Liberal Arts at the University of Winchester

A different kind of degree for a different kind of university education.

If you love to read and talk about ideas, if you ask questions about everything, if you find pleasure in reading and thinking, and if you like the challenge of working without subject boundaries, then explore our website to see if Liberal Arts and its interdisciplinary study at Winchester might be the degree for you.

Liberal Arts is a different kind of degree. In many ways it is where the idea of higher education began. You might already recognise some of these ideas in ‘A’ levels such as psychology, history, sociology, art, English literature, political studies, religious studies, or media studies. Beyond ‘A’ levels we think of Liberal Arts as philosophical study across humanities, social and natural science, and arts.

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.

‘Seriousness is deeply agreeable to the heart’ (Leonard Cohen). 

Liberal Arts

The Ancients asked ‘What are the first principles of truth, freedom and nature?’

But the Ancients believed in slavery, in the Earth at the centre of the universe, and in the principle of absolute unchanging universal truth. The modern age thinks differently. Today, modern reason abhors slavery, yet is the world free? Modern science uncovers the laws of nature, yet why do we do such harm to the natural environment? Modern thought no longer believes in absolute unchanging truth, yet does humanity really have no shared principles or values? Today we must again ask, ‘What are the first principles of truth, freedom and nature in the modern world?’

But these important questions surrounding truth (God), the universe, nature, human freedom and equality cannot be contained within separate academic disciplines. Therefore, our Liberal Arts degree is designed for students who want to enhance their own critical thinking with breadth and depth beyond the limits of individual academic subjects.

It remains very popular as an undergraduate degree in the USA, and is now 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. Liberal Arts can be enjoyed by everyone.

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 Purgatory, III.78), and the more one comes to treasure the wealth of a developed inner life.