Liberal arts degrees. Information / experience please

(8 Posts)
Helenluvsrob Sat 25-Jun-16 19:33:19

Hi

Dd is very undecided re what to study at uni and is bring a bit if an ostrich TBH.

She is academically able but under confident.

Dragged her round the local uni open day.

Looks to me like liberal arts is what she needs - wide choice for the undecided and a 4yr course with a year abroad ( not EU dependent either).

Apart from high entry requirements are there snags I might not have noticed re course constant or future prospects? Where is a good place ?

I'm keen she doesn't just jump and apply for something just because she feels time pressured soon.

She is DC 3 and the others aware much more certain so though we aren't strangers to the proscess this is tricky !

Leeds2 Sat 25-Jun-16 23:50:15

My DD looked at this, and came to the conclusion that UCL offered what she thought was the best liberal arts type degree in the UK. I believe it is highly competitive to get a place, and they tell you that they don't read your Personal Statements but that some candidates are invited to attend a lecture at UCL and then have to answer questions on it as part of the selection process.

I seem to remember DD going to an Open Day at Bristol and being told by the liberal arts students there that UCL would be a better choice if you wanted to study both arts and sciences. I think Bristol was just one or the other.

sendsummer Sun 26-Jun-16 06:04:18

From conversations and reported conversations with students doing these type of degrees, including the UCL BASc one, I think students have to start out confident and proactive. The main snags are that the programmes may be disjointed and leaving students feeling as though they have not had time to really get to grips with any particular subject, especially for tougher modules shared with single subject specialists. This feeling may be reinforced by students not really feeling part of a cohesive subject group even with fellow liberal art students who will all have chosen different module combinations. I think students have to be good mixers and independent to get the most out of such a degree.
English universities (compared to Scottish universities) even UCL and other English universities with a track record of liberal arts or flexible honours type programmes are set up for teaching their subjects to students specialising in a subject particularly for STEM subjects. Perhaps the model works best for social sciences or in the Scottish system.
Another point to consider is that newer liberal art degrees often have a core skills programme rather akin to the IB TOK so the attraction of that approach also needs to be factored in.

Needmoresleep Sun 26-Jun-16 09:47:36

Waves at Helen.

There is a lot of info on this thread.

www.mumsnet.com/Talk/higher_education/2385041-Liberal-Arts-Degree-who-why-where-and-how

From what I understand, based on DC going to a school where a reasonable and increasing proportion head for America, is that liberal arts can mean something different in the UK. And that the UCL course was designed to offer an American style approach, allowing you effectively to major in science or social science as well as humanities. And is reasonably unique.

So a good starting point is to decide what you are thinking of. Is it mixed humanities, perhaps with a language/arts, or are you thinking of something broader. Then consider what else a degree might be called. For example if her interest is tilted towards social science there are plenty of broad PPE type degrees, with different mixes and different names. And if she really does not know, Scotland, with its additional year, may make sence. (Especially if current politics is amongst her interests!)

Helenluvsrob Sun 26-Jun-16 12:56:58

Thanks all. She's a mixed humanities sort of gal- English history and music pretty equally - music probably strongest but insufficient confidence at the moment to take a solo performance route and the fear that teaching is the only realistic non performance route !

She's now got lots of info to think about. I'll get her to look at the ucl course.

I do think a 4yr course would probably suit her especially with a year abroad.

She is, I think a self motivated grafter but she needs to climb out from the constant chasing of the older two.

sendsummer Sun 26-Jun-16 18:13:28

Helen the UCL course would only suit her if she wants to continue with a STEM subject as a minor whilst majoring in the humanities plus a MFL plus the core component.
Also, as I was trying to say before, it sounds from at least some present students that this BASc degree is not yet able to replicate the USA style or even Scottish degrees as most of the module choices available to BASc students have to fit in with single Honours students.
She might be better choosing the Scottish system (as suggested above) or Flexible Honours such as at Exeter or Durham with at least 2 of these humanity subjects that she likes the most.

JWIM Tue 28-Jun-16 16:41:57

I think Birmingham also has a Liberal Arts degree programme - might be a fit for a humanities/music bias maybe?

voilets Tue 28-Jun-16 18:08:58

Durham seem to be popular for this too.

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