Learning Student-made

Taking a module outside of your discipline: the how and why

University is an opportunity to constantly learn and broaden your knowledge, whilst being taught by experts in the field. That’s why it’s important to seize the chance of learning something new, as often as you can. One way to do this is by taking a module outside of your discipline. Here’s how to find out more:

How to find different modules

UCIL units

The University College for Interdisciplinary Learning offers various units that still contribute to your degree. It introduces you to “new topics and ways of thinking” by tackling the study of issues we face in the 21st Century. The topics are extremely diverse, ranging from a module in sign language, physics, mental health, and so much more. There’s a full guide on how to enrol for a UCIL module, as well as more information on the UCIL website.

Units within other schools

The best way to view modules available outside of your course is via the MyManchester website. Modules are available to view under the “My Learning tab”. Here, you can filter your search based on subject area. After you’ve filtered your results, you’ll find a list of all relevant modules. By clicking on each one, you can view the full details of each module, including the assessment method, syllabus, necessary pre-requisites and whether it’s a free choice module.

Taking a module from outside of your school often requires the approval of your course convenor, and the course convenor of the module you want to take. Make sure you ask them about the process, as it differs in different schools, before enrolling onto any module.

Taking a module outside of your discipline will reward you with several benefits. Here are just a few:

The benefits of taking a module outside of your discipline

It enhances your CV and employability

By broadening your horizons, you’ll be opening the door to new skills. Whether it’s with a UCIL module that allows you to learn a new language, or a module with a different assessment method to those you’re used to, there’ll definitely be new transferrable skills to add to your CV. One of my peers took a UCIL module in Essential Enterprise. She said one of the best things about doing the course was that it equipped her with new skills beside the ones she already from her own degree programme. If you’re interested in getting involved with Stellify, which is invaluable when it comes to enhancing your CV, UCIL modules are part of the the “Learn without boundaries” action point too.

It’s a way to step outside of your comfort zone

Sometimes it’s good to move away from what we are used to discussing and learning about, and step outside our academic comfort zone and challenge ourselves. It’s a chance to meet new people away from our discipline too. One of my friends took a UCIL module in beginners Spanish and said the best things about it was making new friends and having a wider choice of modules on offer. She said: “The language courses are organised by ability, and so you’re with people of all ages. You meet a huge variety of different people. I really enjoyed learning something new. I’d recommend taking a UCIL module to students that feel restricted, particularly in first year, by the modules offered by their own discipline.” If you aren’t motivated by the choice on offer, it’s a good time to look elsewhere and challenge yourself!

The ability to further your knowledge of something you’re passionate about

If you have an interest or a passion outside of the subject you’re studying, taking and passing a module outside of your course is a great way to have it formally acknowledged. Aside from formalities, it’s simply a great way to learn more about it, with research and knowledge coming straight from experts in the field. My fellow Politics & International Relations student that took Essential Enterprise told me that it works both ways; you can also bring your own unique passion and perspective onto your new course. For example, she spoke of how there was a political dimension to her module, and therefore she could bring her existing knowledge, and hear from people that had other perspectives, to better her understanding.

It can often compliment your degree programme

Whilst these modules are great for broadening your knowledge, they can also compliment your existing knowledge from your course. For example, I study Politics & International Relations, but I am intrigued by conflict response amongst governments. So, I took a module from the Conflict Response Institute that looked at how global governance deals with conflict. The content I was learning from this module complimented what I was studying in one of my Politics modules at the time. If there’s one area of your course that you are particularly interested in, you could search for a relevant module to further your understanding. This allows you to study that topic in depth, which is great if it’s related to a career you’re considering too.

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