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A degree with a difference

As part of its mission to make a distinctive contribution to Higher Education in Northern Ireland, St Mary’s has developed a BA (Hons) Liberal Arts degree. We consider it to be a ‘degree with a difference’. Building on our successful experiences in teacher education, the University College is now offering wider access, based on the same values and standards, to meet the needs of students who have not chosen teaching as a career. This innovative degree offers students the combination of focused study and broad development which is a key feature of a Liberal Arts education. The learning programme seeks to develop the skills necessary to succeed in new and challenging situations. It also offers the challenge of studying a relatively wide range of university modules and the opportunity to deepen one’s personal values and sense of responsibility to the needs of society. We therefore believe that a Liberal Arts degree offers students learning opportunities for both employability and fulfilment.


What is a Liberal Arts degree?

While relatively new in the British Isles, the tradition of Liberal Arts education is firmly established in North America and Continental Europe. By definition, it provides a high-quality undergraduate degree programme which seeks to provide students with a well-rounded university education by way of preparation for further study or employment. The Association of American Colleges and Universities defines a truly liberal education as one which “prepares people to live responsible, productive and creative lives in a dramatically changing world”. It is an education which fosters well-grounded intellectual resilience, a disposition to lifelong learning and an acceptance of responsibility for the consequences of one’s ideas and actions. A degree in Liberal Arts is not tied to a specific career path (as with a degree in teaching, engineering or medicine). We believe that the degree prepares the citizens of tomorrow, the leaders in business and across society, and it is particularly relevant in Ireland, North and South, at this time.

At St Mary’s we have developed a BA degree programme to provide this particular form of university education to students who feel it is right for them. As a result, the BA (Hons) Liberal Arts degree has a number of distinctive features:

  • a multi-disciplinary study of the person, as an individual and as a member of society, from economic, political and ethical perspectives
  • an economic and cultural exploration of Ireland in its European and global context
  • opportunities to experience the world of work through study visits and placements with businesses, organisations and community enterprises
  • opportunities to develop the key skills of communication as well as career and personal development
  • a careers service that is fully integrated into the learning and teaching programme.

Additional Key Information

Programme Summary

Teaching & Learning

Assessment & Feedback

Your Career Options


Find out more about the BA Liberal Arts degree course.

Entry Requirements for the BA Liberal Arts degree course.

Apply for the BA Liberal Arts degree course.