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What It’s Like Studying a Bachelor of Arts at ANU

Bachelor of Arts ANU - Fact Sheet

So you’re interested in a Bachelor of Arts at ANU, but want a taste of what it’s like?

This article will walk you through what an Arts degree consists of, including core subjects, career paths, and teaching format, as well as an inside-perspective on university culture, life, and what to expect.

Let’s get right into it!

What is a Bachelor of Arts at ANU?
Core Units and Majors
How to Get into a Bachelor of Arts at ANU
What’s the Teaching Format?
What’s the Faculty and Culture Like?

What is a Bachelor of Arts at ANU?

A Bachelor of Arts at ANU is a broad, flexible degree enabling you to focus a major of your choice from a pool of Arts majors the university offers. This degree is highly suitable for anyone who enjoyed humanities and/or arts subjects in high school, with majors ranging from Political Science to Art History and Theory to Environmental Studies. 

What can you expect from studying a Bachelor of Arts? 

Bachelor of Arts ANU - Student Quote

Located in the Australian Capital Territory with connections to Parliament House, ANU and its Arts degree are especially regarded for its politics, history, international relations, security, and various international studies courses and faculties (e.g. Chinese studies, Pacific studies). ANU is particularly focused on global and current issues. 

Additionally, expect a fairly rigorous academic demand if you’re considering studying a Bachelor of Arts at ANU, with emphasis on research and essay-writing. However, these are definitely demands of all arts degrees; and with passion and hard work, doing well is not too hard!

Career Paths 

A Bachelor of Arts at ANU will open you up to a great variety of career paths depending on the major you choose. Fields that graduates may later work in include: 

  • Publishing 
  • Policy
  • Education
  • International development
  • Politics
  • Media
  • Information technology
  • Communications
  • Journalism
  • Advertising
  • Art conservation
  • Government 

And many more! 

Check out more careers you can end up in with a Bachelor of Arts here!

Core Units and Majors

What are the Core Units? 

As previously stated, a Bachelor of Arts at ANU provides you with the flexibility to tailor your degree to a particular focus area, or several. In fact, double degrees and minors alongside majors are common amongst ANU Arts students.

Due to this, the core unit requirements are different between every arts course; however, each major will have certain requirements! Usually, this involves meeting a certain number of credit points (i.e. a certain number of subjects) per semester for your major. 

The Bachelor of Arts requires completion of 144 units, of which:

  • A maximum of 60 units may come from completion of 1000-level courses
  • A minimum of 84 units must come from completion of 2000- and 3000- level courses

This includes the necessary completion of 48 units from one Arts major. 

For example, an ANU student majoring in Gender, Sexuality and Culture would be required to complete two core first year subjects adding up to 12 credit points; GEND1001 – Sex, Gender and Identity: An Introduction to Gender Studies (6 units) and GEND1002 – Reading Popular Culture: An Introduction to Cultural Studies (6 units). As their degree progresses, they will be offered a larger pool of subjects to select from to meet a minimum requirement of credit points. 

Evidently, students have space left over to either study a minor (a total of 24 credit points, or 4 subjects), a second major (48 units), or complete electives of their choice. Minors may include a language, or a geographically defined area of study (a full list of which can be found here). 

Some of the standout elective courses that you may study in a Bachelor of Arts according to an ANU Arts student include ASIA 2026: The Politics of China, or Theories of Social Justice, which applies philosophical frameworks to contemporary and past social justice action and movements such as protesting against Climate Change.  

What are the Majors?

Type of MajorMajors
Disciplines and FieldsAncient History; Anthropology; Archaeology; Art History and Theory; Australian Indigenous Studies; Biological Anthropology; Criminology; Demography; Development Studies; Digital Humanities; Economic Studies; English; Environmental Studies; Gender, Sexuality and Culture; Geography; Global Security; History; Human Evolutionary Biology; Human Rights; International Communication; International Relations; Linguistics; Mathematics; Music; Music Technology; Peace and Conflict Studies; Philosophy; Political Science; Psychology; Screen Studies; Sociology; Technology, Networks and Society; War Studies.
LanguagesAncient Greek; Arabic; Chinese Language; French Language and Culture; German Language and Culture; Hindi Language; Indonesian Language; Italian Language and Culture; Japanese Language; Japanese Linguistics; Korean Language; Latin; Persian; Sanskrit Language; Spanish; Thai Language; Vietnamese Language.
Geographically Defined Areas of StudyAsian Studies; Asian History; Asia and Pacific Culture, Media and Gender; Chinese Studies; Contemporary Europe; India Studies; Indonesian Studies; Japanese Studies; Korean Studies; Latin American Studies; Middle Eastern and Central Asian Studies; Northeast Asian Studies; Pacific Studies; Southeast Asian Studies.

Internships and Work Placement 

ANU offers students of any discipline to undertake a significant research project within a workplace, typically in their third year. This is called the Australian National Internships Program or ANIP, and rewards academic credit to students’ degrees (in the place of, commonly, doing more electives to meet credit point requirements).

Of course, admission to this course is selective due to the high academic standards required to successfully complete it.

ANIP is a fantastic opportunity for real-world work experience and networking, particularly for students studying in political fields at ANU, who may have the chance to intern with a parliament MP!

How to Get into a Bachelor of Arts at ANU

The ATAR requirement for a Bachelor of Arts at ANU is 80, with no other prerequisite subjects or assumed knowledge. 

Admission Pathways

Students who do not meet this requirement are able now to complete ANU’s ELIBS Diploma of Liberal Studies, a 1-year undergraduate degree that grants automatic entry to a Bachelor of Arts if successfully completed.

Students completing the Diploma with no more than one fail or incomplete grade and with a GPA of at least 5.0 out of 7.0 will receive 48 units of credit status when they progress into the Bachelor of Arts.

Find out more about this admission pathway and the requirements for it here!


ANU offers a wide range of scholarships to assist domestic students with their study costs. These can be obtained on basis including academic merit, personal illness or disability, financial hardship, Indigenous heritage, refugee status, regional or remote location, and more. 

For instance, you might be able to apply for the Changing Futures Scholarship, which offers $8000 per year.

For more information on scholarships, visit ANU’s page here!

What’s the Teaching Format?

ANU’s university calendar is divided into two semesters, the first from late February to late May, and the second from late June to late October. 

Class Structure 

The class structure of a Bachelor of Arts at ANU typically comprises tutorials and lectures. 

Bachelor of Arts ANU - Class Structure


Lectures are informative presentations to large groups (often online/via Zoom) about the key information of the subject.

Depending on the popularity of the subject area, a lecture in a Bachelor of Arts at ANU can comprise 50 to 500 people. Lectures typically run for two hours (or the equivalent) a week. 


Tutorials are usually interactive, classroom-style sessions with around 12 to 25 people, where lecture material is consolidated and weekly topics are discussed with a tutor. Tutorials in a Bachelor of Arts may include practical activities depending on the subject, from writing blog posts to answering essay questions, to venturing outdoors to practice certain skills. 

The main difference between tutorials at university and a school classroom is that universities often encourage a higher level of critical engagement with the texts or readings you’re studying, whether those be essays, books, images, or reports. A Bachelor of Arts at ANU encourages a high level of critical thinking in tutorials, as well as healthy debate. 

How much time do you spend at uni? 

Students studying a Bachelor of Arts at ANU will typically spend 12-15 hours a week at university in class or lectures. However, spending more time on campus is common at ANU as many students are not from the local area, and may live on campus and choose to study or socialise there in their free time. 


If you don’t enjoy essay writing, you may want to reconsider studying a Bachelor of Arts! However if you do, at least in an area you’re passionate about, you’ll be pleased to know that essays are a primary mode of assessment in this course.

That’s not to say there isn’t any variety; blog posts, group presentations and online quizzes are all common modes of assessment if you’re studying a Bachelor of Arts at ANU. 

Some arts major subjects, such as Psychology and Political Science, may also have end-of-semester examinations. If this concerns you, be sure to research the major you are planning to do by clicking through its core required subjects and checking whether or not it has exams!

Skills that You Develop 

Bachelor of Arts ANU - Skills

Every Arts degree major will imbue its students with varying knowledge, however a Bachelor of Arts at ANU fosters the following overarching skills in its graduates: 

  • Critical thinking 
  • Research skills
  • Data analysis
  • Communication skills (written, verbal)

The nature of ANU means it has specific ‘colleges’, or faculties, in comparison to other universities for its International and Political areas of study, such as the colleges of Chinese, Arabic, or National Security. Thus, the skills that graduates of these particular areas, within or overlapping with a Bachelor of Arts, may be more well-defined than at other universities. 

Additionally, a Bachelor of Arts at ANU (and most universities) allows you to try out a range of different electives, meaning students naturally gain skills in a broad range of areas no matter what their major is.

What’s the Faculty and Culture Like? 

Faculty and Culture 

The faculty and culture of a BA at ANU really depends on your area of study, however studying within a community of people with similar interests is a positive and enriching experience across the board. Although ANU’s Bachelor of Arts certainly hosts an ambitious and often competitive student body as a high-ranking university, there are also many societies and activities that students can get involved in in their free time, such as its Arts Review and the student magazine Woroni.  

However, society-life can often be a little less vibrant than college life at ANU due to the sheer amount of students who live on-campus from elsewhere.

Exchange Opportunities 

ANU offers exchange to students who have completed 48 credit points of study, or roughly a year, at a variety of top universities and locations around the world in Asia, Europe, the Americas and Oceania. For a full list of these, you can check out their exchange page here.

Certain courses in a Bachelor of Arts may offer specialised overseas study programs.

For example, Arts students majoring in Environmental Studies have the opportunity to partake in overseas field trips to locations like Fiji, Vietnam and Myanmar and learn about sustainable development, tourism, extreme weather management, and the effects of climate change in the real world (usually in the Pacific, where ANU has stronger ties). This typically occurs in third year.

Student Support

In terms of student support, ANU offers an excellent platform of older student mentors and tutors to enhance students’ academic skills, including researching and writing, called ‘The Academic Skills’. It is also recommended that future students consult with the College of Arts and Social Science if they need help planning their degrees either in person or via email. 

Keen to learn about the pros and cons of this degree? Check out our article here!

Zara Zadro is a Content Writer for Art of Smart and a current undergraduate student at the University of Sydney. She studies a Bachelor of Arts/Advanced Studies majoring in Media & Communications and English. In her free time, she enjoys reading, listening to music and discovering new parts of Sydney. She has also written for the student publications Honi Soit and Vertigo. After she graduates, Zara hopes to do a Masters in creative writing and live overseas, which she cannot wait for!

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