Social Sciences and Humanities (International Foundation) January 2020 entry

The January Social Sciences and Humanities programme is an intensive, multi-discipline programme which enables students to complete their studies in time to enter university in September of the same year. Students develop the knowledge, competence and skills to cope with the demands of the University’s degree programmes.

Students on this programme have the potential to progress onto a single or joint Honours degree within the Faculty of Arts, with a focus on disciplines such as International Relations, Philosophy and Psychology.

Applications will re-open in March 2020

Applications for this course are now closed. Course information for January 2021 entry will be available on this page in March 2020 when this course will re-open for applications.

Course type

International Foundation programme

This is the University’s own pre-degree programme which prepares international students for undergraduate study in the UK, and at the University of St Andrews in particular.

Course duration

Seven months full time

Course dates

Start date: 16 January 2020
End date: 14 August 2020

This course is for:

International students who are academically able, but whose high school qualification is not recognised for application to an undergraduate degree at St Andrews. Foundation students typically use English as an additional language. 

Applicants will normally meet the following criteria:

  • be designated 'overseas' for fees purposes by the University (not 'Home/EU' or 'Rest of the UK')
  • have a national high school qualification or mixed-curricula qualifications not recognised for application to an undergraduate degree at the University of St Andrews. If you have three A Levels, the HKDSE, a full IB Diploma or any qualification type that is recognised for degree entry, you will not be eligible for an International Foundation programme, irrespective of the grades you have achieved.
  • be due to leave school soon or have left school within the past three years
  • have not previously studied on a foundation programme in the UK
  • have not previously studied at university.

Do I need to have studied this subject before?

No, but candidates should have strong grades in any subjects relevant to their intended degree subject.

Entry requirements

Academic requirements
You should have good school leaving qualifications from your home country with an A grade average, or more than 85%, or a GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale (depending on your curriculum).

Typical IFP academic requirements - 2020 entry (PDF)  are listed alphabetically by country. If your qualification is not shown here, please email about the grades needed from your high school system.

You can demonstrate that you have met the academic requirements with a high school transcript from your final year at school. Any high school qualification you use as evidence of your academic ability should be dated within the previous two years.

You should apply before your final results are available, as the University can make you a conditional offer based on your past exam performance and predicted grades. 

English language requirement
An IELTS (Academic) test report form with a minimum of 6.0 overall and no component score below 5.0.

If you require a visa, your IELTS test must be for UKVI purposes. See an overview of the English language requirements for foundation applicants.

You do not need to have your result when you apply, as this can be a condition of any offer made by the University.

Application requirements
The University requires you to provide the following documents as part of your application:

  • your most recent high school transcript
  • a personal statement outlining why you wish to study Social Sciences and Humanities at St Andrews and reflecting on your life and learning experiences to explain why you feel you would be successful on this programme
  • an academic reference from your high school on their letterhead, or from a school email
  • your IELTS (Academic) test report form.

Application deadline

The deadline for applications is 30 November 2019. You must provide your most recent high school transcript and personal statement when you first apply so that the University can consider your application. Your academic reference and your English language evidence can be provided later.

How to apply

Course information

The aim of the January International Foundation programme for Social Science and Humanities is to prepare students for undergraduate study in the Faculty of Arts in St Andrews or the BA International Honours with the College of William & Mary.

The course will particularly focus on developing your linguistic skills to prepare you to effectively in write and speak for modules on your intended degree pathway. Students on this programme will typically study subjects such as International Relations, History, Philosophy, Psychology and Art History. Students will learn how to prepare extended academic essays and presentations directly related to their academic subjects, as well as complete academic and language skills examinations.

During the programme, you will use and develop reading, writing and research skills in addition to learning from lectures. You will broaden your academic subject knowledge and develop critical thinking. 

You will have the opportunity to take a positive step towards your goal of studying a Social Sciences or Humanities degree and understand the expectations and requirements of studying in the UK.

You will benefit from experienced and expert tuition in a friendly and supportive learning environment where you will study in small groups to accelerate your learning and adaptation to the new culture.

You will have access to a personal tutor who will help you work on your time-management techniques and will support you to become an independent and reflective learner.

As a Social Sciences and Humanities foundation student, you will enhance your school learning for degree-level study and develop your English for academic purposes by writing extended, critically assessed and academically referenced essays.


This programme has six compulsory modules. Four of the modules focus on the academic language and study skills students will need to be successful at university. Two of the modules are subject-based and aim to further enhance students' subject-specific knowledge in preparation for undergraduate study in the Faculty of Arts or enable students to meet the specific subject requirements of their intended degree programme.

Students must take the following three modules in their first semester:

  • Academic Reading and Writing 1: aims to introduce you to academic English and writing conventions in the Faculty of Arts through a combination of reading and writing classes.

  • Spoken Communication in Academic Contexts 1: students will learn how to communicate effectively in a number of spoken academic contexts.

  • Academic subjects 1: introduces you to academic subjects which may be useful for your degree. You will study key concepts within your chosen discipline, familiarise yourself with the vocabulary and language associated with that discipline, and learn how to apply that knowledge. Students choose three academic subjects. Students on this programme will typically be able to choose from subjects such as:
    • International Relations
    • Philosophy
    • Psychology
    • History
    • Art History
    • Film Studies
    • English Literature
    • Management
    • Economics
    • Finance
    • Fundamental Mathematics.

The choice of academic subjects depends on timetabling; therefore, some combinations may not be available for 2020 entry.

Students will study three modules in their second semester:

  • Academic Reading and Writing 2: continues to develop reading and writing skills practised in Semester 1 but working with more complex text and different types of writing.

  • Spoken communication in academic contexts 2: develops your presentation skills, which will be essential for your academic career and beyond.

  • Academic subjects 2: students take three subjects, and as far as possible, students will continue the same three subjects taken in their first semester.

The choice of academic subjects depends on timetabling; therefore, some combinations may not be available for 2020 entry.

The modules listed here are indicative, and there is no guarantee they will run for 2020 entry. Take a look at the most up-to-date modules in the module catalogue.


Teaching format

Classes take place from Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm. You will spend approximately 18 to 20 hours per week in class.

Students will experience independent and group study in a variety of formats:

  • small group discussions and tutorials
  • independent study activities
  • project work
  • workshops
  • presentations
  • technology-enhanced learning
  • group work.


The programme includes a variety of types of assessment to give you experience of different ways of being tested:

  • essays
  • presentations
  • film project
  • annotated bibliography
  • examinations

You will have regular coursework assignments throughout both semesters, and some of these will contribute towards their final grade. Students will also have two sets of examinations, one set at the end of each semester.

Students will be given feedback on their courework to help to prepare for the assessments.

Meet us in your country

Staff of the University of St Andrews are always pleased to meet prospective students in person. We visit many schools, colleges and higher education fairs to talk about the University and provide support and information for those thinking about applying.

Meet us in your country

If you are interested in studying at St Andrews, join us on a talk and tour to explore the town and find out about the courses and opportunities we offer.

Talk and tour


Combined fee

The International Foundation programme offers an all-inclusive fee package which covers all the major costs of the foundation year so that there are no hidden extra costs. 

2020-entry fees: £26,250 

The all-inclusive fee package includes:

  • tuition
  • accommodation, including a bedding pack
  • a catered meal plan with 14 meals per week
  • access to all University facilities
  • a transfer from Edinburgh or Glasgow airport, or Leuchars train station, when you first arrive
  • the use of course books, handouts and other course materials
  • 24-hour emergency phone number
  • programme-led and seasonal social events.


Kinnessburn Scholarship

For students moving from a foundation programme to a degree at St Andrews.

Students who successfully complete the International Foundation programme with a distinction grade and move onto a degree at St Andrews are eligible to apply for the Kinnessburn Scholarship. This scholarship is awarded to one student annually in June and provides a partial fee waiver for each year of study on an undergraduate programme at St Andrews.


The fee package for the International Foundation programme includes catered accommodation, which the University arranges on your behalf so you do not need to apply for accommodation.

All foundation students are allocated a room in David Russell Apartments (DRA). In each apartment, there are five study bedrooms, each with its own private shower and toilet, and a shared living space and fully equipped kitchen.

Bedding pack

A bedding pack will be delivered to David Russell Apartments, for each foundation student. The bedding pack is for a standard double bed (UK size) and contains:

  • one duvet (10.5 tog)
  • one duvet cover
  • one flat sheet
  • two pillows
  • two pillowcases.


Foundation programme students are on a catered meal plan that gives them 14 meals per week during the semester.

Breakfast and an evening meal are served every weekday; breakfast and lunch are served on Saturdays and Sundays.

See a sample menu for the 14-meal plan.

Your future

Students on the January Social Sciences and Humanities foundation programme who achieve a final overall grade of 11.0 or above on the University's 20-point scale will receive an unconditional offer from the Faculty of Arts to study a degree programme related to their subject choices on the foundation programme.

Popular degree options for students on the Social Sciences and Humanities programme include:

Students who pass the foundation programme but do not stay in St Andrews are advised and assisted with applications to other institutions in the UK.


International Foundation programmes

International Education Institute
University of St Andrews
Kennedy Gardens
St Andrews 
KY16 9DJ

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 2255

International Education Institute website