The joys of interdisciplinarity

What can you do with a Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences degree?

The interdisciplinary nature of a Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences degree means that students can approach their four years of study in a variety of different ways. We asked several tutors from the course to provide some examples below. 

Interdisciplinarity

Julia: “You can have a specific job in mind and work towards it.”

Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences is the perfect degree if you have a specific job in mind after graduation. Very few employers look for a graduate skilled in only one area, so an interdisciplinary portfolio can make you the most accomplished candidate for any job.

Here is an example. Your dream job might be working for the United Nations. The purpose of the United Nations is to face common problems in today’s world, manage shared responsibilities, and work together to achieve an inclusive and sustainable world.

You would need a diverse skill-set to become a Management Officer for the United Nations Environment Programme:

  • Degree in Biological Sciences or Natural Sciences
  • Proficiency in French (the language of the United Nations)
  • Familiarity with politics and different government structures
  • Knowledge of international relations
  • Experience of working with people with different specialisms

Our flexible Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences programme will allow you to meet these wide-ranging criteria. You can combine modules from Environmental Sciences, French, Politics and International Relations, whilst our core modules will give you an even broader access to specialists from all areas of the University.

With such a relevant portfolio, you will walk into the United Nations feeling very confident about your job interview. Bonne chance!

Mircea Scrob

Dr Julia Myatt is a Lecturer in Behavioural Ecology and Morphology. Her research interests have focused on the morphology-behaviour-habitat interface in non-human Great Apes and the collective behaviour of group-living animals.

Mircea: “You can focus on a problem and find ways to solve it.”

Our world faces many complex problems. Often, the most robust solutions are found through collaboration and understanding the problem from different perspectives. As such, Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences is an ideal place to start for any student hoping to make the world a better place.

For instance, one of the most important problems that needs addressing today is how to make a healthy diet more appealing to those whose good health depends on it. Lifestyle-related and dietary-related diseases (diabetes, CHD, obesity) contribute significantly to worldwide mortality and they are projected to rise in the coming decades.

Interdisciplinary education, such as that offered by Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences, will show that no single factor is singularly responsible, but rather a variety of factors which cut across conventional disciplinary boundaries.

If I were to approach this problem, I would need to gain understanding from a variety of areas:

  • Biology and nutrition – To understand the biological underpinnings of our food preferences, as well as the effect of particular foods on the human body.
  • Sociology – The food ‘culture’ in which one is socialised emerges as an important determinant of our food habits.
  • Psychology – To understand motivation for purchasing certain foods.
  • Marketing – How advertising and brand strategy, such as celebrity endorsements, increases the appeal of healthy foods.
  • Economics, business, politics – To understand the ecology of our eating habits, ranging from sales strategies to government taxing of certain food items.
  • History and anthropology – To find case studies to understand the impact of modifying each of the above factors.
  • Statistics – A grounding in statistical and methodological research methods, qualitative and quantitative, will help support further research into this area.
Mircea Scrob

Dr Mircea Scrob is a Teaching Fellow in Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences. His research interests are food studies, mixed research methods, the economic history of modern Eastern Europe, and the history of nutritional science in the 20th century.