Social Sciences and Humanities (International Year Zero) September 2024 entry

The social sciences and humanities play a crucial role in helping us to understand and shape the world around us. The breadth of possible subject areas provides a platform for exploring society and the human condition, allowing us to go beyond our personal experiences and to form new perspectives on our past, present and future.

This programme covers a wide range of subjects, from History to Psychology and from English Literature to Economics. Students can experience a variety of possible subject areas before deciding on which area to specialise.

This programme introduces you to university teaching and research, with the aim of preparing you for an undergraduate degree in the Faculty of Arts at the University of St Andrews. These include, for example, English, Philosophy, Social Anthropology or Film Studies.

Between the 2019-2020 and the 2020-2021 academic years, an average of 94.9% of International Foundation students passed their programme at the University of St Andrews, and an average of 81.3% started an undergraduate degree at the University.

Start date
9 September 2024
End date
May 2025
Nine months full time
International Education Institute

Course type

International Year Zero

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.

Additional information on course dates

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:

  • independent learning week: to be confirmed
  • winter vacation and inter-semester weeks: to be confirmed
  • February vacation: to be confirmed

Dates may be subject to change and will be confirmed by December 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 the University of St Andrews. 

Who can apply

“I think the classes and activities of the International Foundation programme for Social Sciences and Humanities provide a well-designed bridge to university study and life. With an emphasis on academic English skills, the language courses equipped me with confidence in essay writing and class discussion. I built up my basic knowledge in social sciences and humanities through the introductory courses of the first semester. In the second semester, I explored my interest in specialised subjects.”
- China

Entry requirements

Academic requirements

See typical academic requirements for an International Year Zero 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 do not require a student visa to study in the UK.

See a list of approved English language tests and required scores for this programme.

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

Do I need to have studied this subject before?

No, but strong grades in any subject relevant to your intended degree subject would make your application more competitive.

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
  • 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 Monday 15 July 2024. You only need to provide your high school transcript and personal statement when you submit your application. You can provide your academic reference and your English language evidence later.

How to apply

Course details

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 that 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.


The modules listed here are indicative, and there is no guarantee they will run for 2024 entry. Take a look at the most up-to-date modules in the module catalogue.

All students will study the same five modules in Semester 1:

Foundation Modern History: focuses on three main periods of European history: the Reformation, the Enlightenment and the French Revolution to the Congress of Vienna. 

Foundation Psychology 1: gives a brief overview of different approaches to psychology and covers the many different ways in which mind and behaviour can be studied.

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

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

Research and Writing for Humanities and Science 1: helps you develop the key skills you will need to succeed in the main types of assessment in your undergraduate degree programme. 

The modules listed here are indicative, and there is no guarantee they will run for 2024 entry. Module content is subject to change.

Take a look at the most up-to-date modules in the module catalogue.

All students will study the same two compulsory modules in Semester 2:

  • 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 Humanities and Science 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 two introductory academic modules from the following list, which covers subject areas that are available to study at undergraduate level:

  • Foundation Economics
  • Foundation International Relations
  • Foundation Mathematics
  • Foundation Medieval History
  • Foundation Philosophy

Plus two introductory academic modules from the following list:

  • Foundation Art History
  • Foundation English Literature
  • Foundation Management
  • Foundation Psychology 2
  • Foundation Statistics

The modules listed here are indicative, and there is no guarantee they will run for 2024 entry. Module content is subject to change.

Take a look at the most up-to-date modules in the module catalogue.


Classes take place Monday to Friday between 9am and 6pm. You will spend approximately 16 hours per week on focused learning activities. During this time, you will experience a mixture of live lectures, and seminars or 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 online or hard copy 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.

There are assessments as part of each module. These may include:

  • essays
  • end-of-module examinations (in-person or online)
  • multiple-choice tests
  • interviews
  • presentations.

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

You will also have two sets of examinations, one set at the end of each semester. You will receive feedback on practice tasks and tests to help you prepare for the assessments. 

The University’s Student Services team can help students with 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 tuition fee for 2024 entry is £25,120. 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 on how to pay your International Foundation 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.

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


Next-Step International Foundation programme (IFP) scholarship

Applicants to this programme can apply for a Next-Step IFP scholarship. We offer four individual awards for September-entry students. The award is paid in two payments, one at the start of the foundation programme and another one on progression to a qualifying undergraduate degree at the University of St Andrews.

For students on this programme, the qualifying undergraduate degrees are: MA Film Studies, MA Geography. 

Email for more information.

Kinnessburn Scholarship

Students who successfully complete their International Foundation programme (IFP) at the University, with the required merit grade, and who move onto a degree at the University of St Andrews, will 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 to support future IFP students.

Undergraduate scholarships

During their first semester, students on the International Foundation programme will receive a conditional offer for a degree programme at the University of St Andrews. With this offer, students can apply to any of the undergraduate scholarships for which they are eligible.

Funding and scholarships

The University of St Andrews offers a number of scholarships and support packages to students each year.

Your future

Studying your degree at the University of St Andrews

Students who meet the requirements for first-year entry in the Faculty of Arts have the option to progress onto either single or joint Honours degrees.

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

Students on this programme can progress onto the following subject areas:

Your undergraduate offer

Students entering the Social Sciences and Humanities (International Year Zero) programme in September 2024 will receive a conditional offer in Semester 1 for a place on their intended degree programme at the University of St Andrews starting in September 2025.

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.

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.

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. Find out how you can meet us in your country.

Online information events

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

The Careers Centre offers one-to-one advice to all students as well as a programme of events to assist students to build their employability skills.

Contact us

International Education Institute

University of St Andrews
Kennedy Gardens
St Andrews 
KY16 9DJ

International Education Institute website