Interdisciplinary Studies with Preparation for Higher Education BA

Year of entry

2023 course information

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Start dates
September 2024
September 2024
Delivery type
On campus
Various - refer to course description
Available to UK residents only

Course overview

two students talking in the library

This extended course is for mature students looking to return to study and wising 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 and one Saturday every three weeks, 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 other commitments. The Lifelong Learning Centre provides specialist guidance, advice, and support to mature and part-time students, from pre-application through to graduation and beyond.

Specialist facilities

The Lifelong Learning Centre (LLC) is a multi-disciplinary school and a specialist service supporting mature and part-time learners across the University. Pastoral and academic support for students from diverse backgrounds is integral to all aspects of the LLC’s work with current and prospective students, including one-to-one advice sessions, open days, community engagement, academic personal tutoring, academic mentoring, guidance and academic skills support.

Accreditation details

Three 20 credit modules need to be passed at 40 or above to successfully pass the course. This is made up of the two compulsory modules (Academic and Personal Development, Information and Data Literacy Skills) as well as one optional module (Human Biology or People in Society). To progress onto Year 1 of some degrees requires achieving an overall course pass grade higher than 40.

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

This 60 credit course consists of three 20 credit modules.

You’ll complete two 20 credit compulsory modules and one 20 credit optional module.

If you wish to progress to a healthcare degree, you’ll study the Human Biology optional module. If you wish to progress to the arts, humanities and social sciences, you’ll study the People in Society optional module.

The academic year is divided into two semester periods. You’ll complete the Information and Data Literacy module in semester one, alongside the Academic and Personal Development module, which runs across both semesters. The optional module is completed in semester 2.

Compulsory modules

Academic and Personal Development (20 credits) - This module prepares students to progress onto Year 1 of degree level study and become independent and academic learners. This includes ensuring students have some knowledge of the social, economic, political and ethical issues inherent in contemporary society, and in relation to professional practice and development. You’ll be supported to develop critical, analytical and reflective thinking, and adopt effective strategies for learning. The module also supports the development of academic reading, writing and research skills, and how to use online and blended learning resources effectively.

Information and Data Literacy Skills (20 credits) - This module aims to further support the development of academic skills necessary for degree level study. This includes using the University Library to identify, retrieve, read, interpret and analyse academic information, including statistical information and illustrations, in books, databases, journals, research papers, and other academic publications in print and online. You’ll also be supported to produce an academic literature review and develop the technical skills to create illustrations to represent statistical information, including graphs and charts.

Optional modules (dependant on degree progression pathway)

Human Biology (20 credits) - This module introduces human biology to support healthcare students in their transition into Year 1 (Level 1) of a range of healthcare degree including: adult nursing, child nursing, midwifery, mental health nursing, and dental hygiene. The module explores how the human body works, including different molecules, cell formation and tissue production. It also explores how the main organs and systems of the human body function.

People in Society (20 credits) - This module introduces sociology through an examination of some of the key issues and institutions in contemporary society. This will include using sociological theories and perspectives to identify and examine social problems and challenge fundamental assumptions around race and identity. You’ll also explore the role of some social institutions, including the family, education and the Criminal Justice System. You’ll be supported to develop the knowledge and skills needed to conduct research within a social sciences context and produce an independent research project.

Learning and teaching

The course is delivered through a blended approach, which includes online delivery as well as face-to-face on campus learning. You’ll engage in a mix of lectures, seminars, and one-to-one tutorials. You’ll be supported to use University resources, such as the libraries and skills workshops provided on campus, as well as online tutorials. This will help build the academic skills and knowledge to progress onto a degree at the University. You’ll also learn how to ‘self-assess’ as well as gain regular development and assignment feedback from tutors.

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.


You’ll be assessed through a variety of different assessment methods, which are designed to support the development of a student’s learning, as well as offer an opportunity to practice the type of assessment which will be encountered on the degree. These may include: an multiple choice exam, a written examination, a group presentation, academic essays, a case study, a literature review, a reflective journal, and a research project.

Entry requirements

GCSE: English and maths 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.

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 67% intensity (80 credits) for years 1-4. Fees for 2022/23 will be £6,167 (67% of £9,250). In year 5 you will study at 33% intensity (40 credits). The fee you are charged in years 2 to 5 will be calculated as a proportion of the full-time fee agreed for that year.

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.

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 our students can get dedicated support as well as excellent wider University provision.

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.