Students preparing for their graduation ceremony at Canterbury Cathedral

International Foundation Programme (Social Sciences - Sept start) - Credit

UCAS code L593

This is an archived page and for reference purposes only


The Kent International Foundation Programme (IFP) is primarily designed for international students, allowing them to develop their academic knowledge and skills, and if required their English language ability, for entry to Undergraduate study at university.


The programme, on offer at the University of Kent for over 25 years, takes place on the Canterbury campus and students are full members of the University with access to University accommodation and all academic, welfare, social and sport facilities on campus. With academic subject modules and academic skills modules taught by highly qualified University of Kent tutors, the IFP leads to a range of degree programmes in the Social Sciences including pathways to Anthropology, Business, Journalism, Law, Psychology, and Politics.

The Social Sciences IFP has two start dates; one in September and one in January. See 'Related to this course' below for other IFPs.  

Course structure

The International Foundation Programme is a modular course taught over three terms, starting in September. All students take one core module in Academic Skills Development and either complete a Foundation Project module or take a module in English for Academic Study.

The Academic Skills Development classes help you work to develop all the necessary skills to fully enjoy your academic experience in the UK, for example, seminar and group work communication skills, developing as an independent student, improving skills in analysis, critique, time management, and project management. You will then take modules which are relevant to your chosen undergraduate degree programme.

This course structure is indicative of the modules available for this programme. Modules are based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.

Foundation year

Modules may include Credits

Through this module, students will improve the transferable academic skills necessary to successfully complete all the other modules on the IFP and to succeed on their future undergraduate programmes. The programme of study will cover critical and analytical skills in both written and spoken format. Students will attend three two-hour seminar/workshops per week on furthering their academic skills, receiving input on seminar participation, presentation skills and the requirements of EITHER a simplified written Case Study OR an essay (the 'project'). They will also have the opportunity to meet with their tutor four to five times during the term for a tutorial, to discuss their project and progress on the module. Students will create an electronic Portfolio consisting of reflective journal entries based on the progression of their project (with the use of a Wiki), which will be assessed throughout the module. Students will be engaged in seminars (x2), one of which will provide the basis of a group presentation. At the end of the term, students will submit their individual, complete Project Essay OR a Case Study on an issue that may or may not have arisen out of the seminar/presentation elements.

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Through this module, students will develop the transferable linguistic and academic skills necessary to successfully complete all the other modules on the IFP. The programme of study will cover academic writing, reading, speaking and listening skills.

Students' entry language level (e.g. IELTS score) will determine whether they take LZ037 English for Academic Study in the first term and LZ036 in the second (IELTS < 6.0) or LZ036 in the first term and LZ035 Foundation Project in the second (IELTS = 6.0).

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Through this module, students will develop the transferable linguistic and academic skills necessary to successfully complete all the other modules on the IFP. The programme of study focuses on grammar, vocabulary and academic writing skills.

The module begins with an intensive revision of language structures and goes on to embed these structures into academic writing. Students will learn key steps in the writing process and be introduced to a range of written academic genres. Throughout the module, students will also develop their academic vocabulary through reading and writing tasks specially designed for this.

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This module introduces students to the study of psychology, with the aim of providing an introductory understanding of key topics within psychology and seminal psychological research. The module will explore psychology as a Science and the research methods common in psychological research. The lectures will cover some of the key concepts and findings in the study of abnormal psychology, sensation, consciousness, child psychology, motivation, emotion, memory and attitudes, group processes (all in term 1) and evolutionary psychology, personality, visual perception, social-cognitive psychology, health psychology and psychobiology (all in term 2). This module encourages students to explore classical modules in psychology within the context of cutting edge research and contemporary issues in modern society. There is a particular interest in how psychology and concepts within the subject can inform controversial issues in every day society.

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The module will be divided into six main topics of study which are intended to challenge the student to ask questions about their social world and to explore their own individual and cultural experiences within a wider context. In particular, students are encouraged to examine their common-sense assumptions by 'thinking sociologically'. To do this requires not only the development of a sociological imagination but also the use of appropriate methodology and theoretical approaches. This module will introduce these skills to students through a consideration of a number of topics such as: the sociological imagination; classical sociologists; the age of modernity/postmodernity; families and intimate relationships; sex/gender and gender relations; globalisation; poverty in Britain; education in Britain.

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The module will propose alternative solutions to the problem of resource allocation leading to consideration of the operation of the market mechanism; how the decisions and actions of economic agents are co-ordinated. Economic systems will be evaluated including treatment of circumstances in which markets are considered to fail. Market failure will be analysed utilising the micro-economic techniques developed earlier. In dealing with macro-economic issues such as inflation and unemployment, the UK economy will be used as the primary example, but students will be encouraged to apply their understanding to problems and policies in other economies as well. Likewise, the treatment of international trade will focus on the position of the UK economy with particular emphasis on its place within the European Union and the debate over the adoption of the Single Currency.

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The module will focus on alternative solutions to the problem of business resource allocation leading to consideration of the operation and function of marketing and how the decisions and actions of managers are co-ordinated. Operational systems will be evaluated, including treatment of circumstances in which management techniques are considered to fail. Financial failure will be analysed utilising the ratio analysis techniques developed. In dealing with human resource issues such as recruitment and selection, the UK model will be used as the primary example, but students will be encouraged to apply their understanding to problems and policies in other countries as well. Likewise, the treatment of team management will focus on the position in the UK with particular emphasis on its place within the overall organisation culture of firms.

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Through this module, students will develop their analytical and problem solving skills to successfully complete other related modules on the IFP. The programme of study will be divided into lectures in calculus, algebra and statistics.

As part of the orientation process, students will take a pre-course test which, along with other factors, will determine whether they go into the upper or lower band. This will involve an in class test in the first week. Students will then be grouped according to their mathematical ability and academic focus. The teaching in the upper bands will be geared more towards systematically working towards a solution while that in the lower bands will deal with mathematical techniques.

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The module will aim to develop a comprehensive understanding of the nature and sources of English law, including its political nature and the hierarchy and structure of the English Legal System. Included within this, the problems associated with the interpretation and implementation of the law will be highlighted. The political nature of law and its relation to justice will also be stressed. In the second period, separate areas of the law will be considered (e.g. criminal law, contract law, constitutional law) in order to give students a feel for the many different branches of law and how these often inter-relate.

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Teaching and assessment

Our IFP is entirely managed and delivered by the University of Kent, allowing us to offer teaching of exceptional quality. Teaching is organised in small groups and includes lectures, seminars, tutorials, workshops, and independent learning. Throughout the course, students will be encouraged to apply the skills learnt in one module to all other modules and find relations between modules in order to broaden their education.

Assessment on the majority of modules will be through a combination of final examinations and coursework, including assignments from 1,000 to 2,000 words, and tests from 45 minutes to 3 hours in length.

Programme aims

Our aims are to provide students with:

  • a range of modules covering the foundations of a range of subjects in the Humanities, Social Sciences and Sciences
  • teaching informed by current research and scholarship to encourage active involvement
  • opportunities to apply knowledge and skills in a range of activities within the Humanities, Social Sciences and Sciences
  • a stimulating and challenging education
  • a firm conceptual foundation in the subjects necessary for progression to stage one in their chosen pathways
  • academic literacy through the English language modules
  • general critical, analytical and problem-solving skills
  • the ability to manage their own learning and carry out some independent research appropriate to foundation level
  • appropriate academic and pastoral guidance.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

You gain knowledge and understanding of:

  • the structures, registers and varieties of English to a level sufficient for you to be successful on a University of Kent degree programme
  • the inter-disciplinary nature of academic skills in the humanities, social sciences and sciences
  • academic literacy and skills, in particular, the use of English for Academic Purposes
  • an appropriate degree of factual and conceptual knowledge of biosciences history, economics, sociology, literature, philosophy, politics, mathematics and quantitative methods, law, business management, design, programming, analogue electronics and electrical principles and measurements for the purposes of university study, depending on the modules taken
  • academic and social cultures and practices other than the students’ own
  • intercultural language issues.

Intellectual skills

You develop intellectual abilities in the following:

  • present, evaluate and interpret a variety of data using defined techniques in a logical and systematic fashion
  • develop lines of argument and make sound judgements in accordance with the basic theories, methods, principles and concepts of the subjects
  • engage in critical reflection, verbal discussion and written and interpretative analysis of key material
  • separate fact from opinion and identify a writer’s argument as opposed to what is a counter-argument in a text
  • assess the merits of contrasting theories and explanations, and make links across different subjects
  • present rational and reasoned theses and arguments to a range of audiences
  • distinguish between and use an appropriate range of technical and numerical systems and/or a range of spoken and written academic and other registers, styles and genres.

Subject-specific skills

You  gain subject-specific skills in the following:

  • demonstrate knowledge of the main methods of enquiry and analysis in the humanities, social sciences and sciences
  • present data in graphic and textual form in a manner appropriate to the subjects being studied
  • evaluate and interpret data and information, develop arguments and come to sound conclusions in accordance with the relevant theories and concepts related to the subjects being studied
  • demonstrate an appropriate level of (subject-specific) linguistic competence
  • evaluate the reliability and validity of source data (factual, theoretical, quantitative and qualitative) and incorporate your own opinion in an appropriate manner
  • be able to work in laboratory and workshop environments and use appropriate equipment and tools (for Sciences or Architecture and Arts pathways)

Transferable skills

You gain transferable skills in the following:

  • work with others through the preparation of projects, seminars and presentations, and through general pair and group work in class
  • recognise your own strengths and weaknesses and improve your performance as a result
  • recognise how skills learned in one module can be applied in another
  • apply critical and academic skills across all modules
  • communicate information to specialist and non-specialist audiences and show a degree of audience awareness in terms of written and oral text
  • demonstrate a degree of autonomy, showing the ability to learn effectively using your own resources, be organised and meet deadlines
  • select and use appropriate library and IT applications and resources.


Students progress to studying at degree level in the area of Social Sciences. For further information on careers, please see the relevant undergraduate degree programme.

Entry requirements

Home/EU students

To gain entry on to the IFP programme, you need the following:

  • a good academic school-leaving certificate with particular strengths in subjects that are relevant to your intended area of study.
  • GCSE grade A/B/C Maths or equivalent for some degree programmes. If you do not have this level of qualification, you will need to take the IFP Maths & Stats module.
  • 5.0 IELTS with no less than 5.0 in each band, or equivalent.

International students

The University welcomes applications from international students. Our international recruitment team can guide you on entry requirements. See our International Student website for further information about entry requirements for your country.

If you need to increase your level of qualification ready for undergraduate study, we offer a number of International Foundation Programmes.

Meet our staff in your country

For more advise about applying to Kent, you can meet our staff at a range of international events. 

English Language Requirements

Applicants must pass IELTS at 5.0 overall, with 5.0 in all four categories.  Please note that the IELTS test must be taken at an approved UKVI test centre and the test report must include a UKVI number.

General entry requirements

Please also see our general entry requirements.


The 2017/18 tuition fees for this programme are:

UK/EU Overseas
Full-time £9250 £13810

UK/EU fee paying students

The Government has announced changes to allow undergraduate tuition fees to rise in line with inflation from 2017/18.

In accordance with changes announced by the UK Government, we are increasing our 2017/18 regulated full-time tuition fees for new and returning UK/EU fee paying undergraduates from £9,000 to £9,250. The equivalent part-time fees for these courses will also rise from £4,500 to £4,625. This was subject to us satisfying the Government's Teaching Excellence Framework and the access regulator's requirements. This fee will ensure the continued provision of high-quality education.

For students continuing on this programme, fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* 

The University will assess your fee status as part of the application process. If you are uncertain about your fee status you may wish to seek advice from UKCISA before applying.

General additional costs

Find out more about accommodation and living costs, plus general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent.


View scholarship opportunities for this programme on the International Pathways website.

Please note that Student Loans Company (SLC) funding is not available for UK/EU students intending to study on the IFP (September or January start), as this is a one year stand-alone programme.

Undergraduate degree programmes following on from the IFP will be eligible for SLC funding.