Interdisciplinary Studies with Preparation for Higher Education BA

Year of entry

2024 course information

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Start date
September 2023
Delivery type
On campus
Various - refer to course description
Available to UK residents only

Course overview

two students talking in the library

This is an extended degree course for mature students looking to return to study and wishing to progress to a range of degrees (both full and part-time) in the social sciences, arts, or healthcare.

Preparation for Higher Education (PHE) is a one-year part-time foundation year that provides a supportive environment to help you prepare for the transition to Level 1 university study and gain the academic knowledge and study skills you’ll need to succeed.

Designed with mature students in mind, the foundation year usually runs on two evenings a week with some Saturday teaching, so you can study whilst balancing your other commitments. You will be taught by friendly and supportive staff from the Lifelong Learning Centre, with experience in working with adult learners.

On successful completion of the foundation year, and subject to meeting the requirements of your progression, you’ll continue to year one of your chosen degree course. Recent cohorts have progressed to a variety of full-time and part-time degrees in the Lifelong Learning Centre, social sciences, humanities, and healthcare.

Lifelong Learning Centre Support

We know that many mature and part-time students face unique challenges including balancing academic study with family and employment commitments. For that reason, the Lifelong Learning Centre provides specialised guidance, advice, and support to mature and part-time students, from pre-application right through to graduation and beyond.

You’ll know from the beginning of your journey what your academic goals need to be and you will be provided with guidance throughout the year to help you be as successful as you can be.

Course details

The Preparation for Higher Education programme provides an introduction to key academic skills, such as how to conduct research using the University library, how to identify relevant academic sources of information, how to read academic texts and produce a range of academic assignments.

Students are also supported to develop analytical and critical thinking skills, reflective thinking, and writing. Dependent on your chosen progression route, you will also be introduced to key subject-specific knowledge either in human biology or the social sciences.

On successful completion of the foundation year, and subject to meeting any progression requirements, you’ll progress to year one of your chosen degree programme.

Course structure

The list shown below represents typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our terms and conditions.

For more information and a full list of typical modules available on this course, please read Interdisciplinary Studies with Preparation for Higher Education BA in the course catalogue

Year 1 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Academic and Personal Development 20

Learning and teaching

Teaching on this course takes a blended learning approach with both online taught sessions, combined with on-campus, face-to-face delivery. You’ll be encouraged and supported to develop independent study skills, alongside working in collaboration with your peers in small study groups.

On this course you’ll be taught by our expert academics, from lecturers through to professors. You may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers, connecting you to some of the brightest minds on campus.


Methods of assessment reflect those that you will find later in your degree programme to ensure that you are well prepared for continuing study. These typically include academic essays, exams, a literature review, a reflective learning journal, group, and individual presentations, data and statistical analysis reports, and a small research project.

Assessment is a key way of enabling you to learn by doing and feedback from tutors supports this process.

Entry requirements

GCSE: Maths and English at grade C/4 or equivalent.

Other course specific tests:

If you are interested in progressing to the following degrees, please note the specific requirements:

  • Dental Hygiene: 5 GCSEs at grade C/4 or above including English Language, maths and either chemistry and biology, or dual science

  • Nursing (Adult) BSc, Nursing (Child) BSc, and Nursing (Mental Health) BSc: GCSEs at grade C/4 in English and maths

  • Midwifery BSc: GCSEs at grade C/4 in English Language and maths

  • Social Work BA: GCSEs at grade C/4 in English and maths

We give priority to applicants who live permanently in the UK and meet at least two of the following:

  • your permanent address is in a neighbourhood with low progression to higher education

  • you attended a school that achieved less than the national average of five A*-C or 9-4 passes (including English and maths) at GCSE or attainment 8 score at GCSE. We use the All England State-funded attainment 8 score, excluding applicants from selective and/or independent schools

  • you grew up in public care

  • the residual income of your household is less than £25,000

  • you will be the first member of your immediate family (excluding older brothers or sisters or your children) to achieve a degree

  • your studies have been adversely affected by circumstances in your personal, social or domestic life

If you are a mature student or want to study part-time, the Lifelong Learning Centre offers a free, confidential, and impartial pre-entry guidance service. Our experienced staff can also talk to you about how you might meet the entry criteria and what support may be available to you.

Alternative entry

If you don't have the required GCSE qualifications, you can complete our Alternative Entry Scheme. As part of this, you may be asked to take tests in English and maths. Contact the Lifelong Learning Centre for more information.


UK: £9,250 (per year)

Tuition fees for UK undergraduate students starting in 2023/24 and 2024/25
Tuition fees for UK full-time undergraduate students are set by the UK Government and will remain capped at £9,250 for 2023/24 and 2024/25. The fee may increase in future years of your course in line with inflation only as a consequence of future changes in Government legislation and as permitted by law.

Tuition fees for international undergraduate students starting in 2023/24 and 2024/25
Tuition fees for international students for 2023/24 and 2024/25 are available on individual course pages.

Part-time fees
Fees for part-time courses are normally calculated based on the number of credits you study in a year compared to the equivalent full-time course. For example, if you study half the course credits in a year, you will pay half the full-time course fees for that year.

You will study at 50% intensity (60 credits) in year 1. Fees for 2022/23 are £4,625 (50% of £9,250).

There are no upfront fees to pay. All eligible students are able to borrow the entire cost of tuition fees making study free at the point of entry, with good repayment terms. You are eligible if you are studying for 30+ credits per year on a programme that is at a higher level than any qualification already held. Previous study in Higher Education may affect your eligibility.

Tuition fees for UK undergraduate students starting in 2023/24
Tuition fees for UK part-time undergraduate students starting in 2023 will be £9,250. The fee may increase in future years of your course in line with inflation, and as permitted by law. Fees for UK undergraduate students are decided by the Government and may vary if policy changes.

Additional cost information

There may be a small cost associated with field trips which are part of module study.

There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more about additional costs.

Scholarships and financial support

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There is help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government. Find out more in our Undergraduate funding overview.

Depending on your circumstances, non-repayable financial support including a fee discount is available from the Leeds Financial Support scheme.


Apply to this course through the Lifelong Learning Centre. For guidance on applying to a Lifelong Learning Centre course, visit our admissions guidance page.

Please mention on your application form the area you want to progress to.

Your application will be reviewed by the Admissions Team. If you’re successful, you’ll be invited to an interview which will involve a written task. If you’re entering through the Alternative Entry Scheme, you’ll be sent details after your interview.

If you’re made an offer, you’ll be asked to engage with KickStart. This is a pre-entry programme designed to ease your move into studying at the University of Leeds. You’re welcome to contact us for further information.

Admissions policy

Lifelong Learning Centre Admissions Policy 2023

This course is taught by

Lifelong Learning Centre

Contact us

LLC Interdisciplinary Studies (PHE) Admissions


Career opportunities

On successful completion of the Preparation for Higher Education foundation year, you could progress onto a range of degree courses (both full and part-time) in the social sciences, arts, and healthcare. Recent students have progressed onto a range of degrees including law, criminology, professional studies, philosophy, English, learning and teaching, child and family studies, sociology, and social policy.

A qualification from the University of Leeds counts: our graduates are highly valued by employers. When you complete your degree programme you will also become part of a network of highly employable graduates. A degree in an arts, humanities, and cultures subject allows you to enhance your critical thinking and develop a global and cultural awareness relevant to a range of careers.

Careers support

The Lifelong Learning Centre has a strong commitment to enhancing opportunity with its own dedicated expert guidance team. Enhancing employability and opportunity are embedded into the Centre, so you can receive dedicated support, as well as the excellent wider university provision.

All applicants are encouraged to book a pre-application appointment with the Lifelong Learning Centre's Advice and Guidance Team. This ensures you have made an informed decision about which degree you wish to progress towards and the possible career pathways available to you.

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

Leeds for Life is our unique approach to helping you make the most of University by supporting your academic and personal development. Find out more at the Leeds for Life website.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more about Careers support.