Social Sciences and Humanities (International Year Zero) - Intensive Study

January 2023 entry

This is an intensive programme, which allows highly qualified applicants to complete their International Year Zero studies in a single semester.

The programme is designed to equip students with the intellectual and linguistic skills appropriate to the demands of an undergraduate degree programme in the Faculty of Arts.

Students choose academic subjects related to their degree intention. Typical subjects include history, international relations, philosophy and psychology. If you are more interested in the scientific study of psychology, see the Science (International Year One) page. Teaching and learning experiences introduce students to their future degrees and possible future careers.

Get more information

Course type

International Year Zero - Intensive Study

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

Course duration

Four months, full time

Course dates

Start date: 12 January 2023
End date: 12 May 2023

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, in-class revision or assessment weeks, other than the following:

  • February vacation: 27 February to 3 March 2023.

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. International Foundation students typically use English as an additional language.  

This course is also designed for students who are prepared to commit to an intensive period of study. This requires a higher level of academic qualifications and English language test scores than those required for the non-intensive version of the Social Sciences and Humanities (International Year Zero) programme

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

See typical academic requirements for an International Year Zero – Intensive Study programme. If your qualification is not shown, 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 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 International Foundation applicants must submit a Secure English Test (SELT) as evidence of their English language ability, unless they have a UK passport.

If you are applying to the Social Sciences and Humanities (International Year Zero) – Intensive Study programme, see profile 9-S for a list of approved English language tests and required scores.

Find out more about English language requirements for International Foundation programmes.

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

Application requirements

The University will ask 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 result.

Application deadline

The deadline for applications is Wednesday 30 November 2022. You only need to provide your 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 this programme is to prepare you for the demands of an undergraduate degree programme in Arts, Humanities or Social Science subjects. 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
  • using a variety of written or spoken texts, undertake critical analysis, evaluation and synthesis of ideas, concepts, information and issues that are within the common understandings of social sciences
  • communicate complex information in a range of written or spoken formats within a social sciences context.


In this one-semester programme, all students will study the same three compulsory modules: 

  • Foundation Academic Thought in Arts and Science: enhances understanding of the key philosophical and analytical principles underpinning academic study.

  • 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 Social Sciences and Humanities 2: builds on your academic skills by allowing you to undertake reading and research into topics specifically related to your undergraduate degree subject.

In addition, you will take four introductory academic modules from the following list which covers subject areas that are available to study at undergraduate level:

  • 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

The modules listed here are indicative, and there is no guarantee they will run for 2023 entry. Take a look at the most up-to-date modules in the module catalogue.


Teaching format

You will spend approximately 16 hours per week on focused learning activities. During this time, you will experience a mixture of lectures and tutorials. Seminar classes are typically scheduled in groups of no more than 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 paper and 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 experience of different ways of being examined. These may include: 

  • essays
  • end-of-module examinations
  • multiple choice tests
  • interviews
  • presentations

You will have regular coursework assignments throughout the programme, and some of these will contribute towards your final grade.

You will also have one set of examinations, at the end of the programme. You will receive feedback on practice tasks and tests to help you 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 2023 entry is £16,315. This fee includes:

  • 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.

See further information onhow to pay your International Foundation fees

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 International Foundation students. 

University accommodation is guaranteed for International Foundation students.

Students will be able to apply for accommodation from 1 September 2022. Accommodation fees for this programme will be confirmed by early July 2022.

See fees and further information on the International Foundation accommodation web page

Funding and scholarships

IFP January scholarship

If you are coming to study an International Year Zero – Intensive Study or Extended International Pre-Med – Intensive Study programme in January 2023, you will be eligible to apply for the IFP scholarship.

Successful candidates receive £2,000 towards the cost of their foundation tuition fees. The deadline for applications is Monday 31 October 2022.

Kinnessburn Scholarship

Students who successfully complete an International Foundation programme and move onto a degree at the University of St Andrews may be eligible to apply for the Kinnessburn Scholarship. This scholarship is awarded to two students annually in July. It provides a partial fee waiver for each year of study on an undergraduate programme at the University of St Andrews, and an Ambassador's role.

Your future

Studying your degree at the University of St Andrews

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

In order 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. Other specific progression requirements are provided in the course handbook at the start of the programme.

Students have the potential to progress onto a single or joint Honours degree programme. Previous International Foundation students have stayed at St Andrews to study subjects such as:

Your undergraduate offer 

Students on this programme must confirm their degree choice to receive a conditional offer to start their intended degree in September 2023. 
When you successfully complete the programme with the required final overall grade listed above, your offer to enter the degree programme at St Andrews will become unconditional. 

Studying your degree at another university

Previous International Foundation students have used their International Foundation qualification 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 International 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.