Foundation in Humanities

Foundation course

UCAS code: L111

Start dates: September 2024 / September 2025

Full time: 1 year

Part time: 2 years

Location: Headington, Harcourt Hill

Department(s): School of Law and Social Sciences, School of Education, Humanities and Languages

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Keen to study a humanities subject but not sure about your options? Join our 1-year course to explore and get the skills you need to continue to a degree.

Learning how to research, evaluate and communicate is a key part of your studies. How does literacy influence cultures? Are nations created by law and governance, or habits and customs? What can philosophies and religions teach us about being human? These are some of the big questions you’ll explore.

You’ll study 8 modules, including compulsory modules such as Nation and Identity, and optional modules you can choose from, including Global Issues and Eastern Religious Philosophies. You’ll learn from leading academics and discover the most recent developments in areas from history to literature.

You’ll learn through lectures, tutorials, workshops, and independent study – with no exams. Academic staff teach across the humanities, meaning you’ll benefit from a range of research-rich knowledge. And you can expect a sense of community, dedicated support, and detailed feedback on your work throughout the year.

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Why Oxford Brookes University?

  • Freedom to explore
    Get to know your preferences and explore the differences between various humanities subjects before choosing which subject to study for your degree.
  • Say goodbye to exams
    Don’t get on with exams? No problem. You’ll be assessed through coursework such as individual and group presentations, critical commentaries and reflective journals. 
  • Tailor your modules
    Pick modules that interest you and study alongside undergraduates. Starting to have more of an interest in history, criminology, or social sciences? The choice is yours!
  • A breadth of expertise
    Benefit from being taught by a wide range of expert academics. With tutors spanning the range of humanities subjects, your studies will be diverse and research-rich.
  • Shape your own research
    Research the area of humanities you’re most passionate about. Create, manage and complete your own project while getting 1-to-1 guidance from an academic supervisor. 
  • Free language courses

    Free language courses are available to full-time undergraduate and postgraduate students on many of our courses, and can be taken as a credit on some courses.

Course details

Course structure

Start your first semester with an introduction to the latest thinking in English literature and drama, history and history of art, and English language and communications.

Through these modules you’ll explore cultural moments throughout history. Discover how our emotions are shaped by religion and science, and critically analyse a range of theories and texts.

Lectures, workshops, presentations, independent and group project work, help you develop the written, oral and interpersonal skills you need to succeed at university.

In your second semester, you’ll have the chance to explore the areas that interest you with some optional module choices. Maybe you’ll want to focus more on your interest in social science, or perhaps you’ll want to try our new climate crisis module – where you can discover the global history of the environment.

All of this will get you ready to complete your own research project. With 1-to-1 guidance, you’ll follow your interests and dig deep into your own topic, fully preparing you to progress and study at degree-level.

Students studying

Learning and teaching

You’ll experience a wide range of humanities disciplines through:

  • lectures
  • workshops
  • tutorials
  • project work
  • presentations
  • group seminars
  • supervised independent learning
  • critical thinking tasks
  • skills acquisition sessions.

You’ll have a dedicated academic advisor throughout your course, for support and guidance when you need it. You’ll also have 1-1 academic supervisor for your second semester research project, providing support and guidance as you need it.


You’ll be mostly assessed by coursework, including:

  • essays
  • reflective logbooks
  • critical commentaries
  • video assignments
  • e-portfolios
  • small group projects.

Study modules

Semester 1

Compulsory modules

  • Being Human: Love, Sex and Death

    Love, sex and death - how do these make us human? In this module, you’ll gain core analytical skills, key to studying Humanities at university, as you explore human bodies and emotions through time. 

    You’ll understand the ideas, practices and experiences that we have around bodies and feelings. You’ll also explore how bodies and emotions are shaped by: 

    • politics
    • religion
    • science
    • medicine
    • literary and artistic fashion.

    You’ll analyse texts, images and artefacts to understand the core role of human emotions and bodies in our world. 

  • Cultural Moments

    How do genres - styles or categories of literature - grow from major events in history and culture? In this module, you’ll explore how drama and literary studies relate to genre. You’ll get to grips with genres as categories that have evolved historically to become key influences on culture, taste and fashion. You’ll investigate real life cases of key movements across a range of disciplines. You’ll also consider how art responds to life and life to art. 

  • Language, Vision and Representation

    In this module, you’ll learn about basic theories of meaning-making. You’ll begin to undertake a critical analysis of systems of representation - which could be spoken or written language, and virtual or physical texts. You’ll come to understand how meaning is made, but also challenged, through acts of interpretation which often we’re not conscious of making. You’ll also be encouraged to reflect on your own role in producing ‘meanings’. 

  • The Reflective Learner

    Do you dream of studying a Humanities subject at university? In this module, you’ll gain the core skills and strategies you need to succeed as a university student. You’ll build up knowledge of each of the subjects within our Foundation in Humanities course and learn how to turn critical reading into clear and successful undergraduate assignments. You’ll also learn effective study strategies, including: 

    • learning from lecture content 
    • taking part in seminars 
    • working and studying in groups.

Semester 2

Compulsory modules

  • Research Project

    This module gives you the chance to do independent research on a topic that fascinates you. You’ll gain the key skills you need to succeed as a university student, as you create, manage and complete your own research project. You’ll have one-to-one guidance  from an expert academic supervisor in your chosen subject area who will support you to shape your research from your initial ideas through to your completed project. 

  • Nation and Identity

    What is a nation? Do nations develop through shared language or the history of a people? Are they about laws and governance, or habits and customs? In this module, you’ll get to grips with core themes from Humanities subjects, including: 

    • Philosophy
    • Religious Studies
    • History
    • English Literature 
    • English Language.

    You’ll develop a strong understanding of the concepts of a nation (including elements such as borders and national identity) and its challenges.

Optional modules

Modern British Art

In this module, you’ll dive into art and artists through the century - from the Camden Town Group, to Modernists like Barbara Hepworth and Pop Artists like Peter Blake. You’ll examine paintings, sculptures and films as you discuss how British artists tried to create modern forms of expression. You’ll also investigate the ways they promoted their work, like:

  • exhibitions
  • manifestos
  • books
  • little magazines.

You’ll enjoy on-site visits, where you’ll examine works of art firsthand. You’ll also attend exciting lectures and seminars where you’ll explore your ideas and enrich your understanding of modern British art.

French Beginners 2

As someone with a beginner’s knowledge of French, you’ll develop stronger skills in French speaking and writing, translating and interpreting. You’ll be able to express yourself effectively in French, and gain a critical sensitivity to the intercultural differences between France and other countries. 

Spanish Beginners 2

As someone with a beginner’s knowledge of Spanish, you’ll develop stronger skills in Spanish speaking and writing, translating and interpreting. You’ll be able to express yourself effectively in Spanish, and gain a critical sensitivity to the intercultural differences between Spain and other countries. 

Development Studies

This is your opportunity to explore some of the key issues (e.g.urbanisation, poverty and social exclusion, environmental concerns and gender issues) within the field of Development Studies. You’ll also look at the factors causing poverty in countries defined as less developed. 

Exploring the fundamentals of how sociology, human geography and economics interact in the process of development. You’ll study key topics that will teach you to draw on your own knowledge and experience where possible to evaluate the policies in pursuit of development, and to address the problems faced by least developed countries. You’ll build your skills in identifying and reflecting on some of the key social, economic and environmental issues that challenge sustainable development.

Global Issues

What is ‘global politics’? What do we mean by ‘international relations’? And how do our personal values affect our understanding of politics and historical events? In this module you’ll explore the global challenges we face, and how they are understood by different groups. You’ll examine issues like power structures and global conflict. And you’ll come to understand how these issues impact societies and the environment we live in.

Physical Theatre

In this module you’ll examine physical theatre - from its historical beginnings right through to the rise of the director and 21st century actor training. Your weekly workshops will introduce you to the key principles of training the body. You’ll also learn about practices like:

  • posture
  • balance
  • energy
  • relaxation
  • stage presence
  • improvisation.

Eastern Religious Philosophies

What can philosophies and religions teach us about being human? In this module, you’ll immerse yourself in key themes of Eastern religions, including the Buddhist and Hindu traditions. You’ll gain a core understanding of the philosophical foundations of different religious traditions. 

Young Children's Outdoor Learning

You’ll explore how young children learn through play. You’ll also discover how adults plan exploration and play for children in outdoors environments. You’ll get to grips with two key areas: 

  • maintaining good provisions and interactions in an early years outdoors area
  • teaching and learning through the Forest School approach. 

You’ll look at how children and adults interact in a variety of situations. You’ll also gain core knowledge of health and safety training, as you study issues such as: 

  • children as risk-takers
  • off-site travel
  • maintaining a safe environment.

You’ll develop core analytical skills as you explore how research and government policy affect children’s outdoor learning. 

Customs, Icons and Symbols

Explore the study and understanding of Culture and Society by looking at relevant Customs, Icons and Symbols with a particular emphasis on communicative practice of reading and written language in contexts.

Origins of the Climate Crisis: A Global History of the Environment

You will engage with the ways in which the environment and the climate have changed over the past six centuries. Looking at:

  • sustainability
  • climate change
  • conservation.

Which are pressing issues with a rich and compelling history. You will investigate environmental changes and how they were contested and experienced at communal, national and international levels. You'll think about the political, economic, social and cultural contexts of resource management, energy use and food production.  Including a focus on future policy solutions 

Please note: As our courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the modules you can choose from may vary from those shown here. The structure of the course may also mean some modules are not available to you.


The Foundation in Humanities course opens up further courses for you and prepares you for degree-level study.

After successfully completing the course, you’ll be guaranteed a place on one of our 3-year undergraduate degree courses in humanities or social sciences. You could choose a subject like criminology, philosophy, international relations, or history.

You’ll build skills that are directly relevant to university-level study, like critical thinking, independent study, research management and communication. And you’ll have access to our careers services, co-curricular activities, and peer mentoring schemes to boost your skills and awareness further. A future in a humanities-based career is waiting. 

Further Study

Successful completion of the course will give you a place on any one of the courses in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences listed below:

You’ll be able to progress directly to the courses above and many Joint Honours courses in these subject areas at Oxford Brookes without further application. You’ll be advised and assisted in this process by your Academic Advisor and/or your Student Support Coordinator.

*All applicants will be screened for fitness to practise and a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check will be made.

The courses below are not eligible for automatic progression from Foundation in Humanities. Please visit the relevant course pages to view their entry requirements: 

Entry requirements

Wherever possible we make our conditional offers using the UCAS Tariff. The combination of A-level grades listed here would be just one way of achieving the UCAS Tariff points for this course.

Standard offer

UCAS Tariff Points: 72

A Level: DDD

IB Points: 24


Further offer details

Applications are welcomed from candidates with alternative qualifications, and from mature students.

Tuition fees

Please see the fees note
Home (UK) full time

Home (UK) part time
£1,155 per single module

International full time

Home (UK) full time

Home (UK) part time
£1,155 per single module

International full time

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

Tuition fees

2023 / 24
Home (UK) full time

Home (UK) part time
£1,155 per single module

International full time

2024 / 25
Home (UK) full time

Home (UK) part time
£1,155 per single module

International full time

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

+44 (0)1865 534400

Please note, tuition fees for Home students may increase in subsequent years both for new and continuing students in line with an inflationary amount determined by government. Oxford Brookes University intends to maintain its fees for new and returning Home students at the maximum permitted level.

Tuition fees for International students may increase in subsequent years both for new and continuing students. 

The following factors will be taken into account by the University when it is setting the annual fees: inflationary measures such as the retail price indices, projected increases in University costs, changes in the level of funding received from Government sources, admissions statistics and access considerations including the availability of student support. 

How and when to pay

Tuition fee instalments for the semester are due by the Monday of week 1 of each semester. Students are not liable for full fees for that semester if they leave before week 4. If the leaving date is after week 4, full fees for the semester are payable.

  • For information on payment methods please see our Make a Payment page.
  • For information about refunds please visit our Refund policy page

Additional costs

Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course are detailed below.

Programme changes:
On rare occasions we may need to make changes to our course programmes after they have been published on the website. For more information, please visit our changes to programmes page.