Academic Practice

Key information

Start date
End date
Year of study
Year 1
Module code
Foundation College

Module overview

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


On successful completion of this module a student will be able to:

  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. Reflect on learning, assessment, monitoring and evaluating their own development
  4. Research and write academic assignments.

Explain how the learning outcomes fit with the programme(s) for which the module will be available:

Preparation for UG study is the overall aim of the FY programmes on which this module will be core.




  • Seminars: 4 (terms 1 and 2)
  • Project Supervision: 2 (terms 1 and 2)


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


  • Portfolio (50%) - 2,500 words
  • Project (40%) - 2,500 words
  • Reflective log/discussion (10%) - 250 words


Suggested reading

  • Burns T. and Sinfield S. (2012) Essential Study Skills (Sage Publications)
  • Cottrell, S. (2005) Critical Thinking Skills (Palgrave Macmillan)
  • Cottrell, S. (2013) The Study Skills Handbook (Palgrave/Macmillan)
  • Goatly, A (2000) Critical Reading and Writing: an introductory course book (Routledge)


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules