Students reading in the walled garden

February 2, 2018, by Michael Timmins

Create new perspectives and think differently

The Liberal Arts programme at the University of Nottingham provides an opportunity to study a range of subject areas from the across the Humanities. From archaeology and American studies, geography and history to philosophy and sociology, this is a degree that is diverse, and which enables students to enhance their knowledge and develop new skills. However, what is the advantage of having access to this range of courses? Why not specialise in one discipline?

At first glance, the Liberal Arts programme might appear to be a degree programme for those who might be unsure or uncertain as to which degree they are best suited. This is not the case at all. The Liberal Arts degree is for those students who know already that their interests, their perspective, their goals and aspirations are not met by the study of just one area. It is a degree for students who want the intellectual challenge of developing their expertise beyond a single subject.

You may be fascinated by the work of Charles Dickens and want to study English Literature. You might be motivated by excavations of Ancient Roman temples and want to study Classical Archaeology. You might be enthralled by the workings of the human mind and want to study Psychology. However, you might also find that your interests cross these disciplinary boundaries. That the idea of examining Victorian literature, Roman temples and psychoanalysis as part of the same degree is a better reflection of what you find motivating.

Beyond the importance of intellectual engagement, the array of disciplines in Liberal Arts presents an opportunity to enhance your perspective. Learning about geography, archaeology, sociology or politics, provides a way for you to think in terms of space, objects, people and power. Whilst a Liberal Arts degree can reflect the exciting diversity of study, it also offers a means of acquiring a range of different skills. Therefore, this is a degree programme for those who want the opportunity for a broad range of discipline to broaden their horizons.

Ancient Chinese customs post on Silk Road

Ancient Chinese customs post on Silk Road. Humans have been creating borders – and crossing them – for thousands of years

For the benefit of personal enrichment to career progression, the value of thinking differently, across disciplines, to create new ideas and new approaches is what drives Liberal Arts. We see the degree programme as an opportunity for you to build your own degree programme and acquire abilities that will transform your engagement with the world. Our core Liberal Arts modules provide opportunities to come together, draw upon experiences from other disciplines and address issues and problems that are global in scale.

This point is particularly important as our lives are now frequently couched within international terms. Through study abroad opportunities and courses that encourage global thinking, we work to ensure that the degree programme can create new insights into how we might think and act at a local level, but our also actions have international significance.

Therefore, Liberal Arts is not a degree for those unsure of what to focus on but a programme for those who want to be focused on developing a range of skills and experiences, to create new perspectives and to think differently.

Ross Wilson
Director of Liberal Arts, University of Nottingham

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