Liberal Arts & Sciences


A degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences puts you among the next generation of leaders.  A prestigious undergraduate degree for elite A* or A grade students, it offers you the unique opportunity to design your own programme of study to match your individual interests and strengths.

The Liberal Arts and Sciences undergraduate degree allows you to explore the unique range of subjects on offer at one of the UK’s largest universities and, working with your academic advisor, to design a programme of study, which will stretch and challenge you, providing you with the experiences you will need to enable you to demonstrate to employers a wide range of skills and knowledge, across a breadth of subjects, including your chosen major.

The programme is designed to build your intellectual, employment and leadership skills and to broaden your professional outlook and cultural understanding, all of which are crucial for developing a successful career in an increasingly competitive global environment. The four- year programme will include an enhanced year abroad experience and a range of internship opportunities, either in the UK or abroad.

Course fact file

UCAS code: Y001

Duration: 4 years

Places Available: 30

Typical Offer: A*AA (More detailed entry requirements and the international qualifications accepted can be found in the course details)

Start date: September


For Undergraduate and general admissions enquiries: Admissions general line: +44 (0)121 414 5488.

For enquiries pertaining to general information, admissions, and open days, please contact the Liberal Arts & Sciences Administrator, Ruth German at Telephone enquiries: +44 (0)121 415 8236


Design your own programme and major

An important aspect of the Liberal Arts and Sciences degree is the flexibility to choose your major as you progress through your studies. Normally this will develop out of the modules you have chosen in years one and two of the programme, but exceptionally you may keep your options open until the start of your final year. Our advisors will help you to choose modules which interest and challenge you and over the first two years guide you in your choices of modules to reflect the subjects in which you may choose to major, as well as a portfolio of other modules which reflect and broaden your wider interests.

Programme Structure

An academic year at Birmingham consists of 120 credits of study, typically composed of 6 x 20 credit modules (although there are some 10 credits modules which can be combined to give 20 credits).

Puneet Tahim, Graduate Recruitment Officer, DLA Piper UK LLP "We recruit our young lawyers from a wide range of backgrounds and we are looking for graduates who can demonstrate both breadth and enthusiasm for their chosen subject major and who can work with our clients in an environment where innovation, excellence and going the extra mile is the norm. We have continued to support the University of Birmingham as it gives us the opportunity to meet some exceptional students. The committed, bright and enthusiastic students we meet help us to build a healthy talent pipeline into our city and regional offices"

Your first year

You will typically choose a minimum of 40 credits from one possible major area, and a further 40 credits from the range of Level 1 modules available across the University (timetable permitting). These 40 credits can be composed of 10 and 20 credits modules from a variety of areas and can if you wish focus on a second potential major. The remaining 40 credits will focus on 2 or more breadth modules.

Many combinations of modules are possible and below is just one example.

Year 1 Example: This student is interested in doing a Major in Biology, but also likes History, Economics, Politics and reading literature (but didn't take English at A level or IB English A)
40 credits of potential major (usually up to 60 credits) Introduction to Evolution and Animal Biology

Cell Biology and Physiology
40 credits of other interests or other potential major Modern History

Introductory Economics
Core breadth module Core Liberal Arts and Sciences breadth module
Optional breadth module Humanities breadth module on Literature and English History

Your second year

Your second year can take a variety of forms, you and your advisor will determine the options which best suit you. So you may choose to continue to build modules in your chosen major, choose to explore another major, explore additional breadth modules and other options or some combination of all three.

Such is the range of subjects we teach that it is not possible to study all combinations, however because of the flexibility that this degree offers in years one and two we can offer a wider range of possibilities within the timetable than in traditional three year degrees.

Year 2 Example
60 credits of potential Major (usually at least 40) Core skills for Data Analysis (Biosciences)

Cell Biology

Human Evolution, Adaptation and Behaviour
40 credits of other interests or other potential major (English building on year 1 breadth module).
Optional Module with a view to Birmingham Summer programme in China.
English: Approaches to Literature

English: Texts in History

Mandarin Chinese for Beginners

Year Abroad

Read more about your year abroad

Final year

As you enter the final year you will be in a position to concentrate on your chosen major   (or should you wish more than one majors) or to choose a major/minor combination. The final year also involves a capstone project supervised by our leading faculty which builds on the unique programme of study you have chosen.

Final year Example: This student now has the choice of pursuing a major in English or Biology, as in this example
40 credit dissertation focusing on major disciplines (but typically with interdisciplinary dimensions)  The biology of mating: Altruism and promiscuity in the novels of Jane Austen
Between 40 and 80 credits of Major (in this example Biology) Integrated Whole- Organism Biology

Applied and Environmental Micro- Biology
Up to 40 credits of second major, minor or other options: In this example English Literature, Sexuality and the Body

Currents and Concerns in recent Postcolonial Writing

The modules tab, provides more content on the potential majors available at Birmingham and the Breadth Modules. 

Why study this course

Liberal Arts and Sciences programme is a new concept in English university education, drawing on the best of international educational experience. With 42 possible majors, a research submission to 49 panels of assessment in the 2008 RAE, and over 230 specialist departments and research centres, the University is uniquely placed to provide top- ranked students with a fascinating array of options.,

This degree is a four- year programme which includes an enhanced year abroad at one of Birmingham’s leading partner institutes. You will gain invaluable real life work experiences with a range of internship opportunities, and have on hand a dedicated advisory team with access to some of the top academics in the University, who can offer exceptional mentoring and guidance.

Although this degree focuses on individual strengths and learning students will share core modules and have access to common supervision. You will benefit from a circle of support from your fellow Liberal Arts and Sciences students.

The programme, is designed to build your intellectual, employment and leadership skills and to broaden your professional outlook and cultural understanding.


Possible Majors (and required A-levels or I.B subjects) include:

Science majors

  • Biochemistry (requires A level/ HL Chemistry) 
  • Biology (requires A level/ HL Biology) 
  • Chemistry (requires A level/ HL Chemistry) 
  • Computer science 
  • Earth Sciences
  • Geography (requires A Level/ HL Geography) 
  • Mathematics (requires A level/ HL 5 or SL 7 Mathematics) 
  • Physics (requires A level/ HL Physics and A level/ HL 5 or SL 7 Mathematics or Pure Mathematics)
  • Psychology
  • Sport and Exercise Sciences

Arts majors

  • African Studies 
  • American & Canadian Studies 
  • Anthropology 
  • Archaeology & Ancient History 
  • Classical Literature & Civilisation 
  • Drama 
  • English Language – A level English grade A or A grade in select College of Arts & Law or IB English A course
  • English Literature - A level English grade A or A grade in select College of Arts & Law or IB English A course
  • European Studies 
  • French – A-level French or A grade in Intermediate Level extra-mural French or IB French A or B
  • Geography – A Level Geography grade A/ IB HL 6
  • German– A-level German or A grade in Intermediate Level extra-mural German or IB Geramn A or B
  • Hispanic Studies 
  • History 
  • History of Arts 
  • Italian 
  • Law
  • Mathematics – A level Mathematics grade A/ HL 5 or SL 7
  • Music 
  • Philosophy 
  • Portuguese 
  • Russian 
  • Sociology 
  • Theology

Social Sciences majors

  • Business 
  • Economics 
  • Education 
  • European Studies 
  • Finance 
  • International Relations 
  • Political Science 
  • Political Economy 
  • Public Policy 
  • Social Policy 
  • Sociology

Other ways of mixing subjects

Using the Year Abroad to increase your mix

The Year Abroad offers yet another opportunity for flexibility. So if you find it is not possible to take some subject in years one or two (because the timetable simply doesn’t work given the combinations you want) then it is almost certain we can arrange to cover your preferences by judicious choice of Year Abroad location. As you will appreciate, life does involve trade-offs and inevitably no matter how excited we may be, we can’t study everything. So there will need to be compromises as you go through but we will work with you to ensure that we design the degree which best suits your evolving interests and talents.

Study Languages from the Centre for Modern Languages

If you are interested in doing a language as part of the degree (but not necessarily as major) then you have the additional option of taking languages from the Centre for Modern Languages either for credit (called a Module Outside the Main Discipline) or as an extracurricular Open Access Course.

The choice is yours. Module Outside the Main Discipline timeslots differ from the regular language timeslots and for the Open Access variant there are a wide variety of possible class time slots, including evenings, to facilitate busy schedules and preferred working times. 

The breadth modules

These will typically be in areas very different from your potential major and will enable you to understand the ways that specialist in other fields think and work. These modules are not designed to introduce you to a subject, rather these are modules offered by our leading academics designed to familiarise you (as a non-specialist) with the most important topics and issues confronting researchers working in other fields. In addition to the subject understanding developed in these modules, each will develop important skills which complement your potential major.

By their very nature the modules on offer will constantly adapt to reflect the evolving expertise issues we face and the expertise of our leading researchers.

Dewan, CEO and Founding Partner, Hassium Asset Management LLP "The multidisciplinary nature of the programme and the wide variety of opportunities it offers in terms of study abroad, internships, mentoring etc will develop graduates that are more well-rounded, robust and ultimately more employable. I believe that increased flexibility and later, more informed, subject specialisation will result in graduates who have a clearer vision of where they want to get to than students who have followed a more traditional UK single-subject disciplinary route"

Fees and funding

Standard fees apply 

Learn more about fees and funding

Entry requirements

Number of A levels required: 3

Typical offer: A*AA

Required subjects and grades: For some majors, specific A-levels or IB higher levels are required. In some other cases a major can be pursued subject to satisfactory performance in identified first year modules or breadth modules.

General Studies: A* accepted in place of grade A in another subject including critical thinking.

International students:

International Baccalaureate Diploma: 36 points and Standard English language requirements apply.

Depending on your chosen course of study, you may also be interested in the Birmingham Foundation Academy, a specially structured programme for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities. Further details can be found on the foundation academy web pages.

How to apply

Apply through UCAS at using code: Y001.

University of Birmingham's UCAS code number is B32.

Learn more about applying.

Key Information Set (KIS)

Key Information Sets (KIS) are comparable sets of information about full- or part-time undergraduate courses and are designed to meet the information needs of prospective students.

All KIS information has been published on the Unistats website and can also be accessed via the small advert, or ‘widget’, below. On the Unistats website you are able to compare all the KIS data for each course with data for other courses.

The development of Key Information Sets (KIS) formed part of HEFCE’s work to enhance the information that is available about higher education. They give you access to reliable and comparable information in order to help you make informed decisions about what and where to study.

The KIS contains information which prospective students have identified as useful, such as student satisfaction, graduate outcomes, learning and teaching activities, assessment methods, tuition fees and student finance, accommodation and professional accreditation.


For Undergraduate and general admissions enquiries: Admissions general line: +44 (0)121 414 5488.

For enquiries pertaining to general information, admissions, and open days, please contact the Liberal Arts & Sciences Administrator, Ruth German at Telephone enquiries: +44 (0)121 415 8236

Learning and teaching

Your teaching will involve a mixture of dedicated and innovative small group experiences with fellow Liberal Arts and Sciences subjects and studying alongside other students in your major field or optional modules. Depending on your major area of concentration this may involve some or all of large and small lectures, small group seminars and/or laboratory work. You will interact closely with the core Liberal Arts and Sciences advisory staff and fellow students as part of both your core and extra mural development.


For Undergraduate and general admissions enquiries: Admissions general line: +44 (0)121 414 5488.

For enquiries pertaining to general information, admissions, and open days, please contact the Liberal Arts & Sciences Administrator, Ruth German at Telephone enquiries: +44 (0)121 415 8236


Louis Koonjean, Resourcing & Succession Specialist, RWE npower  "What graduates need to recognise is that in most jobs they are likely to be doing something different within two years of commencing a graduate job and that what is important in their degree is the ability to demonstrate that they can master a range of information and skills and use them intelligently. The breadth associated with a Liberal Arts and Sciences degree is valuable in that it demonstrates mastery across a broader range of subjects than a traditional degree, while the Major demonstrates that a student can also work in greater depth"

This degree has been developed in response to requests from our international employer advisory group for graduates with a wide- ranging knowledge and skills in addition to in depth expertise, who will provide the next generation of leaders. In a fast changing world the jobs of tomorrow are only just emerging. Many graduates find employment in areas far removed from their primary area of study at University – or are likely to change careers several times in their lives, and sometimes engaging in a wider range of jobs with the same employer. The Bachelor of Liberal Arts and Sciences recognises this phenomenon and is designed to meet the growing demand from leading employers in the UK and internationally, for a new breed of dynamic business, public service and political leader.

This programme has been developed by drawing on the experiences of world leading partner universities in the US, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore and in several European countries. These international initiatives draw in the best traditions of both the European and North American liberal arts and sciences traditions, but also on the new demands of leading employers and research in leadership.

A Liberal Arts and Sciences degree will give you an extra edge, particularly in the international graduate market. Graduate careers will range from the sciences to the creative arts, from finance to leading policy think tanks. Internationally, Liberal Arts and Sciences graduates progress to the legal professions, major consultancy and management firms, postgraduate study or graduate entry to medicine (subject to following an appropriate pathway during the programme). Other students will progress to graduate study, and this can be accelerated in selected cases by access to masters levels module in the final year.

All this, in addition to the extensive support and guidance available to you from the

University to help you gain the vital careers and employability skills that can really help you stand out from the crowd.


For Undergraduate and general admissions enquiries: Admissions general line: +44 (0)121 414 5488.

For enquiries pertaining to general information, admissions, and open days, please contact the Liberal Arts & Sciences Administrator, Ruth German at Telephone enquiries: +44 (0)121 415 8236