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Undergraduate Course

Liberal Arts Foundation Year

Explore topics ranging from local to international, spanning the past, present and future, and questioning the nature of humanity and society.

Protesters with signs in the centre of York

Study diverse subjects from across humanities, social sciences, language and linguistics on this Liberal Arts Foundation Year. This course will give you both the skills you need to succeed in your degree and an opportunity to go beyond your chosen subject and explore other specialisms.

York campus

  • Duration – 1 year full time then a 3 year full time undergraduate degree
  • Start date – September 2021
  • School – School of Humanities

Minimum Entry Requirements

    48 UCAS Tariff points

    1 GCSE at grade C/4 (or equivalent) including English Language.

Tuition Fees

    UK and EU 2021 entry £9,250 per year full time

    International 2021 entry £12,750 per year full time

Discover why York St John is The One

Course overview

This interdisciplinary Foundation Year allows you to develop skills and knowledge both within and beyond the degree you will eventually progress onto. This course allows you to explore different aspects of your own subject area, as well as a wider framework of contexts, approaches and crossovers with other subjects.

The Foundation Year provides a welcoming and encouraging environment in which you can first encounter those key questions and challenges that will later inform your undergraduate study. This is the course for you if are excited about getting into Higher Education but don't want to dive straight into an undergraduate degree. This might be because you have been out of education for a while, you do not yet have the entry requirements for the course you want to do, or you just do not feel ready yet.

As well as building your academic skills, this course is designed to build your confidence and welcome you to the diverse and inclusive community at York St John University. We will make sure that you are fully aware of the resources and opportunities available to you both during the Foundation Year and throughout the rest of your studies, whilst also introducing you to York, a city steeped in history and culture.

Course structure

Year 1

Our academic year is split into 2 semesters. You will study:

  • 3 compulsory modules in semester 1
  • 3 compulsory modules in semester 2.


Credits: 20

Compulsory module

On this module you will be introduced to some of the various academic subjects involved in the foundation year. We will introduce you to York from a variety of different perspectives, exploring aspects such as culture, literature, history and geography. You will also become familiar with our research resources and university level academic skills. You will learn to respond to primary and secondary sources relevant to your subject route. Your learning may also incorporate visits to sites of interest in York such as York Explore Archive or The York Castle Museum.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

This module explores the key political and philosophical concepts that both govern our social lives . It will provide a foundation for your undergraduate level study, whichever subject you have chosen. We will consider what is meant by free will, government, and being. You will question how we understand ourselves in terms of race, sex and gender, and the extent to which this is governed by outside forces.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

On this module you will question and explore some of our assumptions about the nature of knowledge and truth. By drawing on research from across different subjects, we will introduce you to concepts and concerns that underpin any of the degree courses you could progress onto. We will use interdisciplinary perspectives to explore questions about:

  • How we understand knowledge and belief
  • The relationship between power, culture, and truth
  • What is considered to be authentic and real.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

This module is an exploration of the concepts of freedom and justice. We consider, among other topics:

  • The evolution of human rights and civil rights
  • Different political conceptions of freedom
  • Changing ideas of justice through history
  • What constitutes a ‘fair’ society.

These discussions will draw on various different theorists, points of view and academic disciplines, from creative writing to criminology. We will take a global perspective, evaluating the values of the West and the nature of democracy.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

On this module we encourage you to reflect on everything you have learned and apply this to speculative discussions about the future. We will introduce you to content and ideas from across different subjects. This could include eco-criticism, post-humanism and the digital revolution. Our discussion will also focus on a key theme which recurs throughout the course, the idea of nature vs culture.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

On this module you will bring together all the skills and knowledge you have built throughout your foundation year by completing a longer essay project. This will bring together the ideas raised through the foundation year study and those of the subject you will be progressing onto when you complete the course. You will need to demonstrate your understanding of the historical, critical, and cultural contexts behind your topic. It is also an opportunity to refine the academic research and writing skills which will be essential for your future study.

Teaching and assessment

Teaching and learning

You will be taught through a range of different learning activities, including:

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Group work
  • Workshops
  • Online learning.

You will be taught alongside other students who will be going onto different subjects across humanities, social sciences and languages and linguistics. We make sure that the content is relevant to all of the available degree routes, but you will also benefit from learning more broadly outside of your chosen subject.

You will be assigned an academic tutor who will support you throughout your foundation year. You will also have an academic contact from the subject you will progress onto, helping to support you through the transition.

Our teaching draws on both our research and professional experience. This means your learning is informed by the most current thinking in the subject area. You can find out more about our research and backgrounds by visiting our staff pages.


In each module you will be assessed through a portfolio of work. These will include various tasks which will demonstrate your learning progress and prepare you for the different sorts of assessment you may experience on your degree.

Progression onto degree course

Passing this foundation year guarantees your progression onto the full degree course that you choose when you apply to us. Your grades from this year will not be carried forward and will not count towards your final degree results.

Entry requirements


Minimum Entry Requirements

    48 UCAS Tariff points

    1 GCSE at grade C/4 (or equivalent) including English Language.

Calculate your UCAS Tariff points

International Students

If you're an international student, you will need to show that your qualifications are equivalent to those above.

Information about international qualifications and entry requirements can be found on our International pages.

If your first language is not English you must show evidence of English Language competence at IELTS level 6.0 (with no skill below 5.5) or equivalent.

International entry requirements

Mature Learners Entry Scheme

If you have been out of education for 3 years or more and have a grade C GCSE in English Language or equivalent, you are eligible for our entry scheme for mature learners. It's a scheme that recognises non-traditional entry qualifications and experience for entry onto this course. Information on how to apply can be found on our dedicated page.

Mature entry offer scheme

Terms and conditions

Our terms and conditions, policies and procedures contain important information about studying at York St John University. You can read them on our Admissions page.

Fees and Funding

To study for a foundation year, you will need to pay tuition fees for your course. How much you pay depends on whether you live inside the UK or EU, or internationally (outside the UK/EU). Tuition fees may be subject to inflation in future years.

UK and EU 2021 entry

The tuition fee for 2021 entry onto this foundation year course is:

  • £9,250 for your foundation year
  • then £9,250 per year of your undergraduate degree. 

This price applies to all UK/EU, Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man students.

You can apply for the Tuition Fee and Maintenance Loan for the full duration of your course, including the foundation year and then your undergraduate degree. 

You can find out more about funding your degree by visiting our funding opportunities page.

Funding Opportunities

Tuition Fees

    UK and EU 2021 entry £9,250 per year full time

    International 2021 entry £12,750 per year full time

International 2021 entry

For full time study the tuition fee for 2021 entry to this course is:

  • £12,750 for your foundation year
  • £12,750 per year of your undergraduate degree.

This price applies to all students living outside the UK/EU.

Due to immigration laws, if you are an international student on a Student Visa, you must study full time. For more information about visa requirements and short-term study visas, please visit the International Visa and Immigration pages.

Find out more about funding your degree.

International Fees and Funding

Additional costs and financial support

There may also be some additional costs to take into account throughout your studies, including the cost of accommodation.

Course-related costs

While studying for your degree, there may be additional costs related to your course. This may include purchasing personal equipment and stationery, books and optional field trips.

Study Abroad

For more information on tuition fee reductions and additional costs for studying abroad, please visit our study abroad pages.

Accommodation and living costs

View our accommodation pages for detailed information on accommodation and living costs.

Financial help and support

Our Funding Advice team are here to help you with your finances throughout your degree. They offer a personal service that can help you with funding your studies and budgeting for living expenses. 

All undergraduates receive financial support through the York St John Aspire card. Find out more about the Aspire scheme and how it can be used to help you purchase equipment you need for your course. 

Aspire Card

Course highlights

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