Undergraduate Course

BA Liberal Arts

Now In Clearing
BA Liberal Arts

Overview

The details
Liberal Arts
V900
October 2021
Full-time
3 years
Colchester Campus

Knowledge is rooted in the experiences of people across the world. It is created from memory, culture, landscape and myth. This knowledge is often split into separate ‘disciplines’ such as those in the sciences, maths, history, geography, literature and art. However, true knowledge does not recognise these boundaries; the world is complex, interconnected and networked.

Our course is for you if you love studying a variety of subjects, and want to maintain this breadth of knowledge at university. With the opportunity to major in History, Literature, Art History, Philosophy, Politics, Media Studies or Sociology, you broaden your horizons by exploring the ways in which the humanities and social sciences help us to think imaginatively and critically about the worlds we live in.

You take modules which cover the historical foundations of the humanities, challenge dominant worldviews, and explore innovative and subversive essays and manifestos. The flexible structure of this course allows you to choose a range of optional modules across literature, film, philosophy, history of art, history, linguistics, politics, sociology and modern languages.

The types of issues and problems you might explore include:

  • How commercial and independent films interpret human relationships
  • How to compose your own writing, inspired by the great essayists
  • Important philosophical questions about life, death and religion
  • Great works of art and literature
  • Languages

Based within our Interdisciplinary Studies Centre (ISC), the choice is yours: you choose your modules based on your own background and interests. You engage with unusual, controversial, and provocative ideas, so that you can use the humanities and social sciences to become critically aware and possess the tools to change the world for the better.

Why we're great.
  • You study at one of the UK's leading universities for social science and the best for politics
  • We are a team of internationally recognised writers and lecturers across a range of disciplines
  • As our most flexible course, you can build your own degree as your interests develop
THE Awards 2018 - Winner University of the Year

Study abroad

Your education extends beyond the university campus. We support you in expanding your education through offering the opportunity to spend a year or a term studying abroad at one of our partner universities. The four-year version of our degree allows you to spend the third year abroad or employed on a placement abroad, while otherwise remaining identical to the three-year course.

Studying abroad allows you to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised.

If you spend a full year abroad you'll only pay 15% of your usual tuition fee to Essex for that year. You won't pay any tuition fees to your host university

Our expert staff

We are a team of internationally recognised writers and lecturers with expertise across the arts, humanities and social sciences. You are taught by a highly qualified, enthusiastic team with wide-ranging research interests and a proven academic scholarship.

Our staff teach in departments across the University, and specialise in a wide range of topics including literature, film, history of art, history, politics and sociology.

Current research is exploring indigenous experiences of colonialism, public sociology, nature writing, contemporary world cinema, wealth inequalities, and the implementation of American advertising practices in Australia.

Specialist facilities

Your future

As a liberal arts graduate, you’ll be provided with an all-round education that can lead to a more extensive range of knowledge, better communication skills and a more flexible and positive attitude to life. The best way to prepare for the future is to develop the abilities and skills which make you resilient; reasoning skills which mean that you do not accept easy answers; so that you can always question.

A Liberal Arts course can lead to a wide variety of careers in the media, journalism, publishing, local government, voluntary agencies, librarianship, finance, management and other fields. Many employers prefer to recruit students with a broad-based liberal arts education (and provide them with vocational training during their first year at work) than to recruit students who have specialised in one discipline.

Our recent graduates have gone on to work for a wide range of organisations including Euromoney, a financial publication company, a housing association, and an English language school in Japan.

We also work with our Student Development Team to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

"Studying liberal arts at Essex has enabled me to acquire a depth of knowledge in various academic fields and disciplines."

Daniel Ruiz Viejobueno, first-year BA Liberal Arts student

"Studying at Essex gave me the choice and diversity that I wanted from an undergraduate course. The Centre was fantastic and I could not have asked for more supportive people to help me settle in, guide me and answer all of my questions."

Jaide Mead, BA Humanities (now BA Liberal Arts), 2011

"I had a great time at Essex from the very start, both academically and socially, and I really benefited from my experience of studying a multidisciplinary course."

Steluta Grama, BA Humanities (now BA Liberal Arts), 2012

Entry requirements

Clearing entry requirements

Specific entry requirements for this course in Clearing are not published here but for most of our degree courses you will need to hold a Level 3 qualification. If you are interested in applying and have already received your results, use our Clearing application form to apply for 2021 entry and find out if you are eligible. You will be asked to provide details of your qualifications and grades.

English language requirements

English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 6.0 overall. Different requirements apply for second year entry, and specified component grades are also required for applicants who require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK.

Other English language qualifications may be acceptable so please contact us for further details. If we accept the English component of an international qualification then it will be included in the information given about the academic levels listed above. Please note that date restrictions may apply to some English language qualifications

If you are an international student requiring a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK please see our immigration webpages for the latest Home Office guidance on English language qualifications.

If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.

Structure

Course structure

We offer a flexible course structure with a mixture of core/compulsory modules, and optional modules chosen from lists.

Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field. The course content is therefore reviewed on an annual basis to ensure our courses remain up-to-date so modules listed are subject to change.

Teaching and learning disclaimer

Following the impact of the pandemic, we made changes to our teaching and assessment to ensure our current students could continue with their studies uninterrupted and safely. These changes included courses being taught through blended delivery, normally including some face-to-face teaching, online provision, or a combination of both across the year.

The teaching and assessment methods listed show what is currently planned for 2021 entry; changes may be necessary if, by the beginning of this course, we need to adapt the way we’re delivering them due to the external environment, and to allow you to continue to receive the best education possible safely and seamlessly.

Components and modules explained

Components

Components are the blocks of study that make up your course. A component may have a set module which you must study, or a number of modules from which you can choose.

Each component has a status and carries a certain number of credits towards your qualification.

Status What this means
Core
You must take the set module for this component and you must pass. No failure can be permitted.
Core with Options
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component but you must pass. No failure can be permitted.
Compulsory
You must take the set module for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.
Compulsory with Options
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.
Optional
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.

The modules that are available for you to choose for each component will depend on several factors, including which modules you have chosen for other components, which modules you have completed in previous years of your course, and which term the module is taught in.

Modules

Modules are the individual units of study for your course. Each module has its own set of learning outcomes and assessment criteria and also carries a certain number of credits.

In most cases you will study one module per component, but in some cases you may need to study more than one module. For example, a 30-credit component may comprise of either one 30-credit module, or two 15-credit modules, depending on the options available.

Modules may be taught at different times of the year and by a different department or school to the one your course is primarily based in. You can find this information from the module code. For example, the module code HR100-4-FY means:

HR 100  4  FY

The department or school the module will be taught by.

In this example, the module would be taught by the Department of History.

The module number. 

The UK academic level of the module.

A standard undergraduate course will comprise of level 4, 5 and 6 modules - increasing as you progress through the course.

A standard postgraduate taught course will comprise of level 7 modules.

A postgraduate research degree is a level 8 qualification.

The term the module will be taught in.

  • AU: Autumn term
  • SP: Spring term
  • SU: Summer term
  • FY: Full year 
  • AP: Autumn and Spring terms
  • PS: Spring and Summer terms
  • AS: Autumn and Summer terms

COMPONENT 01: CORE

Modern Revolutions in Science, Politics, and Culture
(30 CREDITS)

Certain ideas shape the way we see ourselves and the world around us - ideas like democracy, free speech, individualism, free markets, and human rights. These ideas took their definitive modern form during a politically and intellectually revolutionary stretch of history known as the Enlightenment (ca. 1650-1800). This interdisciplinary module examines this period and thus serves as an essential prerequisite for students who want to understand the intellectual currents that run through the world they live in. Graduating students often rank it among the most useful modules they have taken.

View Modern Revolutions in Science, Politics, and Culture on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 02: OPTIONAL

Option(s) from list: Different discipline
(30 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 03: OPTIONAL

Option(s) from list: Different discipline
(30 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 04: OPTIONAL

Option(s) from list: Different discipline
(30 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 05: COMPULSORY

Skills for University Studies
(0 CREDITS)

Making the transition from school to University studies can be challenging. This module will introduce you to University life and enable you to acquire the study skills to make a success of your degree. It also orients you to work, volunteering and extra-curricular activities so that you can acquire additional skills and experience while you study.

View Skills for University Studies on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 01: COMPULSORY

The World in Question: The Social, Cultural, Political & Environmental Legacies of the Enlightenment
(30 CREDITS)

How have contemporary societies been shaped by the legacies of the Enlightenment, colonialism, and the different phases of capitalism? This interdisciplinary module helps you to critically understand some of the key forces and processes that have shaped the challenges we face in the 20th and 21st century. It is divided into three broad themes; Empire, The Self, and Nature. We’ll be examining processes of ‘othering’ that were intrinsic to colonialism; changing conceptions of the self; as well as both the causes of and potential solutions to the ecological crisis we are confronting today. The module is co-taught by academics from Art History, ISC, LiFTs, Philosophy, Psychoanalytic Studies and Sociology.

View The World in Question: The Social, Cultural, Political & Environmental Legacies of the Enlightenment on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 04: COMPULSORY WITH OPTIONS

CS200-5-AU or (CS712-5-FY and option from list or outside option)
(15 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 05: OPTIONAL

CS241-5-SP or option from list or outside option
(15 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 01: COMPULSORY

Dangerous Ideas: Essays and Manifestos as Social Criticism Capstone
(30 CREDITS)

Is Montaigne right to wonder whether we Westerners are worse off morally than tribes who practice cannibalism? What kind of writing does George Orwell champion? What did Marx and Engels achieve with ‘The Communist Manifesto’? Examine the ‘dangerous ideas’ presented in a range of subversive essays and manifestos. Study how they challenge and satirise existing ideas and social arrangements. Experiment with writing, thus broadening the approach of your own essays.

View Dangerous Ideas: Essays and Manifestos as Social Criticism Capstone on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 04: OPTIONAL

CS831-6-FY or Outside option(s)
(30 CREDITS)

Placement

On a placement year you gain relevant work experience within an external business or organisation, giving you a competitive edge in the graduate job market and providing you with key contacts within the industry. The rest of your course remains identical to the three-year degree.

Year abroad

On your year abroad, you have the opportunity to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised. The rest of your course remains identical to the three-year degree.

Teaching

  • Taught through lectures and classes of about twenty students
  • A one-hour lecture and a one-hour class for each of your modules every week. Some core modules are organised as two-hour seminars, rather than lectures and classes
  • Your language classes involve lectures, classes and language laboratory sessions

Assessment

  • You are assessed on essays, book reviews, class presentations, projects, take-home exams and end-of-year unseen examinations
  • Your first-year marks do not count towards determining your overall degree class

Fees and funding

Home/UK fee

£9,250

International fee

£16,850

EU students commencing their course in the 2021-22 academic year will be liable for the International fee.

Fees will increase for each academic year of study.

Home/UK fees and funding information

International fees and funding information

What's next

Open Days

Our events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex. We run a number of Open Days throughout the year which enable you to discover what our campus has to offer. You have the chance to:

  • tour our campus and accommodation
  • find out answers to your questions about our courses, student finance, graduate employability, student support and more
  • meet our students and staff

Check out our Visit Us pages to find out more information about booking onto one of our events. And if the dates aren’t suitable for you, feel free to book a campus tour here.

2021 Open Days (Colchester Campus)

  • Saturday, August 14, 2021
  • Saturday, September 18, 2021
  • Saturday, October 23, 2021

How to apply during Clearing

Once you’ve checked that we have the right course for you, applying couldn’t be simpler. Fill in our quick and easy Clearing application form with as much detail as you can. We’ll then take a look and get back to you with a decision. There’s no need to call us to apply; just do it all online.

Find out more about Clearing

Interviews

We don’t interview all applicants during Clearing, however, we will only make offers for the following course after a successful interview:

  • BA Multimedia Journalism
  • BSc Nursing (Adult)
  • BSc Nursing (Mental Health)
  • BA Social Work

The interview allows our academics to find out more about you, and in turn you’ll be able to ask us any questions you might have. Further details will be emailed to you if you are shortlisted for interview.


Apply now
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