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Modules

Liberal Arts students in a workshop

You will study core Liberal Arts modules and have the freedom to choose optional modules from across the University.

Core modules

The core modules on this course are led by tutors with a passion for liberal education. Using a Problem-Based Learning approach, these modules focus on investigating issues from different disciplinary perspectives. You will learn how to analyse problems and you will investigate and evaluate evidence and interpretations. We will also encourage you to develop your own responses. The core modules will help you to build a toolkit of primary and secondary research skills. They will also prepare you to engage with confidence in different modules across the University.

Year One

Liberal Arts: Principles and Praxis 

This is your introduction to the history, thinking, and values behind liberal education (principles) and what we do in the classroom (praxis). You will begin to think beyond the boundaries of traditional academic disciplines. We will question the purpose and outcomes of learning itself. You will consider how education can be a key step towards achieving freedom (broadly defined).

Art and Revolution

On this module you will explore the ways in which art (the things we make) prompts, predicts, or responds to revolutions across history. You will learn how to apply a range of research skills to generate original approaches to complex revolutions. You will also delve into the things we make in relation to moments of crisis and change.

Science, Society, and the Media

No scientific academic background is required for this module!

How is scientific knowledge generated? How is it different from the knowledge generated in the Humanities and Social Sciences? How is it transmitted to the public? To what extent do political, financial, philosophical, and linguistic frameworks transform that knowledge?

This module explores the production and dissemination of scientific knowledge. You will look at a range of materials including science fiction and news reports. The module will support you in reflecting on received wisdom regarding society’s understanding of science. You will consider how you can productively intervene in public discourse on scientific topics.

"At the end of this module, students write a critical essay. We provide suggestions on topics, but students are encouraged to choose anything that has appealed to them throughout the module. This module is fun to teach because it changes every year, given current developments in science and the media." Dr Bryan Brazeau, Module Convenor

Qualitative Methods for Undergraduate Research

From LGBTQ+ oral histories to ethnographies of car subcultures, from 19th century diaries to 1980s zines, from Shakespeare to Childish Gambino. Researchers in the arts, humanities and social sciences engage with a wide range of sources. This module introduces you to methodologies used in social, historical, and cultural research.

Qualitative research asks “why” and “how”, rather than “how many". You will critically engage with theoretical debates, putting your learning into practice by conducting primary research. You will use historical archives, interviews, and creative works. The hands-on research assignments in this module link to other core modules, so activities will always be relevant to your studies.

"As with all of the core modules in Liberal Arts, students are allowed to pursue the areas of interest that matter to them most. In the past, students have conducted interviews with sports players, business people, and activists. There is a lot of scope to take this module in whatever direction interests you."

Dr Kirsten Harris, Module Convenor

Quantitative Methods for Undergraduate Research

Optional core module

How can we use quantitative data to understand the world around us? This module will introduce you to the foundations of quantitative analysis and the principles of quantitative research, descriptive statistics and data visualisation. You will begin to consider how we can use data at our disposal to draw conclusions about the wider world.

This is an introductory module - you do not need to have studied Maths at A level (or equivalent). This module is a requirement for certain pathways in Year Two, such as Economics. It will act as a prerequisite for more advanced analytical modules.

Year Two

Consumption

Core module

Consumption connects the local and the global. It is at the core of our lives: from our food to our clothes, to our cultural and leisure activities, to the services we use. On this module you will examine the role consumption plays in contemporary and historical societies. You will explore how consumption operates as an organising social force through the analysis of film, literature, music, advertisements, branding, case studies, social research and critical theory.

Sustainability

Core module

How do we define and understand sustainability? What are the opportunities and limitations in individual and collective action? What part do businesses and globalisation play in sustainability? How can we ensure the sustainability of the population and society?

On this module you will study sustainability challenges as complex interdisciplinary issues. You will have the freedom to explore different topics from a variety of disciplinary approaches. We will help you develop a detailed evidence-based understanding of current controversies, debates and theories. You will build the confidence to explore feasible policy approaches in the sustainability sphere.

Final Year

Dissertation

Core module

The dissertation is a year-long project marking the culmination of your degree. You will design and carry out a significant piece of original research. This is the ideal opportunity for you to showcase what you have learned and what you can do next. You will make a real contribution to an area of academic study, a policy debate, or a community issue of importance to you. You will draw on experts from across the University and you will work with a dedicated advisor who can help you achieve your project goals.


Optional modules

The optional modules you choose from across the University will depend on the pathway you take. Each step of the way, we will help you reflect on your ambitions and the issues you care about. We will support you with choosing your optional modules to create a coherent degree that is unique to you and your interests.

We hope that you will enjoy the multi-faceted approaches of our own specialist academic team in Liberal Arts. If so, we have a range of engaging optional Liberal Arts modules on offer and you can incorporate these modules into your chosen pathway. We have built these modules on the transdisciplinary principles of the programme. For current students, optional modules within the Liberal Arts Department include:

The Apocalyptic Imaginary 

Year Two or Final Year

Narratives about the end of the world are among some of humanity’s most powerful stories. They stretch from our distant mythological past to imagined transhuman futures.

In this module, you will explore how a range of apocalyptic narratives was generated and adapted for particular purposes. You will also consider what the effects of those narratives were: ranging from American extremist militias to the Haitian roots of the zombie apocalypse and the relationship between eco-narratives and science fiction.

"This was one of my favourite modules at Warwick. The topics and set readings were so interesting and we got to explore so many different ideas and concepts that would have never occurred to me otherwise. This module has made watching a zombie movie an entirely different experience for me!”

Cymroan, Liberal Arts Graduate

Utopia: Text, Theory, Practice

Year Two or Final Year

Humans in different times and places have asked: How can we build a better society? At its simplest, the concept of 'utopia' can be understood as a way of responding to this fundamental question.

This module combines ideas, imagination, and activism. You will explore social problems using creative texts, document sources, case studies and secondary readings. These problems may relate to politics, gender, "race", education, urban planning, sustainability, spirituality, and the wider problem of the colonial heritage of utopian studies.

Quantitative Methods: Research Project

Year Two or Final Year

Are you interested in undertaking a hands-on research project from start to finish? On this module, as part of a group you will choose your own research topic that can be done using a pre-selected high-quality UK dataset. You will follow the project process from a proposal to a final presentation and research element. You will carry out research and practice advanced statistical techniques, alongside learning and practicing project management, time management and teamwork.

This module is ideal for you if you're keen to enhance your quantitative techniques. It is also suitable for students who may lack quantitative experience but are willing to put in the effort to support the group’s quantitative analysis.

Quantitative Research Methods: Understanding Relationships in Data

Year Two or Final Year

How can we use data to analyse the nature and strength of relationships between variables? On this module, you will build quantitative foundations by thinking about this question. you will develop a flexible toolkit of statistical skills and experience using specialist software. With this toolkit, you will use data to explore ideas of correlation versus causality, test significance and develop multivariate models which can help explain the world's phenomena.

The Quest I: Departure and Enchantment

Year Two or Final Year

How do we conceive of the quest in an age that Max Weber characterised as dominated by rationalisation, intellectualisation, and above all, a profound sense of "disenchantment"? You will use a transdisciplinary perspective to explore the problem that lies at the outset of all quests: the departure from emotional comfort and certainty to face unknown realms of fear and enchantments. You will explore how we construct heroes and the problems with such narratives across literary texts, films, business models, and video games. Why do we leave? What do we hope to gain? How can we truly depart and break down what holds us back?

The Quest II: Exile and Homecoming

Year 2 or Final Year

This module explores the problem that lies at the end of all quests: moving from being in exile to one's homecoming. How do we conceive of the relationship between ourselves and our home? How does our environment shape who we are and the stories we tell? Through a transdisciplinary perspective, you will explore case studies of diasporas, nostalgia, postcolonial literature, ecological exile, and the challenges in creating community in the modern world. Among other questions, we will explore what we hope to gain at the end of a quest, how we change along the way, and whether the concepts of home and homeland can ultimately offer any kind of comfort or certainty.

A Sustainable Serenissima: Water and the Future of Venice

Year Two or Final Year

This module is offered through the Alliance Intensive Study Programme

This module examines the ways in which contemporary Venice confronts sustainability challenges and develops resilience.

We will consider past, present, and future threats to a sustainable Venice, along with complex and unique local solutions using the three main pillars of sustainability as lenses to focus our interdisciplinary discussions.

See the transcript for this video.

The theme of ‘water’ will serve as a conceptual anchor to ground our consideration of issues such as rising sea levels, urbanization, resource management, energy production and distribution, along with historical Venetian industries such as, for example, publishing, shipbuilding, munitions, glassmaking, finance, and tourism.

We will also consider Venice’s long tradition of hospitality as a sanctuary city, and the challenges Venice faces when welcoming migrants and refugees today.


Co-curricular certificates

Our professional development certificates are designed to develop skills that have been identified by employers as being vital for success in the workplace. Your attainment of these certificates will be recorded on your Higher Education Achievement Report, which you can show to employers.

Certificate of Digital Literacy

Year One

To succeed in a digital society, you need to be savvy about how it can be used to enhance your life and career, and aware of the potential threats that come with the territory. Workshops focus on issues including online identity, privacy and security, and digital etiquette. You will explore trends in digital literacy and how to market your social media presence professionally.

Certificate of Sustainability

Year One

On this certificate you will develop your consultancy skills by undertaking a sustainability-related audit. In a team, you will focus on one aspect of sustainability on campus and explore ways of addressing the problem. You will report findings and recommendations to the client, an internal University partner.

This certificate aims to develop your ability and confidence to conduct effective coaching conversations. You will have the opportunity to practise the key skills — such as listening to understand, asking open questions, and building rapport and trust — that enable you to coach well. These skills are useful in many other contexts, including teaching, consultancy and managing people.

Certificate of Professional Communication

Year One or Year Two

This certificate aims to develop your professional communication skills and promote your understanding of the working environment. It’s designed to make the link between communication and employability, which is pivotal for your personal and professional growth. Workshops will explore theories and concepts around communication in relation to the world of work. Using this preparation, you will undertake a short work placement which concludes the certificate.

Course structure diagram

Teaching and assessment

Pathways


Olamide, Liberal Arts graduate

"I had the right balance of core and optional modules"

"When applying to Liberal Arts at Warwick the course structure is something that really appealed to me. I just felt like it had the right balance of core modules and optional modules so that I didn't feel trapped in anything that I didn't want to do and after having dropped out of a different uni for precisely that reason, that was something that was very important to me."

Olamide Ajisafe

Liberal Arts Graduate

Hear more from Olamide


Adrian, Liberal Arts graduate

"You feel like you belong to a department"

"Another perk of Warwick is the high ratio of Liberal Arts core modules to our free module options; this makes you feel like you belong to a department rather than being scattered around many, as seems the case at many other universities offering the degree."

Adrian Lawrence

Liberal Arts Graduate

Hear more from Adrian

100%

of Liberal Arts students at Warwick agree that the course is intellectually stimulating

(The National Student Survey 2021)


For further information about core and optional modules in the Liberal Arts Department, please visit our modules pages.