Liberal Arts

Our challenging and rewarding courses explore the meaning and importance of the arts and humanities across subject boundaries.

Learn across borders

Combine in-depth study of a single discipline with interdisciplinary exploration of other subjects, making connections across topics.

First-class facilities

Use our vast foreign film library, Multimedia Centre, cinema, editing suites, cameras and sound equipment, and our extensive theatre archive – one of the world's largest.

Broaden your horizons

MLibArts students spend their third year studying abroad and gain invaluable international experience. We have exchange agreements with prestigious partner universities around the world.

Liberal Arts courses for 2023

Single Honours

Liberal Arts at Bristol

Liberal arts combines in-depth study of a single discipline with the exploration of other subjects within the Faculty of Arts. The faculty is home to researchers who are committed to the ideals of liberal education. Our diverse scholars and students collaborate with an interdisciplinary outlook.

You will be encouraged to take responsibility for your own curriculum, making connections between core and optional units. Your studies will also incorporate the abundant opportunities within the flourishing cultural life of the university and the city.

You'll get the chance to work with external partners, combining industry experience with academic assessment, and take advantage of the many cultural and intellectual activities offered across the University.

My course challenges me to think in a way that I haven't before. Interdisciplinarity is a key part of my course, and I love how I learn something new every week. Bristol is constantly surprising me with what it has to offer – there is always something going on.

Lauren, MLibArts Liberal Arts with Study Abroad

Career prospects

Three students sat together in a library.

A liberal arts degree, with its high academic standards, interdisciplinary breadth, and emphasis on community engagement, will help you build an enviable combination of knowledge, understanding, analytical and communication skills.

Experiences gained while studying abroad, embarking on field trips or working with local networks and organisations will add to your skillset. Our goal is to prepare you to be an informed, ethical global citizen, ready to contribute to society as you tackle the world of work or further study.

What our students do after graduating

Course structure

A student speaking to another student.

You will choose one primary subject to focus on throughout your degree alongside interdisciplinary study. Subject pathways include:

  • Anthropology
  • Archaeology
  • Classics and Ancient History
  • Film
  • English
  • Historical Studies
  • Modern Languages (French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian or Spanish)
  • Music
  • Philosophy
  • Religion and Theology
  • Theatre.

In the first two years, at least a third of your credit points come from units in your chosen subject pathway. You will also take core liberal arts units that introduce essential concepts, skills, and methods within the arts and humanities. These currently include: The Art of Writing; The History of the Present; Experiencing the Aesthetic; Ideas and Society; and Arts in the Age of Data. You will begin or continue studying an ancient or modern language. You can use remaining credits to take optional units from across the full range of disciplines within the Faculty of Arts.

MLibArts students will spend their third year abroad, subject to satisfactory academic progress. Those on a language pathway will study in a country relevant to their chosen language; other students can choose from a wide range of destinations worldwide. Find out about all of our go abroad options.

In the final year, you can choose units from your subject pathway and other options, and you will complete an interdisciplinary dissertation in a topic of your choice.

City of culture

The harbour and Arnolfini in Bristol on a sunny day.

Bristol is one of Europe's top cultural and creative cities. It has also been named the UK's most artistic city – based on the quantity of galleries, museums, gigs, theatres and street art (Premier Inn, 2019).

Bristol is home to renowned galleries like the Royal West of England Academy and Arnolfini; theatres including the historic Bristol Old Vic and the acclaimed Tobacco Factory; several arthouse cinemas, like local favourite Watershed; and music venues from the university's elegant Victoria Rooms to the former cargo ship Thekla.

Liberal Arts

Liberal Arts courses for 2023

Single Honours

  • A challenging and rewarding programme for outstanding and highly motivated students.
  • Gain depth of expertise while exploring a range of subjects.
  • A rich education in the meaning and importance of the arts and humanities.
  • Opportunities to study abroad and gain work experience in the community, enhancing your employability.

Why study Liberal Arts at Bristol?

The Faculty of Arts at Bristol is home to researchers who are committed to the ideals of liberal education. It is a place where an interdisciplinary outlook emerges from the interaction of diverse scholars and students.

You will be encouraged to take responsibility for your own curriculum, making connections between core and optional units. You will also incorporate into your education the abundant activities and opportunities available within the flourishing cultural life of the University and the city.

You can choose to do either a BA or an integrated master's degree (MLibArts) in liberal arts, each distinct and with its own advantages. Both degree options require you to select a specialist subject pathway from one of the disciplines in the Faculty of Arts. Alongside your subject pathway units, you will take interdisciplinary units with your liberal arts cohort. You will also study a language and learn how to work with data. Finally, you may take optional units from across the range of disciplines offered by the faculty. Whichever route you follow, you will have the opportunity to explore different disciplines and think critically and creatively about them by writing an interdisciplinary dissertation.

What kind of student would this course suit?

If you enjoy ideas, have strong interests in more than one subject area and like to find connections between them, and want to strike out for yourself, you will be well suited to this course. You should be able to acquire, analyse and communicate knowledge, be motivated and intellectually curious, and not be afraid to try new things.

Above all, we are seeking those who are willing to take responsibility for their studies and be proactive in shaping their education.

How is this course taught and assessed?

Core units are taught via a mixture of methods such as interactive lectures and smaller group discussions in seminars.

Types of assessment vary and will test your knowledge and understanding while honing your skills. Assessments may include essays, presentations, single or group projects, portfolios, peer-review exercises, creative work and traditional exams.

This variety of assessment ensures that you pick up a wide range of communication and analytical skills to prepare you for life beyond university.

What are my career prospects?

A liberal arts degree, with its high academic standards, interdisciplinary breadth, and emphasis on community engagement, will help you build an enviable combination of knowledge, understanding and analytical and communication skills.

Experiences gained while studying abroad, embarking on field trips or working with local networks and organisations will add to your skillset. Our goal is to prepare you to be an informed, ethical global citizen, ready to contribute to society as you tackle the world of work or further study.

Find out more about what our students do after graduating.

Disclaimer

Important disclaimer information about our courses.

Every day my inbox is flooded with opportunities – internships, research projects, extra-curricular activities – all of which are the University getting students involved. The University is constantly updating its facilities, which reinforces its friendly and inclusive environment.

Alexandra (LLB Law)

Request more information

Ask us a question, sign up for our updates or request a prospectus.

Get in touch

Edit this page