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BA (Honours) Arts and Humanities - Learning outcomes

Educational aims

This is a wide-ranging programme of study across the arts and humanities which aims to provide you with the flexibility to choose modules from several different subjects or, if you prefer, to specialise in one or two subjects.

In addition, the programme will provide you with:

  • a thorough grounding in the arts and humanities to honours level
  • a comprehensive grounding in skills of analysis, argument and expression in the humanities
  • the ability to communicate ideas clearly, including writing well-argued essays and work in formal examinations, and to use feedback to reflect constructively on your learning appropriate to honours level
  • if you adopt a subject specialism, a comprehensive sense of the different ways of approaching your chosen subject specialism to honours level
  • an awareness of the transferable skills you have gained in the process of studying the arts and humanities to honours level, and a sense of how these skills might serve you in future study and in building your career as appropriate.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

When you complete your studies for this degree, you will be able to:

  • draw on your study of different subject areas in order to understand texts, objects, languages, cultures and histories
  • understand and use key terms, concepts and approaches from different subject areas (such as art history, classical studies, creative writing, English literature, history, modern languages, music, philosophy and religious studies)
  • recognise how the study of the arts and humanities is relevant to issues of ethical, social and public concern
  • understand how knowledge is created, challenged and shared in different subject areas.

Cognitive skills

When you complete your studies for this degree, you will be able to:

  • synthesise information from different sources and communicate it clearly
  • engage critically with familiar and unfamiliar points of view
  • draw appropriate conclusions based on different kinds of evidence and argument
  • select and use approaches from different subject areas to create, challenge and share knowledge
  • take an evaluative approach to your study and writing.

Practical and/or professional skills

By the end of the degree, you will have developed and demonstrated:

  • degree-level skills of reading, note-taking and writing
  • the ability to synthesise and communicate information
  • the ability to think critically, evaluate arguments and draw appropriate conclusions
  • the confidence to work as an independent learner
  • an awareness of your own transferable skills.

Key skills

When you complete your studies for this degree, you will be able to:

  • use the methods of different subject areas to understand texts, objects, languages, cultures and histories 
  • communicate ideas clearly, appropriate to your subject, purpose and audience
  • follow good academic practices, for example by using appropriate referencing
  • select and use online tools to further your learning in different subject areas
  • draw on graduate-level skills in information literacy, for example to find and critically evaluate information found online
  • study independently and reflectively, planning and evaluating your own learning in different subject areas.

Teaching, learning and assessment methods

You will acquire your knowledge and understanding through a mix of published distance-learning materials, study guides, a range of multimedia material (including Library resources), online tuition and tutorials, working on primary and secondary sources, and feedback on your assignments. The assessment of your knowledge and understanding will be through a mix of essay questions, short-answer questions and formal examinations. In some instances, particularly at OU level 3, you may also be assessed through extended assignments, allowing you to develop your skills in independent study. The precise nature of this mix will depend on your choice of modules. As you progress through the degree you will find that you are cumulatively increasing your level of knowledge and understanding and you can expect a significant portion of your progress to be assessed at OU level 3.

Cognitive skills are taught cumulatively and in ways that will vary according to which modules you choose to study. They will include the use of written materials, in-text questions, audio, visual and/or interactive material, carefully monitored feedback on assignments, as well as virtual tutorials and conferencing. The essay is a principal form of assessment, though you may also work on short-answer questions and a range of reflective assignments.

You will be responsible for choosing your own pathway through the degree, but support is available: you will have a designated tutor for each module; access to learner support staff who can give you information, advice and guidance on your programme; and you can also refer to a range of online information resources.

The teaching, learning and assessment of your key skills are also specific to the specialisms, and you should check the subject-specific specialism specifications. In many cases they are indirectly assessed within the programme.