Liberal Arts at the University of
‘For decades we have sustained in many ways the worst of all educational worlds: an excessive focus on transferable formalistic academic skills in conjunction with the wrong kind of subject-specific specialisation… As a result pupils are woefully lacking in general knowledge and culture, but not inducted into any specific vocation either’ (John Milbank & Adrian Pabst, (2016) The Politics of Virtue, London, Rowman & Littlefield, p. 163).
A philosophical liberal arts education is … a human-focused education which, through broad-based and pluralistic subject matter and philosophical enquiry into the questions of human existence, can begin to nurture students with the aim of fostering a resilient and intellectually rounded graduate. A post-foundational liberal arts education which embraces difficulty, complexity and uncertainty does not patronise students or give them false belief in the stability of the world. It is able to be fluid and adapt to the conversations which derive from the teaching and learning experience and in doing so it moves with the currents of cultural and economic instability rather than remaining fixed and stagnant. This creates a modern graduate with an understanding of the difficulty inherent in twenty-first century life (Adam Smith, MLA graduate 2017, from Educational Philosophy and Theory, forthcoming).
‘Seriousness is deeply agreeable to the heart’ (Leonard Cohen).
Winchester is one of the few universities in the UK to offer a philosophical undergraduate and postgraduate education in Liberal Arts. Our BA (Hons) [Modern] Liberal Arts invites students to bring their philosophical curiosity to a range of modules covering literary, artistic, cultural, scientific and political ideas and some of the issues surrounding them. We take as our themes those that defined the original conception of liberal arts education: truth (metaphysics), nature (physis) and freedom (politics).
Undergraduate modules History of liberal arts The seven liberal arts ‘What is Liberal Arts Education?’
The important philosophical questions surrounding truth (God), the universe, human freedom and equality cannot be contained within separate academic disciplines. Therefore, our Liberal Arts degrees are designed for students who want to enhance their own critical thinking with breadth and depth beyond the limits of academic subjects
It remains very popular in the USA, and is slowly finding its way again back into UK universities. It used to be an education available only to an elite within society, but this is no longer the case for a modern liberal arts programme.
International liberal arts
We endeavour to establish studious work practices in our students, finding for themselves a discipline and a freedom in work that they will take with them after university. We take seriously the idea that the best graduates, and those most valued by employers, are those who have developed for themselves a set of principles that will guide their conduct and most especially the decisions that will affect the lives of others. ‘The more one learns, the more one comes to hate the waste of time’ (Dante), and the more one comes to treasure the wealth of a developed inner life.
Teaching, learning, studying
If you love to read and talk about ideas, if you ask questions about everything, if you find pleasure in the challenge of reading and thinking, and if you like the challenge of working without subject boundaries, then explore our website and see if Liberal Arts might be the degree for you. Liberal Arts has always understood educated individuals to be those people who understand their strengths and talents, who know their passions and aspirations, and who can live true to themselves. We will play our part in developing this sense of humanity in each of our students.
‘In 2013 I was lucky to embark on a degree course that has its origins 2,500 years ago. While its ancient form was criticised for exclusivity, the Modern Liberal Arts programme, one that largely differs from that currently practised in the US, has a chequered history and incorporates the writings of those who were severely punished for heresy, were seen to have incited or partaken in revolution, and who have been either exiled or executed for advocating free thought and the questioning of convention. In sum, those among many who have contributed to the considered freedoms we have today.
This unique and holistic form of study will always, by its nature, be subversive, will always struggle, perhaps rightly in terms of proper reflection, against tides of stratified systems, the fear of change, the primacy of accepted ideas of success and suspicions against independent thought, but the hope is that one day education will embrace, at least in equal part to the currently established ‘traditional’ curriculum, the thinking space that Liberal Arts offers everyone of all ages for the contemplation of what it really means to them to be human. I will forever feel privileged to have been involved in this post-Renaissance Liberal Arts revival…’ [Sem Vine, MLA 2013-16]
- Why Liberal Arts at Winchester?
- scholarships available
- University of Winchester
- semester dates
- Undergraduate Open Days: Saturday 14th & 28th October, Saturday 18th November, 2017
- Postgraduate Open Evening:
- Department of Education Studies and Liberal Arts
- University Mission and Values
- History of the University
- Study Options
- Order a Prospectus
2nd European Liberal Education Student Conference, May 4th – 7th 2017 University College Freiburg, Germany
What is Liberal Education and what could it be? (Sem Vine, MLA, p. 57)
Evagelia Hagikalfa (student [at] [art] work)
RIP Leonard Cohen (1934-2016)… the universal has yielded a part of itself…