Liberal Arts is a truly interdisciplinary degree. It develops your understanding of humanities subjects such as culture, history and politics, while enabling you to discuss key scientific controversies. This broad knowledge helps you to succeed professionally in the 21st century.
While the programme is run by the School of Politics and International Relations, you are taught by academics from across all three faculties at Kent. You receive high-quality teaching informed by cutting-edge research on a range of political, social, economic and cultural issues.
Our degree programme
At the heart of our Liberal Arts degree is a core set of modules that enable you to analyse and understand how and why we think, and act, the way we do. Through collective discussion and debate around seminal readings, you get a grasp of the full field of social sciences, physical sciences, arts and humanities.
In the first year and second years, you take a combination of compulsory modules and optional modules to suit your interests and career plans. Study a broad range of subjects such as contemporary culture and society, modes of reasoning, and how technology and the economy shapes human cultures. You also take two language modules at beginner or intermediate level, in both Stage 1 and Stage 2.
Your final year of study includes a dissertation module, where you focus on a topic related to your year abroad or on a research question of your choosing. You also take a compulsory module that develops your critical thinking skills and choose four optional modules, with approval from your tutor, from across the University.
Liberal Arts student Judith talks about her course at Kent.
You have the option to spend the year between your second and final years studying abroad. We currently have links with universities in Europe and Japan.
Facilities and resources to support the study of Liberal Arts include: access to the European Documentation Centre a dedicated Student Support Manager, who advises on issues related to academic study as well as wider University life a Study Skills Officer, who provides subject-related guidance the Academic Peer Mentoring scheme, where first-year students are matched with second- or third-year students on a similar programme.
At Kent, there are many student societies related to your studies, for example: Current Affairs and Politics Society Kent European Debates Society Debating Society Kent Model United Nations Society.
You are also encouraged to get involved in the programme of events and activities run by the School of Politics and International Relations, which focuses on bridging the gap between academic study and real-life politics. Our Public Speaker Programme features prominent academics and practitioners, who are invited to speak on current issues.
Modules are taught by a combination of lectures, seminars and tutorials. You usually have 10 to 12 hours of contact time with staff each week.
Compulsory Liberal Arts modules are assessed by 100% coursework (essays, projects, dissertation), but optional modules may be assessed by a combination of examination and coursework, usually in the ratio of 50:50, 60:40 or 80:20.
Knowledge and understanding
You gain knowledge and understanding of:
- the principles and application of underlying modes of inquiry within different academic disciplines and contexts
- cross-disciplinary understanding of qualitative and quantitative reasoning
- the relation between technological and economic development and cultural change in historical context
- the forces and events shaping contemporary thought and behaviour across a range of practices and disciplines
- the various ways in which different disciplines and practices – across the arts, the social sciences, history and politics – conceptualise the contemporary
- how to communicate seminal ideas across the fields of the social sciences, sciences, arts and humanities
- how multi-disciplinary approaches and inter-disciplinary thinking can address future cultural and political challenges, such as environmental crises, the state and meaning of democracy and the potentialities of scientific development
- how the study of given historical contexts can inform contemporary policy and practice
- a selected topic within a given discipline and application of appropriate research methods.
You gain the following intellectual abilities:
- research skills: how to formulate research questions and hypotheses to address problems across a range of disciplines
- analytical skills: interpretation of arguments, evidence and data; marshalling information from published sources; critical evaluation of your own research and that of others
- how to use appropriate IT skills to retrieve, analyse and present information
- numerical evaluation: the use of appropriate analytical methods in handling statistical evidence and data.
You gain subject-specific skills in the following:
- reasoning: how to construct arguments within different intellectual contexts and disciplines, and how to formulate and address research questions and problems
- communication: how to communicate across disciplines, how to mediate key ideas between disciplines, and how to speak and write persuasively in discursive contexts
- language: the functional use of a second language equal to the demands of professional communication
- presentation of research: how to write essays and a dissertation in an appropriate style in keeping with the conventions of different subject areas
- numeracy: how to handle and interpret numerical evidence in differing intellectual contexts
- careers: recognition of career opportunities available to Liberal Arts graduates.
You gain transferable skills in the following:
- communication: the ability to organise information clearly, present information orally and in writing, and adapt presentations for different audiences
- reflection: make use of constructive informal feedback from staff and peers, and assess your own progress to enhance your performance and personal skills
- self-motivation and independence: time and workload management to meet personal targets and imposed deadlines
- team work: the ability to work independently and as part of a research group using peer support, diplomacy and collective responsibility.
The programme aims to:
- provide a cross-disciplinary, research-led, inspiring learning environment
- offer a pioneering educational opportunity within the UK context through which you progress into high-level careers and related postgraduate opportunities
- develop the following range of aptitudes and skills: communication, language, reasoning, numeracy, information literacy and research methods
- engage you in a range of disciplines to be able to pursue careers in a range of complex organisational settings
- promote an understanding of the relations between disciplines and an appreciation of the ways in which cross-disciplinary thinking leads to alternative and approaches to contemporary global challenges.