Q&A: Why should you study a liberal arts degree in the UK? | Top Universities

Q&A: Why should you study a liberal arts degree in the UK?

By Chloe Lane

Updated June 9, 2022 Updated June 9, 2022

Sponsored by the University of Roehampton 

A liberal arts degree is a broad degree that covers a diverse breadth of subjects across the humanities, social sciences and arts.  

While it is incredibly wide ranging, the degree enables you to develop an expertise in your area of interest, adapting the programme to your own interests. 

To find out more about the degree, TopUniversities spoke to Dr Katharine Rowold (pictured above), the programme convenor of the University of Roehampton’s new BA Liberal Arts.  

Dr Rowold gave us an insight into what students can expect when studying a liberal arts degree in the UK and the types of careers this might lead to. 

What will a degree in liberal arts teach you?  

The advantage of a liberal arts degree is that it provides students with rigorous training across a broad range of different subject areas.  

Students find themselves engaging with ideas, topics and methods from the arts, humanities and social sciences. It provides broad intellectual knowledge and a unique set of useful skills for the workplace or further study. 

Why should students consider studying a liberal arts degree at a UK university?  

BA degrees in England involve three years of study, and the structure of the BA Liberal Arts ensures that students became skilled in interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary thinking and problem-solving, regardless of which pathway they follow.  

The University of Roehampton is set in a beautiful 54-acre parkland campus, with historic buildings alongside modern facilities, in the heart of south-west London within easy reach of central London and its world-class libraries and museums. Some of these locations and collections form part of the curriculum for our students.  

Who should study a liberal arts degree?  

Any student wishing to engage with a diverse curriculum, which will facilitate interdisciplinary thinking, create wide-ranging knowledge in a number of disciplines, and engender independent thinking, effective research, communication, and problem-solving skills. 

How much scope is there for students to tailor this degree to their interests and career aspirations?  

At Roehampton, BA Liberal Arts students can create their own degrees, by selecting modules from options in arts, humanities and social sciences that cover six major themes:  

  • Social Justice and Identity 

  • Politics and International Relations 

  • Literature and Language 

  • Religions and Philosophy  

  • History and Heritage 

  • Media and Creative Industries   

Students acquire a specialism by completing at least three modules and a dissertation in their chosen pathway in the second and third year. 

Employability is embedded at all levels in this degree, which prepares students for a broad range of careers.  

Students with specific career aspirations can tailor their pathways to these, take an optional module that involves a work placement in their field of interest, or take a sandwich year that allows them to benefit from a year in the workplace.  

Could you tell us about the teaching styles throughout the programme? 

Throughout the programme we teach in lectures, seminars, workshops, tutorials and some field trips.  

Extensive on-campus activities are complemented by a wide range of online activities, including, for instance, short recorded lectures and online discussion forums and quizzes. 

 A strong personal tutorial system underwrites teaching, providing students individual support throughout the degree. 

Students will produce a wide range of assignments that not only foster knowledge and analytical skills, but also include authentic learning tasks that mirror those they might undertake as a professional or citizen.  

They write essays, reports and book or film reviews which prepare them to conduct research and to express ideas in a clear and convincing manner.  

Delivering live and recorded oral presentations helps develop key communication skills and allows students to work collaboratively with others. There’s also the opportunity to produce blogs and podcasts that foster digital research skills.  

What practical, transferable skills will a liberal arts degree teach? 

The BA Liberal Arts degree equips students to think critically and creatively, develop and present arguments confidently by analysing evidence and assessing relevant scholarly literature as well as the possibility to develop creative projects.  

The programme develops students’ ability to conduct independent research using traditional and digital resources. They’re equipped to debate and articulate a point of view and to communicate opinions orally and in writing. Through this process, they learn to work independently, creatively, flexibly and collaboratively.  

What career paths will a liberal arts degree prepare you for? 

A liberal arts degree prepares you for a wide range of careers including:  

  • Publishing 
  • Teaching 
  • Law 
  • Cultural heritage and management 
  • Journalism 
  • Media and advertising 
  • Public relations  
  • Community and social services 
  • Library services 
  • Business 
  • A broad range of civil service professions. 

This article was originally published in June 2022 .

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Written by

As Content Editor for TopUniversities.com and TopMBA.com, Chloe creates and publishes a wide range of articles for universities and business schools across the world. Chloe has a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Reading and grew up in Leicestershire, UK. 

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