If, like I was, you have reached the end of your school career and do not want to specify into a singular subject or feel restricted at university; a degree in liberal arts might be for you. These undergraduate courses are designed so that you can study a range of subjects within the humanities. A few years ago, the options of where you could study were limited but now ‘Liberal Arts’ courses are offered at Durham, Leeds, Kent, Warwick, Bristol, King’s College London, University College London and many more! But first, what does it mean to study interdisciplinary?
According to the University of Exeter, the Liberal Arts programme is an ‘internationally recognised approach to studying the humanities which leading UK universities are now investing in.’ Ultimately, the main benefit of these degrees is the flexibility which they offer, giving you unlimited access to exciting research in different fields of study. For example, your choice of module options will come from a wide selection of subjects from departments in the humanities and social sciences. This provides you with the opportunity to tailor your own degree program and make it something that really interests you individually. You will also develop a broad range of skills, as each subject requires you to do something different. Often, you will have further opportunities to study abroad, undertake an internship and even learn a new language!
After your second year, you will have the option to select a major in a subject that you have enjoyed studying. This ensures that there is an equal balance between the breadth and depth to your university studies. For example, if you chose history as your major; it would mean that most of your modules would be in history, but the rest of your modules could still be taken from other areas. In terms of your dissertation, depending on your university course, you might either be asked to write it within the area of your major subject or cross over disciplinary boundaries to write something original.
The ability to be interdisciplinary is often overlooked. However, it is a skill that allows you to be more balanced and open-minded in your everyday approach, as you have background information in multiple subjects instead of just one. Furthermore, it teaches you to look at the world from various points of view that you might not have considered otherwise. The liberal arts program is attractive to employers as it demonstrates that you possess critical skills and experiences which they value. As a result of the rapid development of technology, the number of traditionally reliable jobs has decreased. While it is impossible to know which jobs will still exist in a few years, a degree in liberal arts will give you the right preparation to be constantly relevant and versatile.
More specifically, while a liberal arts education will not train you for a specific job, it does prepare you by providing you with the important ability to think for yourself, make informed decisions and the skills to communicate more effectively. If you are keen to study a master’s program in the future, a more interdisciplinary program will offer you the perfect foundation and a wide-ranging qualification to deepen your knowledge - with a better idea of what it is that you enjoy.
Many people still do not appreciate the value of a liberal arts degree. Although it has become more common in recent years, most potential applicants are still unaware that it is a course that is offered at universities in the UK. If you are fortunate and know exactly what you want to do when you finish school, then you will probably not see the benefit of pursuing a liberal arts education. Many of us, however, do not often find ourselves in this position. A liberal arts education proves that not knowing should not be a reason to not apply for university. Instead, an interdisciplinary course could be the perfect opportunity to discover and broaden your future horizons.
- By Lili Melvin