Liberal Arts is aimed at ambitious students interested in the humanities and social sciences.

Frequently asked questions

Because Liberal Arts is a new and innovative programme, we have gathered the most commonly-asked questions from applicants and answered them here.

If you have any questions about the Liberal Arts programme which aren't answered here, please contact undergraduate enquiries:

Email: hums-ugadmissions@exeter.ac.uk
Phone: +44 (0)1392 724202

Questions

Answers

What is Liberal Arts?
Liberal Arts is an interdisciplinary degree programme which has been carefully crafted to develop your intellectual capabilities and interests. Through its considered balance between breadth and depth of study, it will equip you with the critical skills, experiences and cultural intelligence which are valued by employers.

Liberal Arts is aimed at ambitious students interested principally in the humanities and social sciences, who want a structured degree programme, working with a cohort of like-minded peers, but don’t want to be limited from the outset to traditional disciplinary boundaries.

What is the difference between a Liberal Arts degree in the UK and the US?
A Liberal Arts degree is one of the strongest models of undergraduate education across North America, both in small Liberal Arts colleges and bigger universities. It combines breadth with depth, and generally includes various course requirements, such as language study.

In developing our programme, we have sought to combine the core principles of the North American model with the strengths of a leading British research-intensive university.

We have adopted the idea of course requirements, to guarantee that our graduates have developed a range of identifiable skills. We have also designed interdisciplinary core modules at first-year level, as existing first-year modules are more suited to students being specialists in one discipline, in the way that North American modules do not.

In later years, our students have access to a great range of research-led modules, drawing on a range and intensity of specialism that smaller North American colleges could not provide. Throughout the programme we will engage with cutting-edge approaches to teaching and learning, inspired by elite Liberal Arts colleges.

Why shouldn’t I just study a Flexible Combined Honours or Combined Honours degree?
The carefully-considered design of the Liberal Arts programme makes it unlike a typical Combined or Flexible Combined Honours degree. It is not a “pick ‘n’ mix” degree; on the contrary, we want to create a programme that will be recognised for the way it ensures graduates have a distinct set of skills, as well as the kind of academic excellence and independent mindedness one would expect of any Exeter graduate.

Will a Liberal Arts degree prepare me for postgraduate study?
Those graduating with the BA Liberal Arts will provide an ideal foundation for other MA programmes, including those that are vocationally oriented.

What is the difference between the BA and the MLibArts?
An optional fourth year of study will convert your programme into a Master of Liberal Arts degree. In this year you will take modules at both BA and Masters levels in your major area specialisation, and research and write a Liberal Arts dissertation under the supervision of an academic specialist in your chosen field. If you apply initially for the BA, you can opt into the MLibArts in the course of your first two years.

Can I still receive UG funding for MLibArts?
Yes; undergraduate funding is available for up to five years, which means that you can undertake an MLibArts, even with a study year abroad. Find out more at the Student Loan Company website and at our own student finance webpages.

Do I pick a major subject in my Liberal Arts degree? If so, what subjects can I choose?
Yes. Subjects offered will include Anthropology, Arab and Islamic Studies, Archaeology, Art History and Visual Culture, Classics and Ancient History, Drama, English, Film Studies, History, Modern Languages, Philosophy, Politics, Sociology, and Theology and Religion.

What will my degree title be on my graduation certificate?
Your degree title will reflect the choices you make in the latter years of your programme. So, for example, your degree certificate might say “Liberal Arts (English)” or “Liberal Arts (History)”. The same applies to the MLibArts, which would give you a degree titled “MLibArts (English)” or “MLibArts (History)”.

Can I do a study abroad year during my degree? If so, where can I go?
Yes. There is a wide range of destinations to choose from – find out more at our study abroad webpages.

Are there mandatory modules in the programme?
Yes; we’ve designed three core modules for the first year of the programme to give you a thorough grounding in the nature of interdisciplinary study. One will develop your skills as a critical reader and a persuasive writer. Another will teach you how to engage and critique Western cultural preferences by exploring the shifting social values of the body. The third core module will address social, economic and scientific debates surrounding foodways and consumption.

In your second year, you will take the unique ‘Think-Tank’ module, working in supervised groups to address a contemporary problem in a manner informed by academic research.

There are also further course requirements which you will need to fulfil in your first two years: study of a language, and study of a module that employs ‘quantitative methods’, in each case to a minimum value of 30 credits.

What is ‘quantitative methodology’?
Quantitative methodology is a term used to describe approaches to research and learning grounded in statistical methods. Our first-year core module, ‘Foodways’, will introduce these methods to students, bridging the gap for those who have not worked in the sciences or social sciences at A Level (or equivalent).

Afterwards, we will help Liberal Arts students to select quantitative methods modules appropriate to their abilities, choosing from an approved list including options in History, Politics, Sociology, Geography, or (for students with the appropriate background) science subjects like Mathematics or Physics.

Can I study modules from any other programme in the University?
Yes, as long as you have the appropriate expertise and meet the required prerequisites. However, our Liberal Arts course is primarily a Humanities and Social Sciences course, so your major will fall under one of these categories.

Do I have to be proficient in languages to fulfil the language requirement?
Not at all. The programme commits itself to developing language skills in all students, but makes no assumptions about a student’s background. We will help you to choose an appropriate module, in an appropriate language, at an appropriate level.

Is it possible to take more than one language?
Yes it is; for instance you could major in one language and take modules in another as well.