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Liberal Arts with an International Year BA

Please note that information shown below may be subject to change.

UCAS code
Year of entry
View 2019 entry »
Course length
4 years full time
Liberal Arts »


A Liberal Arts degree is ideal for creative and inquisitive individuals who have a wide range of interests. Choosing to take this highly-prized yet rarely available degree at Royal Holloway will provide you with the opportunity to create a bespoke programme that is perfectly aligned to your individual interests and passions. Liberal Arts involves an internationally-recognised approach to study that will prepare you for life in our rapidly changing world. Multifaceted, diverse and adaptable graduates are increasingly sought by employers looking for people able to respond quickly and effectively to shifting needs and opportunities.

This degree is truly interdisciplinary and will allow you to have adopt either a concentrated or a broad focus in your studies, as you choose from a vast range of subjects available across the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. The core courses will enable you to connect with your fellow Liberal Arts students and provide you with a strong foundation upon which to base your chosen studies, and you will prompted to think about how to bring different disciplines into conversation with each other. In addition, you will study a Modern European language, either as a beginner or at an advanced level for at least the first year; after that you can choose whether to develop your language skills further throughout your degree.

On this programme you will also develop your global perspective by spending a year abroad studying in English, taking advantage of the partnerships we have with many prestigious international universities.

You will be taught by internationally renowned experts in their fields and be fully supported by a Personal Tutor. This programme has a strong emphasis on teamwork alongside individual development and will equip you with skills of critical thinking, creativity and adaptability. 

  • One of the top UK Universities; Liberal Arts degrees are well-established in the USA and Canada and are becoming increasingly popular in the UK; Royal Holloway is 15th in the UK and 59th in the world for Arts and Humanities (Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2015-2016).
  • Careers support; you will have the opportunity to boost your skills by applying for work placements and take advantage of the careers support that we offer to graduates.
  • Inspiring international community; you will be part of our close-knit international community, the 8,500 students at Royal Holloway are from 130 countries.  

Core modules

Year 1

Liberal Arts: Liberal Arts 1 - Cultural Encounters

This module is the core introduction to the Liberal Arts degree. You will focus on the unifying theme of 'encounters', and engage with some of the distinctive qualities of the course. It will introduce them to some of the ways in which cultures have developed through historical, philosophical and creative 'encounters', dialogue, tension and movement. Core teaching will be delivered collaboratively by tutors from a number of different departments. Through the in-depth study of selected case studies you will begin to appreciate the value in the comparative and interdisciplinary approach allowed by the Liberal Arts programme, and develop some of the key skills in analytical and critical thinking that will be essential to your studies.

Year 2

Liberal Arts: Liberal Arts 2 - Power and Dissent

This is the core module for your second year of study. It takes a single theme, 'Power and Dissent', and examines it from a number of multidisciplinary perspectives. It will allow you to continue to practise critical and comparative thinking. You will examine the tactics through which theoretical perspectives are harnessed, shaped and exploited in different media to create both overt and subtle effects upon individuals and constituencies. The module will include case studies drawn from a variety of fields, e.g. political tracts, autobiography, literature, film, music, performing arts, visual arts, ethnography, geography, journalism, and critical and political theory.

Year 3

This year will be spent studying abroad. Royal Holloway has a number of formal partnerships with institutions in Europe and further afield. Students should be aware that placement at a host institution is a competitive process involving an application to the university abroad and this process is supported by Royal Holloway. This year forms an integral part of the degree programme. Marks obtained for courses taken at the institution abroad will be credited towards their degree.

Year 4

Liberal Arts: Liberal Arts 3 - Dissertation

You will produce a substantial dissertation (8000 words maximum) on an agreed topic of your own choosing. Working with an assigned supervisor, you will be introduced to dissertation writing and the independent research skills needed. Where appropriate, joint supervision across two departments will be arranged. Your dissertation will be supervised in a series of meetings through Terms 1 and 2 of the final year and submitted early in Term 3.

Optional modules

In addition to these mandatory course units there are a number of optional course units available during your degree studies. The following is a selection of optional course units that are likely to be available. Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new units may be offered or existing units may be withdrawn, for example, in response to a change in staff. Applicants will be informed if any significant changes need to be made.

Year 1

For a list of optional modules which can be taken in Year 1 please see here.

Year 2

For a list of optional modules which can be taken in Year 2 please see here.

Year 4

For a list of optional modules which can be taken in Year 3 please see here.

  • You will take the equivalent of four units each year. These will be drawn from a variety of departments, and so the teaching and assessment methods will vary widely, depending upon your own choices.

  • In most cases, you will be taught by a mixture of lectures, seminars, and small group tutorials.

  • In all these cases, your learning will be informed by your own independent research.

  • You will be supported in your studies by a Personal Tutor, who will be available to discuss your progress and to provide advice on all academic matters.

  • You will also have access to your instructors for more specific advice about courses.

  • Assessment methods will include essays, reports, oral presentations, texts, projects, and examinations.

  • In your final year, you will write a dissertation, a long essay based on your own, independent research, which will be up to 8,000 words in length.

Typical offers

Typical offers
A-levels ABB
Required/preferred subjects

Required: five GCSE passes at grades A* to C including English and Maths.

Other UK Qualifications
International Baccalaureate 6,5,5 at Higher Level with 32 points overall.
BTEC National Extended Diploma Distinction, Distinction, Distinction in a relevant subject
Distinction, Distinction in a relevant subject plus an A Level grade B
BTEC National Extended Certificate Distinction plus A levels grade B,B 
Welsh Baccalaureate Requirements are as for A-levels where one non-subject-specified A-level can be replaced by the same grade in the Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate.
Scottish Advanced Highers

AB plus Higher Level requirements

Scottish Highers AABBB plus Advanced Higher Level requirements
Irish Leaving Certificate

H2, H2, H3, H3, H3 at Higher Level

Access to Higher Education Diploma

Pass with at least 30 level 3 credits at Distinction and 15 level 3 credits at Merit in a relevant subject area.Please note that the Access to Higher Education Diploma will only be acceptable if the applicant has had a considerable break from education.

Other UK qualifications

Please select your UK qualification from the drop-down list below

Please select a qualification

Please select a qualification

International and EU entry requirements

Please select your country from the drop-down list below

English language
IELTS 6.5 overall with 7.0 in writing and a minimum of 5.5 in each remaining subscore. For equivalencies please see here.

For more information about entry requirements for your country please visit our International pages. For international students who do not meet the direct entry requirements, we offer an International Foundation Year, run by Study Group at the Royal Holloway International Study Centre. Upon successful completion, students can progress on to selected undergraduate degree programmes at Royal Holloway, University of London.

Employers increasingly seek to recruit people who are able to respond quickly and effectively to shifting business needs and market conditions, an ability that studying Liberal Arts can give you. Studying a wide range of areas at a high level demonstrates that you can be adaptable and flexible, in addition to equipping you with the creative, critical and analytical skills you would expect to gain from studying at a world-class university. You will develop an invaluable set of transferable skills, expert knowledge in a diverse range of fields, a broad contextual and international awareness, an understanding of the methods available both for tackling challenges in the workplace and communicating with different people in different ways.

Having spent a year abroad you will have developed the kind of sensitivity to different cultures that is highly prized in the workplace. This experience and the skills gained will make you highly employable and ready to pursue your chosen career.

On graduation you will be ready to pursue a career in a wide range if areas. Our award-winning careers service is there to guide you along the way so that you can identify the career path that will match your specific strengths and interests. Our careers advisors will also provide you with tailored support to achieve your goals.

Home and EU students tuition fee per year 2017/18*: £9,250

International students tuition fee per year 2017/18**: £14,000

Other essential costs***: The cost of your year abroad will vary by country. Typical living costs to consider will be accommodation, food and household items, entertainment, travel, books and bills (including your mobile phone). You'll also need to budget for travel to and from your country of study. Additional costs compared to studying in the UK will also depend on personal choices and it is important to research the cost of living before the year commences.

How do I pay for it? Find out more.

*Tuition fees for UK and EU nationals starting a degree in the academic year 2017/18 will be £9,250 for that year. This amount is subject to the UK Parliament approving a change to fee and loan regulations that has been proposed by the UK Government. In the future, should the proposed changes to fee and loan regulations allow it, Royal Holloway reserves the right to increase tuition fees for UK and EU nationals annually. If relevant UK legislation continues to permit it, Royal Holloway will maintain parity between the tuition fees charged to UK and EU students for the duration of their degree studies.

**Royal Holloway reserves the right to increase tuition fees for international fee paying students annually. Tuition fees are unlikely to rise more than 5 per cent each year. For further information on tuition fees please see Royal Holloway’s Terms & Conditions.

***These estimated costs relate to studying this particular degree programme at Royal Holloway. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing etc., have not been included.

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