UK School to Offer New Undergraduate Degree

Category: Education/Family


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. tailored / ˈteɪ lərd / (adj) – made or changed to meet a special need or purpose

    The fitness program is tailored to people who need to lose weight but cannot exercise.

  2. interdisciplinary / ˌɪn tərˈdɪs ə pləˌnɛr i / (adj) – involving more than one field of study

    The college offers interdisciplinary courses like political economy.

  3. ground / graʊnd / (v) – to give or be the basis or reason for something

    The novel’s story is grounded in reality.

  4. pique / pik / (v) – to make someone curious or interested in something

    The sudden appearance of the strange object piqued the interest of many people.

  5. limit / ˈlɪm ɪt / (v) – to control or prevent something from developing or improving

    His lack of experience limited the positions he could apply to.


Read the text below.

A new college in London is offering a unique undergraduate degree that does not require students to take traditional academic subjects.

In 2021, The London Interdisciplinary School (LIS) will open with 100 students and 10 faculty. Despite not having traditional academic subjects, LIS graduates will earn full degrees. After three years, students will earn a degree in Bachelor of Arts and Sciences in Interdisciplinary Problems and Methods, a degree tailored for addressing real-world issues.

LIS’s curriculum will focus on interdisciplinary approaches to solving problems such as aging in society, childhood obesity, and plastic pollution. The curriculum is also expected to hone students’ quantitative and qualitative research skills. The curriculum will cut across disciplines without particular focus on the usual academic subjects like physics or history.

Students will be given business project ideas by potential employers, like consulting firm McKinsey, beverage company Innocent, and multi-sectoral business group Virgin. These companies will also allow students to undergo a five-week work experience.

According to LIS co-founder Ed Fidoe [FAHY-doh], grounding education in real-world problems will pique students’ interest and make them more employable after they graduate. Fidoe said LIS wants to give students a transformational educational experience that truly prepares students for the dynamic workplace of the future—something not many universities can offer.  LIS Academic lead Carl Gombrich added that the program’s goal is to equip students with problem-solving skills that they will need in the workplace.

However, one education advisor commented on LIS’s curriculum and expressed concern about whether the curriculum would achieve a balance of quantity and quality of knowledge. He said knowing many things but not understanding anything deeply might limit career opportunities.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• What other real-world problems do you think LIS should include in its program (e.g. climate change, unemployment)? Why?
• If you were a student, would you be interested in studying at LIS? Why or why not?

Discussion B

• Do you think universities in your country should make changes to their existing programs? Why or why not?
• Do you agree that knowing many things but not understanding anything deeply may become a disadvantage? Why or why not?