Polymathy, New Generalism, and the Future of Work: A Little Theory and Some Practice from UCL’s Arts and Sciences Degree

  • Carl Gombrich


It is a truism that we are at the beginning of a revolution, one that is driven principally by technology but also involves other factors such as globalization and problems of planetary scope. Graduate work, too, is changing. More nations are becoming knowledge economies in which services dominate and attributes such as creativity, flexibility, and collegiality are valued in white-collar and professional jobs at least as much as academic subject knowledge.

This chapter sketches a trajectory of higher education in its relation to employment and argues that we see a re-emergence of polymathy and generalism as both valued educational ambitions and central to the future of work. Examples of University College London Arts and Sciences student profiles are given and experiences of graduate recruitment examined.


Polymathy generalism knowledge economy future of work expertise • specialization liberal arts and sciences 


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Copyright information

© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carl Gombrich
    • 1
  1. 1.University College LondonLondonUK

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