Arts and Humanities Pathway

The Foundation in Arts and Social Sciences has two ‘pathways’, both of which leads to different groups of degree programmes: 1. Arts and Humanities; 2. Social Sciences. 

On the Arts and Humanities pathway you will be introduced to a range of study skills that are essential for studying these subjects at undergraduate level.

You will receive a broad introduction to the subjects covered by the course and how these have developed over time. On the Arts and Social Science pathways, by examining specifically what it means to be human, now and in the past, you will explore how the society we inhabit and the culture we share has been shaped by ideas, historical events, political and social movements, and works of art.

Course structure

On the course, you will take four or five compulsory units and choose one optional unit. You can find the current course structure and unit descriptions here:

Unit and programme catalogue.

Period of study

Teaching dates

Duration of course


Taught seminars

Independent study


One year, full-time only

Normally two days per week at the university

Up to eight hours per week

Minimum of ten hours per week

Maximum of 22.5 hours per week

What happens after the course is finished?

If you complete the course satisfactorily you will be guaranteed a place on an undergraduate degree within the University’s Faculty of Arts and Humanities

We cannot guarantee you will be able to progress to your first choice of degree, as this may depend on spaces available and your attainment on relevant assignments during the course. However, if your first choice is not available, we will do our best to ensure you are offered a satisfactory alternative.

What do you mean by 'satisfactory completion' of the course?

The aim of the course is to enable you to progress to an undergraduate degree and so to complete the course satisfactorily you will need to demonstrate a capacity to succeed at undergraduate level. For most of our students this means achieving an average of 60% or above in each unit.

What can I study afterwards?

You can progress from Arts and Humanities pathway to a degree in the Faculty of Arts. You'll find a list of the main subject areas covered on the undergraduate pages of these departments. They can be found here: ArtsHumanities and Modern Languages. You may be able to combine two or more subjects – for example Drama and English, Philosophy and Theology, or Czech and French – and details are available on the individual subject pages.

In order to progress to most language courses, including Classics, some proficiency in languages is required and you may need to take the language options within the programme before progressing to a degree. It is not usually possible to progress to a Music degree unless you already have a Grade 8 Theory or Practical Award from ABRSM or Trinity, or an A-Level in Music, or are able to complete one of these in parallel with the Foundation in Arts and Social Sciences. If you are interested in progressing to a degree in Modern Languages, Classics, Music, and have any questions about these additional requirements, please contact us.

While on the Foundation in Arts and Social Sciences, you can also apply via UCAS to other universities and to degree programmes in other Faculties at Bristol. A number of students completing the Foundation have been accepted onto degrees in other subjects and at a range of other institutions. Foundation staff will support you in writing your UCAS application, and will provide you with an academic reference.

Can I study for a degree part-time?

Yes, you should be able to study most of the degree courses offered in the Faculty of Arts part time, but check the individual degrees at the links above.

What if I decide not to continue on to a degree afterwards?

The course is a recognised programme of study that can also be used to apply for relevant degrees at other institutions or for personal or professional development. You will be awarded a Certificate in Higher Education, which is a nationally recognised award, on completion of the Foundation in Arts and Social Sciences.

What are my career options after a degree?

Choosing to study the arts and humanities will give you the opportunity to acquire the transferable skills that employers value. You can enter a diverse range of occupations, which may or may not be specifically linked to the subject you choose to study for your degree.

Recent Bristol graduates in the arts and humanities have found work in the media, library work, journalism, publishing, the theatre, arts administration, the charity sector and various kinds of teaching.

Some have also written successful novels, plays and poems, or gone on to successful performance careers or to work in the theatre, music, television or other creative industries.

Skills you will acquire throughout your arts, humanities and social sciences courses will vary according to subject, but the key skills which are common to these subject areas are:

  • Communication skills, verbal and written
  • Time management, organising your workload, working to deadlines
  • Reading, interpreting, assessing and evaluating sources
  • Participating in discussions
  • Working independently
  • Finding out and articulating your own opinions
  • Thinking and acting creatively
  • Presenting ideas and information
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