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Transcript: Pathways - Thomas

Hi I’m Tom Liggins and I’ve just finished my third and final year in the Liberal Arts Department at the University of Warwick. In this video I’m going to talk about choosing your pathway in the Liberal Arts Department.

The idea with a pathway is to give focus and direction to your academic learning at Warwick. The wonderful thing about Liberal Arts is that you can basically choose any module across the University (within reason, if it’s available to the Department), but rather than just choosing any and having no focus, doing lots of things you’re interested in and not having a tangible reason as to why you’re doing those things other than ‘I thought it was interesting’, the Department gets to you to choose a pathway so that you have some focus in your academic study.

You can either choose (at the end of your first year) a Disciplinary Interest pathway which is a subject, so History, English, or Economics, as your overarching direction for your study. Or you can choose a Specialist Interest pathway which is basically an ‘open’ pathway, a self-defined pathway, where you can mix and match different subjects from different departments, but you still have to have an overarching title so that you have direction in your studies.

When I first came to the University I actually thought that I wanted to do a Disciplinary Interest pathway in History. But, the thing is, that would have entailed me to choose majority History modules throughout my time at Warwick. I actually realised that though all of those History modules are run by the same Department and they’re bound by the idea that they’re the same discipline - you’re an historian in all of those topics. I’d have ended up doing early modern history, modern history, and though I’d be writing like an historian the whole time, I didn’t actually see any tangible reason why I’d be learning all of those different topics. Instead, I actually realised that a Specialist Interest pathway was more for me because I wanted to use different disciplines. I wanted to write like an historian in my history modules, I wanted to write like a philosopher in my Philosophy modules. But, I wanted some more tangible direction for the topics I was talking about.

In the end, I landed on the title ‘Consumption and Identity’, which is actually a bit of a mix between some of the more commonly taken Specialist Interest pathways such as ‘Culture and Identity’, ‘Food Security’, ‘Sustainability’, ‘Social Justice' (those are more commonly taken pathways by Liberal Arts students). ‘Consumption and Identity’ gave me focus whilst still allowing me to take modules from all across the University, so that’s what was best for me.

I hope that was helpful, thanks!