BA Liberal Arts

UCAS codeLA99
Duration3 Years
Typical offerA*AA-AAB; IB: 38-34
DisciplineLiberal Arts
Location Streatham (Exeter)


Our Liberal Arts degree is an innovative, challenging and interdisciplinary programme designed for students seeking to pursue high-profile, competitive career-paths after graduation. The programme is specifically constructed to develop your intellectual and critical skills by engaging with the key issues and debates underpinning contemporary global communities – culturally, socially, politically, and economically.

Subjects studied include carefully designed modules exploring the nature of learning, critical thinking and intellectual enquiry, and cover a range of humanities and social sciences, as well as study of a language and the possibility of science modules. You’ll be taught the social and intellectual value of subjects as diverse as history, philosophy, literature, science, economics, theology and anthropology as much as you’ll be taught the specifics of each subject. The breadth of knowledge you will acquire will be complemented by in-depth learning in your chosen field of specialisation – your Major.

The programme is designed not only to develop you into an intellectually-engaged global citizen, but also to equip you with an impressive range of critical skills that will mark you out from the crowd and make you particularly attractive to employers. In addition, you’ll also be able to spend either a full year or half a year studying at one of our international partner institutions. You can further develop your employability potential by undertaking a work placement or a research internship that we can help you to secure, and by taking the optional fourth year of the programme, enabling you to extend your studies to gain an integrated Masters qualification.

Programme variations

Programme structure

The modules we outline here provide examples of what you can expect to learn on this degree course based on recent academic teaching. The precise modules available to you in future years may vary depending on staff availability and research interests, new topics of study, timetabling and student demand.

We anticipate that the majority of students choosing Liberal Arts will study the 4-year integrated Masters option, although this isn’t mandatory.

The first year of the programme will introduce you to the central ideas and methods of the Liberal Arts; you will also begin your training in your chosen language and quantitative fields. You will explore possible Majors, choosing from the subject-areas across the University. In your second year, you will focus your Major and also take the opportunity to apply your academic knowledge and skills to workplace situations in our grounding breaking modules run with employer partners. Year three offers further specialisation in your chosen Major and opportunities for study abroad. Year four gives you entry to Master’s level study in your chosen subject.

The Liberal Arts degree programme is made up of compulsory (core) and optional modules, which are worth 15 or 30 credits each. Full-time undergraduate students need to complete modules worth a total of 120 credits each year.

Year 1

Year 2

You will also study further modules in a language or quantitative method (whichever you didn’t choose during your first year), as well as optional modules selected from a diverse range of humanities and social science subjects.

Year 3

Entry requirements 2017

Typical offer

A*AA-AAB; IB: 38-34

International students

International students should check details of our English language requirements and may be interested in our Foundation programmes.

Further information

Please read the important information about our Typical offer.

For full and up-to-date information on applying to Exeter and entry requirements, including requirements for other types of qualification, please see the Applying section.

Learning and teaching

You’ll be taught by internationally respected research-active academics at the cutting-edge of their respective disciplines. We use a variety of approaches to help you learn and get the most out of your degree. Our teaching methods make full use of seminars, study groups, tutorials, and web-based learning. We integrate the latest approaches along with lectures to give you a varied and challenging programme. In core modules, you will learn through analysis, discussion and debate, practical work, problem-solving, research projects and team work, all of which are designed to help you develop key skills for success for the rest of your degree – and your future career.

The contact hours you will have with staff through academic teaching and support will vary depending on your chosen major; however, you will receive at least 10 hours contact-time a week in your first year. In addition, you will also be expected to invest a lot of time in independent study and peer-group learning outside of these contact hours. This will involve individual study, working with your study-group (for example, in preparation for seminars) and time spent with your personal tutor.

Given the diverse and interdisciplinary nature of the Liberal Arts programme, and to ensure that you benefit from the exciting breadth and depth of expertise across the university, we will also use team-teaching so that you can get the most out of Exeter University’s collective expertise. So whilst a module will be convened and led by a specialist academic, many lectures will often be delivered by experts in other disciplines.  

In addition to the teaching and learning methods described above, there are also many other opportunities for you to enrich your overall experience of the Liberal Arts programme. Depending on the major you decide to pursue, you will have the chance to get involved with mini-conferences, at which students can present papers to fellow students and staff, research seminars, and societies run by departments and the Student Guild around your subject(s) of interest.

You can also make your mark on your programme through regular student evaluations and participation in the Staff-Student Liaison Committee.

Research-inspired teaching

The University of Exeter is a research-intensive university. This means that staff do not just teach, but conduct high quality cutting edge research in their specialist subject area. The results of the government’s 2008 Research Assessment Exercise confirm this. For example, English was rated first for world-leading research in the UK and in History 95 per cent of research was deemed to be of international quality.*

Teaching that is inspired by research means that your lectures are up-to-date and relevant and that you have access to the latest thinking, equipment and resources.

*RAE 2008 based on percentage of research categorised as 4* (world leading)

Academic support

All students at Exeter have a personal tutor who is available for advice and support throughout their studies. Students on the liberal arts degree also benefit from an academic adviser, who will provide both guidance and support for study while at Exeter and during the study abroad semester or year. Your academic adviser is your key contact to help you devise a programme of most interest to you while meeting the requirements of the degree. They will also help you to choose the right modules for you while studying in the US

There are also a number of services on campus where you can get advice and information, including the Students’ Guild Advice Unit. You can find further information about all the services on our Undergraduate Study website.


You will be assessed in all years through a variety of assessment methods. These could include coursework, exams, written reports or presentations amongst others. You must pass your first-year assessment in order to progress to the second year, but the results do not count towards your degree classification. If you choose the BA Liberal Arts, the assessments in the second and third years contribute to your final degree classification. If you choose the integrated MA Liberal Arts, the assessments in the second, third and fourth years all contribute to your final degree classification.

For full details of the assessment criteria for each module, please see the individual module descriptions when available.

Study abroad

A four year ‘with Study Abroad’ degree programme is available. A full year abroad, at one of our renowned partner institutions, is generally taken in the third year of a four year degree programme. You can apply directly for the four year 'with Study Abroad' programme, or transfer from another programme once you are at Exeter.


The College of Humanities has an excellent reputation with graduate recruiters and our students and graduates compete very successfully in the employment market. Six months after graduation 96%* of Humanities graduates are employed or in further study.

Liberal Arts at the University of Exeter is a bold interdisciplinary programme that will give you a competitive edge in the graduate recruitment market. Liberal Arts graduates are recognised as exceptionally well equipped with a unique blend of specialist knowledge and a wide-range of analytical, communication and computational skills. You can choose from a diverse range of humanities and social science subjects, allowing you to tailor the course to meet your career goals.

Recent graduates from the College of Humanities have since secured positions such as:

  • Editorial Assistants(Publishing)
  • Educator
  • Marketing Executive
  • PR Assistant
  • Trainee Chartered Accountant
  • Officer Cadet

Other recent graduates have progressed to postgraduate courses in:

  • MA International Relations
  • Graduate Diploma in Law
  • PGCE English secondary
  • MA History
  • MSC International Management
  • MA Film and Media


The services offered by the Humanities careers and employability team are complementary to the services offered by our central Career Zone, where you can participate in practical sessions to develop your skills; access paid internships and volunteering opportunities; explore postgraduate study options; meet prospective employers; get one-to-one advice and learn how to secure the right job for you. 

*First–degree University of Exeter graduates across the College of Humanities. HESA Performance Indicator sourced from the DLHE survey 2013/14.

Contact us

Streatham Campus, Exeter

Phone: +44 (0)1392 724202

Website: Visit the Liberal Arts website