Liberal Arts and Sciences: admissions essay

Liberal Arts and Sciences is a highly competitive and popular undergraduate degree.  All applicants who meet our entry criteria will be asked to submit a 1,000-word admissions essay shortly after submitting their UCAS application.  This essay ensures we only make offers to the brightest and most exceptional applicants.

What is the essay topic?

You will be asked to submit a 1,000-word (max.) essay in response to one of three questions.  There will be a question for each of the following areas:

  • Arts and humanities
  • Social sciences
  • Science

You can choose which question you answer.  The exact three questions will be confirmed nearer the time, but the focus for each essay should be on the interdisciplinary possibilities of drawing together a range of subjects creatively.  The question you answer has no bearing on what you study in your degree but may influence which activity you’re allocated on the Offer-Holder Day.

When will I be invited to write the essay?

Candidates with excellent predicted grades, strong GCSEs or equivalent (including Maths and English at grade C or above), along with a strong personal statement and academic reference, will be invited to submit an essay.

We will send you an email with the three essay questions and details of how to submit your essay.  Typically, you will have to submit this directly to the University of Birmingham by email, and this should be submitted within four weeks.

Offers will then be made based on the quality of the essays.  There are no further essays, interviews, or exams.

Do I have to complete the essay?

Yes.  No offers will be made until we receive and evaluate the essay that you have submitted.

Advice on writing the essay

You should aim to bring together different disciplinary approaches to understand a topic (e.g. Politics, Biology, English Literature). You should emphasise what is interesting, significant, and novel in this combination of subjects that you have identified.

We expect good academic practice, including proofreading and properly formatted references.

If you are invited to write an admissions essay, more advice will be provided.

What happens then?

The essays are assessed by LANS tutors.  Essays deemed to be very good qualify for a reduction of the entry requirement.

Although we evaluate the essays within a week of receiving them, they are processed through the Admissions Office, who are responsible for the entire university.  At the peak of applications, this may take a further 15 working days for Home applications and 5 working days for Overseas applications.

If you have any questions about the Admissions Essay then please contact the Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences team at and we will be happy to help.