International Foundation Programme (Humanities) - Credit

UCAS code Q308


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 Humanities including pathways to Architecture, Art History, Comparative Literature, Drama and Theatre, English and American Literature, English Language and Linguistics, Film Studies, and History.  See 'Related to this course' below for other IFP pathways.

Progression on to your degree programme in September is automatic at the end of the IFP, if you achieve the required grades.

The Humanities IFP starts in September only.

Teaching Excellence Framework

Based on the evidence available, the TEF Panel judged that the University of Kent delivers consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for its students. It is of the highest quality found in the UK.

Please see the University of Kent's Statement of Findings for more information.

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Course structure

The International Foundation Programme is a modular course taught over three terms, starting in September.

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

You take the compulsory module LZ036and either LZ035 or LZ037 based on the level of your English. You then choose a further 90 credits from the remaining list of optional modules.

Optional 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 programme. The programme of study will cover critical and analytical skills in both written and spoken format.

Students will attend regular seminars/workshops each week, focusing on furthering their academic skills: they will receive input on seminar participation and presentation skills, and will develop the knowledge to produce 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, which will be assessed and personal skills development on the Academic Skills and Foundation Project modules. in an reflective interview. . Students will engage in seminars, for which they choose the topic and undertake the research, 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 Case Study on an issue researched through the literature review..

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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.

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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 primarily on grammar, vocabulary and academic writing skills but will include all language 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 provides students with an introduction to elementary spatial design theory and practice. It prepares students for Stage One entry into degree courses in architecture, interior design and interior architecture, in addition to associated areas of design study.

Key curriculum areas that might be covered include observation (how to read spatial environments), making (basic principles of construction of objects and environments), recording & communication (skills in freehand drawing, basic workshop techniques for making maquettes, and photography), formal manipulation through design projects (scale, the user, synthesis of competing demands), basic principles of design history, brief making and questioning and a possible Field trip

The syllabus comprises the following subject areas:

i. History/theory and construction/manufacture

ii. Observation and documentation

iii. Systems of communication: drawings, scale, model making, photography.

iv. Design Project

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The last decades of the nineteenth century witnessed a growing rivalry between the newly formed German state and other so-called Great Powers including Britain, France and Russia. Tensions between these nations would erupt in 1914, and again in 1939, as these powers embarked upon catastrophic conflicts that witnessed the deaths of millions. In Russia, the catastrophe of the First World War led to the birth of a new political regime – the Soviet Union – while Europe also found itself rivalled by the emergence of a new superpower: the USA. Indeed, in the aftermath of the Second World War a new tension arose between the Soviet Union and the Americans, with European nations drawn into their spheres of influence. Europe was divided between east and west by what Winston Churchill had described in 1946 as an 'iron curtain', with Germany at its centre. After decades of tensions, it was perhaps fitting that Berlin was the setting for the fall of a system with its roots in the political machinations of the late nineteenth-century.

This module will challenge develop their understandings of political, economic, social and cultural developments in modern European history, increasing their historical knowledge and engaging with key historiographical debates. Utilising a range of primary and secondary sources, students will be encouraged to discuss complex developments in a structured and critical way. These skills will be introduced to students through the consideration of a number of topics including: the Revolutions of 1848; the rise of Germany as a major European Power; Revolutionary Russia and the rise of the Soviet Union; the European experiences of the First and Second World Wars; the origins of the Cold War; the division of Europe; the European relationship with the USA; European détente; the revolutions of 1989.

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The module aims to develop your critical understanding of literary text by an exploration of the translation of narratives onto stage and screen. From Shakespearean drama to the contemporary novel, we will look at the ways in which texts can be interpreted and re-interpreted for different audiences, and the dramatic and stylistic choices that authors, directors and script writers make.

The module includes a study of stylistic variation in a selection of texts from the three main genres. Through a study of poetry we will develop an awareness of language and learn key close reading skills which we will later use in our analysis of larger texts. In the fiction segment, we will look at how prose narratives are constructed and learn to appreciate the contribution of 'point of view', the treatment of time, the use of narrators and presentation of speech and thought. In the Drama segment we will look at how selected works convey characterisation, setting, plot and how the techniques used in plays are different from those in prose fiction. The section on film will draw these two elements together, as we consider issues such as the ways in which these elements translate on to the screen.

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The module will be divided into two halves; the first half will look at debates within epistemology, philosophy of religion and the philosophy of mind. The purpose of these is twofold; first to expand students' theoretical knowledge across a broad range, and secondly to encourage them to discuss complex ideas in a structured and critical way. The second half will build upon the skills developed in the first half by exploring more contentious issues in moral and political philosophy.

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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 three hours in length.

Contact Hours

For a student studying full time, each academic year of the programme will comprise 1200 learning hours which include both direct contact hours and private study hours.  The precise breakdown of hours will be subject dependent and will vary according to modules.  Please refer to the individual module details under Course Structure.

Methods of assessment will vary according to subject specialism and individual modules.  Please refer to the individual module details under Course Structure.

Programme aims

On the IFP you will be provided with:

  • a range of modules covering the foundations of a range of subjects
  • teaching informed by current research and scholarship to encourage active involvement
  • opportunities to apply knowledge and skills in a range of activities
  • a stimulating and challenging education
  • a firm conceptual foundation in the subjects necessary for progression to stage one in their chosen pathway
  • academic literacy through the academic skills 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 will gain knowledge and understanding of:

  • the inter-disciplinary nature of academic skills in the humanities, social sciences and sciences
  • an appropriate degree of factual and conceptual knowledge of your chosen subject(s) for the purposes of university study
  • academic and social cultures and practices other than your own
  • intercultural language issues.
  • the structures, registers and varieties of language required to be successful on a University of Kent degree programme

Intellectual skills

You will 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 studied
  • engage in critical reflection, verbal discussion and written and interpretative analysis of key material
  • 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
  • separate fact from opinion and identify arguments and counter-arguments
  • 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 will 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 will 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 Humanities. For further information on careers, please see the relevant undergraduate degree programme.

Entry requirements

Home/EU students

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

  • a good academic school-leaving certificate with particular strengths in subjects that are relevant to your intended area of study approved by the University of Kent
  • a secondary school-leaving certificate approved by the University of Kent
  • appropriate national or international qualifications
  • to satisfy specific departmental entry requirements
  • for progression to some degree programmes, GCSE grades A/B/C maths or equivalent. If you do not have this level of qualification, you will need to do the IFP Maths module.

New GCSE grades

If you’ve taken exams under the new GCSE grading system, please see our conversion table to convert your GCSE grades.

Qualification Typical offer/minimum requirement

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 module.

Access to HE Diploma

The University will not necessarily make conditional offers to all Access candidates but will continue to assess them on an individual basis. 

If we make you an offer, you will need to obtain/pass the overall Access to Higher Education Diploma and may also be required to obtain a proportion of the total level 3 credits and/or credits in particular subjects at merit grade or above.

BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (formerly BTEC National Diploma)

The University will consider applicants holding BTEC National Diploma and Extended National Diploma Qualifications (QCF; NQF; OCR) on a case-by-case basis. Please contact us for further advice on your individual circumstances.

International students

The University welcomes applications from international students. To gain entry on to the IFP, you need the following:

  • a good academic school-leaving certificate with particular strengths in subjects that are relevant to your intended area of study approved by the University of Kent
  • a secondary school-leaving certificate approved by the University of Kent
  • appropriate national or international qualifications
  • satisfy specific departmental entry requirements
  • for progression to some degree programmes, GCSE grades A-C/9-4 maths or equivalent. If you do not have this level of qualification, you will need to do the IFP Maths module.

Meet our staff in your country

For more advice 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 2020/21 tuition fees have not yet been set. As a guide only, the 2019/20 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

UK/EU Overseas
Full-time £9250 £15700

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.* 

Your fee status

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.