Renowned academic urges UK to consider US-style majors system


‘Bit of this and a bit of that’ education more effective training for world of many opportunities

An internationally renowned academic is urging UK universities to adopt a US-style majors system of teaching, which is very in keeping with Richmond American University London’s liberal arts approach for students.

Kwame Anthony Appiah, who is professor of philosophy and law at New York University (NYU), considers the American-style liberal education model of studying a range of subjects before majoring in one as generally a better way of organising undergraduate studies than the typical UK approach.

Professor Appiah switched degree programmes in the first year while studying at Cambridge, from medicine to philosophy, which is generally unusual for the UK, studying both sciences and humanities at undergraduate level.

He said, “By the time I graduated from Cambridge with a degree in philosophy, I knew an awful lot of philosophy – more than the typical philosophy major in the US – as it was all I had been doing for two years. But having only one kind of job is unusual in the modern world, and I don’t know that such an intense education in philosophy alone would have been the ideal preparation for many other things I could have done”.

“A bit of this and a bit of that is better preparation for a life where you will have many kinds of opportunities,” he said.

All undergraduate students at Richmond American University London take a US-style liberal arts degree which provides them with a breadth of knowledge for both personal development and preparation for work or further study.

Find out more about what Professor Appiah said in this Times Higher Education article (available to subscribers).