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  • Study at one of the few universities in the UK to offer an undergraduate education in Liberal Arts
  • Engage with ideas spanning humanities, the social and natural sciences and the fine arts
  • Enjoy greater flexibility than in most academic disciplines
  • Gain a wide palette of skills transferable to almost any industry
  • Explore some of the most profound mysteries surrounding human existence and the science of the cosmos
  • Discover the key themes of truth, nature and freedom
  • Take a degree that began life in 400 BC

If you have a broad spectrum of interests and are struggling to find a course that covers it then our Liberal Arts course is perfect for you. You explore a range of profound and important ideas and concepts, unrestricted by academic subject boundaries and underpinned by an integrated approach to the curriculum. 

Our dynamic and fascinating programme retrieves and updates the oldest university curriculum in European higher education. Liberal arts education – Latin: liberalis, free, and ars, art or principled practice – engages students in thinking philosophically across many subjects in the humanities, the social and natural sciences, and fine arts. The challenge is to work across these areas in an integrated way, in trying to make sense of the kind of world we live in, and the kind of world we would like to live in.

You read and reflect on many of the most influential texts in the Western tradition, and beyond it, and discuss and debate your own responses both in writing and orally. Study on the programme draws on classical and modern texts, as well as contemporary and popular culture, including film, music and art.

The core modules undertake an adventure into some of the most profound questions concerning human existence and the idea of freedom. The optional modules look at many aspects of liberal arts education in detail, enabling you to pursue areas you are most interested in, including studies in the Holocaust, nature, the soul, religion(s), science, history, literature, the Arts, Eastern culture and education. All modules share a philosophical approach in exploring their issues and questions.

In Year 1, you are introduced to the Liberal Arts of ancient and medieval times, but complemented by modern themes and texts. You explore some of the most profound mysteries surrounding human existence and the science of the cosmos, and the question of freedom and its relation to enlightenment. In addition, you can choose to question the meaning of ‘higher’ education both present and past, to explore representations of the ‘Fall’ in art and literature, to examine philosophy in cinematic film, to learn about the Renaissance, and to study tragedy in ancient culture.

In Year 2, there are two compulsory modules that deepen our understanding of freedom by reading some of the most highly regarded texts and thinkers within social theory, philosophy, art and science from the past two and half thousand years of European culture and beyond. In addition, there are a number of optional modules that you can choose from according to your own interests. In the final year, you produce a dissertation on a subject of your choice.

Over three years, you develop the skills to analyse problems and be sensitive to the ambiguities of simple solutions. You will learn to work independently and as part of a team. Our graduates are well rounded and particularly eligible for all humanities-based graduate-entry jobs, including in law, teaching, media, business, academia, publishing, fashion, politics and public service.


Graduates are particularly eligible for all humanities-based graduate-entry jobs.

94.4% of our 2015/16 graduates were in employment and/or further study six months after completing their course.

Pre-approved for a Masters

If you study a Bachelor Honours degrees with us, you will be pre-approved to start a Masters degree at Winchester. To be eligible, you will need to apply by the end of March in the final year of your degree and meet the entry requirements of your chosen Masters degree.


Suitable for Applicants from:

UK, EU, World

Field Trips

Students have the opportunity to visit such places as the local observatory, Tate Modern, The National Gallery and London Schools. Our students have attended Liberal Arts conferences in England and Germany.

Study Abroad

Our BA (Hons) Liberal Arts (Philosophy) course provides an opportunity for you to study abroad in the United States of America (USA).

For more information see our Study Abroad section.

Learning and Teaching

Our aim is to shape 'confident learners' by enabling you to develop the skills needed to excel in your studies here and as well as onto further studies or the employment market. 

You are taught primarily through a combination of seminars and tutorials. The seminars are small groups in which we read and discuss the relevant books and ideas together. This gives the Liberal Arts students a strong identity and a very supportive environment for learning. 

In addition to the formally scheduled contact time such as lectures and seminars etc., you are encouraged to access academic support from staff within the course team, your personal tutor and the wide range of services available to you within the University.

Independent learning

Over the duration of your course, you will be expected to develop independent and critical learning, progressively building confidence and expertise through independent and collaborative research, problem-solving and analysis with the support of staff. You take responsibility for your own learning and are encouraged to make use of the wide range of available learning resources available.

Overall workload

Your overall workload consists of class contact hours, independent learning and assessment activity.

While your actual contact hours may depend on the optional modules you select, the following information gives an indication of how much time you will need to allocate to different activities at each level of the course.

Year 1 (Level 4): Timetabled teaching and learning activity*
  • Teaching, learning and assessment: 240 hours
  • Independent learning: 960 hours
Year 2 (Level 5): Timetabled teaching and learning activity*
  • Teaching, learning and assessment: 240 hours
  • Independent learning: 960 hours
Year 3 (Level 6): Timetabled teaching and learning activity*
  • Teaching, learning and assessment: 192 hours
  • Independent learning: 1008 hours

*Please note these are indicative hours for the course. 

Our approach complements well the broader aims of the University to shape 'confident learners' by enabling students to develop the skills needed to excel in their studies here and to transfer these skills to postgraduate studies or to the employment market. The core belief of the Liberal Arts, and of our programme, is that higher education challenges the learner to engage with ways of thinking that change how we think about ourselves, about others, and about the world in general.


Taught elements of the course take place on our King Alfred Campus Winchester) or at our West Downs Campus (Winchester)


Liberal Arts assesses your work and your progress in two main ways. There are essays attached to each module, and by the end of your studies we intend for you to become a confident writer. In addition, a range of modules offer oral assessment to complement the essays writing

We ensure all students have an equal opportunity to achieve module learning outcomes. As such, where appropriate and necessary, students with recognised disabilities may have alternative assignments set that continue to test how successfully they have met the module's learning outcomes. Further details on assessment types used on the course you are interested in can be found on the course page, by attending an Open Day or Open Evening, or contacting our teaching staff.

Percentage of the course assessed by coursework

The assessment balance between examination and coursework depends to some extent on the optional modules you choose. The approximate percentage of the course assessed by different assessment modes is as follows:

Year 1 (Level 4)*:

  • 100% coursework
  • 0% written exams
  • 0% practical exams

Year 2 (Level 5)*:

  • 100% coursework
  • 0% written exams
  • 0% practical exams

Year 3 (Level 6)*:

  • 100% coursework
  • 0% written exams
  • 0% practical exams

*Please note these are indicative percentages and modes for the programme.


We are committed to providing timely and appropriate feedback to you on your academic progress and achievement in order to enable you to reflect on your progress and plan your academic and skills development effectively. You are also encouraged to seek additional feedback from your course tutors.

Further information

For more information about our regulations for this course, please see our Academic Regulations, Policies and Procedures.




2018 Entry: 104-120 points

A GCSE A*-C or 9-4 pass in English Language is required.

International Baccalaureate: 26 points

If English is not your first language: Year 1/Level 4: IELTS 6.0 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in writing or equivalent.

Course Enquiries and Applications

Telephone: +44 (0) 1962 827234
Send us a message

International Students

International students seeking additional information about this programme can send an email to or call +44 (0)1962 827023

Visit us

Explore our campus and find out more about studying at Winchester by coming to one of our Open Days.

Year 1: Level 4

Modules Credits

Learning from the Renaissance 15

This module introduces you to themes and personalities that were central to the period of Western history called the Renaissance. It provide you with an historical overview of key events, as well as looking at the relation of the Renaissance to other historical periods. It will also look more deeply into selected ideas with a view to illustrating their significance both within the Renaissance and beyond. Central to the approach of the module will be to illustrate ways in which the Renaissance holds an ‘educational’ import both within itself and in terms of a legacy. Where appropriate, tutors will relate the material to both ancient and more modern issues and ideas. The module aims to increase student knowledge and understanding of the Renaissance but also to draw out its fundamental import for the notion of education in its widest sense. Many of the ideas introduced in this module will be returned to in years 2 and 3.

Harmonia mundi 15

This module looks at the first principle of harmony in ancient and medieval liberal arts as it was seen to structure the ethical and metaphysical properties of the universe. We will think about this idea of harmony in relation to music, astronomy, maths, rhetoric and philosophy as well in the related areas of theology and politics. We will discuss whether we can hold to such principles of harmony today in the social, political and religious experience of dissonance and disharmony. Discussions will form part of an introduction to the Quadrivium and Trivium, the traditional subjects of Liberal Arts, upon which we can begin to think the nature of a modern liberal arts education.

Freedom (is to Learn) 2 30

This module looks at ancient and medieval cosmology, and at the role played by the idea of movement within metaphysics, physics and politics. You will read important texts from Ancient Greece, including Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics and the Sceptics. We look at some of the ideas associated with the ancient cosmos, including its being taken to and from Arabic and Judaic sources. We follow some of these ideas through western European cosmology and end the module by exploring motion and its relation to time, space and the construction of reality.

Freedom (is to Learn) 1 15

The Freedom is to Learn modules run through the three years of the degree. 

There will be much more to be said about this, but for now, remember it is important that you treat all the material you read in each of your MLA modules as relevant to all MLA modules. Think of Year 1 as a whole year of learning, not necessarily divided into modules, and think of each year as part of the whole degree. In time we will reward essays which are able to bring material in from different modules. In this first of the compulsory modules we are looking at some aspects of the origin of liberal arts education in Antiquity. As we do, we will also asks a strange question: what is the meaning of ‘beginning’? This is related to a second question: what is learning?

Optional Credits

Optional Modules
  • Models of Higher Education 15 Credits
  • Ancient 'Canonic' Tragedy 15 Credits
  • Film and Philosophy 15 Credits
  • Spirit: Innocence and Experience 15 Credits
  • Creator Texts 15 Credits
  • First Principles: Core Texts 15 Credits
  • Foundations of Modern Medicine 15 Credits

Year 2: Level 5

Modules Credits

Freedom (is to Learn) 4 15

This module looks back to thinking that has featured throughout the programme but also forward to leaving the Academy and becoming a graduate in the world beyond. It explores the concept of modern freedom and in particular examines the idea of Western subjective freedom in relation to such fundamental concepts as life and death, God and man, and master and slave. As you prepare to leave University, we will explore ways in which your higher education might serve you in what lies beyond- for employment as for existence itself.

Freedom (is to Learn) 3 15

The dialectic of enlightenment is one of the most profound and worrying expressions of modern rational thought.  We have seen in previous modules the effect that doubt has on how we understand the work and identity of human subjectivity. Now we will explore the damage wrought by uncertainty and doubt on other fundamental concepts including freedom and enlightenment. Our task will be to see if there is something we can learn from the difficulties of the dialectic of enlightenment when we see within it how truth collapses into a culture of repetition.

Optional Credits

Optional Modules

Creator Images 15 Credits

Disciplining the Soul 15 Credits

Music and Philosophy 15 Credits

Aesthetics 15 Credits

Utopia and Tragedy 15 Credits

Theorising the Holocaust (Shoah) 15 Credits

Theorising Education and Ecology 15 Credits

Power of the Teacher 15 Credits

Spirit: In Ruins 15 Credits

Atomic Nature 15 Credits

First Principles: Core Texts 15 Credits

Athens and Jerusalem 15 Credits

Values and Modern Ethics 15 Credits

Volunteering 15 Credits

Independent Study 15 Credits


Year 3: Level 6

Modules Credits

Freedom (is to Learn) 5 15

This module complements the group of modules in Liberal Arts running under the banner of Freedom is to learn. In this module we will revisit some themes from years one and two, particularly regarding first principles and their fate in the modern world; infinite regression; virtue; and begin to open up the theme of modern metaphysics in order to begin to judge the possibility of a new idea of first principles. This is undertaken in a variety of ways, dependent to some extent on the previous work of different groups of students over the previous two years. We may embark on a study of ancient and modern versions of the famous Delphic maxim: know thyself.

Dissertation 30

This module is compulsory for Single Honours pathway Modern Liberal Arts students, and can be chosen by Joint Honours Modern Liberal Arts students.  This module enables students to produce a dissertation solely in Modern Liberal Arts.  The subject accepts a very wide definition of what can count as relevant to Modern Liberal Arts.  Projects can be a deeper analysis of any aspect of content already covered on the course or a new area building on the skills of theory and critique which is of interest to the student.  The dissertation will be a piece of independent research undertaken by the student resulting in an 8,000 – 10,000 word project.

Optional Credits

Optional Modules

The Devil: Arts, literature and religion 15 Credits
Learning from the Holocaust (Shoah) 15 Credits
Modern Tragic Lives 15 Credits
(Human) Nature 15 Credits
Spirit: Life and Death 15 Credits
The Natural Universe and Ecology 15 Credits
Philosophy of the Teacher 15 Credits
Education, Ecologies and Ethics 15 Credits
Know Thyself 15 Credits
First Principles: Core Texts 15 Credits
Friendship 15 Credits
Straight and Crooked Thinking 15 Credits
Independent Study 15 Credits

Please note the modules listed are correct at the time of publishing, for full-time students entering the programme in Year 1. Optional modules are listed where applicable. Please note the University cannot guarantee the availability of all modules listed and modules may be subject to change. For further information please refer to the terms and conditions at
The University will notify applicants of any changes made to the core modules listed above.

Course Tuition Fees 

UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man

If you are a UK or EU student starting your degree in September 2018, the first year will cost you £9,250. Based on this fee level, the indicative fees for a three-year degree would be £27,750 for UK and EU students. Remember, you don't have to pay any of this upfront if you are able to get a tuition fee loan from the UK Government to cover the full cost of your fees each year. If finance is a worry for you, we are here to help. Take a look at the range of support we have on offer. This is a great investment you are making in your future, so make sure you know what is on offer to support you.

Full-time £9,250 p/a

Total Cost: £27,750 (3 years) | £28,450 (sandwich option)

UK/EU Part-Time fees are calculated on a pro rata basis of the full-time fee for a 120 credit course. The fee for a single credit is £77.08 and a 15 credit module is £1,156. Part-time students can take up to a maximum 90 credits per year, so the maximum fee in a given year will be the government permitted maximum fee of £6,938

International Students

Full-time £12,950** p/a
Total Cost: £38,850** (3 years) | £39,550** (sandwich option)

International part-time fees are calculated on a pro rata basis of the full-time fee for a 120 credit course. The fee for a single credit is £107.92 and a 15 credit module is £1,620. Fees for students from Vestfold University College in Norway (who receive a 10% reduction) and NLA are £11,655.



As one of our students all of your teaching and assessments are included in your tuition fees, including, lectures/guest lectures and tutorials, seminars, laboratory sessions and specialist teaching facilities. You will also have access to a wide range of student support and IT services.

There might be additional costs you may encounter whilst studying. The following highlights the optional cost for this course:


Reading pack: The reading pack contains the essential readings for each week's seminars and forms the basis for seminar discussions and assessments. Costs maximum £40 per year.


We have a variety of scholarship and bursaries available to support you financially with the cost of your course. To see if you’re eligible, please see our Scholarships and Awards.

Key course details

UCAS code
3 years full-time; 6 years part-time
Typical offer
104-120 points
King Alfred Campus or at West Downs, Winchester