Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences Recommends

Before you start on your undergraduate Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences degree course here at Birmingham you may be wondering if there is anything you could be doing to prepare. 

You'll receive a thorough induction when you start, but if you find that you have some time over the summer, here are recommendations from some of our lecturers to get you thinking:

Dr Jennifer Marshall (Medical and Dental Sciences)

I really enjoy the Nature daily briefing to keep up with the latest research news from all over science.

A screenshot of the Nature Briefing website

I’d recommend looking through the Wellcome Trust book prize for books that span fiction and non-fiction in a range of subjects that are always interesting.  To be eligible for entry, a book should have a central theme that engages with some aspect of medicine, health or illness.

screenshot of 2019 books shortlist

I also recommend listening to podcasts such as More or Less, Short Cuts, Reply all, Science Vs, and The Curious Cases of Rutherford and Fry.  RadioLab is always good and had an excellent mini-series on genius and another on gonads.

Dr Julian Pänke (Political Science and International Studies)

LANS recommended reading book covers

I'd recommend the following books:

This looks at different international relations theories in a zombie apocalypse.

It’s amazing to see how little has changed in the UK compared to 1937.

Professor Diana Spencer (Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology)

These books will introduce you to classics:


Fictional books that you might enjoy include:


Dr Ilija Rasovic (Engineering and Physical Sciences)

A notoriously tough nut to crack would be Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas R. Hofstadter.   Other recommendations are The Social Function of Science by J. D. Bernal and Aping Mankind by Raymond Tallis.

book covers of the recommended books