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Liberal Arts: A New Course at Reach—But One of the Oldest in the World!

We’re very lucky at Reach to be based in Cambridge, home to one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in the world. Amazing thinkers like:

  • Isaac Newton
  • Alfred, Lord Tennyson
  • Charles Darwin
  • Ernest Rutherford
  • Srinivasa Ramanujan
  • Zadie Smith

… all studied at the University of Cambridge, completing degrees across the disciplines and often changing those disciplines as a result of their discoveries.

But did you know that the academic disciplines which these big names studied and developed are relatively new?

The University of Cambridge was founded in 1209 and yet, before the 1800s, university education looked very different. Indeed, most of the academic subjects we study in the Western World today—English, Physics, Math, Chemistry, Earth Science, History—were both less distinct from one another and less defined in themselves until the Age of Enlightenment in Europe.

The development of these new disciplines has been a boon for knowledge across the world, allowing us to hone our practices and share knowledge clearly and systematically. But there is much we can learn from past forms of post-secondary education too. And this is where a kind of study called ‘Liberal Arts’ becomes so important.

Sciences and humanities – both can be done in the Cambridge sunshine!

First appearing in Ancient Greece, the term ‘Liberal Arts’ can be deceptive, because it isn’t limited to the arts at all. Instead, the Liberal Arts cover a wide range of disciplines, based on the idea that a broad foundation is important to any good education—an education originally intended to turn students into good ‘citizens’, no matter what career they chose to pursue, rather than to deliver them directly into a single profession.

Based on principles of what we would today call interdisciplinarity and critical thinking, the Liberal Arts course at Reach follows in these Ancient footsteps while also evolving to best suit our students in the twenty-first century. It’s perfect for anyone who isn’t sure yet what they want to study, or who is passionate about both science and the humanities and wants to see what each has to contribute to the other. The Liberal Arts course is intended to help students explore their passions and learn about various academic disciplines while being challenged to think critically about each one.

At Reach Cambridge, this two-week intensive course covers everything from maths and science to history, politics, and the arts. Taught by an enthusiastic team of teachers – all of whom are experts in their respective fields – this is a rich and engaging course which promises to challenge students and set them up to succeed, whatever they choose to do next.

For a sense of what this breadth of knowledge could look like with Reach, take a peek at our Academic Course trailer…

We hope you’ll love this new course as much as we already do, and can’t wait to welcome our first Liberal Arts students in 2020!

You can find out more by checking out the course description here.