Knowledge is rooted in the experiences of people across the world. It is created from memory, culture, landscape and myth. This knowledge is often split into separate ‘disciplines’ such as those in the sciences, maths, history, geography, literature and art. However, true knowledge does not recognise these boundaries; the world is complex, interconnected and networked.
Our course is for you if you love studying a variety of subjects, and want to maintain this breadth of knowledge at university. 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
Based within our Interdisciplinary Studies Centre (ISC), 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 the university campus. We support you in expanding your education through offering the opportunity to spend a year or a term studying abroad at one of our partner universities. The four-year version of our degree allows you to spend the third year abroad or employed on a placement abroad, while otherwise remaining identical to the three-year course.
Studying abroad allows 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 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.
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
- A Liberal Arts course can lead to a wide variety of careers in the media, journalism, publishing, local government and other fields
- We are a team of internationally recognised writers and lecturers across a range of disciplines
- As our most flexible course, you can build your own degree as your interests develop
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. The course content is therefore reviewed on an annual basis to ensure our courses remain up-to-date so modules listed are subject to change.
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.
On a placement year you gain relevant work experience within an external business or organisation, giving you a competitive edge in the graduate job market and providing you with key contacts within the industry. The rest of your course remains identical to the three-year degree.
On your year abroad, you have the opportunity 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. The rest of your course remains identical to the three-year degree.
- Taught through lectures and classes of about twenty students
- A one-hour lecture and a one-hour class for each of your modules every week. Some core modules are organised as two-hour seminars, rather than lectures and classes
- Your language classes involve lectures, classes and language laboratory sessions
- You are assessed on essays, book reviews, class presentations, projects, take-home exams and end-of-year unseen examinations
- Your first-year marks do not count towards determining your overall degree class