SOAS University of London

Foundation Years

Academic Practice

Module Code:
Year of study:
Year 1
Taught in:
Full Year

This module introduces students to key skills and practices for university study. Students develop a range of oral, written, visual, analytical and team-working skills. Key topics covered include critical thinking and reading, skills for independent study, academic writing, exam preparation and performance, and project-based learning.

As a year-long module focused on the skills required for university study, the module acts as a focal point for the Foundation Year as a whole, supporting the key objective of preparing students to succeed at undergraduate level. The module convenor works closely with students as an academic mentor, supporting the successful completion of all Foundation Year modules and their assignments.

In term 2, students begin preparation for a supported project that draws upon the skills that they have developed in Academic Practice and other Foundation Year modules (in particular Digital Skills & Technology and Working with Numbers). The project will focus on a global theme or issue studied during the year in the modules The World from SOAS, Cultural Fluency or Introduction to Social Sciences, Arts & Humanities / Business, Management, Economics & Law.

Students will determine the main project output with the support of the module convenor. They will be encouraged to innovate in the conception and realisation of their projects and use a range of media. In addition to the main output, students will produce a project plan and evaluation. The project is submitted in term 3. Students receive weekly group supervision during this term, ensuring that their project work is closely supported.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

  1. Employ a wide range of academic skills and techniques appropriate for UG study
  2. Think critically and solve problems, using a variety of methods and techniques
  3. Take responsibility for learning, assessing, monitoring and evaluating their own development
  4. Research and write short academic assignments
  5. Approach academic examinations with confidence and the right tools to succeed
  6. Reflect upon a defined project remit, agree an appropriate subject and deliver a project, with ongoing, structured support
  7. Demonstrate an understanding of global themes and issues developed in other FY modules

Scope and syllabus

  • Introduction to studying at SOAS
  • Problem / project-based learning
  • Critical thinking
  • Critical reading and note-taking
  • Effective research
  • Effective listening skills
  • Academic writing
  • Presentation, negotiating and debating skills
  • Independent study skills
  • Exam preparation and performance
  • Project conception, planning and delivery
  • Project evaluation
  • Application of skills developed in other FY modules
  • Engagement with global themes and issues (on which projects will focus)

Method of assessment

  • Literature review (15%) – 1,000 words
  • Essay (25%) – 1,500 words
  • Project plan (10%) – 500 words
  • Main project output (40%)
  • Project evaluation (10%) 


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules