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The University of Southampton

IFYP0022 Introduction to Liberal Arts

Module Overview

The Liberal Arts module is an interdisciplinary, content-based module designed for International Foundation students taking Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Southampton. The aim is to introduce you to some of the techniques and academic skills required for undergraduate study, while building on the skills you will acquire in your other core modules; Academic English, Critical Thinking and Research Skills and Global Society. The Introduction to Liberal Arts module will examine the ways in which cultural phenomena, from art, literature, film and music, to technology and digital media influence how we see the world. You will be introduced to a range of creative genres and taught to ‘read’ a wide variety of written and visual ‘texts’ and cultural products in order to better understand how they reflect and influence contemporary human society.

Aims and Objectives

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 history, 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
  • the different written genres of the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • analyse and discuss a range of cultural products, orally and in written form
  • present a rationale for an original piece of work
  • extract and synthesise information from written, spoken and visual sources
  • reflect on and describe your own experience of cultural products
  • evaluate the appropriateness and usefulness of sources
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


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 and concepts will be introduced and explored in order to broaden your knowledge of the cultural phenomena which shape contemporary society. Seminars and workshops will give you the opportunity to discuss these ideas further and a variety of learning activities will help you to build your confidence in expressing your own views.

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

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.


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 40% and semester two is worth 60% of your final mark.


MethodPercentage contribution
Annotated bibliography 15%
Critical commentary  (500 words) 10%
Group presentation 25%
Individual project  (2000 words) 30%
Reflective piece 10%
Video 10%


MethodPercentage contribution
Resubmit assessments 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Resubmit assessments 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal

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