Liberal Arts Study in the UK

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liberal arts study in UK

 Liberal Artseducation is today a highly searched item on digital platforms. Recruiters are also eager to hire young professionals who have a broad Liberal Arts education which equips them with Critical Thinking skills. However, the idea of a broad-based Liberal Arts education is not new at all! Believe it or not, it dates back to the 19th C when discussions among intellectuals associated with Harvard University, Yale, and Cambridge led to the conclusion that Humanities, Life Sciences, and Social Sciences were ALL important for a student to become a well-rounded problem-solver and that anyone subject trajectory would be limiting intellectually. Thus, Liberal Arts Education is a concept. It is not an ‘Arts’ education but a broad-based program that allows a student to choose from a range of courses and create a degree with one or two ‘Majors’ (specializations) and an accompanying ‘Minor’.

Thus, a student can choose to emphasize Social Sciences, Life sciences, or Humanities (Literature, Art History, Linguistics, Philosophy, or Ethics). The UK is a preferred destination for international students from around the world. A typical cohort at a UK university would attract students from all across Europe, Asia, and many ‘Commonwealth’ countries including from Africa. This blog has everything you need to know about Liberal Arts Study in the UK 

Liberal Arts Courses and Eligibility 

Many of UK’s top universities have strong Liberal Arts colleges within their campuses. The degree may be called ‘B.A. Liberal Arts’ or ‘B.A. Liberal Arts and Sciences. The requirements for liberal Arts at UK universities may vary. Below are broad parameters: 

  • International Baccalaureate requirements: Minimum 34 points.
  • A-levels requirements: AAB.
  • IELTS requirements: Overall 6.0. Not lower than 5.5 in any one component.


  • Varies between 3—4 years. 
  • Some institutions allow for a year of Study Abroad in the 3 rd year. 
  • In some cases, a student may add a year of work experience in the 4th year. 
  • Some universities permit a student to complete coursework in 3 years. 

Must Read: What is Liberal Arts Education 

Curriculum and Coursework 

The curriculum is designed to be deeply Multidisciplinary. Over the course of 3 years, students can choose from a range of offerings. It’s like a ‘Buffet Menu’!To ensure that a student does some courses from each of the different trajectories, some courses are ‘requirements’ Thus, there would be a requirement to do a language course, another in Social Sciences and some courses from Life Sciences. These ‘required’ courses are not ‘Advanced level” courses. They enable a student to explore his/her own aptitude and choose more advanced courses in the areas in which they wish to develop their future careers. Below are some typical subject groupings at universities in the UK: 

Humanities  Languages, Literature, Theatre, Linguistics, Philosophy, Religion, Art History 
Social Sciences History, World Politics, Sociology, Psychology, Anthropology, Gender Studies, Law, Diplomacy, Economics, Peace and Conflict Resolution, Cybersecurity, and Area Studies (focusing on specific regions of the world). 
Life Sciences Chemistry, Physics, Environment Studies, Biology, Geology, etc. 

Flexibility! is the advantage of a Liberal Arts curriculum. Students do not need to commit to their ‘Major’ in the First year of college. You can choose as you go along. The advantage is that a student’s exposure to different subjects empowers them to make wise and mature decisions about shaping their future careers. Over the years, I have taught students who took courses in Media Studies, Journalism, Law, and Economics. With that combination, one of them got their first job with Facebook, and the other one works for the New York Times! Another student did courses on Business, Sociology, and Data Science. He now works for a successful Healthcare-Tech company in Silicon Valley. 

Also Read: What is Career Design?

Top Universities for Liberal Arts in UK

Some UK Universities have Multidisciplinary research centers for example Oxford encourages research that intersects Humanities and Neuroscience. Such unusual specializations can enhance employability in the job market. Below are some premier universities in UK for a Liberal Arts degree: 

And of course, the very popular: 

  • University College London (which offers 12 options for ‘Majors’ in Liberal Arts to Study in the UK!) 
  • University of Edinburgh, (Scotland has a College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences which is the university’s largest college)

Each of these universities has several Interdisciplinary Centers which support courses and research projects.

To sum up, here are the key features of a Liberal Arts degree Multidisciplinary course offerings, Flexibility to construct your own ‘Major’ and ‘Minor’ specializations, Smaller class enrollments that ensure more student-faculty interaction. So good luck to all for Studying Liberal Arts in the UK. We will be back next Friday with another amazing blog from Dr. Maina Chawla. Till then, if you have any questions or suggestions, just drop us a comment and we will get back to you.

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Dr. Maina Chawla Singh 

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