Social Science (foundation year) BA

Year of entry

2025 course information

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UCAS code
Start date
September 2024
Delivery type
On campus
4 years full time
Available to UK residents only

Course overview

BA Social Science students relaxing

This foundation year course is for students who don’t meet the standard admissions requirements for an undergraduate degree.

If you feel you missed out on education and want to realise your potential, this course will give you a firm grounding in the social sciences and prepare you for one of our social science degree courses.

The course lasts four years. Your first-year acts as a ‘Level 0’ foundation year, which gives you the skills for studying social sciences at undergraduate level. It’ll also introduce you to key ideas in sociology, politics, crime, education and law.

You’ll need to pass this year to progress onto one of our three-year undergraduate degree courses in a related subject. These include BA Sociology, BA Social Policy, Sociology and Crime, BA Politics, LLB Law, BA Social Work, BA Criminal Justice and Criminology and many others (see Course details).

In a supportive and friendly environment, you’ll be able to explore society and social change while learning how to study and developing important skills to prepare for an undergraduate degree.

Who is this course for?

If you would like to study for one of our degrees in politics, sociology, law, education or healthcare, but don’t meet the typical entry requirements for direct entry, then this foundation year is for you.

You may be:

  • a mature learner (aged 21 or over) looking to return to education.
  • recently finished or about to finish post-16 education but do not meet the admissions criteria for entry to a degree.

See the Applying section for information about entry requirements.

The BA Social Science foundation year is one of several courses for students who wish to study for an undergraduate degree at the University of Leeds, but don’t meet the standard entry requirements.

Alternative courses are provided by the Lifelong Learning Centre, including the part-time BA Interdisciplinary Studies with Preparation for Higher Education, which can lead to a degree in the social sciences.

Course highlights

  • Study in our world-ranked School of Sociology and Social Policy, developing your academic skills and knowledge in a nurturing environment.
  • Benefit from regular meetings with a personal tutor to support your learning and help you meet your goals.
  • Access our Student Support team for a range of advice, including student finance and support with learning difficulties.
  • Mature learners receive dedicated support and resources including welcome events.

Course details

In a friendly and supportive environment, you’ll develop the research and academic skills you need to study the social sciences at university level and apply them to the key areas of law, crime and politics. You’ll look at basic theories and concepts within the criminal justice and political system, both in the UK and worldwide.

Alongside these studies you’ll be introduced to ideas in sociology, social policy and politics. You’ll explore inequalities associated with gender, class, race, disability and health, using different theories to understand social change and how societies try to address inequalities and discrimination. In addition you’ll look at key ideas in political and social thought, discussing ideas of citizenship and democracy and learning about the development of public policy.

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.

Year 1 compulsory modules

Researching and Studying the Social Sciences (40 credits)

This module is designed to introduce students to the study skills required to succeed at university. The module is intended to encourage students to understand the purpose of study skills and to apply, practice and develop these skills on an ongoing basis. The skills section of the module is frontloaded, delivered intensively over an initial period of Foundation level study. Thereafter students must apply the skills acquired to demonstrate learning in social science subjects including Criminology and Politics.

Introduction to Social Inequalities (20 credits)

This module provides an introduction to key social divisions and inequalities in British Society. The module is designed to enable students to apply theory and concepts to explain how social divisions underpin social inequalities and to describe how inequalities intersect.

The Politics of Social Welfare (20 credits)

This module introduces students to key ideas in political and social thought in the context of British Social Welfare Policy development. The module will consider the historical development of British social policy considering these key ideas. This module will encourage students to reflect upon the relevance of theoretical positions in relation to historical welfare policy and citizenship.

Global Challenges and the Social Sciences (20 credits)

This module provides an introduction to key social challenges facing the contemporary world. Drawing upon diverse global contexts the module examines phenomena such as climate change, the legacies of colonialism, the rise of populism and misinformation, and demonstrates the contributions that the social sciences can make to addressing these.

Welfare Policy in Action (20 credits)

This module introduces some of the key policy interventions in the context of the welfare state in Britain. This module also explores the role played by the state, the private sector, voluntary/charitable agencies and the informal familial sector in meeting the welfare needs of individuals in contemporary British Society.

Years 2, 3 and 4

If you complete this year successfully, you would be expected to progress onto one of our three-year undergraduate degrees. The list of approved degrees you could choose is below. Please visit the course pages for details about the course content you would study:

School of Sociology and Social Policy

School of Politics

School of Law

School of Education

School of Healthcare

Lifelong Learning Centre

Learning and teaching

We use a variety of teaching and learning methods on this course, including lectures, seminars and workshops. You’ll study independently as well, which helps you develop your research and critical skills. This will prepare you for taught sessions where you will take an active part in discussions and group work.

To help you in your independent study, we offer a range of facilities including designated study spaces for independent and group work, PC clusters, free Wi-Fi across campus and four libraries with almost 3 million books and journals for you to use.

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.


Modules in the foundation year will use a variety of assessment methods. As well as essays and workbooks, there is also a summative task as part of weekly tutorials.

Entry requirements

Alternative entry

Academic entry requirements

We usually look for evidence of prior study at GCSE level, such as Mathematics and English at GCSE grade 4/C or equivalent. However, we do consider applications from people who can demonstrate their potential and commitment in other ways.

We particularly welcome applications from mature students who don’t meet the standard entry requirements.

All 'shortlisted' applicants will have the opportunity to demonstrate their potential at an informal interview.

Alternative Entry Scheme

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 Mathematics. Contact the Programme Team for more information:

Professional qualifications programmes

If you’re interested in progressing onto one of our professional qualification degree programmes, such as BA Social Work, you will need to have GCSE Mathematics and English at grade C/4 or equivalent. For BA Social Work, we would consider your application if you were studying for these qualifications alongside your Foundation Year programme.

If you’re interested in some of our other professional qualification degrees, such as Adult Nursing or Mental Health Nursing, you will need to have passed five GCSEs at grade C/4 or above including Mathematics, English and two Science subjects.

Additional entry criteria

This course is designed for applicants whose backgrounds mean they are less likely to attend university (also known as widening participation backgrounds) and who do not currently meet admissions criteria for direct entry to a degree. This means we consider additional factors about your background when you apply.

The university’s widening participation strategy (see Access and participation plan) guides our recruitment to this course, and you must also meet a minimum of two of the below criteria:

  • your permanent address is in a neighbourhood with low progression to higher education use our online postcode checker
  • you attended a school which achieved less than the national average five A*-C / 9-4 passes (including English and Mathematics) at GCSE or attainment 8 score at GCSE in a state school. 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 £25k
  • you will be the first member of your immediate family (excluding older brothers or sisters or your own children) to achieve a degree
  • your studies have been adversely affected by circumstances in your personal, social or domestic life.
  • you are a Mature Learner (21+)

A levels

We do not consider A Level qualifications as part of our entry requirements. However, if you do have A Level qualifications we would not consider A Level grades above an average profile of CCC.

Note: If you have an A Level average profile of BCC and your studies have been adversely affected by circumstances in your personal, social or domestic life, then contact the Programme Team for more information:


UK: £9,250 (per year)

Tuition fees for UK undergraduate students starting in 2024/25
Tuition fees for UK full-time undergraduate students are set by the UK Government and will be £9,250 for students starting in 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 UK undergraduate students starting in 2025/26
Tuition fees for UK full-time undergraduate students starting in 2025/26 have not yet been confirmed by the UK government. When the fee is available we will update individual course pages.

Tuition fees for international undergraduate students starting in 2024/25 and 2025/26
Tuition fees for international students for 2024/25 are available on individual course pages. Fees for students starting in 2025/26 will be available from September 2024.

Read more about paying fees and charges.

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 on our living costs and budgeting page.

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.


Apply to this course through UCAS. Check the deadline for applications on the UCAS website.

31 January 2024 is the UCAS deadline for the majority of courses; however, you can apply up to 30 June 2024 for this course, providing places are still available.

Read our admissions guidance for common queries and advice on personal statements.

Admissions policy

University of Leeds Taught Admissions Policy 2024

This course is taught by

School of Sociology and Social Policy

Contact us

School of Sociology and Social Policy Admissions (Foundation Year)


Career opportunities

Studying at Leeds will help make you an attractive prospect to employers. We’re the 5th most targeted university by the UK’s top graduate employers (High Fliers report, the Graduate Market in 2022).

Graduate destinations

Our graduates secure employment with some of the biggest UK companies in human resources, communications management, broadcasting and advertising. They are also ideally equipped to work in the public and third sector including in the Civil Service, teaching, youth work, fostering/children’s services, probation services, social work, prison service, housing and homelessness prevention.

Postgraduate opportunities

Graduates from this programme are well prepared for postgraduate study across a range of disciplines. Our recent graduates have gone on to study sociology, social policy, teacher training, journalism, occupational therapy, human resources, marketing, social work, criminal justice studies and social research.

Careers support

If you complete this foundation year programme successfully, you will be able to progress onto one of our undergraduate degree programmes in the social sciences, including law, sociology, education, politics and social work. Careers information for each of these degrees can be found on their individual course pages (see links in Course details).

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 at the Careers website.