • BEng Music Technology
  • BA French and Music
  • BA French with Music
  • BA Modern Languages and Music
  • BA German and Music
  • BA Italian and Music
  • BA Spanish with Music
  • BA Spanish and Music

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.