Why Study Liberal Arts at Delhi University – Q&A With Utsa Bose, Department of English, St. Stephen’s College

Willard Dix, Contributor, Education at Forbes, in one of his articles, writes, “Dedicated to the free and open pursuit of knowledge for its own sake, a liberal arts education provides a multi-faceted view of the world.


It enables students to see beyond one perspective, encouraging them to understand others even if they don’t agree. It instructs us to base our opinions on reason, not emotion.


Although not a panacea, it can help individuals on every side of a debate have productive conversations leading to, if not agreement, at least détente.” This is true worldwide and particularly to present-day India.


In order to know in details about liberal arts programs at DU, considered to be the best in the country, we got in touch with Utsa Bose (20 years), a second-year undergraduate student pursuing Bachelor in Arts from the Department of English, St. Stephen’s College, University of Delhi (DU).




A selected excerpt of the interview –



When did you join Delhi University? Why?


I joined DU in 2018. My choice was prompted by the vast undergraduate English syllabus, which covered a lot of depth, temporally and spatially.


What is your opinion about Liberal Arts curricula in Delhi University?


The Liberal Arts curriculum in DU is vast and deep; which is to say that all the liberal arts departments in my college have a lot of workload in terms of syllabi to cover. Our syllabus is divided into two halves: _Essential_ and _Suggested Readings_.


While the essential readings have a direct correspondence with the exam system, the suggested ones help in establishing background and context. In other words, it is a great system if one is interested in serious academic work, but given the semester structure; the paucity of time often becomes an issue.


Why do you think today’s youth should opt for a liberal arts program at DU?


Today’s youth should pursue a liberal arts program at DU for the simple reason that DU offers, at least at the undergraduate level, great foundational depth and width regardless of the subject. For example, while my honours course is English, my background readings range from readings by Marx(Political and economic theory), Adorno (cultural theory), Foucault (Historical epistemology), Kant (Continental philosophy), Bhabha (Postcolonial studies), Judith Butler (Gender theory, feminism? etc.


What is the faculty profile at the university?


While the university faculty teach the M.A, M.Phil and PhD students, the faculty in our college are marked a high degree of dedication and ingenuity, be it through regular assignments, or even interactive class structures.


What is the admission process to join the programs?


Most colleges conduct admission on the sole basis of cut off marks with the first list being put out with the highest cut off marks, and subsequent lists (in case of vacancies) with lower cut off marks.


The admissions run over a course of 3/4 days, and it is typically on a first come first serve basis. Once admitted to one college, the college in question requires you to submit your necessary documents (10th marksheet, 12th marksheet, et al). In case the student has already been enrolled in one institution and wants to change, the college of enrolment furnishes the student with a slip which states that the student is indeed a student of the aforementioned institution, and all their documents are bonafide. This is to ensure that one student does not simultaneously occupy two seats in two different colleges. In the case of St. Stephen’s, the cut off marks guarantee an interview and a five mark written exam. Upon qualification in the same, admission is achieved.


What are the eligibility criteria and cut off marks?


Cut off marks vary from college to college, but the first cut off marks usually hover above and around the mid-nineties. The cut off is based on the BFS (average of the best four subjects). For Stephen’s English, the first cut off was 97.5 BFS in 2018, and 98.25 in 2019. The final admission mark is divided into three parts.


  • 85 percent: BFS
  • 10 percent: Interview performance
  • 5 percent: marks achieved in the written test conducted on the day of the interview.


What are the programs available in liberal arts? Which among them are most sought after?


The general liberal art courses available include English, History, Sociology, Psychology, Philosophy and Economics (which is a B.A under DU). English normally witnesses the largest rush since students from all three streams are likely to apply.


What is the fee structure?


The general fee structure is Rs. 25,000-35,000 per semester.


What are the career scopes?


Great campus-recruitment opportunities at the eve of the third year, guarantee fruitful career opportunities for DU students.


Any existing student/faculty exchange programs at the University with Indian or international institutions?


Stephen’s has an exchange program with Soka University, Japan.


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