Bachelor of Arts (BA)
3 years full-time or 4 years full-time with intercalated year spent either studying abroad or on work placement
27 September 2021
Department of Study
Department of Liberal Arts
Location of Study
University of Warwick
Liberal Arts at Warwick is a focused approach to learning what matters to you. You’ll draw on knowledge and methods from across the humanities, social, and natural sciences to address complex problems. The aim of a liberal arts education is to produce well-rounded individuals with a breadth of knowledge, a sophisticated understanding of the most important questions that face society, and a mastery of transferable skills.
In Liberal Arts at Warwick, we encourage you to think for yourself as you work alongside our expert tutors. You'll explore the historical and cultural basis of problems, engage with complex and multi-faceted ideas, and design innovative forward-thinking solutions. With our focus on independent research and transdisciplinary approaches, this course is for the most ambitious, energetic, and self-driven students.
Our degree features core modules built around some of the world’s most challenging scenarios. You’ll learn how to analyse a range of issues from a variety of perspectives, using different analytical methods to investigate and evaluate evidence and solutions. All our core modules are delivered using our Problem-Based Learning approach.
At the end of your first year you’ll choose a unique pathway. The flexibility of your pathway empowers you to build a curriculum that is diverse, inclusive and stimulates your research interests. We’ll work with you to help you make your decision about which pathway to follow.
We also believe that the skills you'll acquire are as important as your course content. You'll have the opportunity to complete certificates and undertake work placements. These experiences will help you develop and hone relevant professional skills, giving you the edge when it comes to your employability.
If you want to broaden your perspective by studying overseas we can support you to apply for a year's study abroad. You’ll also have the option to complete a year-long work placement. Students are automatically enrolled on the three-year course, however you have the option to change to a four-year course with an intercalated year in the third year. The intercalated year spent studying abroad or on work placement is subject to you meeting departmental academic requirements.
Core Liberal Arts modules
You’ll study three core Liberal Arts modules worth 75 CATS in total:
- Art and Revolution (30 CATS);
- Science, Society, and the Media (30 CATS); and
- Qualitative Methods for Undergraduate Research (15 CATS).
You’ll also have the opportunity to take the Liberal Arts module Quantitative Methods for Undergraduate Research (15 CATS). This is a core module for our more technical pathways and will act as a prerequisite for more advanced analytical modules.
Alongside your core modules you’ll take a non-credit bearing introductory module, Liberal Arts: Principles and Praxis.
The rest of your workload (45 CATS) will consist of first-year optional modules. These could be from within the Liberal Arts Department or from across the University. Some of the first-year optional modules you'll choose from are 'required core optional modules’. These must be passed to proceed on the specified pathway.
We offer a range of unique certificates outside of the curriculum as a way of continuing your professional development. You can find out more about the certificates here.
In your first year you'll have the opportunity to take the Certificate of Digital Literacy and the Certificate of Professional Communication with Work Placement.
At the end of your first year you’ll declare a Disciplinary Interest or a Specialist Interest pathway.
Our Specialist Interest pathways are open to your interpretation. You’re free to pursue your interests, whatever they might be. We’ll work with you to help you design a Specialist Interest pathway that meets your needs.
If your passions lie in a particular subject, you could choose to study a Disciplinary Interest pathway. You’ll choose your optional modules exclusively from one of our partner departments.
Core Liberal Arts modules
You’ll study two core Liberal Arts modules totalling 60 CATS (constituting half the workload for the year):
- Consumption (30 CATS); and
- Sustainability: Frameworks, Challenges and Opportunities (30 CATS).
The remaining half of your workload (60 CATS) is made up of modules from your chosen pathway. Depending on your pathway, you may need to study certain modules to fulfil the pathway requirements. Please note that modules are subject to availability and module offerings change year to year.
You’ll have the opportunity to take the Certificate of Coaching Practice and the Certificate of Professional Communication with Work Placement.
Core Liberal Arts module
You’ll study one core Liberal Arts module, a dissertation/practical project (30 CATS).
Your remaining modules (90 CATS) will be from your chosen pathway. Depending on your pathway, you may need to study certain modules to fulfil the pathway requirements. Please note that modules are subject to availability and module offerings change year to year.
How will I learn?
Liberal Arts modules
In Liberal Arts we use a unique Problem-Based Learning (PBL) approach. This is where you understand a topic by examining complex problems from a variety of perspectives. These include the social, political, scientific, historic, artistic and cultural. You’ll then develop your own distinctive stance on that problem.
All our core Liberal Arts modules are delivered using PBL workshops. The workshops are defined by student-led research-based inquiry. There are no formal lectures, and you’ll instead spend your time in the classroom debating, framing, and presenting research questions/responses. This is an active learning method that relies on specific student interests. Therefore content (explored through in-depth case studies) changes depending on the student cohort.
Modules from across the University
Your optional modules from across the University may include:
You'll be taught by teachers from different disciplines. Your role will be to bring together these various approaches in a way that makes sense to you.
Contact time varies depending on your chosen pathway and the modules within your pathway. A Liberal Arts student can typically expect between 8 and 12 contact hours a week including pathway modules. Please note, you may have more than 12 hours depending on your module choices. Module offerings in other departments may involve more or less formal teaching time per week than Liberal Arts modules.
Liberal Arts modules
Core Liberal Arts modules in the first and second year consist of one two hour workshop per week. Much of our teaching takes place over two terms, so most year-long modules have around 44 hours of teaching contact time each. This is supplemented by regular out-of-classroom activities, including film screenings, skills sessions, discussion groups, reading groups, and field trips. In addition, in the first term of your first year you’ll attend ten one-hour sessions as part of an introductory module (Liberal Arts: Principles and Praxis).
Second year core Liberal Arts modules also have between four and six hours of research support/revision. This is in addition to scheduled teaching sessions.
In the final year, the core Liberal Arts dissertation module involves five hours of lectures and 12 supervision sessions across three terms.
- The Certificate of Digital Literacy involves attendance at a weekly hour-long workshop for ten weeks of the first term.
- The Certificate of Professional Communication involves 20 workshop hours over a one week period in the third term. This certificate also involves a work placement completed over four weeks in the summer (the work placement can be longer).
- The Certificate of Coaching Practice involves ten workshop hours over five weeks of the second term.
Modules in the Liberal Arts Department typically range from 4 to 18 students per class. Most of our core Liberal Arts modules have around 12 to 15 students per class. Students taking pathway modules in other departments may find themselves in more varied class sizes.
How will I be assessed?
Liberal Arts modules
In Liberal Arts we’ve devised an assessment strategy that allows you to develop your expertise in addressing problems. You'll do so by using a variety of perspectives from the arts, sciences, and social sciences. We’ll teach you to use a range of research methods. This will equip you with a solid foundation from which you can approach problems critically and creatively. Consequently, the range of assessments on this degree combines the traditional (essays and written examinations) with the innovative (creative projects, portfolios and performance).
Our assessments in Liberal Arts are designed to be authentic learning experiences, not barriers to overcome. Few single assessments are worth more than 50% of a module’s total mark. Assessment types vary to support the development of a range of academic and professional skills.
Modules from across the University
The methods of assessment will vary according to the optional modules that you choose from across the University. For example, if you take modules in Life Sciences as part of your pathway, you may undertake laboratory-based assessments.
Each year contributes to the final degree classification. For the three-year degree, the ratio is typically 10%:40%:50%. For the four-year intercalated degree, the ratio is typically 10%:40%:0%:50%.
Although it’s not compulsory to study abroad as part of the Liberal Arts degree, we encourage our students to consider this opportunity.
Our department has exclusive partnerships with specialist Liberal Arts colleges in Europe and Canada:
- Amsterdam University College (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
- Concordia University (Montréal, Canada)
- Jacobs University (Bremen, Germany)
- Leiden University College (The Hague, Netherlands)
- Leuphana University, (Lüneburg, Germany)
- University College Freiburg (Freiburg, Germany)
You’re able to spend a full year studying at one of these specialist colleges. This year will not contribute towards the overall grade of your degree, however, it will be recorded on your Higher Education Achievement Report (HEAR).
In addition to achieving the learning outcomes of the modules which you study whilst abroad, you'll develop knowledge and understanding of the social, political, economic and historical environment in another country through your experience of studying abroad. In particular, you'll gain an appreciation of the approach taken to Liberal Arts education by another leading institution and the cultural context in which it is delivered and understood. Although you'll be taught in English at all our partner institutions, it’s anticipated that through living and studying abroad you'll acquire some foreign language ability.
You may alternatively opt to study abroad at one of the University of Warwick's partner institutions.
We encourage you to undertake a work placement as part of your degree. This will enable you to engage in the world of work and learn about the professional environment. It’s an opportunity for you to apply theory to practice, develop skills, learn from industry professionals and explore a future career path.
As part of your degree you’ll have the option to take part in short and long work placements. The two main work placement options are:
- Intercalated year-long work placement
You’ll complete a four-year degree and your work placement will take place in your third year. The work placement can take place in the UK or globally and after completion you’ll return to Warwick for your final year. This work placement will be recognised on your Higher Education Achievement Report (HEAR).
- Short work placement
As part of the Certificate of Professional Communication, you’ll undertake a short four-week work placement during the summer. This work placement will be recognised on your Higher Education Achievement Report (HEAR).
We really encourage and support our students to engage in as many work experience opportunities as possible. This can be outside of the short work placement attached to the Certificate of Professional Communication and the intercalated year-long work placement.
General entry requirements
- You will also need grade B/grade 6 in English and Mathematics at GCSE
- We make differential offers to students in a number of circumstances at ABB, plus grade B/grade 6 in English and Mathematics at GCSE
- 38 to include English and Mathematics
- We welcome applications from students taking BTECs alongside one or two A levels
- You will also need grade B/grade 6 in English and Mathematics at GCSE
You will also need to meet our English Language requirements. This course falls under Band C.
We welcome applications from students with other internationally recognised qualifications.
Contextual data and differential offers
Warwick may make differential offers to students in a number of circumstances. These include students participating in the Realising Opportunities programme, or who meet two of the contextual data criteria. Differential offers will be one or two grades below Warwick’s standard offer (to a minimum of BBB).
Warwick International Foundation Programme (IFP)
All students who successfully complete the Warwick IFP and apply to Warwick through UCAS will receive a guaranteed conditional offer for a related undergraduate programme (selected courses only).
Taking a gap year
Applications for deferred entry welcomed.
We do not typically interview applicants. Offers are made based on your UCAS form which includes predicted and actual grades, your personal statement and school reference.
This module will introduce you to a range of methodologies used in social, historical, cultural and arts-based research. Qualitative research asks “why” and “how” rather than “how many". You’ll engage with theoretical debates. You'll put what you learn into practice by conducting primary research using archival, text-based and interview methodologies. The hands-on research assignments in this module will link to your other core modules so activities will always be relevant to your studies.
How is scientific knowledge produced? 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 will explore the generation and dissemination of scientific knowledge through peer-reviewed articles, public-facing media such as news reporting, science fiction, and popular science writing. It will support you in critically reflecting on received wisdom regarding society’s understanding of science, and how you can proactively and productively intervene in public discourse on scientific topics.
This module explores the ways in which art (that is, the things we make) prompts, presages, or responds to revolutionary moments of crisis and change across history. You’ll learn how to apply a range of research skills to generate original approaches to complex historical and contemporary social, political, economic, and religious revolutions and the things we make in relation to those events.
This module will help you to learn how we can use quantitative data to understand the world around us. You'll learn about the foundations of quantitative analysis. We’ll cover the principles of quantitative research, descriptive statistics and data visualisation. You’ll begin to consider how we can use data at our disposal to draw conclusions about the wider world.
This is a core module for our more technical pathways and will act as a prerequisite for more advanced analytical modules
This is your introduction to the history and thinking behind Liberal Arts. It's where you'll begin to think beyond the boundaries of traditional academic disciplines. We'll introduce you to the key intellectual debates that guide Liberal Arts thinking. You'll also learn about the theoretical and practical benefits of a Liberal Arts education.
By studying sustainability challenges as complex interdisciplinary issues, this module addresses difficult questions around defining and understanding sustainability, opportunities and limitations in individual and collective action, issues in business and globalisation, and the sustainability of population and society. With the freedom to explore these topics from a variety of disciplinary approaches, you’ll develop a detailed evidence-based understanding of current controversies, debates and theories, and the confidence to explore feasible policy approaches in the sustainability sphere.
This module uses cultural interventions and sociological and historical frameworks to interrogate the role that consumption plays in contemporary society. Using a multi-disciplinary Problem-Based Learning approach, you’ll explore how consumption operates as an organising or driving social force. Through the analysis of film, literature, music, art, historical texts, social research and critical theory, you’ll consider questions of power, identity, protest, nation-building, citizenship and ideology.
Your dissertation is a year-long project that marks the culmination of your experience at Warwick. You’ll design and carry out a significant piece of original research: the ideal opportunity for you to showcase what you’ve learned and what you can do next. You’ll be able to make a real contribution to an area of academic study, a policy debate, or community issue that’s important to you. You’ll draw on subject experts from across the University, and you’ll work with a dedicated advisor who can help you achieve your project goals.
Examples of optional modules/options for current students
Optional modules in the Liberal Arts Department
- Problems in Governance: The European Union
- The Apocalyptic Imaginary
- Utopia: Text, Theory, Practice
- The Quest I: Departure and Enchantment
- The Quest II: Exile and Homecoming
Optional modules from across the University
- An Introduction to Design Thinking Theory and Practice (Institute for Advanced Teaching and Learning)
- Critical Security Studies (Politics and International Studies)
- Being Human: Human Nature from the Renaissance to Freud (History)
- Introduction to Art History: The Natural World and the Arts of Modernity (History of Art)
- Discovering Cinema (Film and Television Studies)
- Economics 1 (Economics)
- Molecules, Cells and Organisms (Life Sciences)
- Environmental Principles of Global Sustainable Development (Global Sustainable Development)
Additional course costs
There may be costs associated with other items or services such as academic texts, course notes, and trips associated with your course. Students who choose to complete a work placement or study abroad will pay reduced tuition fees for their third year.
We believe there should be no barrier to talent. That's why we are committed to offering a scholarship that makes it easier for gifted, ambitious international learners to pursue their academic interests at one of the UK's most prestigious universities. This new scheme will offer international fee-paying students 250 tuition fee discounts ranging from full fees to awards of £13,000 to £2,000 for the full duration of your Undergraduate degree course.
Graduate outcomes for Liberal Arts students worldwide show a wide range of trajectories. As a Warwick Liberal Arts student you’ll equally have a range of career opportunities available to you, the variety of which will depend on your chosen pathway.
Liberal Arts graduates tend to gravitate towards research-intensive and/or leadership roles, where they can use their critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Our graduates have worked in a diverse range of fields and sectors, with recent graduates in the public, private, and third sectors. They have taken positions in:
- Research institutions
- Governmental bodies
- Non-governmental organisations (NGOs)
- The health sector
Helping you find the right career
We have a dedicated Employability and Placement Manager in our department who’ll provide you with careers guidance. They work in collaboration with employers so you’ll be supported in applying for appropriate work placements. You’ll have access to specialist pre-placement advice, guidance and preparation. You’ll also be provided with on-going support during your placement.
Additionally, you’ll have the support of the careers team within Student Opportunity. They can help you with building confidence and self-awareness; developing the skills graduate recruiters look for; advice and guidance on careers options; and preparing and applying for jobs, further study, and work experience.
Our undergraduate students reflect on their decision to study a Liberal Arts degree at Warwick.
"What I’ve really appreciated about Liberal Arts, which I know doesn’t exist everywhere, is the constant care that they have for you as an individual."
Hear from our staff
Hear from our staff about our unique programme, the different pathways designed to help you develop an expertise in a particular area, and the unique teaching-style which encourages you to be the co-creator in the classroom.
“I chose Liberal Arts in part because of the freedom it provided when I first came to university, I really had very little idea of what I wanted to do with my life, let alone what I wanted to study.
After studying modules from the Global Sustainable Development department at Warwick, I realised that sustainability was something that had always interested me, but that I had never really been able to fully explore. As a result I ended up really enjoying my sustainability themed modules and chose the Sustainability pathway.
In future I definitely want my work to be based around sustainability, but it's a very broad field so this can range from working for an NGO to working in politics. I still have many avenues to explore, but I believe the combination of Liberal Arts training and the Sustainability pathway will set me up well.
All the staff in Liberal Arts show a real sense of care for students, and our personal and academic wellbeing is clearly a huge priority. I have received amazing support in discovering my interests, exploring the different approaches to study them, and tailoring my degree to make it unique to me."
BA Liberal Arts
About the information on this page
This information is applicable for 2021 entry. Given the interval between the publication of courses and enrolment, some of the information may change. It is important to check our website before you apply. Please read our terms and conditions to find out more.