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Liberal Arts at St Mary's Liberal Arts image


All students take three modules of subject studies in Year 1. Two of these modules will be delivered by the lecturers of the subject department. The third module is a collaborative learning experience provided by lecturers from across the whole Liberal Arts programme.

We are committed to the development of student skills in the Liberal Arts programme skills that will enable the student to learn effectively now and lay the habits for life-long learning; skills that will equip the student for future engagement in work and society. Given the emphasis on present and future application of the skills gained on your degree, we have been careful to design the programme to equip you for life and learning in the 21st century.

The aim of this module is to begin the development of study skills that will underpin the Liberal Arts experience and prepare students for professional life. There is a focus on communication skills, team work skills and problem-solving. The contents of the module will require students to make use of subject knowledge and relate it to wider learning about Europe, and about the world of work.

Writing Skills
(Mr Jonathan Worley, co-ordinator)

Over a two year cycle, students will have opportunities to develop strategies for writing skills relevant to their chosen subject area. Topics considered will include:

Reading skills students will explore a number of ways of reading texts to facilitate interest, inquiry and comprehension. Reading as social practice (i.e. discussion of texts, textual power) will be central. A range of textual genres particular to the subject under consideration will be explored. Topics: disciplinary epistemology, genre, genre reading, mastery of a department's requirements, introduction to department's bibliographic style sheet.

Writing Skills students will explore writing as a form of inquiry social practice and the making of meaning, as it applies to their particular discipline. Topics: peer review theory and practice; disciplinary boundaries, genre within the discipline and essay structure; paragraphs, and what counts as argument and evidence; common grammatical failings and disciplinary variations.

Oral Skills
(Fr Feidhlimidh Magennis, co-ordinator)

Over a two year cycle, students will have opportunities to develop strategies for oral skills relevant to their chosen subject area. Topics considered will include:

Presentational Skills students will explore techniques and methods for making presentations in a range of contexts encountered in their subject area.

Teamwork skills students will explore the dynamics of small group interactions, and develop techniques and methods to optimize their performance in a range of interactive contexts.

Medici Prize
(Fr Feidhlimidh Magennis, co-ordinator)

The Medici Prize is an innovative and competitive element of the programme that encourages Liberal Arts first-year students to develop teamwork skills and to explore that aspect of the world of work called social enterprise. Students are asked to demonstrate the ability to design and submit a successful application for start-up funding for a new social enterprise. Students are encouraged to develop a proposal from its basic inception through to the presentation of a formal EU-style application. All participants will have the opportunity to reflect and evaluate their skills development throughout the process and gain credit within, "Subject Studies and Professional Skills".

Ireland and Modern Europe
(Dr Angela Vaupel)

As part of "Subject Studies and Professional Skills", students have the opportunity to relate their subject studies to the wider curriculum of International Studies. In the lecture series delivered by Dr Vaupel, students will be introduced to some key examples of the impact of cultural ideas and trends on the development of modern Europe. The aims of the lectures are:

  • to encourage students to become aware of the wider impact of their subject field on wider developments in European culture and society
  • to assist students to develop study skills to link their subject field to reflections on wider cultural developments
  • to provide models for the presentation of cultural developments in a multi-disciplinary fashion.

Students will be invited to select an area of study from within their subject field and to write a report on its wider, European cultural contribution(s).