About the course

Before the course begins, you will be asked to decide whether you will study the Arts and Humanities Pathway or the Social Sciences Pathway.  These share some units in common.

Throughout the course you will be introduced to a range of study skills that are essential for studying the arts, humanities and social sciences at undergraduate level.

You will also receive a broad introduction to each of the subjects covered by the course and how these have developed over time. By examining specifically what it means to be human, now and in the past, you will look back over 2,500 years examining how the society we inhabit and the culture we share has been shaped by ideas, historical events, and works of art, and you will examine how that society looks today.

Course structure

On the course, you will take four compulsory units and choose one optional unit. You can find the current course structure and unit descriptions here:

Unit and programme catalogue.

In order to progress to most language courses, including Classics, some proficiency in languages is required and you may need to take the language options within the programme before progressing to a degree. It is not possible to progress to a Music degree unless you already have Grade 8 Music Theory or Grade A in A-Level Music, or are able to complete one of these in parallel with the Foundation in Arts and Social Sciences.

Period of study

Teaching dates

Duration of courseAttendanceTaught seminarsIndependent studyEmployment
One year, full-time only Normally two days per week at the university Up to eight hours per week Minimum of ten hours per week Maximum of 22.5 hours per week

Who will be teaching?

Everyone who teaches on the course will be a specialist in one of the course’s subject areas. In addition, experts on key skills, such as essay writing and library use, will also contribute sessions.


During the Foundation, we aim to introduce you to the different types of assessment you might find on an undergraduate degree. Lots of support and guidance is available, and we’ll talk you through every stage of the process, from planning an essay to sitting an exam.

  • For ‘Introduction to Study in the Arts and Humanities’ and 'Introduction to Study in the Social Sciences', you will be assessed through an essay reflecting on your experience of returning to education;
  • For each of the ‘What Does it Mean to be Human?’ units and 'Global Bristol', you will complete two or three assessments, including essay plans, essays, presentations, and an exam / timed assessment;
  • For the ‘Individual Project’ unit, you will complete one essay in a subject area of your choice, as well as giving a short presentation.
  • For the ‘Representations’ unit, you will have the option of a standard essay, or a ‘creative response’ (creative writing; photographs; music).
Edit this page