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Liberal arts Degree(11 Posts)
Hi, my daughter has just finished year 12 and is currently looking at Universities and courses. She is quite keen on a liberal arts degree. Do any of you have any experience good or bad, I am a little wary as there are very few places on offer. However, I think that it would really be a good course for her.
Any thoughts positive or negative gratefully received.
These are fairly new courses in the Uk but an article in the Times Higher Education supplement in 2013 gives an insight. It appears they are modelled on the American vision of liberal arts but you are expected to do more than dabble in the variety of topics on offer. In contrast, some US universities are very relaxed about this apparently and often students do not stray far from their main subject.
My reaction would be to be careful as you could end up having to study topics you are not interested in. Even in a standard degree, some topics are not to your liking but they can be avoided due to the variety on offer. This may not be possible on a liberal arts degree because you must engage in the breadth if the course. You may also be a jack of all trades and master of none.
Usually prospective students end up with preferences after they have visited universities and done subject sessions. Presumably your DD has not done any of these yet. If she wants to do a new and unusual degree, I would definitely do a lot of research and visit the universities that offer it. The courses are quite different (art/science mix) and finding 5 that she likes could be a challenge. The London ones might have a high number of overseas students on them and living costs will be high. As far as I can see Kings, UCL, Birmingham and Exeter would be the market leaders. I know Durham has done a combined degree for some years.
What subjects is she doing for A level or equivalent and what does she enjoy most?
Hi, thanks for your reply.
She is doing English, History, Geography and French. She loves English and is also very good at Geography, but she also really enjoys her French and History and is struggling with which one to drop, she is predicted all As at AS, fingers crossed. We visited Exeter on Tuesday and she was really keen on their degree, she loved the breadth, however there are only 25 places compared to 250 for English, therefore it is quite a tough degree to get a place on. They had a 1000 applicants last year, if I heard correctly and I did ask the professor to repeat himself.
Interestingly before she started going to open days, her preference was for Geography, as she thinks she could get a really high mark in it, but it was the English that really fired her enthusiasm. as you say the subject sessions are very helpful. I agree that it is essential to visit the uni's (there goes the rest of June!), hopefully with a few more visits she will develop a clearer view.
She was really keen to apply to Oxford, but they don't do a liberal arts type degree (I believe), so she has much food for thought.
Those 1000 students might be applying for the same degree at 5 different universities though so you might be nearer to 25 from 200. These numbers are not that unusual for popular courses at places like Exeter. Have you looked at something like Geography with a year abroad. UCL has this and I doubt if it is the only one. My DD is convinced that if you offer French you might get a place on a course more readily because there are not so many well qualified MFL students about and the MFL faculties like to have them. Geography and French maybe? I just feel she might get better skills and have more direction with this combination rather than liberal arts. French opens doors and adds greater flexibility at University so I definitely would not drop that.
There is quite a lot of history in Oxford's English degree, and I believe you do a MFL option too (could check but sure it' in the prospectus). Might not be what she wants, but it's worth knowing.
My university (RG in the north) has just started offering a triple degree in the arts faculty - essentially a liberal arts programme across English, History, Philosophy, Archaeology and all the languages. PM me if you want more details.
Janine may I pm you for more info please?
GypsyFloss, my university (Scottish) has a programme similar to this. If you want to PM me to find out more, feel free :D