Liberal Arts

Liberal Arts - BA (Hons)

UCAS code LV99

This is an archived page and for reference purposes only


A truly liberal education prepares you to live a productive and creative life in a dramatically changing world. It fosters well-grounded intellectual resilience, a disposition to life-long learning and an acceptance of responsibility for your ideas and actions.


Kent's Liberal Arts programme teaches you to see the world from a range of perspectives - political, cultural, historical and economic - and develops your understanding of how each impacts on the other. At the heart of the programme is a core set of modules that you follow through the duration of the degree; these provide interdisciplinary means of analysing and understanding how and why we think, and act, the way we do today. Through collective discussion and debate around seminal readings, you get a grasp of the full field of social sciences, physical sciences, arts and humanities. You develop an understanding of the impediments to communication between different academic disciplines; of technological and economic revolutions that configure human cultures; and of the wide range of forces that shape events.

Students choose optional modules from those offered across the three faculties of the University to suit individual interests and career trajectories and develop a high standard of capability in another language (European or non-European).

Kathryn Yatrakis, Dean of New York’s Columbia College, Columbia University writes that "the University of Kent in Canterbury’s new Liberal Arts Programme will be very attractive to those high achieving students who well understand that interdisciplinary study and thinking, combined with disciplinary training, is the way to best prepare for the professional world of the 21st century. I unreservedly endorse this liberal arts initiative which has been carefully developed and organised to provide a strong and coherent program of undergraduate study ... It has all the ingredients to be a ground-breaking initiative in the liberal arts.".

Think Kent video series

In the last few years a BA in ‘Liberal Arts’ has appeared as a degree programme offered by several of the top UK universities. This talk by Dr Glenn Bowman of the University of Kent provides a background to that 21st century re-emergence and demonstrates that the term refers to some very different programmes across those UK, European and US universities which advertise it.

Independent rankings

The BA in Liberal Arts sits within the School of Politics and International Relations. Politics at Kent was ranked 9th in The Guardian University Guide 2018. In the National Student Survey 2017, over 91% of final-year Politics students were satisfied with the overall quality of their course.

For graduate prospects, Politics at Kent was ranked 3rd in The Guardian University Guide 2018. Of Politics students who graduated in 2016, 94% were in work or further study within six months (DLHE).

Teaching Excellence Framework

Based on the evidence available, the TEF Panel judged that the University of Kent delivers consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for its students. It is of the highest quality found in the UK.

Please see the University of Kent's Statement of Findings for more information.

TEF Gold logo

Course structure

The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This listing is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.  

On most programmes, you study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also be able to take ‘wild’ modules from other programmes so you can customise your programme and explore other subjects that interest you.

Year abroad

Going abroad as part of your degree is an amazing experience and a chance to develop personally, academically and professionally. You experience a different culture, gain a new academic perspective, establish international contacts and enhance your employability.

Students on a four-year degree programme spend a year between Stages 2 and 3 at one of our partner universities in Europe and Japan. For a full list, please see Go Abroad. Places are subject to availability, language and degree programme.

You are expected to adhere to any academic progression requirements in Stages 1 and 2 to proceed to the Year Abroad.  If the requirement is not met, you will be transferred to the equivalent three-year programme. The Year Abroad is assessed on a pass/fail basis and will not count towards your final degree classification.

Stage 3

Modules may include Credits

PO679 allows students to do independent, original research under supervision on a political science or liberal arts topic close to their specialist interests. The dissertation module gives them the opportunity to further these interests and acquire a wide range of study and research skills in the process. All dissertation topics have to be approved by the module convenor as well as by an academic supervisor. The module takes students through the entire process of writing a dissertation (8,000 words long): from the original 'problem' to a suitable research 'question', to choosing a method, to designing the research, to conducting the research; from taking notes to drafting the dissertation, to revising and writing the dissertation, and finally to submitting the dissertation. Lectures, supervision and a conference help students along the way. The curriculum includes structured opportunities for students to discuss their research ideas with each other as well as mock panel presentations in preparation for the student conference.

PLEASE NOTE: PO679 is worth 45 credits. If you wish to take PO679, please keep this in mind when choosing your other modules. PO679 is worth 15 credits in autumn term, and 30 in spring. The module is weighted more to the Spring term to enable you to dedicate the time needed to produce your dissertation.

As you can chose the equivalent of 4 x 15 credits in the autumn and 4 x 15 in the Spring, picking PO679 would look like this:











View full module details

This module prepares students both to think about the ways in which the landscapes are evolving and being shaped by contemporary developments in technical, scientific, and theoretical fields; and to think about how they want to take part in these developments in their own lives, through professional activity or further study. It will prepare students to think critically about the opportunities and dangers that come with the future, notably through the changes taking place in production techniques (through three-dimensional printing), ecological change and planning, scientific advancements and their impact on the humanities and social sciences (such as quantum theory's challenge to historical studies). By building on bodies of work that have already discussed the potential impact of new technologies and scientific innovations on our understanding of the human, this module will demand intellectual reflection on the potential for change and transformation, with reference to past events and how transformation has occurred to this day. In additional, the module will provide practical guidance on how to think about the student’s own future, whether professionally or for further studies. It will guide students through the possibilities open to them, and give them practical skills to secure an interview and present themselves successfully.

View full module details

Teaching and assessment

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.

Programme aims

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.

Learning outcomes

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.

Intellectual skills

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.

Subject-specific skills

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.

Transferable skills

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 versatility of Liberal Arts graduates – a result of their interdisciplinary experience, their engagement with qualitative and quantitative data analysis, their linguistic abilities, and their critical acumen - qualifies them for postgraduate study and makes them highly marketable to prospective employers. 

As a Liberal Arts graduate, you have a global perspective and an understanding of different cultures, attitudes and approaches giving you a distinct advantage in the international job market. Through your study, you also develop other key transferable skills considered essential by graduate employers. These include research, analytical and interpersonal skills, high facility in a foreign language, and the ability to write succinctly, speak clearly and present ideas effectively.

Entry requirements

Home/EU students

The University will consider applications from students offering a wide range of qualifications. Typical requirements are listed below. Students offering alternative qualifications should contact us for further advice. 

It is not possible to offer places to all students who meet this typical offer/minimum requirement.

New GCSE grades

If you’ve taken exams under the new GCSE grading system, please see our conversion table to convert your GCSE grades.

Qualification Typical offer/minimum requirement
A level



Grade B in Mathematics and in a modern foreign language other than English

Access to HE Diploma

The University will not necessarily make conditional offers to all access candidates but will continue to assess them on an individual basis.

If an offer is made, candidates will be required to obtain/pass the overall Access to Higher Education Diploma achieving 60 credits in total, with 45 credits at level three including 30 at distinction and 15 at merit. Access candidates may also be invited to attend an interview and provide an additional academic reference/written work in support of their application.

BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (formerly BTEC National Diploma)

The University will consider applicants holding BTEC National Diploma and Extended National Diploma Qualifications (QCF; NQF; OCR) on a case-by-case basis. Please contact us for further advice on your individual circumstances.

International Baccalaureate

34 points overall or 15 points at HL, including Mathematics 4 at HL or SL (Mathematics Studies 5 at SL)

International students

The University welcomes applications from international students. Our international recruitment team can guide you on entry requirements. See our International Student website for further information about entry requirements for your country.

If you need to increase your level of qualification ready for undergraduate study, we offer a number of International Foundation Programmes.

Meet our staff in your country

For more advice about applying to Kent, you can meet our staff at a range of international events.

English Language Requirements

Please see our English language entry requirements web page.

Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of 'pre-sessional' courses in English for Academic Purposes. You attend these courses before starting your degree programme. 

General entry requirements

Please also see our general entry requirements.


The 2018/19 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

UK/EU Overseas
Full-time £9250 £15200

For details of when and how to pay fees and charges, please see our Student Finance Guide.

For students continuing on this programme, fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* 

Your fee status

The University will assess your fee status as part of the application process. If you are uncertain about your fee status you may wish to seek advice from UKCISA before applying.

Fees for Year in Industry

For 2018/19 entrants, the standard year in industry fee for home, EU and international students is £1,385

Fees for Year Abroad

UK, EU and international students on an approved year abroad for the full 2018/19 academic year pay £1,385 for that year. 

Students studying abroad for less than one academic year will pay full fees according to their fee status. 

Additional costs

There are no compulsory additional costs associated with this course. All textbooks are available from the library, although some students prefer to purchase their own.

General additional costs

Find out more about accommodation and living costs, plus general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent.


University funding

Kent offers generous financial support schemes to assist eligible undergraduate students during their studies. See our funding page for more details. 

Government funding

You may be eligible for government finance to help pay for the costs of studying. See the Government's student finance website.


General scholarships

Scholarships are available for excellence in academic performance, sport and music and are awarded on merit. For further information on the range of awards available and to make an application see our scholarships website.

The Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence

At Kent we recognise, encourage and reward excellence. We have created the Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence. 

For 2018/19 entry, the scholarship will be awarded to any applicant who achieves a minimum of AAA over three A levels, or the equivalent qualifications (including BTEC and IB) as specified on our scholarships pages

The scholarship is also extended to those who achieve AAB at A level (or specified equivalents) where one of the subjects is either Mathematics or a Modern Foreign Language. Please review the eligibility criteria.

The Key Information Set (KIS) data is compiled by UNISTATS and draws from a variety of sources which includes the National Student Survey and the Higher Education Statistical Agency. The data for assessment and contact hours is compiled from the most populous modules (to the total of 120 credits for an academic session) for this particular degree programme. 

Depending on module selection, there may be some variation between the KIS data and an individual's experience. For further information on how the KIS data is compiled please see the UNISTATS website.

If you have any queries about a particular programme, please contact