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Social Sciences and Humanities (International Foundation) January 2022 entry

The International Foundation programme for Social Sciences and Humanities offers an intensive route into a wide range of degree programmes in the Faculty of Arts at the University of St Andrews. Students will be taught the intellectual and linguistic skills appropriate to the demands of an undergraduate degree programme.

Teaching and learning experiences introduce students to their future degrees and possible future careers.

The programme has a high success rate. Over the past three years, all students passed the programme, with 100% meeting the progression requirements for their chosen degree programme at St Andrews. Successful foundation students have gone on to study for single and joint Honours degrees at the University of St Andrews and other top UK universities.

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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: 13 January 2022
End date: 5 August 2022

The schedule for this programme differs slightly from the standard University semester dates. All weeks from the programme start date to end date are teaching or assessment weeks, other than the following:

  • February vacation: 21 February to 25 February 2022

Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in the archive.

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. 

Who can apply

Do I need to have studied this subject before?

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

Entry requirements

Academic requirements

Typical IFP academic requirements (2021-2022) (PDF)  for this programme 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 from the last year you attended high school and be dated within the previous three 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

All foundation applicants must submit a Secure English Language Test (SELT) as evidence of their English language ability, unless they have a UK passport.

See a list of approved English language tests and required scores for International Foundation programmes.

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 official English language test report.

Application deadline

The deadline for applications is 30 November 2021. You only need to 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 International Foundation programme for Social Sciences and Humanities is to prepare you for the demands of an undergraduate degree programme. The combination and integration of academic study skills and academic lecture courses is designed to give you a broad base of academic subject knowledge from various disciplines as well as the intellectual skills to critically analyse concepts to a high level. 

You will study a range of subjects providing you with a useful basis for further exploration of all academic disciplines within the social sciences and humanities. This experience will allow you to understand some of the underlying political, philosophical and economic ideas which underpin many of the subjects you can study at St Andrews.

Students develop the skills to read and interpret academic texts, as well as to develop the language and techniques to structure arguments so that they become more skilled at writing assignments and speaking and presenting in seminars.

Working on projects to develop research skills, along with the course's integrated approach to language and academic subjects, will allow you to develop a more analytical approach to your studies.

By the end of the programme students will:

  • demonstrate an overall appreciation of the body of philosophies related to the study of social sciences
  • demonstrate knowledge that is embedded in the main theories, concepts and principles of the philosophies related to the study of social sciences and apply that knowledge in practical contexts
  • undertake critical analysis, evaluation and synthesis of ideas, concepts, information and issues that are within the common understandings of social sciences, using a variety of written or spoken texts 
  • communicate complex information in a range of written or spoken formats within a social sciences context.


The modules listed here are the typical modules students must take in order to complete their foundation programme. The choice of academic subjects depends on timetabling, and some subject combinations may not be available for 2022 entry. 

Based on their future degree intention, students will typically choose academic subjects such as psychology, international relations, literature and philosophy. If you wish to study history, you must choose medieval history and art history, and students wishing to progress to a degree in English will take English literature. Students interested in neuroscience should apply instead to Science (International Year One).

Students will take the following two compulsory modules in their first semester: 

  • Communicating in Academic Contexts 1: helps you develop and practise productive and receptive academic spoken communication skills to use within the Foundation programme and in your undergraduate programme.

  • Research and Writing for Arts 1: introduces you to academic English and writing conventions in the Faculty of Arts through a combination of reading and writing classes.

In addition to these two compulsory modules, you will choose four compulsory academic subjects. Students typically choose from the following options, depending on their degree intention:

  • Foundation Art History
  • Foundation Economics
  • Foundation English Literature
  • Foundation International Relations
  • Foundation Management
  • Foundation Mathematics
  • Foundation Medieval History
  • Foundation Philosophy
  • Foundation Psychology 2
  • Foundation Statistics

All students will study the same three compulsory modules in their second semester:

  • Communicating in Academic Contexts 2: helps you further develop and practise productive and receptive academic oral communication skills that you will need to draw on in your degree programme.

  • Research and Writing for Arts and Science: continues to develop reading and writing skills, but working with more complex texts and different types of writing.

  • Critical Thinking in Arts and Science: consolidates students' understanding of the history and development of academic thought in both the arts and the sciences, which will enhance their ability to work with key philosophical and analytical principles underpinning academic study. 

The modules listed here are indicative, and there is no guarantee they will run for 2022 entry. Take a look at the most up-to-date modules in the module catalogue.


Teaching format

Classes take place Monday to Friday between 9am and 6pm (UK time). 

You will spend approximately 16 to 18 hours per week on focused learning activities. During this time, you will experience a mixture of recorded lectures, live online or face to face seminars or tutorials with your maximum class size likely to be between 14 and 16 students.

As well as your timetabled classes, you will be expected to complete approximately 20 to 25 hours of independent study each week. As a fully matriculated student, you have access to the University’s libraries and study areas, but you will also work with the University's online learning tools (Moodle and Microsoft Teams).

Students are expected to do the following to prepare for classes and consolidate their learning:

  • read and take notes from online textbooks, articles, and other online sources as required
  • undertake additional research and self-study through the University library and online
  • complete a range of homework tasks, individually and in groups
  • engage with feedback on both formative and summative assessments.

The University’s student services team can help students who have additional needs resulting from disabilities, long-term medical conditions or learning disabilities. More information can be found on the students with disabilities web page.


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

  • academic essays
  • end of module examinations.
  • presentations
  • research projects.

You will have regular coursework assignments throughout both semesters, and some of these will contribute towards your 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 coursework 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

Join us for one of our information events where you can find out about different levels of study and specific courses we run. 

Online information events


Tuition fees

The tuition fee for 2022 entry is £21,120. This fee includes:

  • access to all University facilities
  • the use of course books, handouts and other course materials
  • a transfer from Edinburgh or Glasgow airport, or Leuchars train station, when you first arrive.

Accommodation fees

The International Education Institute recommends that you request an en suite single room with either a self-catered or catered package as this ensures you have a place close to your classes and with other foundation students. 

University accommodation is guaranteed for foundation students.

See fees and further information on the IFP accommodation web page

Funding and scholarships

IFP January Scholarship

If you are coming to study an International Foundation or International Pathway to Medicine programme in January 2022, and you receive your offer on or before Friday 30 July 2021, you will be eligible to apply for this scholarship. Successful candidates receive £2,000 towards the cost of their foundation tuition fees. The deadline for applications is Sunday 22 August 2021. Find out more about the IFP January Scholarship.

Kinnessburn Scholarship

Students who move onto a degree at St Andrews may be eligible to apply for the prestigious 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.

Your future

Studying your degree at the University of St Andrews

There are many degree and post-study options available to successful foundation students.

To progress onto a degree at the University of St Andrews, students must achieve a final overall grade of 11.0 or above on the University's 20-point scale.

Students on the Social Sciences and Humanities foundation programme are guaranteed progression onto any degree at St Andrews for which they meet the foundation progression requirements and any high school pre-requirements. Students have the potential to progress onto a single or joint Honours degree programme.

Past foundation students have stayed at St Andrews to study subjects such as:

Studying your degree at another university

Past foundation students have also used their foundation certificate to study degrees at other universities, in subjects such as:

  • Marketing
  • Media Studies
  • Sociology.

Join a live question and answer session

The International Education Institute offers question and answer sessions (Q&A) to prospective foundation students who would like more information about St Andrews, university life and the application process at the University.


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


Admission to the University of St Andrews is governed by our admissions policy.

Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in the archive.

Curriculum development

As a research intensive institution, the University ensures that its teaching references the research interests of its staff, which may change from time to time. As a result, programmes are regularly reviewed with the aim of enhancing students' learning experience. Our approach to course revision is described online.

Tuition fees

The University will clarify compulsory fees and charges it requires any student to pay at the time of offer. The offer will also clarify conditions for any variation of fees. The University’s approach to fee setting is described online.