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BA Liberal Arts / Course details

Year of entry: 2021

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Course description

Liberal Arts at The University of Manchester brings the key concepts of morality, value, truth and what it is to be human to students, underwriting what it is to be a free citizen in the world today. By studying Liberal Arts you are joining a proud intellectual tradition associated with the training, development and empowerment of free citizens.

With an emphasis on interdisciplinary learning, students will be able to tailor their interests throughout the Liberal Arts programme, and respond to key issues that affect the flourishing of free citizens from social inequality to cultural diversity, and from artificial intelligence to climate change.


  • To highlight the important relationship between research and society (universities and the public);
  • To train students how to critique the research of others effectively, including appropriate source handling and writing skills;
  • To equip students with the skills required to understand and develop interdisciplinary work, including a critical understanding of the challenges that such work presents;
  • To allow students to realise and pursue their own research interests through an emphasis on reflective learning and by providing tailored academic support;
  • To deliver a diverse and inclusive curriculum that appeals to a range of interests and learning styles, and that encourages critical scrutiny of disciplines and approaches.

Special features

Placement year option

Apply your subject-specific knowledge in a real-world context through a  placement year  in your third year of study, enabling you to enhance your employment prospects, clarify your career goals and build your external networks.

Connect with like-minded students

Join one of our student societies to further explore your interests, including the Religions and Theology Society, an inclusive community that plans academic and social activities from first year through to postgraduate level.

Teaching and learning

The emphasis in Liberal Arts is on becoming an active and engaged citizen and researcher. Core Liberal Arts modules will deliver this through a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials, and research workshops that link to cultural institutions such as the John Rylands Library, the Science and Industry Museum, and Manchester Museum.

In their final year, students will also have the opportunity to work with institutions and organisations in Manchester to develop their own world-facing research. Students will be trained in reflective learning, which will be assessed through innovative presentation formats, reports, research proposals, and debates, in addition to essays and exams.

Course unit details

A series of core Liberal Arts modules covering the history of humanities, rhetoric, ethics, and social responsibility provides students with the intellectual foundations required to uncover, contextualise and approach our responses to contemporary global issues.

Students will have the opportunity to complement this knowledge by taking a language, specialising in a Minor subject through Flexible Honours, or distributing their studies across different interdisciplinary thematic clusters.

Course content for year 1

Course units for year 1

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Standing on The Shoulders of Giants: Foundations for Study in The Arts SALC10002 20 Mandatory
History of Humanities: The Past, Present and Future of Ideas that Shape the World SALC10411 20 Mandatory
Research Methods in the Arts SALC11281 10 Mandatory
Decoding Inequality: Reimagining Digital Culture DIGI10031 20 Optional
Science and the Modern World (20 Credits) HSTM10721 20 Optional
Language, Mind and Brain LELA10201 20 Optional
Truth and Truth Telling RELT10522 20 Optional
Being Human[e]: Theological Studies in Philosophy and Ethics RELT10911 20 Optional

Course content for year 2

Course units for year 2

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Understanding Rhetoric: The Arts of Persuasion SALC21141 20 Mandatory
Arts and the City: People, Power, and Protest SALC21152 20 Mandatory
Art in Theory AHCP20431 20 Optional
Finding Happiness in the Ancient World CAHE24402 20 Optional
Problems in Theology, Philosophy and Ethics: Evil RELT21111 20 Optional
World Philosophies: Ethics and Ideas in the History of Thought RELT21702 20 Optional


Our most distinctive research resource is The John Rylands Library - an internationally renowned resource which holds one of the finest collections of rare books, manuscripts and archives in the world.

As well as an excellent general collection of books, the library houses many collections of world importance. You will find a substantial collection of papyri, such as the oldest manuscript fragment of a New Testament book, alongside several major archives, including the Methodist archive with a large number of original documents.

Find out more on the  Facilities  page.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: