On our four-year BA Liberal Arts (including foundation year), we work with you to develop your subject-specific knowledge, and to improve your academic skills. You receive a thorough grounding in these areas during your foundation year (known as Year Zero) to prepare you for a further three years of undergraduate study at Essex. Our five-year version of this course enables you to study abroad during your fourth year of study.
This course includes a foundation year (Year Zero), followed by a further three years of study, or a further four years of study including a study abroad year. During your Year Zero, you study three academic subjects relevant to your chosen course as well as a compulsory academic skills module, with additional English language for non-English speakers.
At Essex, our BA Liberal Arts will allow you to study a variety of subjects. With the opportunity to major in History, Literature, Art History, Philosophy, Politics, Media Studies or Sociology, you broaden your horizons by exploring the ways in which the humanities and social sciences help us to think imaginatively and critically about the worlds we live in.
You take modules which cover the historical foundations of the humanities, challenge dominant worldviews, and explore innovative and subversive essays and manifestos. The flexible structure of this course allows you to choose a range of optional modules across literature, film, philosophy, history of art, history, linguistics, politics, sociology and modern languages.
The types of issues and problems you might explore include:
- How commercial and independent films interpret human relationships
- How to compose your own writing, inspired by the great essayists
- Important philosophical questions about life, death and religion
- Great works of art and literature
The choice is yours: you choose your modules based on your own background and interests. You engage with unusual, controversial, and provocative ideas, so that you can use the humanities and social sciences to become critically aware and possess the tools to change the world for the better.
Your education extends beyond our University campus. The five-year version of our degree allows you to spend your fourth year studying abroad, while otherwise remaining identical to the four-year course.
You study modules in the liberal arts and social sciences, comparable to what you might take at Essex.
Studying abroad can allow you to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised.
If you spend a full year abroad you’ll only pay 15% of your usual tuition fee to Essex for that year. You won’t pay any tuition fees to your host university
Our expert staff
We have some of the best teachers across the University in our Essex Pathways Department , all of whom have strong subject backgrounds and are highly skilled in their areas.
In our Interdisciplinary Studies Centre we are a team of internationally recognised writers and lecturers with expertise across the arts, humanities and social sciences. You are taught by a highly qualified, enthusiastic team with wide-ranging research interests and a proven academic scholarship.
Our staff teach in departments across the University, and specialise in a wide range of topics including literature, film, history of art, history, politics and sociology.
Current research is exploring indigenous experiences of colonialism, public sociology, nature writing, contemporary world cinema, wealth inequalities, and the implementation of American advertising practices in Australia.
By studying within our Essex Pathways Department for your foundation year, you will have access to all of the facilities that the University of Essex has to offer, as well as those provided by our department to support you:
- We provide computer labs for internet research; classrooms with access to PowerPoint facilities for student presentations; AV facilities for teaching and access to web-based learning materials
- Our new Student Services Hub will support you and provide information for all your needs as a student
- Our social space is stocked with hot magazines and newspapers, and provides an informal setting to meet with your lecturers, tutors and friends
Our Interdisciplinary Studies Centre also offers excellent on-campus facilities:
As a liberal arts graduate, you’ll be provided with an all-round education that can lead to a more extensive range of knowledge, better communication skills and a more flexible and positive attitude to life. The best way to prepare for the future is to develop the abilities and skills which make you resilient; reasoning skills which mean that you do not accept easy answers; so that you can always question.
A Liberal Arts course can lead to a wide variety of careers in the media, journalism, publishing, local government, voluntary agencies, librarianship, finance, management and other fields. Many employers prefer to recruit students with a broad-based liberal arts education (and provide them with vocational training during their first year at work) than to recruit students who have specialised in one discipline.
Our recent graduates have gone on to work for a wide range of organisations including Euromoney, a financial publication company, a housing association, and an English language school in Japan.
We also work with our Student Development Team to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.
Why we’re great
- We equip you with the necessary knowledge and skills to succeed at Essex and beyond.
- Guarantee a place on your chosen course upon successful completion of your foundation year.
- Small class sizes allow you to work closely with your teachers and classmates.
We offer a flexible course structure with a mixture of core/compulsory modules, and optional modules chosen from lists.
Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field, therefore all modules listed are subject to change. Your course structure could differ based on the modules you choose. To view the compulsory modules and full list of optional modules currently on offer, please view the programme specification via the link below.
Teaching and learning disclaimer
Following the impact of the pandemic, we made changes to our teaching and assessment to ensure our current students could continue with their studies uninterrupted and safely. These changes included courses being taught through blended delivery, normally including some face-to-face teaching, online provision, or a combination of both across the year.
The teaching and assessment methods listed show what is currently approved for 2022 entry; changes may be necessary if, by the beginning of this course, we need to adapt the way we’re delivering them due to the external environment, and to allow you to continue to receive the best education possible safely and seamlessly.