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International Foundation Year in Arts, Humanities, Law and Social Sciences

The International Foundation Year prepares you for university with English language and study skills practice, as well as subject-specific teaching. When you complete the programme, you will progress to the first year of your undergraduate degree. This pathway allows you to progress to degrees in subjects including English, Journalism, History, Politics and many more. You choose a route depending on which undergraduate degree you plan to study. There are three routes: Law, Arts and Humanities and Social Science. Which route you choose impacts the modules you will study.

Please note for Music, all applications will be referred to the International Study Centre for approval. Applicants are required to show evidence of working towards Grade 8 Practical in one instrument or voice (ABRSM/Trinity/Rockschool) + Grade 5/6 Theory (ABRSM/Trinity). This will be assessed by means of a short audition or theory test when applying for the International Foundation Year.

Key facts

*This intake is not available for progression to Optometry, Dental Surgery, Medicine, Medical Pharmacology or Pharmacy

  • Length: Two semesters
  • Study mode: On campus

Entry requirements

Check our academic and English language entry requirements


Visit the Fees page for full details.

Study the world around you

The International Foundation Year prepares you for your chosen undergraduate degree. At the International Study Centre, you will have support as you adjust to life in the UK, with academic and English language preparation to help you when you progress to Cardiff University.

What will I study?

As a student on the Arts, Humanities, Law and Social Sciences pathway of the International Foundation Year, you will study all of the 'core' modules as well as additional modules depending on which subject route you choose.

Core modules

The Academic English Skills course teaches students the specific academic language skills they need to develop for success at Cardiff University. The course focuses on the receptive (listening and reading) and productive (speaking and writing) skills through practice in semi and authentic task-based activities which build a strong foundation in preparation for each student's future studies. This critical module places particular emphasis on developing academic reading and research skills; research-based writing along with presentation and seminar speaking skills.

The aim of this module is to foster the development of basic research skills. The module will reinforce skills that are essential to university study, supporting and consolidating academic skills of the Academic English Skills module and subject areas.

These modules provide a general introduction to discipline and study of humanities and social science. Students will explore a range of topics which will help them understand the nature of social sciences and the processes that cause change locally and globally. Using a wide range of resource materials, students will be equipped with the key skills required for independent study, their personal lives and future employment.

Students on the programme will have a limited and diverse knowledge and understanding about the concept of globalisation. This module is designed to overcome this as well as providing students with a greater awareness of different theoretical perspectives on globalisation. Students will consider real-world events to explore the impact of increasing global interaction and will be encouraged to reflect upon the rise in global interrelations and their impact on nation states.

The aim of the module is to prepare students to engage in extended research in their chosen discipline. The module allows students to put into practice the knowledge and skills gained in the Academic English Skills and Academic Practice modules by undertaking independent research.

Humanities and Social Sciences modules

The module explores a range of sociological topics and has a particular focus on UK culture and identity, with the aim of enabling students to understand the complexity of how society helps to create our identity, as well as supporting them on their own personal journey.

Law modules

This module introduces students to the essentials of the study and practice of law in England and Wales. The module has two halves: The first part covers staples in legal theory and philosophy, including fundamental questions of legal validity; the relationship between the law, morality and politics; and, the different types of law in England and the wider world. The second half introduces students to the foundations of legal practice, including drafting reports for use by clients, interpreting legislation and case law, constructing arguments and negotiations. This duality reflects the traditional format of legal qualifications in the UK (from the LLB to the LPC). Through a survey of key legal theories, procedures and skills, this module aims to give students an insight into what their studies will be like over the next four-to-five years by giving them a grounding in the concepts they will explore in more depth in their undergraduate courses and beyond.

Psychology modules

This is an essential module for students on the International Foundation programme progressing into undergraduate degree programmes in Psychology. Psychology is a science of the mind and the module provides students with a range of key concepts. The module introduces the students to some of the key considerations in the study of psychology. The main focus of study is on the various approaches to the subject in general terms but students will also study the methods by which psychological investigation is undertaken.

Music modules

This module is taught as one of two core music modules for students on the International Foundation Year seeking to progress to undergraduate degrees in music at Cardiff University. The module introduces students to the fundamentals of music, through application of a range of key concepts, developing the requisite skills to successfully progress with confidence onto their chosen undergraduate degree programme. There will be an emphasis on gaining practical skills in musicianship and developing an awareness of the career options available to an aspiring musician.

Please note: modules may be different for students progressing to Music depending on the number of students with the same progression degree aim. Therefore students may study 'Studying Social Life' rather than 'Introduction to Music'.

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Making an impact

A top 20 university in the UK for the overall quality of research, impact and environment.

Research Excellence Framework 2021

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High ranking subjects

Ranked in the top 100 in the world for both English Language and top 50 in the world for Communication and Media Studies

QS World University Rankings by Subject 2024

Progress to your degree

After completing your International Foundation Year and achieving the necessary grades, you can transition to your chosen undergraduate degree.  By completing this pathway, you will be able to progress to the following degrees:

Please note, for English Grades: WR stands for Writing.

Degree Programme NameAwardOverall GradeEnglish GradeGrade Module
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Please note: for the following degrees, all applications will be referred to the International Study Centre for approval.

Applicants are required to show evidence of working towards Grade 8 Practical in one instrument or voice (ABRSM/Trinity/Rockschool). This will be assessed by means of a short audition when applying for the International Foundation Year. They are also required to have achieved Grade 5 Theory (ABRSM/Trinity).

  • BMus (Hons) Music
  • Mus (Hons) Music with a year of study abroad
  • BA (Hons) Music
  • BA (Hons) Music with a year of study abroad

Join us today

We're here to support you throughout the application process. Use our online application form and our student enrolment advisors will be available to answer your questions.