BA Liberal Arts

Year of entry: 2023

Overview

Degree awarded
Bachelor of Arts (BA)
Duration
3 years
Typical A-level offer
AAA, including at least one subject which is assessed primarily on written work, rather than practical.
Typical contextual A-level offer
AAB to include at least one subject which is assessed primarily on written work, rather than practical.
Find out more about contextual admissions.
Refugee/care-experienced offer
Applicants who have been in local authority care for more than three months or have refugee status may be eligible for an offer two grades below the standard requirements.
Find out more about contextual admissions.
Typical International Baccalaureate offer
36 points overall. 6,6,6 in Higher Level subjects, to include at least one subject which is assessed primarily on written work, rather than practical.

Full entry requirements

How to apply
Apply through UCAS .

Course overview

  • Enrich your understanding of key ideas through units across our different disciplines in and beyond the School. 
  • Study bespoke core liberal arts course units that guide you to think about the role and value of the arts in societies.
  • Gather the concepts of what it means to be a free citizen through interdisciplinary study.
  • Contextualise our responses to contemporary global issues.
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Study BA Liberal Arts at The University of Manchester

Open days

We are pleased to announce that we are returning to hosting on-campus open days in the summer and autumn.

Please see open days for the dates, registration, and other information.

If you're a prospective student, you can also find out more about student life by chatting with our student ambassadors at a time that suits you, and ask any questions you may have about life at Manchester. 

Please check our Coronavirus FAQs for the most up to date information regarding events. 

You can also look at our virtual open day content to help you learn more about the University.

Fees

Tuition fees for home students commencing their studies in September 2023 will be £9,250 per annum. Tuition fees for international students will be £23,000 per annum. For general information please see the undergraduate finance pages.

Policy on additional costs

All students should normally be able to complete their programme of study without incurring additional study costs over and above the tuition fee for that programme. Any unavoidable additional compulsory costs totalling more than 1% of the annual home undergraduate fee per annum, regardless of whether the programme in question is undergraduate or postgraduate taught, will be made clear to you at the point of application. Further information can be found in the University's Policy on additional costs incurred by students on undergraduate and postgraduate taught programmes (PDF document, 91KB).

Contact details

School/Faculty
School of Arts, Languages and Cultures
Telephone
+44 (0161) 306 1252
Email
School/Faculty overview

See: About us

Courses in related subject areas

Use the links below to view lists of courses in related subject areas.

Compare this course

Entry requirements

A-level

AAA to include at least one subject which is assessed primarily on written work, rather than practical.

The University recognises the benefit of the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) and the opportunities it provides for applicants to develop independent study and research skills. We strongly encourage you to provide information about the EPQ in your personal statement and at interview. For this programme, as well as the regular conditions of offer, we may make students who are currently taking or completed the EPQ an alternative offer.  For this course it would be AAB A-level plus the Extended Project at Grade A.

Contextual offer

AAB to include at least one subject which is assessed primarily on written work, rather than practical for applicants who meet our contextual offer criteria.  For further information and to check eligibility visit our Contextual Offers page.

AS-level

AS level results are not considered as part of the standard admissions process at The University of Manchester.

Unit grade information

The University of Manchester welcomes the provision of unit information where available.  Like all other information provided by applicants this may be taken into consideration when assessing your application.  Unit grades will not normally form part of an offer conditions.

GCSE

Applicants must demonstrate a broad general education including acceptable levels of Literacy and Numeracy, equivalent to at least Grade C or 4 in GCSE/iGCSE English Language and Mathematics. GCSE/iGCSE English Literature will not be accepted in lieu of GCSE/iGCSE English Language.

Please note that if you hold English as a second language iGCSE qualification, we may also require you to offer one of our acceptable equivalent English Language qualifications or achieve a higher grade in your iGCSE than the one stated above. Please contact the academic School for clarification.

International Baccalaureate

36 points overall. 6,6,6 in Higher Level subjects, to include at least one subject which is assessed primarily on written work, rather than practical.

Other international entry requirements

We accept a range of qualifications from different countries. For these and general requirements including English language see Accepted entry qualifications from your country

Still need help? Please contact ug-languages@manchester.ac.uk for further advice

Scottish requirements

We normally require grades AAABB in Scottish Highers.   

Applicants offering a combination of Highers and Advanced Highers should contact ug-libarts@manchester.ac.uk for further advice.

English Language and Mathematics not taken at Higher/Advanced Higher must have been achieved at SCQF level 5 (minimum National 5 grade C / Intermediate 2 grade C / Standard Grade Credit level grade 3).

Welsh Baccalaureate

The University welcomes and recognises the value of the Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma/Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate and usually requires two A Levels or equivalent to be included within this.

The minimum grade required will normally be the same as the lowest grade listed in the A Level entry requirements.

If you require further clarification about the acceptability of this qualification please contact the academic School(s) to which you plan to apply.

European Baccalaureate

The University of Manchester welcomes applicants with the European Baccalaureate. Acceptable on its own or in combination with other qualifications, applications from students studying for this qualification are welcome and all applicants will be considered on an individual basis.

We normally require 85% with a mark of at least 8.0 in at least one subject which is assessed primarily on written work, rather than practical.

AQA Baccalaureate

The University recognises the benefits of the AQA Baccalaureate and the opportunities it provides for applicants to develop independent study and research skills.

In making offers, the University will focus on the three A Levels taken within the AQA Baccalaureate. Students need to check the standard A Level requirements for their chosen course.

The units of broader study, enrichment activities and the Extended Project are considered to be valuable elements of the AQA Baccalaureate and we would therefore strongly encourage students to draw upon these experiences within their personal statement.

Foundation year

The University recognises a number of foundation programmes as suitable for entry to this undergraduate programme:

Applicants completing the INTO Manchester in partnership with The University of Manchester international foundation programme are required to achieve AAA in academic subjects and grade A in the EAP with writing, speaking, listening and reading grade B.

Applicants completing the NCUK International Foundation year are required to achieve AAA in academic subjects and grade A in the EAP with writing, speaking, listening and reading grade B.

Please read this in conjunction with our A-level requirements, noting any pre-requisite subjects.

For all other foundation programmes please see this list of approved UK foundation programmes .

Pearson BTEC qualifications

Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma: we consider the National Extended Diploma for entry, preferably in a subject relevant to this course.  Entry requirements are based on achievement of the full National Extended Diploma with grades Dist, Dist, Dist,  in a humanities-related subject such as English Literature, History or Politics.  

Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Diploma: we consider the National Diploma for entry, preferably in a subject relevant to this course.  Entry requirements are based on achievement of the full National Diploma with grades Distinction, Distinction, plus one A-level at Grade A in a subject which is assessed primarily on written work, rather than practical.

Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Foundation Diploma: we consider the National Foundation Diploma for entry, preferably in a subject relevant to this course.  Entry requirements are based on achievement of the full National Foundation Diploma with a Distinction grade, PLUS one A-level at Grade A in a subject which is assessed primarily on written work, rather than practical, PLUS an EPQ or AS at Grade A.

Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Certificate: we consider the National Extended Certificate for entry, preferably in a subject relevant to this course.  Entry requirements are based on achievement of the full National Extended Certificate with a Distinction grade, PLUS two A-levels at Grades AA; one of which must be in a subject which is assessed primarily on written work, rather than practical.

The University of Manchester welcomes applications from students who have achieved legacy BTEC qualifications (pre-2016) such as the BTEC Extended Diploma, BTEC Diploma, BTEC Subsidiary Diploma, and BTEC Certificate.  The grades required are likely to be the same or vary similar to the new BTEC qualifications (first teaching 2016, awarded 2018). Please contact the Academic School for clarification.

If you require further clarification about the acceptability of this qualification please contact the academic School(s) to which you plan to apply.

OCR Cambridge Technical qualifications

Cambridge Level 3 Technical Extended Diploma (CTEC): we do not consider the Technical Extended Diploma for entry to this course.

Cambridge Level 3 Technical Diploma (CTEC): we consider the Technical Diploma for entry, preferably in a subject relevant to the chosen course.  Entry requirements are based on achievement of the full Technical Diploma with grades Distinction, Distinction, plus an additional level 3 qualification such as an A Level at grade A in at least one subject which is assessed primarily on written work, rather than practical .

Cambridge Level 3 Technical Foundation Diploma (CTEC): we consider the Technical Foundation Diploma for entry, preferably in a subject relevant to the chosen course.  Entry requirements are based on achievement of the full Technical Foundation Diploma with grades Distinction*, Distinction, plus an additional level 3 qualification such as an A Level/A Level at min. Grade A in at least one subject which is assessed primarily on written work, rather than practical, PLUS an EPQ or AS Level at grade B.

Cambridge Level 3 Technical Extended Certificate (CTEC) : we consider the Technical Extended Certificate for entry, preferably in a subject relevant to the chosen course.  Entry requirements are based on achievement of the full Technical Extended Certificate with EITHER grade Distinction, plus two additional Level 3 qualifications such as A Levels at grades AA, OR the full Technical Extended Certificate with grade Distinction*, plus two A-levels at grades AB.  In either case, one of the A-levels must be in at least one subject which is assessed primarily on written work, rather than practical.

The University of Manchester will consider applications from students who have achieved legacy CTEC qualifications (pre-2016) such as the CTEC Extended Diploma, CTEC Diploma, CTEC Subsidiary Diploma, and CTEC Certificate.  The grades required are likely to be the same or vary similar to the new CTEC qualifications (first teaching 2016, awarded 2018). Please contact the Academic School for clarification.

If you require further clarification about the acceptability of this qualification please contact the Academic School(s) to which you plan to apply.

Access to HE Diploma

We require a QAA-recognised Access to HE Diploma (a minimum of 60 credits overall with at least 45 at Level 3), with merit or distinction in a subject area relevant to the chosen course.

The specific course requirements are a minimum of 45 credits with a Distinction grade, in a Humanities-related subject.

Cambridge Pre-U

We consider applicants offering Pre-U Principal Subjects, or a mix of Pre-U and A Level subjects, provided a minimum of three distinct subjects overall is taken.

Candidates taking Pre-U principal subjects in conjunction with A levels are expected to achieve a combination of D3, D3, D3 in the Pre-U and AAA at A level in three distinct subjects.  Please see A-level requirements for details of pre-requisite subject.

T Level

We do not accept T Levels as entry onto this programme. The University does accept T Level qualifications on a number of courses. Please review our T Level information page for a full list.

Extended Project Qualification (EPQ)

The University recognises the benefit of the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) and the opportunities it provides for applicants to develop independent study and research skills. We strongly encourage you to provide information about the EPQ in your personal statement and at interview. For this programme, as well as the regular conditions of offer, we may make students who are currently taking or completed the EPQ an alternative offer.  For this course it would be AAB A-level plus the Extended Project at Grade A.

Core Maths

The University recognises the value of Level 3 Core Mathematics qualifications. Core Mathematics is not a compulsory element of post-16 study and as a result we will not normally include it in the conditions of any offer we make. However, if a student chooses to undertake a core mathematics qualification this may be taken into account when we consider a student's application, particularly for courses with a distinct mathematical or statistical element that does not require A Level Mathematics. Academic Schools may also choose to take a student's performance in Core Mathematics into account should places be available in August for applicants who narrowly miss the entry grades for their chosen course.

Where a course requires applicants to have at least grade 6/B or higher in GCSE Mathematics we would be likely to consider a pass in Core Mathematics at a minimum grade C or B as an alternative way to fulfil this requirement. Where an A Level in Mathematics is required then Core Mathematics will not be accepted in lieu of an A Level.

A Level and GCSE Mathematics requirements for our courses vary according to subject so we advise students to contact the academic School, who will clarify whether a student's portfolio of qualifications is acceptable for entry onto the chosen course.

Home-schooled applicants

If you have followed a non-standard educational route and have been, for example, educated at home, your application will be considered against the standard entry criteria of the course to which you applied. You will be required to demonstrate that you meet the academic entry requirements as specified for the course. We will also require a reference which should be written by somebody who knows you well enough, in an official capacity, to write about you and your suitability for higher education. Please refer to UCAS for further information: UCAS reference guidelines

Non-standard educational routes

Mature students are some of our most well-equipped learners, bringing skills and attributes gained from work, family and other life experiences.  Students come from a whole array of backgrounds, study every kind of course, undertake full-time and part-time learning and are motivated by career intentions as well as personal interest.  There is no such thing as a typical mature student at Manchester.

The application process is the same as for other prospective undergraduates.  If you require further clarification about the acceptability of the qualifications you hold please contact the academic School(s) you plan to apply to.  Further information for mature students can be found here ( http://www.manchester.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/mature-students/ )

English language

All applicants to the University (from the UK and Overseas) are required to show evidence of English Language proficiency.  The minimum English Language requirement for this course is either:

  • GCSE/iGCSE English Language grade C/4 or;
  • IELTS 7.0 overall with no less than 6.5 in any one component, or;
  • An acceptable equivalent qualification.

Please note that if you hold English as a second language iGCSE qualification, we may also require you to offer one of our acceptable equivalent English Language qualifications or achieve a higher grade in your iGCSE than the one stated above. Please contact the academic School for clarification.

The UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) requires that every student from outside the UK and the EU must show evidence of a minimum level of English Language in order to be granted a UK visa (Tier 4 visa) to study at undergraduate or postgraduate level. This level is often referred to as the 'B2 level'.

Additionally, our individual Schools may ask for specific English Language proficiency levels that are necessary for their academic programmes. In most cases these requirements are likely to be higher than the B2 level. Further information about our English Language policy, including a list of some of the English Language qualifications we accept, can be found  here .

English language test validity

Some English Language test results are only valid for two years. Your English Language test report must be valid on the start date of the course.

Application and selection

How to apply

Apply through UCAS .

Advice to applicants

We are looking for applicants who have a good record of academic performance and an intellectual curiosity, as reflected in achieved/predicted A-level grades (or equivalent qualifications) and personal statement respectively.

As Liberal Arts is about interdisciplinary learning, applicants are not required to have undertaken any particular subjects, but we recommend that applicants have recent experience with humanities subjects. We also encourage applicants to highlight their interest in challenge-led learning and social responsibility, which are both key parts of the Liberal Arts programme.

How your application is considered

We read the personal statements and references of all applicants and assess in a holistic way, paying particular attention to your achieved grades/predicted grades and your personal interests.

Returning to education

We welcome applicants who are looking to return to study and value their contribution to the departmental culture and social life.

Access courses are acceptable as an entry route to this course - please contact the UG Admissions Team.

Deferrals

Applications for deferred entry are considered equally to other applications up to the point of confirmation.  Deferred entry is granted on the discretion of admissions staff, and is normally granted for one year only and two years at the maximum. Some English Language test results, such as IELTS or TOEFL are only valid for two years from the test date.

Policy for applicants who resit their qualifications

If you have re-sat individual modules to improve your grades, we will consider your application according to the standard selection process. If you are planning to re-sit the final Year 13 examinations, or have already done so, the University will consider your application, but we may require further information in order to make an informed judgment on your application.

Re-applications

If you applied in the previous year and your application was not successful you may apply again. Your application will be considered against the standard course entry criteria for that year of entry.  In your new application you should demonstrate how your application has improved.  We may draw upon all information from your previous applications or any previous registrations at the University as a student when assessing your suitability for your chosen course.If you are applying for a place for the same year of entry through UCAS Extra, you should provide additional evidence of your suitability for the course. If you are applying through clearing you are required to meet the clearing requirements. In both UCAS Extra and clearing the places will be subject to availability.

Course details

Course description

Fabriana smiling

I can tell future employers that I have a foundation in Economics, Globalisation, Environmental Science, Anthropology, Sociology, Philosophy, etc.

This makes me more able to analyse the world.

Fabriana / BA Liberal Arts Student

Liberal Arts is highly flexible, allowing students to create their own unique course, combining different subject areas within and beyond the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures.

With an emphasis on interdisciplinary learning, students can tailor the course, aligning it to their interests and passions, whilst responding to key issues that affect the flourishing of free citizens. This course is ideal for individuals who have a wide range of interests and a passion for making a difference in the world.

Learn more about tailoring your course and the units available on the Liberal Arts website.

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.

Study abroad year option

There is also the option for you to study abroad in your third year of study.

Connect with like-minded students

Join one of our student societies to further explore your interests.

Work with Creative Manchester

Based at The University of Manchester, Creative Manchester is positioned to support the creative industries if they seek academic support, student interns, partnerships opportunities with world-class venues, and funding opportunities. Learn more on the  Creative Manchester website .

UCIL

No matter who you are or what you’re studying, University College for Interdisciplinary Learning (UCIL) offers a variety of courses you can study as part of your degree at Manchester. To discover what other UCIL units are available at Manchester, and to sign up, visit  course units.

Teaching and learning

The emphasis in Liberal Arts is on becoming an active and engaged citizen and researcher.

Core Liberal Arts course units 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 can also 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.

Coursework and assessment

Core Liberal Arts course units are assessed through a range of coursework assignments, including research essays that let you delve into the topics that inspire you.

You can also work with more creative forms of assessment, including PechaKucha presentations, posters, debates, and reflections on your experiences.

You'll have the ability to work individually and in groups.

Course units from across the University are assessed using a range of formats, including exams and coursework, which allows you to develop a range of valuable skills.

Course unit details

A series of core Liberal Arts course units 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.

View the full list of available course units to take on the Liberal Arts website .

Course content for year 1

Core course units in your first year will begin by introducing you to the field of the humanities and the role that the arts have played in shaping cultures from ancient civilisations through to the present day, and even to the future. 

You will encounter intellectual 'Giants' from a range of different cultures and contexts, and you will be trained to critically explore what makes someone a key thinker. 

You will use cutting-edge research to question how we think about the value of knowledge, and how we communicate it with academic and non-academic audiences. 

You will analyse and discuss the relationship between the arts and the sciences in understanding and shaping humans and our environments - a topic at the forefront of current academic research. 

This content will give you a foundation - a map, if you like - on which you can locate ideas from different disciplines that you will encounter throughout your course. 

Beyond this, you will be able to choose course units from across the arts and beyond and pursue your interests in a range of disciplines. 

You'll have the opportunity to take a minor subject through Flexible Honours, including a language, or you can cast your net wider to suit your interests. 

You will have an academic advisor to help you as you select your course units. View the full list of available course units to take on the Liberal Arts website .

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
Humanities in Public: The Past, Present and Future of Ideas that Shape the World SALC10411 20 Mandatory
Research Methods in the Arts SALC11281 10 Mandatory

Course content for year 2

In your second year, core Liberal Arts course units will help you to build on ideas about interdisciplinarity from Year 1 by exploring how interdisciplinary research might be applied to Manchester. 

Taking Manchester as a 'laboratory' for thinking about Liberal Arts, you will learn about how research across the arts and humanities connects with issues in urban environments. 

You will be able to focus on, and critique, the communication of ideas through an emphasis on 'impact', which is about social engagement, and rhetoric, which is about persuasive speech and writing. 

You will work with institutions such as the Manchester Museum and the Whitworth Art Gallery to explore and evaluate pathways to impact and the role of creativity in communicating research to different audiences.

You'll also hear from a range of experts in fields from classical history to business studies to psychology about strategies for persuading others using ideas, and the ethics of it in a range of political and social contexts. 

In addition to core course units, you'll be able to continue to develop your interests in a range of disciplines from across the University, boasting the choice than any other degree course. View the full list of available course units to take on the Liberal Arts website .

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

Course content for year 3

Course units in your final year will give you a chance to demonstrate and continue to develop your skills from previous years. 

The Creative Manchester engagement project will give you an opportunity to work with an organisation in Manchester that helps you to combine internship or volunteering experience with your studies. 

You will be trained to write a report that has an agenda for impact and social responsibility, and you will be able to present this work to academic and non-academic audiences. 

These outputs directly draw on ideas about communication and impact from Year 2, and ideas about intellectual history from Year 1. 

You will also be able to reflect on your studies and synthesise your course units in order to get a better understanding of the personal impact of your Liberal Arts degree. 

You can supplement your learning by choosing to write a long essay on a topic of your choice with tailored supervisory support, taking a range of course units in the arts and beyond, and continuing with your minor subject or language if you started them in previous years. View the full list of available course units to take on the Liberal Arts website .

Course units for year 3

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
Creative Manchester: Engagement Project SALC30010 20 Mandatory

What our students say

Read about our students' experiences studying Liberal Arts in their blog posts .

Facilities

Based at The University of Manchester, Creative Manchester is positioned to support the creative industries if they seek academic support, student interns, partnerships opportunities with world-class venues, and funding opportunities. Learn more on the  Creative Manchester website .

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.

Manchester Museum, Whitworth Art Gallery, and Museum of Medicine and Health all feature throughout the course, and we also have strong links with the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI).

Find out more at facilities

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: dass@manchester.ac.uk

Careers

Career opportunities

A Liberal Arts degree equips you with an impressively wide subject knowledge as well as transferable skills that are valued by all kinds of employers. 

Employers look for those who can respond quickly and effectively to shifting needs and opportunities. Upon completing this degree course, graduates will be equipped with a raft of transferable skills, including:

  • the ability to work independently;
  • time management and planning skills;
  • an ability to work effectively in groups by delegating tasks and collaborating;
  • communications skills to relate to a range of audiences;
  • an ability to develop research that responds to real-world challenges by engaging with organisations and institutions.

All of these qualities are attractive to employers in a range of fields.

A Liberal Arts degree can lead to a career in areas such as politics, journalism, management, education, the charity sector, consultancy, and marketing.

It can also set you up for further study, particularly on interdisciplinary topics and courses, at postgraduate level.

The University has its own dedicated Careers Service that you would have full access to as a student and for two years after you graduate.

At Manchester you will have access to a number of opportunities to help boost your employability

Find out more at careers and employability