Key Facts

Course Title: Social Sciences Foundation Year
Course Duration: 4 years
Who Can Apply: UK or EU students from a broad range of backgrounds wishing to take a social science Degree at Keele. Overseas applicants should see the International Degree Programme.
Funding: Student loan available, subject to eligibility
Fees: Read more about fees
Progression: Part of a full honours degree programme at Keele
Mode of Study: A mixture of lectures, tutorials, seminars, workshops, placements, computer classes, computer exercises and laboratory classes together with independent study and revision.
Website: Our webpage
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The Social Science Foundation Year provides:

  • a chance to sample social science subjects at university level before making a final choice of honours courses,
  • intensive modules which provide the requisite background for specific honours courses for those without the necessary qualifications,
  • access for non-traditionally qualified students to a wide range of social science courses,
  • a broad grounding in academic principles and methods.

Course Routes

Degree courses available with a Social Science Foundation Year

  •  Criminology
  •  Education
  •  Human Geography
  •  International Relations
  •  Law
  •  Politics
  •  Sociology

Please note that after successful completion of the Foundation Year, you will progress automatically to a Bachelor degree in the subject you chose through UCAS.  Some combinations of subjects and some undergraduate Masters programmes will also be available.

Entry Requirements

To enter the Social Sciences Foundation Year in 2018, you must normally have:

- At least 64 UCAS points or

- The equivalent in other qualifications or

- Relevant work experience


- GCSE English Language at grade C, or

- IELTS 5.5 (with 5.5 in all subtests)


- GCSE Mathematics at grade C or above (required for progression to a business degree), or 

- a Level 2 numeracy qualification such as Key Skills Application of Number Level 2 or Functional Skills Numeracy Level 2

How to Apply

All applications must be made through UCAS

You should apply for a specific subject with a Foundation Year.  You can discuss options with a foundation year tutor before arriving at Keele and may be able to change your choice following discussions with foundation year staff.

Please see the full list of UCAS codes for single honours and combined honours programmes with a Foundation Year.

If you are applying for a combined honours programme with a Foundation Year, you will be intending to study two subjects at degree level.  You will need to specify a second subject at the time of applying. Please note that after the foundation year in the subject you will progress to a Bachelor's degree in that subject, plus a second subject for combined honours.

Teaching and Assessment

The programme will be delivered through a mixture of lectures, tutorials, seminars, workshops and placements; some students will also have computer classes, computer exercises and laboratory classes.  In addition, students are expected to undertake a large amount of independent study and revision.

Lectures are normally 50 minutes long and consist of a member of staff talking to the whole class with the aid of PowerPoint presentations, whiteboards, and other visual aids.  Many lectures involve only teaching by the lecturer, although there is usually opportunity to ask questions.  However, some lectures are more interactive and may involve activities for you to undertake.

Tutorials and seminars are small group sessions with a member of staff.  Usually there is much more participation by students in these than in lectures.  There is often opportunity for you to suggest the topics to be discussed, to ask questions and even to lead part of the session.  Tutorials and seminars usually support the material delivered in the lectures; seminars often allow you and/or staff to introduce supplementary material.

Workshops are small group sessions based around an activity.  These may be individual or group activities.  A member of staff facilitates the session but the learning comes largely through the undertaking of the activity.  Some workshops will complement the material delivered in the lectures rather than build on it directly.

Laboratory classes provide opportunity for you to perform experiments and other practical work under supervision.

During placements you have the opportunity to observe professional practice.

In computer classes you complete tasks using a wide variety of computer applications.  Members of staff are available to provide guidance.

Independent study includes revision, wider reading around the subject, preparation and writing of assignments, preparatory reading, preparation for seminars and tutorials, and developing skills to complement the material delivered in class.  Reading lists are provided to help you direct your reading.

Assessment (The following list is representative of the variety of assessment methods used within the Social Science Foundation Year).

Unseen closed and open book examinations in different formats test your knowledge and understanding of the subject. Examinations may consist of essay, short answer and/or multiple choice questions.

Essays and reports allow you to demonstrate your ability to articulate ideas clearly using argument and reasoning skills and with close reference to the contexts and critical concepts covered in the modules. Essays also develop and demonstrate research and presentation skills (including appropriate scholarly referencing).

Class tests taken either conventionally or online via the Keele Learning Environment (KLE) assess your subject knowledge and your ability to apply it.

Research projects test your knowledge of different research methodologies and the limits and provisional nature of knowledge. They also enable you to demonstrate your ability to formulate research questions and to address them using appropriate methods.

Oral and poster presentations and reports assess your individual subject knowledge and understanding. They may also test your ability to work effectively as members of a team, to communicate what you know orally and visually, and to reflect on these processes as part of your own personal development.

Portfolios may consist of a range of different pieces of work but routinely include a requirement that you provide some evidence of critical reflection on the development of your own learning.

Peer assessment - in some cases you will be involved in peer evaluation of other students’ work, particularly in group work, This helps you to take responsibility, improve your performance, and reflect on both your own work and that of others.

Course work assignments consist of short written pieces completed in your own time and provide the opportunity to test a range of deeper learning concepts; you are expected to make use of a variety of source material, as well as your lecture notes and text books etc., to complete these assignments. 

Laboratory reports – structured pro formas and full laboratory reports are formal summaries of work carried out in the laboratory.  They test your understanding of the practical aspects of the programme and develop the skills necessary to enable you to present and analyse your results, as well as explain the rationale behind an experiment, describe an associated replicable methodology and draw valid conclusions.

Participation – in some modules, marks are awarded for participation in group discussions.

Contacts & Further Information

For further information, please contact:

Jill Griffiths
Admissions Officer
Foundation Year Centre
Keele University
Staffordshire, ST5 5BG

Tel: 01782 733763


Additional Costs

As to be expected, there will be additional costs for textbooks, an approved calculator for scientific and mathematical modules, inter-library loans, potential overdue library fines and printing.

We do not anticipate any further additional costs for this Foundation Year programme except in the case of you taking a science or mathematics module as an option, or the social science module Education in Practice which involves a placement in a school and you will be expected to fund your own travel in that regard.  Students working in the chemistry and biology laboratories will be required to wear protective equipment; these can be purchased from the University for a total cost of about £15. Students taking the module ‘Exploiting the Earth’ will be required to provide a £10 deposit with regard to the field trip, returnable on attendance.  Most mathematics or science modules require the use of an approved calculator.

You take a combination of modules to a total of 120 credits: core modules, those related to your intended degree programmes after your Foundation Year and some free choice. Modules are worth 10, 15 or 20 credits.

Core modules

The core modules include:

  • Essay Writing for University Study (15 credits)
  • Seminar & Presentation Skills (15 credits)
  • Europe and the Modern World 1815 - 1918 (20 credits)
  • Social  Theory and Political Theory
  • One of
    • Academic Development (10 credits)
    • Academic Development for Vocational Students (20 credits), for students who have not taken A levels, the International Baccalaureate, or an Access to HE Diploma
    • A Guide to Success for International Students (15 credits), for students deemed to require English language training during the Foundation Year

Subject-specific modules (optional core)

Modules related to particular subjects, but which can also be taken as options, are listed in the Indicative Modules tab.       

Option modules

Additional modules can be taken to bring the total module credit value to 120.  These can be in any subject available at Foundation level and modern foreign languages, subject to timetabling constraints and room capacity.


Progression Rules for the Social Sciences Foundation Year

All students will be required to obtain an average of 55% across 120 credits during the Foundation Year.  In addition, the following marks must be obtained in the certain modules to progress to the specified degree subjects.


Module requirements

Single honours Sociology

60% in Global Political Sociology

60% in Sociology of Culture

60% in Sociology across the Life Course

Single honours Criminology

60% in Introduction to Criminology

60% in Crime, Science and Investigation


Our Course Information Documents (CIDs) are designed to give you all of the details you need to make an informed decision about what and where to study.

Social Science Foundation Year Course Information Document 2017-18

Having 10 years work experience in a business setting but having no formal qualifications the Social Science Foundation year was an opportunity for me to access higher education. The Foundation year not only gave me a foundational knowledge of my chosen subject but enabled me to study subjects I would previously not have chosen. The support from the tutors was excellent and they continue to give me advice and guidance on my academic journey.

Emily Brannen: Social Science Foundation Year 2016-17, studying Liberal Arts

Please refer to the list of Foundation Year Social Science modules associated with each individual degree subject.