Faculty of Arts

Foundation modules and recommended pre-course reading

The Foundation Year is designed to introduce you to the exciting breadth and significance of the Arts and Humanities and successful completion of the year guarantees progression to a wide range of BA courses.



All Arts and Humanities Foundation Year students take the following six 20 credit modules during the year:

Semester 1 modules

Language and Culture

Language and culture are both fundamental aspects of any Arts and Humanities degree. In this module you’ll develop an analytical and critical approach to English as well as an understanding of the challenges and benefits involved in learning another language.

This module will help you to use language carefully and effectively in a range of contexts and explore different theories of how language and culture relate to each other. You’ll delve into the development of language through considering archaeological, historical, linguistic and philosophical perspectives as well as taking account of spoken, written and other possible forms of language. Issues related to learning a modern or ancient language will be discussed, addressing such themes as ‘translation’, ‘interpretation’ and the cultural concerns associated with a thorough grasp of a language. 

Critical Thinking and Reflective Learning

This module will introduce you to key skills and practices for university work and help you make the transition from school, college or work to undergraduate study. Critical thinking and reflective learning are skills that are essential for thriving on your chosen degree course but they’re also important for developing thoughtful, responsible citizens who contribute effectively to society.

This module will help you to:

  • understand the nature of undergraduate studies in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Nottingham
  • acquire critical tools for assessing your own and others’ arguments
  • present your own reasoning in a clear and rigorous manner
  • reflect carefully on your own learning in order to establish good practices for ongoing study

Semester 2 modules

Media and Visual Culture

Media and visual culture are hugely significant aspects of study in any area of the Arts and Humanities, and indeed, of life in general in our contemporary ‘globalised’ society. This module will explore what is meant by the terms ‘media’ and ‘visual culture’, examine how these have developed over time, and consider the ways in which they are important for different subjects in the Arts and Humanities.

Building on the module ‘Language and Culture’, this module will analyse the relationship between media, language and culture. The module will allow you to explore how communication occurs and engage with different kinds of ‘reading’ and ‘texts’. You will investigate how communication takes place using a range of media and assess the positive and negative impacts of these. Through the module you will develop your own skills of communication in a variety of media, and learn how to engage with these media in a critical and reflective manner.

Narrative and Creativity

Whatever subject you’re passionate about in the Arts, ‘narrative’ and ‘creativity’ are essential concepts. In this module, for example, we will think about comparisons between narrative in classical and religious texts and narrative in recent works; and creativity will be considered in relation to religion, philosophy, art (broadly understood) and literature.

You’ll be introduced to academic theories about narrative and creativity, but also encounter various forms of narrative and ‘story-telling’ in class to help you to consider the role of narrative and creativity in different contexts.  This will include exploring the role of creativity and story in society generally, reflecting on your own ‘stories’, and developing your own creativity in a variety of ways appropriate to your chosen degree course in the Arts and Humanities.


Year-long modules

Important Thinkers through History

In every field of the Arts and Humanities there are significant people who have not only informed their own disciplines, but also contributed to the intellectual and cultural development of humanity. In this module you’ll consider a selection of these ‘important thinkers’, drawn from different disciplines across the Faculty of Arts, across a broad sweep of history and representing a variety of cultural and geographical contexts.

The module will allow you to gain insights into the development of key ideas through history and across cultures, and consider how various themes are tackled in different disciplines within the Arts and Humanities. Much of the teaching in this module will be led by world-leading experts drawn from different departments in the Faculty of Arts.

The Project


Extended projects or dissertations are a key feature of many university courses, especially in the final year. This module will help you develop the skills required to design, research and produce a major piece of work for assessment, using media (written and/or other) appropriate to your chosen topic – which will probably relate to your destination undergraduate degree.

The first half of the module will examine different approaches to research and focus on the development of research and writing skills. This will involve working through a programme of study, including seminars, workshops, presentations, designed to help your produce an appropriate research proposal. During the second semester you will focus on undertaking your research and producing the piece(s) of work for assessment, guided by a supervisor.

Modern language study

Those intending to go on to study a modern language degree take a 10 credit module in our Language Centre each semester in place of ‘The Project’. 

Language Centre modules



The following is a sample of the typical modules that we offer as at the date of publication but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Due to the passage of time between commencement of the course and subsequent years of the course, modules may change due to developments in the curriculum and the module information in this prospectus is provided for indicative purposes only.

Field trips

Field trips allow you to gain practical experience and see module content in context. In 2016-17 student will participate in three field trips to Sherwood, Stratford-upon-Avon and the Tate Modern.  All costs are covered by the Foundation Arts programme. 

Recommended pre-course reading

The following books provide a good way in to a range of topics you might cover on our Faculty of Arts Foundation Year.

Bates, Catherine, and Abi Matthewman. Studying Arts and Humanities. Palgrave Study Skills.  Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009.
This is a guide to university life for students intending to study a course in the Arts and Humanities. It includes lots of general information and some specific details about being an Arts and Humanities student.

Cottrell, Stella. The Study Skills Handbook. Palgrave Study Skills.  Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.
This book covers some important skills that are essential for successful university study.

Nussbaum, Martha Craven. Not for Profit : Why Democracy Needs the Humanities. The Public Square Book Series. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2010.
This is an important book about the Humanities (= Arts and Humanities) that features prominently in our module ‘Critical Thinking and Reflective Learning’.

Faculty of Arts

University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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telephone:0115 95 15643
email: arts-foundation@nottingham.ac.uk