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The University of Southampton

IFYP0015 Introduction to Liberal Arts

Module Overview

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

• introduce you to a broad range of disciplines, including art, literature, film and social sciences • Introduce you to some key thinkers from cultural studies, social sciences and the arts • Introduce you to some techniques for reading cultural texts • encourage you to think about cultural phenomena in your own countries • encourage you to develop your creative skills by exposing you to a variety of different media

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • the ways in which cultural phenomena help construct our reality
  • the importance of politics and economics in the creation and dissemination of cultural products
  • current trends in contemporary global culture
  • some of the specific academic skills required for undergraduate study in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • work effectively in a team
  • prepare and deliver oral contributions
  • plan and organise your own learning schedule
  • research and produce a project
  • organise your study time effectively
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • This module is intended to prepare you for your undergraduate programmes in the Arts, Humanities or Social Sciences. The lectures, seminars and assessment tasks will allow you to develop the specific analytical skills you will need in order to critically examine the cultural phenomena which shape our society. At the end of the module, you will have improved your understanding of the ways in which cultural products impact upon how we construct and understand the contemporary world.
Cognitive Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • present reasoned and structured arguments, both orally and in written form
  • extract and synthesise key information from written, spoken and visual sources
  • analyse and discuss a range of cultural products
  • Present a rationale for an original piece of work


The Liberal Arts syllabus is comprised of five themes: • The Art of Communication • The Language of Literature • The Power of Performance • Science and Culture • Media and Society Under these ‘umbrella’ terms, a range of texts, ideas and theories will be introduced and explored in order to broaden your knowledge of the cultural phenomena which shape contemporary society. The module focuses on the social and political context in which culture manifests itself. With this in mind, you will discuss issues such as race, gender, class and sexuality in relation to the production of art, literature and film and the use of technology and digital media.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include • One 1 hour lecture per week • 2 hours of seminars/workshops per week Learning activities include • Attending lectures and seminar/workshops • Contributing to discussion in lectures and seminar/workshops • Engaging in seminar/workshop tasks • Preparing the assessed work ‘Skills weeks’ will focus on specific techniques for academic study in your chosen field, such as close reading, analysing images, designing and conducting surveys. You will study two ‘set texts’ across the academic year which will be used as material for practising your close textual analysis and critical thinking skills. Set texts will vary but could include graphic novels, films, poetry or other literary forms, specifically chosen for their potential to open up debates about genre, style and content.

Independent Study228
Total study time300

Resources & Reading list

During, S. (2007). The Cultural Studies Reader. 

Tyson, L. Critical Theory Today. 

Ouellette, L. (2012). The Media Studies Reader. 

McIntyre, L. (2013). The Practical Skeptic: Core Concepts in Sociology. 

Resources. The module will draw on a range of teaching materials and resources, including audio and visual resources that are both challenging and accessible. Extensive use of the internet will be made and readings, Help-Sheets and audio/visual links as well as tasks and assignments will regularly be uploaded onto Blackboard to support you. You are not expected to buy the following books; extracts will be provided and put on Blackboard.


Assessment Strategy

The module is assessed through coursework. At regular intervals you will be given a task to complete which will be worth a percentage of your final mark – see the table below. All the tasks are ‘summative’ but feedback will be given in the form of peer evaluation, self-reflection and tutor’s comments before you submit your task in order to help you produce your best work. In Semester Two, you will select one piece of work and develop it into an individual extended project. As you become more confident, the tasks will be weighted accordingly – semester one is worth 35% and semester two is worth 65% of your final mark.


MethodPercentage contribution
Annotated bibliography  (1000 words) 10%
Discussion  (15 minutes) 10%
Group presentation  (15 minutes) 15%
Individual project  (2000 words) 30%
Reading task  (500 words) 5%
Reflective piece  (500 words) 5%
Review  (1000 words) 15%
Video  (5 minutes) 10%


MethodPercentage contribution
Resubmit assessments 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal

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