Bachelor of Arts
Step 7: Understanding your Degree
You will need a good undertanding of how the whole degree works or fits together. To help you out we're going to take you through the structure of the Bachelor of Arts from the time you enrol in your first year through to your final semester, when you apply to graduate.
The diversity and range of subjects on offer can make it easy to forget that there are certain requirements that must be fulfilled.
Firstly, let's take a look at some of the common terminology that you will come across:
- Course Handbook
The University Course Handbook is the go-to guide for information relating to any and all degree programs. It contains all relevant information about requirements and restrictions for your chosen degree, Major, Minor etc Despite a new handbook being produced each year you should always refer to the Course Handbook for the year that you commenced your degree when checking degree requirements but refer to the University Subject Timetable for the subjects offered for the current year.
A Major is the discipline or study area you choose to specialise in. In other words, it's a coherent program of study. For example if you do a Major in History, then over the course of your undergraduate degree, you will take lots of history subjects. Each Major has certain requirements you must meet, such as a total number of credit points you have to complete in your Major (usually between 52 and 54, languages however often have more). Some majors have compulsory (also known as 'core') subjects as well as a wide range of subjects to choose from.
A Minor requires approximately half the credit points of a Major – put simply, it's half a Major (usually between 24 - 28/32 credit points). Be sure to check the Course Handbook for exact credit point requirements and any compulsory subjects you need to do to qualify for a Minor. A Minor does not appear on your Testamur (the certificate you receive at Graduation). It does, however, appear on your transcript and can be used to indicate to employers your diversity of knowledge.
- Credit point
Credit Points are the weighting assigned to each subject that you take. They allow you to measure how much time and effort will be put into a class. In the Faculty of Arts, all 100 level subjects are worth 6 credit points and all 200 and 300 level subjects are worth 8. Students normally take 100 level subjects in their first year eg HIST111; 200 level subjects in their second year and a combination of 200 and 300 in their third and final year. By the time you apply to graduate, you must have successfully completed 144cp (among other requirements) to qualify for a Bachelor of Arts degree.
- 100, 200, 300 level
100, 200, 300 level
While the level of a subject loosely correlates to the year level, you can take subjects from each level at any time providing you have met the criteria. For example, a 200 level Philosophy subject may require you to have completed at least 36 credit points, including 6 credit points with the prefix PHIL, while a 300 level English Literatures subject may require you to have completed 16cp at 200 level including 8cp of ENGL. Criteria for all courses can be found by consulting the Subject Description – just click on the relevant subject code under the Study Program of a Major in the University Course Handbook . Subject descriptions can also be accessed by clicking on the relevant subject code under the University Timetable. The chief determinant between the 3 levels of subjects is the standard of work expected and this is often reflected in the word count of assessment tasks.
- Autumn, Spring and Summer Session/Semester
Autumn, Spring and Summer Session/Semester
Each academic year is divided into three sessions (also called semesters). You should consult the Session and Key Dates web page for the start and end dates of each session. Autumn and Spring session each comprise thirteen weeks of teaching, while Summer only runs for 8 weeks and involves intensive teaching each week. It is possible to complete a Bachelor of Arts degree in three years without attending Summer Session, particularly if you have a good degree plan at the outset of your degree.
- Course Load (Full/Part Time)
Course Load (Full/Part Time)
A normal full-time study load is considered to be 48 credit points per year. A standard course load for a full time student is 24 credit points per semester. This means studying 4 x 6cp 100 level subjects per semester in first year and 3 x 8cp 200 and 300 level subjects per semester in second and third year.
To maintain full time status you need to enrolled in 75% of a normal full-time load (48/100*75 = 36 credit points per year). A student studying less than 36 credit points in a year is considered to be part time (this may be important if you intend to claim Centrelink benefits while studying).