BA Liberal Arts / Course details

Year of entry: 2023

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