What is Liberal Arts?
- Liberal Arts education has a long history in Western civilisation. In its oldest form, it involved students thinking philosophically about questions that crossed the rigid boundaries of disciplines, and encouraged them to use critical tools from the humanities, the social and natural sciences, and fine arts to address these questions.
- It enables you to study a wide range of subjects and to create a pathway through the degree that reflects your individual intellectual interests, allowing for flexibility in module choices and innovation in subject specialism. You will become aware of how different disciplines coincide and converge and you will learn to address questions by deploying the most appropriate methodology and utilising the most relevant evidence.
- The course will appeal to you if you approach problems from the perspective of more than one discipline and enjoy thinking about the Big Questions that are facing our contemporary society and the world at large.
Why study Liberal Arts at Warwick?
- Our course is constructed around Problem-Based-Learning (PBL), which involves learning about a subject through problem-solving. This practical style of learning will transform you from a passive receiver of knowledge into an active producer of ideas. You will work with your fellow students to examine real world problems from a variety of disciplinary perspectives; learning how to use a range of analytical tools to gather information and develop potential solutions.
- Our bespoke Liberal Arts Core Modules have been specifically developed for this degree and offer a solid grounding in a broad range of theories and methodologies, while our Disciplinary Interest/Specialist Interest Pathways allow you to develop expertise in a specific area of study. In addition, you can acquire professional awards as part of your degree that will help to enhance your employability: a Certificate of Digital Literacy, a Certificate of Coaching and a Certificate of Professional Communication.
- Warwick offers a growing number of interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary courses. This means our general approach to teaching correlates with the Liberal Arts strategy of delivering innovative teaching and learning that crosses traditional subject boundaries. The opportunity to study overseas or undertake a placement in a professional setting will further enhance your learning experience.
As this is a new course which began in October 2016, the information to inform an accurate KIS widget for Liberal Arts at Warwick is not available. Please visit the Unistats website for more information .
What will I learn?
Do you enjoy thinking about the ‘Big Questions’ that are facing contemporary society and the world at large? This course will suit you if you enjoy approaching complex problems from the perspective of more than one discipline. Starting with a rich and varied range of modules in the first year, the course becomes progressively more specialised allowing you to tailor your learning to suit your own intellectual interests.
Your first year is foundational, covering the principles of Liberal Education as well as Research Methods across the Humanities, Sciences and Social Sciences disciplines. You study two core modules (Art and Revolution; and Science, Society and the Media) as well as one optional module of your choice. You also complete the Certificate of Digital Literacy.
Towards the end of the first year, you choose either a Disciplinary Interest or a Specialist Interest (based on a Big Question rather than a particular academic discipline). Our Director of Student Experience will help to support and guide you in making this decision.
Your second year comprises 50% core modules (examining the broad questions of Consumption and Sustainability) and 50% optional modules from your chosen field of interest. During this year you develop your communication skills and add new perspectives to your academic knowledge by taking part in a national conference of undergraduate research. An internship scheme or work placement in the summer of your second year enables you to apply the skills you’ve developed to real-world challenges.
You also complete an associated Certificate of Professional Communication and you have the option of completing a Certificate of Coaching. After your second year, you have the option to spend an intercalated year at one of our partner institutions (in Europe, Australia or the US), adding a year to the duration of your course. Your final year comprises 75% modules chosen from your Disciplinary or Specialist Interest. A final dissertation or project makes up the remaining 25% of your final year.
The links below allow you to access details about each Disciplinary Interest and each Specialist Interest:
Still not sure about Liberal Arts? Read our FAQs to find out more.
How will I learn?
The course is constructed around Problem-Based-Learning (PBL). This dynamic student-centred pedagogy allows the course to evolve and adapt to the social, political, scientific and historic environments in which it is delivered. PBL also allows for a continual revising of the course to suit the particular learning needs of students.
This trans-disciplinary approach to learning will include lectures, seminars, workshops and tutorials, in which you will be taught by a range of academics, from different disciplines, who will communicate their expertise on a specific issue and describe their methodology for addressing it. Your role is to bring together these various approaches and to develop your own informed stance on each issue.
You will become aware of how different disciplines coincide and converge and you will learn to address questions by deploying the most appropriate methodology and utilising the most relevant evidence.
How will I be assessed?
We have devised an assessment strategy that allows you to develop your expertise in addressing problems using a variety of perspectives from the Arts, Sciences and Social Sciences. We will teach you to use quantitative and qualitative methods of research, and this will equip you with a solid foundation from which you can approach contemporary problems critically and creative. Consequently, the range of assessments on this degree combines the traditional (essays and written examinations) with the innovative (creative projects, portfolios and performance).
For example, in the first year of the degree you will take the Art and Revolution module where you will review films, analyse graffiti and draft articles for the media conveying your own, unique perspective on the ways in which Artistic movements have pre-empted or reacted to Revolutionary moments. Conversely, in the module on Science, Society and the Media you will focus on analysing data, critiquing case studies, engaging with political and scientific documents as well as undertaking practical activities, as part of the formal assessment. In addition, during the course you will produce short critical essays, analyses and written reviews – some of which may be in the form of contributions to online blogs and forums - research papers, reflective journals and portfolios and oral presentations.
You will be expected to present your work in a public forum such as the British Conference for Undergraduate Research or the International Conference of Undergraduate Research. You will contribute to group projects and deliver extended pieces of writing (for the final year dissertation) as well as sit mid and end of year short tests and traditional end of year written examinations.
The methods of assessment across the course as a whole vary according to the optional modules that you choose each year and therefore the route that you follow through the course. For example, if you follow the Life Sciences pathway, you may also undertake laboratory-based assessment.
What opportunities are there to study abroad?
You will have the opportunity to spend an intercalated year at one of our partner institutions (in Europe, Australia, the USA). The Study Abroad Team based in the Office for Global Engagement offers support for these activities.
A level AAB plus B in Mathematics at GCSE
International Baccalaureate 36 points plus B in Mathematics at GCSE, or 5 in Higher Level Mathematics or 6 in Standard Level Mathematics or Maths Studies.
We welcome applications from students with other internationally recognised qualifications. For more information please visit the international entry requirements page.
Access Courses Access to HE Diploma (QAA recognised) including appropriate subjects with distinction grades in level 3 units. Candidates must meet essential subject requirements.
Warwick International Foundation Programme (IFP) Applications received through UCAS from students who successfully complete the IFP will be considered on an individual basis by the Liberal Arts Team alongside a separate Personal Statement. Decisions regarding offers will be communicated to applicants via the UCAS system. For full details of standard offers and conditions visit the IFP page.
General Studies/Critical Thinking Offers normally exclude General Studies and Critical Thinking.
No specific subject(s) or combination of subjects is required. However, you may be required to demonstrate competence in a particular subject, or a related subject, in order to be able to follow some disciplinary pathways/specialist interest routes. Please contact the Liberal Arts team for further guidance.
Find out about our English Language requirements.
Personal Statements Applicants who meet the entry requirements or who are predicted to meet the requirements for the course are invited to submit a second personal statement. Details of what the second statement should cover and how to submit it are provided in the email request. Applicants have two weeks to submit their second statement.
The second statement provides our Admissions Tutors with more information about an applicant and why they are interested in our course. It is read alongside the initial statement to give a full picture of the individual and enable a sure assessment of the applicant's suitability for the course.
Gap Year Applications for deferred entry are welcomed.
Interviews We do not typically interview applicants. Offers are made based on your predicted and actual grades, along with your personal statement. Occasionally, some applicants may be interviewed, for example candidates returning to study or those with non-standard qualifications.
Open Days We invite all offer holders to Departmental Open Days in the spring term. For details of our main University Open Days and other opportunities to see campus head to our Visit Us pages.
UCAS Code LA99
What modules can I study?
Overview of Core Modules
In the first year, you take a set of 3 core modules and choose 1 option from any department, including the Language Centre. By the end of the year you decide either on a Disciplinary Interest or on a Specialist Interest.
Liberal Arts: Principles and Praxis: You will be introduced to the history and pedagogical principles of Liberal Arts education, and you will explore how its thinking differs from traditional disciplines. You will look at issues facing society and engage in intellectual debate.
Art & Revolution: What does graffiti tell us about the Arab Spring? What artistic movements anticipated the Industrial Revolution? How did art change in the aftermath of the Iranian Revolution? These questions and their associated cultural, historical and social contexts are explored in-depth on this first year module. Looking at four revolutions of global significance, you will bring History, Politics, History of Art, Theatre and Performance Studies and Film Studies together to explore the past and present status of artistic expression in its various guises and consider how it has reacted to or anticipated revolutionary moments.
Science, Society and the Media: You will focus on contemporary questions around the public understanding of science and the role that the media plays in communicating and shaping our attitudes towards science. You will tackle the prevalent assumption that 'despite the huge strides made in technology, we still live in a scientifically illiterate society' (Gregory 2000) and examine the ways in which public decisions are shaped by the media's representation and manipulation of science. Using a practical approach, you will be introduced to a set of topical issues making headlines in the national and local media and apply critical and creative responses to them through close analysis of case studies.
Research Methods I and II: These modules introduce you to the range of research skills employed in the arts and humanities, the sciences and social sciences disciplines, preparing you to undertake your own research later in the course. Using a problem-based approach to teaching, you will learn to apply various research methodologies to research questions. In this respect, we are unique in teaching research methods not only theoretically, but also with its practical applications.
Overview of Second Year Core Modules
In the second year, you take 2 set Core modules in Liberal Arts. These constitute half of your workload. The other half is made up by modules from your chosen Disciplinary Interest or Specialist Interest.
Consumption: This core module introduces you to the intellectual interface between the sciences, social sciences and humanities by focusing on ideas, attitudes and current debates on the notion of consumption. Topics of study will fall into 3 broad areas: Consumption as an illness (History of Medicine; Medicine); Consumption as an Economic concern (Business and Economics) and Consumption in society and culture (Literature, Philosophy, Music, Drama, Film). In order to address these various perspectives and achieve in-depth understandings of the Big Questions that unite them, you will draw on your knowledge of research methods acquired in the first year. You will also learn to apply the most appropriate and relevant theories to tackle problems associated with Consumption and the Body, Consumption and Wealth, Consumption and Social praxis.
Sustainability: This core module allows you to delve into the complex theories and practical applications of the problem of sustainability. You will examine contradictory theories from Sciences, Social Sciences and the Humanities and you will use your critical and analytical skills to navigate through the various discourses, principles and practices that affect all societies in the 21st century. Topics of study fall into 3 broad areas: Sustainability and the Environment (Ecology, Environmental Science, Engineering); Sustainability and cultural practices (Philosophy, Sociology, Literature, History) and Sustainability and Economics (Business, Economics, Law). In order to address these various perspectives and achieve in-depth understandings of the Big Questions that unite them, you will draw on your knowledge of research methods acquired in the first year. You will also learn to apply the most appropriate and relevant theories to tackle problems associated with Sustainability and Climate Change, Sustainability and Organisations , Sustainability and Tradition.
Overview of Final Year Core Modules
In the final year the core Liberal Arts component is a dissertation or a practical project. The rest of your modules will be from your chosen Disciplinary Interest or Specialist Interest.
Dissertation/Final Year Project: You will formulate a thesis, conduct in-depth research into an area of intellectual interest to you and produce a substantial piece of research that contributes to scholarship and demonstrates the skills, knowledge and understanding that you have acquired throughout the course. You will benefit from close supervision by an expert in your chosen area.
During each year of the course you will be able to select optional modules from a wide range offered by departments across the University. In your second and final years, these modules will correspond to your chosen disciplinary interest or specialist interest area which you will declare at the end of your first year – with guidance from your tutors. This structure means that the degree course is very flexible and allows you to forge your own pathway through it; following your own intellectual interests and passions.
Pathways could include:
Liberal Arts - Biology
Liberal Arts - Film
Liberal Arts - History
Liberal Arts - Theatre and Performance Studies
Liberal Arts - Philosophy
Liberal Arts - Social Justice
Liberal Arts - Food Security
Liberal Arts - Global Sustainable Development
*The modules mentioned above may be subject to change. Please read our terms and conditions for more detailed information.
What careers can a degree in Liberal Arts lead to?
A Liberal Arts degree prepares you to adapt to constantly changing environments, analyse problems and offer solutions from varied perspectives, and the breadth of subjects covered is well regarded by employers.
Graduates from Liberal Arts courses have enjoyed success in a wide range of fields including law, teaching, media, business, academia, politics and public service.
This course recruited its first cohort of students in October 2016; information about their graduate destinations will be shared on our website in due course.
A level: AAB plus grade B in GCSE Mathematics
IB: 36 points including 5 in Higher Level Mathematics or 6 in Standard Level Mathematics
Degree of Bachelor of Arts (BA)
3 years full time (30 weeks per academic year)
Location of study
University of Warwick, Coventry
Find out more about fees and funding
Other course costs
There may be costs associated with other items or services such as academic texts, course notes, and trips associated with your course. For further information on the typical additional costs you should contact the department administering the course.
This information is applicable for 2017 entry.