Foundation in Humanities module descriptions


  • Semester 1


    Being Human: Love, Sex and Death (compulsory)
    This module introduces students to an interdisciplinary study of the ways in which emotions and bodies are socially and culturally constructed across time and space through History and History of Art. Students will learn that ideas, practices and experiences about feelings and bodies are fluid and determined by historically, socially, and culturally specific contexts, themselves shaped by politics, religion, science, medicine, and literary and artistic fashions. Students will investigate the ways in which ‘being human’ is relative through three apparently universal features of life: love, sex, and death. They will analyse and interrogate texts, images and artefacts to understand the centrality of human emotions and bodies to the functioning of our world.


    Cultural Moments (compulsory)
    On this module, students will explore the ways in which Drama and Literary Studies work with the broad concept of genre, and the ways in which the evolution of literary and cultural genres can be associated with major shifts in social and cultural history. Students will study genres as categories that have evolved historically to become influential forces on the production of culture, taste and fashion. Case studies of key movements or genres across a range of disciplines will be employed to illustrate the ways in which art responds to life and life responds to art.


    Language, Vision and Representation (compulsory)

    This module draws upon expertise from the fields of English Language and Communication, and Cultural Studies to introduce students to the basic theories of meaning-making through reference to visual and language systems. Students will learn to undertake a critical analysis of systems of representation as they encounter them in the ‘real’ world and the world of representations – such as spoken and written language, and virtual and physical texts. In doing so, they will come to understand how meaning is both made and challenged through the often unconscious act of interpretation. Since we are part of those worlds of ‘meaning-making’, students will also be encouraged to reflect on their own role in the production of meaning.


    The Reflective Learner (compulsory)
    This module helps students to develop the skills and strategies needed to succeed as a university undergraduate. These skills will be applicable to each of the subject disciplines that constitute the Foundation in Humanities. There is a practical emphasis on turning critical reading into effective visual, written and oral undergraduate assignments. Students will also learn effective strategies for responding to lecture content, participating in seminar discussions and working in peer groups. 


    Semester 2


    Nation and Identity (compulsory)
    By employing approaches and themes from the fields of Philosophy, Religious Studies, History, English Literature and English Language, this module allows students to consider the concept of nationhood. Students will ask a range of engaging questions such as: what is a nation and how is it defined? Is it developed through the shared language and history of a people? Is it about laws and governance, or habits and customs? And what happens when one or several of these characteristics change? In the first part of the module, students will develop an understanding of the different ways in which a nation develops and defines itself. From there, students will develop an understanding of the ways in which the concept of a nation (including aspects such as borders and national identity) can be a site of contest and challenge. 


    The Research Project (compulsory)
    The aim of this module is for students to identify, define and complete an extended independent research project. Students will learn to work with advice and support from an academic supervisor, who will provide one-to-one support and guidance on working within a specific subject discipline. Students considering a combined degree can also receive co-supervision through tutorial support both in person and online.


    Literature and Arts in Context (Literature and Cultural Studies)
    This module is an interdisciplinary introduction to the main approaches, methods and issues in the study of the Humanities today, with particular reference to English, History and History of Art.


    Modern British Cinema and Society (Film Studies and History)
    This module focuses on developments in British cinema since the last World War, and provides the opportunity for students to look at how these developments reflect changes in the attitudes and values of society during the period.


    French A1 (Modern Language)
    A module in practical French language skills for beginners.


    French A2 (1) (Modern Language)
    The language level of this module corresponds to work leading to Level A2 in the European Common Framework for Languages (CEFR - A2).


    German A1 (Modern Language)
    A module in practical language skills for beginners.


    German A2 (1) (Modern Language)
    The language level of this module corresponds to work leading to Level A2 in the European Common Framework for Languages (CEFR - A2).


    Human Nature (Philosophy)
    The study of Human Nature has been central to philosophy throughout its history as philosophers have grappled with questions such as: what makes humans distinctively human?; what is the best way to study our nature?; are we fundamentally different from all other animals?; what is the relationship between race and gender and human nature?; could there be such a thing as human nature if we are products of evolution? to what extent are we products of culture? This module explores these questions drawing upon cutting-edge work in philosophy, feminist theory, cognitive science and evolutionary biology.


    Death, Disease and Doctors: Medicine and Society (History)
    An introduction to the history of medicine and health from the mid-seventeenth to the mid-nineteenth century. Offers the opportunity to develop a specialised interest in health history, and make connections between medicine and its wider social context.


    Modern British Art: from Impressionism to Brit Art (History of Art) 
    This module offers an introduction to a century of art practice in Britain from the work of the Camden Town Group through to exponents of Brit Art such as Damien Hirst and Rachel Whiteread. Exploring painting, sculpture and film, the concern is to explore through case studies the ways in which artists in Britain sought to create specifically modern forms of expression, as well as the media (exhibitions, manifestos, books, little magazines) through which they promote the resulting work. The course is taught through a mixture of lectures, seminars and on-site visits, and you will explore a range of contemporary and secondary literature and, wherever possible, works of art at first hand.


    Practice and Pedagogy (Education Studies)
    Students are introduced to educational theory associated with children, young people and adult learning in a range of contexts on this module. As well as exploring the distinction between practice and pedagogy, students will develop an awareness of research into pedagogic practice which have influenced previous and current policy decisions. Students will have the opportunity observe examples of pedagogy and practice in an educational setting.
    Please note: You must have a current DBS check to take this module.


    Spanish A1 (Modern Language)
    A module in practical language skills for beginners.


    Spanish A2 (1) (Modern Language)
    The language level of this module corresponds to work leading to Level A2 in the European Common Framework for Languages (CEFR - A2).


    Superpowers: an International History of the Cold War (History)
    An introduction to modern international history within the context of the rise and fall of the two principal world powers, the United States and the Soviet Union, during the Cold War.