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Pre-Masters Programme in Social Science, Arts and Humanities

A pathway leading to postgraduate degrees in areas such as politics, international relations and law

The Pre-Masters in Social Science, Arts and Humanities at the International Study Centre prepares you for a wide range of degrees at Royal Holloway.

Key facts

Course length: Two terms

Entry points: March

Age: 20+

See entry requirements

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What you will study

The programme consists of core and pathway-specific modules. The core modules will improve your academic and English language skills, while the pathway-specific ones will build specific knowledge about your chosen progression degree.

Academic English Skills

Academic English Skills aims to provide thorough training in the language and related academic skills which will enable international students to best achieve their academic potential at university. Our Academic English programme is validated by UK ENIC, the UK government agency responsible for providing information and expert opinion on qualifications and skills worldwide.

You will develop awareness and competency in a range of language-related academic skills, including the processes of academic writing, effective and extensive reading strategies, effective participation in seminars and delivery of presentations, and listening to and recording information effectively from lectures. You will also develop the accuracy and range of written and spoken language required to use language effectively and appropriately, with clarity and confidence in an academic context.

Alongside your classes, your studies will be supported by an online learning platform, providing you with a range of tasks and activities specifically designed to develop and extend your language and academic skills outside the classroom and to give you more control over your own learning.

Project Research Skills

You will be encouraged to select a project linked to your intended Master’s Degree. You will take responsibility to effectively manage the project. The choice of a project title can be made in consultation with the research interests of the destination departments and colleagues at the Royal Holloway University whilst your tutor in the Centre will act as supervisor and research is discussed during regular tutorials. You will cultivate the necessary research skills to work both individually and as a group to identify a research gap, research and think critically on subject module content, drawing on theory for application in an academic research context.

Social Science

The overall aim of the module is to provide a foundation in core concepts and theories shared by the main social science disciplines. The first section of the module will introduce you to an interdisciplinary review of literature on basic aspects of human behaviour: individual, social and political behaviour. The second part of the module will move on to explore policy-making research in more depth, in the context of globalisation. You will be able to focus on one of three extensively studied topics in different social science disciplines: education, poverty and development, and environmental protection.

On successful completion of the module, you will be able to explain key concepts and theories within social science and humanities in relation to individual behaviour, social behaviour, political behaviour, policy-making and also explain the concept of diversity and inequality at different levels. Additionally, you will learn to: analyse a range of contemporary social science issues creatively applying relevant concepts to reach a well-reasoned conclusion; critically evaluate a body of literature on a subject area in social science using appropriate academic conventions; evaluate factors impacting human behaviour in a given social science context and conduct analysis of government policy to recommend a policy change within a chosen discipline using appropriate academic standards.

Communication, Cultures and Heritage - Core module for Arts and Humanities

This module will introduce and explore a range of influential and important theories around how people process and document the human experience to develop sensitivity to cultural differences and allow you to develop effective communication strategies in the management of a project.

On successful completion of the module, you will be able to: explain how and what it means to be human; specifically, how communication, culture and heritage across diverse cultures and historical contexts is defined and practised; describe the fundamental knowledge and skills required to scrutinise barriers to communication within a relevant context taking into account linguistic and societal influences; analyse a range of contemporary issues relating to multi-cultural communication, creatively applying relevant concepts to reach a well-reasoned conclusion; critique the impact of communication and communication change across a range of historical and cultural contexts; critically analyse the core issues and debates regarding the process and documentation of human experiences; design and create a presentation that compares, contrasts, explores and outlines the fundamental core knowledge relating to communication, cultures and heritage and reflect on how local, national and global communities form their identity and how cultural, social and political contexts create and disseminate meaning.

Global Politics and International Relations - Core module for Politics and International Relations

The overall aim of the module is to introduce you to global politics and interactional in the international arena. The module provides you with knowledge and understanding of global and contemporary issues in politics and international relations. It considers a wide range of global political issues, for example, human rights, the environment and contemporary issues in security. The module provides you with an overview of contemporary challenges facing the global community, allows you to develop analytical and conceptual skills to appreciate and engage with issues of global importance, critique current strategies and attempts to proffer solutions to you.

On successful completion of the module, you will be able to: define nation state and explain its functions in global governance; identify and explain leading theories of international relations; examine the interface between local, national and global politics; analyse the significance of a range of contemporary political issues with global dimensions and their implications; evaluate the history and evolution of human rights and fundamental changes in international human rights framework in contemporary times; critically analyse the challenges faced by States in ensuring a balance between human rights and security and discuss the role of State and non-State actors in global politics and international peace and security.

Transnational Organised Crime - Core module for Law and Criminology

The module will introduce you to forces of globalisation and allows them to appreciate how the global trade has directly and indirectly facilitated the global shadow market. You will be able to assess the nature of criminality associated with long standing illegal activities such as human trafficking, human smuggling and the emergence of youth gangs and organised crime in the UK. You will also be able to examine possible connections between organised crime and terrorism.

On successful completion of the module, you will be able to: define key concepts such as globalisation and explain the process of globalisation; discuss the nature of criminality behind transnational organised crime such as human trafficking and smuggling, money laundry and piracy; critically evaluate the factors that have facilitated transnational organised crime and enforcement regime; assess the impact of organised criminal activities on individuals, local communities, nations and the global community and examine the evolution of youth gangs and organised crime in the UK and the national framework and institutions on organised crime.

Combined visa

Save time and money, and experience a seamless transition to postgraduate success, by studying our Pre-Masters course and the remainder of your degree with one visa.

Doing this means you will benefit from:

  • Just one visa required for the whole length of your study
  • Alternatives to IELTS for UKVI can be used to join the Pre-Masters programme*
  • No need for an additional IELTS test before joining your postgraduate degree
  • No visa requirement to return home between the courses
  • Work up to 20 hours per week
  • Ideal for students who have exceeded their two years of pre-degree study in the UK.

*IELTS or equivalent required, alternatives accepted include TOEFL iBT, Pearson, IGCSE, IB, HKDSE, India HSC (recognised board), Malaysia SPM, WAEC.

Progression degrees

After completing your Pre-Masters Programme and meeting the required grades, you can progress to your chosen postgraduate degree at Royal Holloway. This will involve meeting the required grades, which can be subject to change. You will have the opportunity to discuss this with your teachers once you are approach the end of your programme.

You can study one of the following postgraduate degrees:

Degree Programme NameAwardOverall GradeEnglish Grade
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Applying to Royal Holloway International Study Centre is easy and straightforward. Check entry requirements, tuition fees and see what you have to do before you arrive, from getting your student visa to arranging accommodation.

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International Study Centre

The International Study Centre helps you prepare for undergraduate and postgraduate study at Royal Holloway, University of London. It is a dedicated learning space for international students, sharing the University's campus and facilities.

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English Language Preparation

If you meet the academic entry requirements for our programmes but need help with your English language, you can join our English Language Preparation programme delivered fully online first.

Join us today

Our Student Enrolment Advisors are available to answer any questions you may have and help you with your application. We can't wait to meet you!