Liberal Arts

BA (Hons)

UCAS code: LA01

Start dates: September 2024 / September 2025

Full time: Full-time 3 years, Sandwich 4 years

Part time: up to 8 years

Location: Headington

Department(s): School of Education, Humanities and Languages

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Overview

Liberal Arts is an exciting, novel type of degree in the UK, combining the Humanities and Social Sciences. It has been popular in the USA, Canada and Australia for decades – and its popularity in the UK is growing. While exploring everything from literature and language to politics and history of art, you’ll also hone the skills that employers value.

You aren’t limited to one subject with this degree as we take a multidisciplinary approach to learning and teaching. So you’ll discover the areas that most interest you. Our experts will teach you about a variety of topics, covering a range of global and local issues, from world politics to the development of museums and how they shape local communities.

The diverse nature of this degree means you’ll be taught by academics specialising in a whole host of areas. One day you might be taught by a historical linguist who draws from literature, anthropology, and archaeology. Next, you could be learning about language and thought or the socioeconomic effects of climate change.

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Liberal Arts, BA Hons degree course students studying at Oxford Brookes University

Why Oxford Brookes University?

  • Pioneering spirit

    We believe Liberal Arts is a game changer for students who want to explore different areas. We’re proud to be delivering this course as it grows in the UK.

  • Diverse expertise

    You’ll learn from academics who specialise in many different areas, from creative writing to international relations.

  • Unbeatable location

    Study surrounded by the rich culture and history of Oxford. During the course, you’ll even dive into texts written, performed, and set in the city.

  • Freedom to explore

    A number of our modules give you the chance to explore the areas that spark your interest.

  • Placement opportunities

    Spend a year in industry to gain practical experience applying the skills you’ve learnt in your degree or study abroad and experience life in another culture.

  • Study abroad

    If you have studied a foreign language throughout Years 1 and 2, the 4-year Sandwich programme offers the opportunity to go abroad for study at a partner university where you’ll improve your language skills. Alternatively, you could undertake a placement in a business organisation to gain practical work experience.

    By choosing the study abroad or placement year option, you will widen your network of contacts, as well as gain confidence and transferable skills for both your course and career.

Course details

Course structure

Why do we vote the way we do? How should we present works of art to the public? Can we use interdisciplinary thinking to solve real-world problems? These are just a few questions you’ll explore as we introduce you to key themes in Liberal Arts – a multidisciplinary approach to culture, literature, politics, and society. 

In your second year, we’ll challenge you to think about the future. You’ll look at issues on a local level as well as broader challenges around racism, nationalism and even tourism. Climate change is an important part of the conversation in liberal arts, so we’ll explore how social and environmental justice are intertwined. 

After your second year, you’ll have the option to go on placement. This is something we encourage to help you gain practical and meaningful experiences whether you choose to work or study abroad.

In your final year, you’ll have the freedom to choose from a range of modules. For example, you could learn more about the relationship between the mind and brain. Or challenge assumptions about citizenship in a complex and changing world.

Liberal Arts, BA Hons degree course students studying on their laptops at Oxford Brookes University

Learning and teaching

Your tutors will introduce you to a wide range of teaching and learning methods. They will support you at every level of the course. You'll have close access to lecturers, small seminar groups, workshops and practical experiences.

You will learn through a variety of teaching and learning methods including:

  • lectures, seminars, workshops and fieldwork
  • one-to-one tutorial and small group discussions
  • supervised independent learning
  • work with a wide range of practical resources.

During your studies, you’ll gain a range of personal and professional skills. This includes skills in academic research, problem-solving, and written and oral communications. These skills will help with your future career advancement in many industries.

Assessment

Assessment methods on this course are diverse. Some modules use formal exams while others award all or part of the marks on coursework, for example, essays, reports, presentations and orals. 

Study modules

Year 1

Compulsory modules

  • Culture, Identity and Society

    In this module, you’ll gain core analytical skills for your degree as you explore the
    intercultural differences between societies and expressions of identity. You’ll also
    enhance your communication skills, which are essential for any future career.

  • Reading Wonderland: The Literature of Oxford

    In this module, you’ll investigate Oxford’s rich literary life, both past and present. You’ll dive into texts written, performed and set in Oxford city.

    As you think about how the city’s literature is shaped by its geography, population and reputation. You’ll read established texts and writers, as well as literature outside of centres of power and privilege. You’ll think critically about yourself and your own writing and analysis, in relation to the city’s spaces. You'll spend some time getting to know your new home by walking around it, and you'll be asked to create your own guided literary tour.

  • Political Socialisation and Ideology

    Why do we vote the way we do? What affects our actions, and our political
    decisions? In this module, we’ll investigate politics through human behaviour. You’ll
    explore political culture, and how we participate in a democratic society. We’ll also
    look at how humans are socialised to hold various political views. You’ll gain a key
    insight into how ideas and ideologies affect our behaviour individually and as a
    group.

     

  • Tackling Challenges through Liberal Arts

    In this module, you’ll learn how to apply interdisciplinary thinking to solve real world
    problems. The emphasis will be on resourcefulness and critical thinking, helping you
    to discover and identify innovation solutions to contemporary, global issues.
    As you explore the arts, humanities and social sciences, you’ll learn to understand
    the benefits and limitations of each discipline, giving you a truly multidisciplinary and
    holistic perspective to problem solving. You’ll gain a number of important skills such
    as how to identify, locate and apply reliable information effectively and efficiently.

  • Museum and Society

    Why do we present works of art to the public? In this module, you’ll explore the role of museums, art galleries and exhibitions in shaping how people produced, displayed and received works of art from the mid eighteenth century to today. You’ll understand how museums and galleries create contact between artworks and the public who view them. You’ll gain core analytical skills, as you consider these places as historically relevant to art itself, rather than just containers for artworks. 

     

Optional modules

Creative Writing 1: Voice and Craft in Poetry and Prose

In this module, you’ll enhance your abilities as a creative writer. You’ll participate in workshops where you’ll learn through reading, writing, discussion and feedback. You’ll practise your own writing, explore the interplay of creativity and craft, and analyse how you work as a writer. You’ll join other students in exploring approaches to crafting poetry and prose, through:

  • practical writing exercises
  • discussing each other’s work
  • critically analysing the work of published writers
  • exploring key writing practices

You’ll produce a portfolio of original creative writing, as well as a study of the aims and processes of your creative work. You’ll develop excellent writing habits, and the ability to reflect on your own writing practices. You’ll also understand the literary and cultural contexts of your own writing.

Language Options 1

Choose from post-beginner French or Spanish modules, and develop
communication skills essential for working in a multicultural environment.

Power and Dominion: Ideologies of the West, 1650-2000

In this module, you’ll gain critical knowledge of the ideas and concepts behind the rise of the West, and modern Western society. You’ll get to know the competing ideologies in Western society and power since the mid-seventeenth century. And you’ll explore marginalised groups and the processes of empire-building. You’ll gain the key skills to succeed in your degree, as you learn to:

  • communicate knowledge
  • present arguments
  • solve problems in a scholarly way.

Theory of Knowledge

What does it mean to know something? Is knowledge different from mere belief? And is knowledge actually possible?

In this module, you’ll get to know the great thinkers of the past, and explore what they say about knowledge. You’ll explore the minds of:

  • Plato 
  • Descartes
  • Hume
  • Locke
  • Berkeley

You also focus on key debates about knowledge today. You’ll gain fantastic analytical skills as you consider:

  • the meaning of perception 
  • if we can know something through hearsay 
  • if we can know the world beyond our minds 
  • if there can be a scientific account of knowledge. 

Year 2

Compulsory modules

  • Global Literature and the Climate Emergency

    The module will explore the capacity of different literary forms, to represent, explore and address climate change and the ‘slow violence’ of the environmental crisis and examine representations of climate, biodiversity and environmental crises across a range of periods, genres, and geographies. We will compare texts by writers of different ethnicities from multiple regions. Reading these texts, we will concentrate on certain key questions, such as:

    • What capacity do literary texts have to imagine alternative futures or relations to nature?
    • How might narratives help provide a framework for how we think about real-world environmental issues?
    • How does literature represent and critique relationships between species, races, classes, and genders with the climate crises and their consequences?
    • In what way are social and environmental justice intertwined?
  • Inventing the Future

    You will explore the concepts of Future and Anticipation studies. You will do this by investigating different approaches to imagining the future as a concept in:

    • philosophy
    • literature
    • culture.

    You'll have the support to advance your debating skills. Then you'll take part in theoretical and philosophical debates while conceptualising the future.

  • Cultural Competence for the World of Work

    This module provides an introduction to organisations, their structure and culture, and the behaviour of individuals and groups within them. This module incorporates elements which will enable you to understand your personal tendencies and will significantly contribute to your further professional success.

  • Sociology of Work

    In this module, you’ll dive into the key issues of work, and its relationship with society. You’ll explore theories for understanding work, employment and the labour market. And you’ll gain valuable critical skills as you consider how to define work, and its activities. You’ll explore:

    • production, technologies and skills in the workplace
    • power and conflict in the labour market
    • the changing face of work and employment
    • social inequality, such as gender, ethnicity and social class.

    You also examine different types of work, and how they impact the lives of individuals.

Optional modules

Creative Writing 2: Exploring Genre, Form and Style

In this module, you’ll develop your talent and range as a creative writer. You’ll build on the skills you gained in your Creative Writing (Introduction) module in Year 1. You’ll experiment with a number of forms and prose styles, including:

  • crime writing

  • travel writing

  • science fiction

You'll also explore techniques of writing poetry through forms such as the sonnet. You’ll increase your creativity, and reflect on your creative choices, as you critically examine what you and your fellow students write.

Independent Study Module 1

This module provides you with the opportunity to explore a specific academic topic to greater depth or breadth. You’ll undertake a literary review on an agreed topic, adopting an interdisciplinary approach using at least two disciplines. This is a great opportunity to delve into the subject area that you’re most passionate about as you'll have the freedom to investigate any aspect of your agreed topic.

 

The Making of Modern Britain: Culture, Community and Family in Britain 1660-1918

How have families interacted over time? And how have they related to their communities? And governments?

In this module, you'll explore the social and cultural history of the family. You'll consider how gender, class, age and sexuality have affected our home lives. You'll look at what has made up a family over the years. You'll unpick how they marked births, marriage and deaths. And you'll discover how families coped with people who didn't fit with their norms. 

You'll delve into:

  • Making marriages
  • Family rituals and material culture
  • Sex and family planning
  • Divorce, bigamy and illegitimacy
  • Family secrets and shame.

Students must study one module option related to The Making of Modern Britain.

This module option is subject to availability in any given academic year.

 

The Making of Modern Britain: Politics, Society and Culture in Modern Britain, c. 1815-1997

How has British politics changed since the end of the Napoleonic Wars? How has industrialisation, immigration and the growth of cities changed our lives? And how are views on gender, race and citizenship changing? In this module, you'll explore:

  • changing party politics - and the rise of the Labour Party
  • ideas on empire, citizenship and 'the nation' 
  • the changing role of women in British society
  • the emergence of Scottish, Welsh and Irish nationalism
  • sport, leisure and what we do in our spare time.

This module option is subject to availability in any given academic year.

 

 

 

Language and Reality

How did language - the centre of our culture, family ties and business transactions -  develop? In this module, you’ll get to grips with fascinating debates around language, and why philosophers have been so drawn to it throughout history. You’ll gain core critical skills, as you consider questions around: 

  • what language is 
  • whether we can study it scientifically
  • the relationship between language and thought.  

Language Options 2

Choose from French or Spanish modules at post-beginner or advanced levels, and further your communication skills essential for working in a multicultural environment.

Oxford Buildings

In this module, you’ll explore Oxford’s famous buildings first-hand. You’ll gain valuable analytical skills for studying the History of Art, as you explore the buildings in their social, environmental and architectural contexts. You’ll benefit from studying buildings directly, and visiting their sites. You’ll visit a diverse range of buildings in Oxford, from the renowned Oxford colleges to the Bodleian Library and the Sheldonian Theatre.

The Making of the Modern World: Age of Revolution and Popular Protest

In this module, you’ll study the period of crisis that overtook Western society from the late 19th century to the start of World War II. You’ll look at the sweeping changes, uprisings and political extremism that created a sense of crisis. These include:

  • urbanisation and mass politics at the end of the 19th century
  • the Russian Revolution of 1917 and its impact 
  • the role of nationalism and imperial ambitions between the World Wars
  • the rise of extreme political movements in Europe
  • the role of consumerism in the 1920s and 1930s

Students must study one module option related to The Making of the Modern World.

This module option is subject to availability in any given academic year.

The Making of the Modern World: Brave New Worlds: Evolution and its Discontents

Can we consider the French Revolution as the birth of the modern age? What caused this revolution, which transformed France from a monarchy into a republic?

In this module, you’ll study the origins of the revolution and its impact on the French people. You’ll explore the experiences of ordinary people - and see how they lived under the Jacobin dictatorship and Napoleonic wars. And you’ll investigate how the French Revolution created a new form of politics - that endures today.

Along the way, you’ll learn about:

  • the Enlightenment, and changing understanding of freedom
  • the shock waves that the French Revolution caused abroad
  • the birth of modern democracy, nationalism, and socialism
  • the evolution of street protest and the power of the people

Students must study one module option related to The Making of the Modern World.

This module option is subject to availability in any given academic year.

 

The Making of the Modern World: Crisis of the West

How did the theory of evolution develop? And why is it so important in how we understand people? And in how we practise medicine? In this module, you’ll explore the history of evolutionary ideas and how they’re applied - in medicine and society. Studying primary texts and secondary sources, you’ll investigate how evolutionary scientists argued for their theories. And you’ll look at their explosive impact on Victorian public discussion. You’ll also consider more recent controversies - like human cloning, gene therapy and in-vitro fertilisation. 

Students must study one module option related to The Making of the Modern World.

This module option is subject to availability in any given academic year.

 

Dilemmas of Governing

How much did world leaders rely on history to make decisions? In this module, you’ll get to grips with governing strategy - from the 20th Century to the present day. You’ll choose either the British or Soviet states, and analyse how their leaders managed xrises and issues. You’ll also explore the relationship between politics and economics, and apply key approaches to the problems of governing.

 

Final Year

Compulsory modules

  • Constructing Identities

    What is identity? How do we express our identities? How do we recognise other identities? This module will incorporate views from linguistics, literature, philosophy, and sociology to help us piece together how identities are constructed and conveyed, and how understanding identities can benefit ourselves and our communities.

  • Researching cross-cultural experiences

    In this module, you’ll analyse and present your experiences of your placement year. You’ll gain core critical skills for your final year, as you analyse your time living in a different culture, and the wider cross-cultural experiences of individuals or groups. You’ll do independent research on an aspect of the country you lived in that fascinates you. You’ll also present the outcomes of your research at an academic conference, giving you vital skills for your future career.

     

Optional modules

Creative Writing 3: Towards Professionalism and Publication

In this module, you’ll meet literary agents and editors, as you explore the submissions process for publication. You’ll understand how a book works as a whole, developing the skills you gained in your Creative Writing modules in Years 1 and 2. You’ll produce a 6000-word piece of writing on a theme or idea that fascinates you. You’ll also consider how this piece would look within a published work, for example, chapters from a novel, or poems from a proposed full-length collection.

Language Options 3

Choose from French or Spanish modules at post-beginner or advanced levels, and further your communication skills essential for working in a multicultural environment.

Thought and Consciousness

In this module, you’ll get to know one of the liveliest areas of current research: contemporary philosophy of mind. You will explore issues such as:

  • What is the relationship between the mind and the brain?
  • How are our thoughts capable of being about phenomena that exist outside of the mind?
  • Where is the mind located? Is it in our skulls or does it stretch beyond the outer surfaces of our bodies?
  • Is consciousness a mystery or can it be explained from a scientific perspective?

Laws

In this module, you’ll get to grips with capitalism today. You’ll explore colonialism. And you’ll find out what the modern world can teach us about its laws and events. You’ll discover an alternative history of international relations - as you explore modern sovereign states. 

Each week, you’ll take a crucial world event and analyse it. You’ll look at issues like:

  • the Arab Spring
  • struggles for human rights
  • cross-border protests
  • migrants and refugees

You’ll contrast these events with historical events which involved tension and legal debate, like:

  • colonial trading companies
  • slave revolutions
  • capitulations
  • the Treaties of Westphalia
  • the Ottoman empire 

Social, Cultural and Medical History: Life in Renaissance Italy

What was life like for ordinary people in Renaissance Florence, Venice and Rome? Millions of tourists flock to these cities every year. But in this module, you'll explore beyond the piazzas and palaces. You'll  discover what life in 15th and 16th century Italy was really like. You'll examine:

  • how age, gender and ethnicity affected urban life
  • the impact of warfare, disease, natural disasters and climate change
  • the stories of people on the margins - like sex workers and the homeless

You'll emerge understanding the rich and complex history of this fascinating period.

This module option is subject to availability in any given academic year.

Social, Cultural and Medical History: Religion and Magic in Everyday Life

How does belief in magic affect our everyday lives? And how can religious beliefs shape our ideas and opinions? In this module, you'll explore beliefs - beyond the boundaries of religious institutions. You'll delve into the rituals, superstitions - and even cults - that have shaped our world view from the Middle Ages to the 19th Century. You'll examine:

  • the cult of saints and relics
  • angels and demons
  • ghosts and fairies
  • vampires
  • folk magic and divination
  • witchcraft and witch hunts.

This module option is subject to availability in any given academic year.

 

Social, Cultural and Medical History: The History of Food, Politics and Society

Is it true that you are what you eat? And how does your experience of food shape who you are?

This module puts history on plate. You'll reflect on diet, food habits and material culture - and what this tells us about society. You'll explore how food has been used as a political tool, and as a political control. And you'll examine how food relates to our identities and how we socialise.  You'll never look at what you eat the same way again! 

You'll consider topics like:

  • Food and famine
  • Migration and globalisation
  • Food as culture
  • Material culture
  • Gender and the body.

This module option is subject to availability in any given academic year.

 

Ethics, Power and World Politics

What can world leaders do, and what should they do? How much power should countries give each other? And how should states and individuals behave towards each other? In this module, you’ll get to grips with the key questions in world politics. You’ll explore:

  • how we determine rights and duties
  • how we both enable and restrict dominance
  • how issues of race, gender and class interact

in relation to world politics. You’ll choose one of three topics that focus on international ethics and power - human rights, migration and immigration, or postcolonial perspectives.

 

Critical Citizenship

You will focus your attention on your critical skills and love of literature. Including how this can help guide you throughout your life. You will also look at how this relates to broader concerns with being a citizen. In its fullest social, political, cultural, embodied, and located sense. 

On this module you will:

  • Interrogate what we understand by the term ‘citizen’ and clarify its contested meanings in a complex and changing world.
  • Explore how critical thinking can challenge assumptions about citizenship, and to forge new social and cultural ways of thinking.
  • Assess how a knowledge of literature and literary culture might allow us to operate as critical citizens
  • Consider the value and usefulness of literature in understanding and addressing the global challenges of the 21st century.

 

Independent Study Module 2

This module provides you with the opportunity to explore a specific academic topic to greater depth or breadth. You’ll undertake a literary review on an agreed topic, adopting an interdisciplinary approach using at least two disciplines. This is a great opportunity to delve into the subject area that you’re most passionate about as you'll have the freedom to investigate any aspect of your agreed topic.

 

Please note: As our courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the modules you can choose from may vary from those shown here. The structure of the course may also mean some modules are not available to you.

Careers

Employers across sectors are really interested in students with humanities degrees because of their potential to think innovatively. By the time you graduate, you’ll be able to lead teams, communicate confidently, and problem-solve effectively. All qualities that will make you stand out in the job market.

Liberal Arts graduates typically find rewarding roles in:

  • PR and marketing 
  • government 
  • technical writing and editing 
  • human resources
  • research and teaching.

Discovered an area that fascinates you? You’ll be in a great position to continue to further study so you can expand your knowledge and carry out research that addresses vital challenges in that area.

Our Staff

Dr Esteban Devis-Amaya

Coordinator of the Spanish Programme and of the Placement Year in Spain and Latin America.

Read more about Esteban

Entry requirements

Wherever possible we make our conditional offers using the UCAS Tariff. The combination of A-level grades listed here would be just one way of achieving the UCAS Tariff points for this course.

Standard offer

UCAS Tariff Points: 104

A Level: BCC

IB Points: 29

BTEC: DMM

Further offer details

Applications are also welcomed for consideration from applicants with European qualifications, international qualifications or recognised foundation courses. For advice on eligibility please contact Admissions: admissions@brookes.ac.uk

International qualifications and equivalences

Tuition fees

Please see the fees note
Home (UK) full time
£9,250

Home (UK) part time
£1,155 per single module

International full time
£15,950

Home (UK) full time
£9,250

Home (UK) part time
£1,155 per single module

International full time
£16,750

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

Tuition fees

2024 / 25
Home (UK) full time
£9,250

Home (UK) part time
£1,155 per single module

International full time
£15,950

2025 / 26
Home (UK) full time
£9,250

Home (UK) part time
£1,155 per single module

International full time
£16,750

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

+44 (0)1865 534400

financefees@brookes.ac.uk

Please note, tuition fees for Home students may increase in subsequent years both for new and continuing students in line with an inflationary amount determined by government. Oxford Brookes University intends to maintain its fees for new and returning Home students at the maximum permitted level.

Tuition fees for International students may increase in subsequent years both for new and continuing students. 

The following factors will be taken into account by the University when it is setting the annual fees: inflationary measures such as the retail price indices, projected increases in University costs, changes in the level of funding received from Government sources, admissions statistics and access considerations including the availability of student support. 

How and when to pay

Tuition fee instalments for the semester are due by the Monday of week 1 of each semester. Students are not liable for full fees for that semester if they leave before week 4. If the leaving date is after week 4, full fees for the semester are payable.

  • For information on payment methods please see our Make a Payment page.
  • For information about refunds please visit our Refund policy page

Additional costs

Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course are detailed below.

Information from Discover Uni

Full-time study

Part-time study

Programme changes:
On rare occasions we may need to make changes to our course programmes after they have been published on the website. For more information, please visit our changes to programmes page.