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What It’s Like Studying a Bachelor of Arts at Melbourne Uni

Bachelor of Arts Melbourne - Fact Sheet

Looking into studying a Bachelor of Arts at Melbourne Uni and figuring out if it’s the right choice for you?

You’ve come to the right place as we’ll give you the run-down on everything you need to know about the degree, including the subjects, assessments, culture, faculty and more!

Let’s get started!

What is a Bachelor of Arts at Melbourne Uni?
Majors for this Degree
How to Get into a Bachelor of Arts at Melbourne Uni
What’s the Teaching Format?
What’s the Faculty and Culture Like?

What is a Bachelor of Arts at Melbourne Uni?

A Bachelor of Arts at Melbourne Uni is an incredibly diverse 3-year degree that covers a broad range of humanitarian subjects, including literature, philosophy, communications, language and politics. A Bachelor of Arts is an extremely personal and flexible degree that allows you to closely tailor subjects to meet your interests.

Who should study a Bachelor of Arts at Melbourne Uni?

This degree is well suited to students interested in humanities and social sciences, passionate about research and who enjoy sharing and debating ideas. If you’re studying English, Literature, History or Sociology, an Arts degree could be the one for you! 

Does this degree have Honours?

High-achieving students also have the option of undertaking Honours as an additional fourth year of study to enhance their employment opportunities or engage in graduate research by creating an original research project.

Honours is available for applicants who have a weighted average mark of at least 70% or equivalent, and the program provides a pathway into a Doctor of Philosophy – Arts.

Career Paths

A Bachelor of Arts is a highly versatile degree that allows you to use your skills in a broad range of fields. Depending on how you pair your major and minor, you can gain employment in sectors like government, media and communications, research and policy, and education.

Just a few of the many career pathways that you can take include:

  • Journalism
  • Speech Pathology
  • Political advisor
  • Communications manager
  • Arts administrator
  • Social work

Check out other roles you can land with a Bachelor of Arts here!

Majors for this Degree

Are there any Core Units?

As a Bachelor of Arts is a highly customisable degree, there aren’t any set core units, however there are certain areas of study that students need to complete.

In your first year, a student studying a Bachelor of Arts at Melbourne Uni must complete at least one Arts Foundations subject from a group of six to introduce them to the critical thinking and research skills integral to an Arts degree.

Additionally, Arts students at Melbourne Uni must complete a minimum of 50 credit points of Breadth subjects, which are units outside of your core study or major. This is a unique feature to Melbourne Uni that allows students to explore a range of diverse subjects that differ from their main study, with available subjects including Electrical Engineering, Marine Life, Popular Music and Entrepreneurship & Innovation.

What are the Majors?

Melbourne Uni offers an amazing range of more than 40 majors for students studying a Bachelor of Arts. Majors are made up of 100 credit points (apart from Economics and Psychology), and every major in non-language disciplines include a compulsory Capstone subject.

Some of the possible majors that you can choose to specialise in include:

  • Criminology
  • Indigenous Studies
  • Media and Communications
  • French Studies
  • Sociology
  • Philosophy
  • Politics and international Studies

Alongside your major, you’ll also get to choose a minor from a broad range of humanities, social science and language programs to accompany your major. Options for study include European Studies, Law and Justice, Chinese Societies and Environmental Studies.

How do you choose your major?

Choosing your major is a pretty big decision, so that’s why your first year is used to sample a range of different subject areas to develop your interests. After taking an Arts foundation subject and several of Arts discipline and breadth subjects, you will be well-prepared to finalise your choice of majors and minors by the time you reach second year.

What’s a Media and Communications Major like?

The Media and Communications major offers both theoretical and practical knowledge of the media industry, with a core focus on Australia and the Asia-Pacific. While you’re not able to specialise in any area, you can pick subjects to suit your interests.

If you’re interested in journalism, you can choose more practical based subjects like Text and Audio Journalism and Digital and Mobile Journalism, while subjects like Media Futures and New Technologies and Marketing Communications are great for anyone interested in digital media and production.  

“I’m interested in news presenting and journalism, so this major is perfect for that as it’s very practical and hands-on, such as working on article writing.” — Brontë Maruff, Bachelor of Arts (Media and Communications) III at Melbourne University

How to Get into a Bachelor of Arts at Melbourne Uni

The ATAR guarantee for entry into a Bachelor of Arts at Melbourne Uni is 88. The only prerequisite subject for admission into this degree is English — you’ll need a study score of at least 25 in English/English Language/Literature.

Pathway Programs

If you don’t reach the ATAR minimum for a Bachelor of Arts, don’t stress! Melbourne Uni has various schemes to support students in reaching their goals. 

The Elite Athletes and Artistic Performers Entry Scheme provides additional considerations for students who have undertaken elite training, competition, performance and/or practice commitments while preparing to enter Melbourne University. 

Access Melbourne is a special entry scheme that Melbourne Uni offers for domestic students applying for an undergraduate degree at Melbourne, a mature-aged student, or an Indigenous or Torres Strait Islander applicant even if their ATAR is below the published minimum.  

What scholarships are available?

Melbourne Uni has over 1200 scholarships on offer for new and current students to support them with financial access to their degrees.

The Melbourne Access Bachelor of Arts Scholarship is valued up to $30,000 and is available for any Faculty of Arts students who are facing disadvantaged circumstances.

If you’re looking for more scholarships to suit your needs, you can click here!

What’s the Teaching Format?

A Bachelor of Arts at Melbourne Uni is delivered across two semesters per year:

  • Semester 1: Early March to late May
  • Semester 2: Late July to late October

Class Structure

Bachelor of Arts Melbourne - Class Structure

Lectures

Lectures usually run for 1 hour per week and typically have around 100 people in attendance.

These classes run through what you’re doing in the next class and let you know what you need to research to participate properly in your seminars. They also often include guest appearances by professionals in the industry!

Seminars

Seminars occur about once per week and usually have 30 people in a class. In your first year, seminars typically run for 1 hour, and then progress to 2 hours in your second and third year. 

When you enter a seminar, you can expect a super social environment where you have to work through a set of questions in partners or teams, then come back for a whole class discussion. Classes don’t have a rigid structure, so if someone raises a good discussion point, you might spend 20 minutes breaking it down and discussing it!

How much time do you spend on campus?

If you study a Bachelor of Arts at Melbourne Uni, you’ll usually take about 3-4 subjects per semester. Contact hours are pretty low for an Arts degree so a first-year student can usually expect around 10 contact hours per week, but they often increase as you enter your second and third year.

However, a large bulk of an Arts degree is made up of your set readings and independent research, so these are definitely extra hours of study that you need to factor in to effectively engage in class discussions!

What are the assessments like?

Assessments vary between subjects, however the main way you’ll be assessed is through written essays, so enjoying reading and writing is a huge component of a Bachelor of Arts at Melbourne Uni.

For most subjects, you can expect to complete two or three essays per semester which usually consist of 2,000 to 4,000 words. This means that assessments are quite spread out, so this means you have a couple of weeks to work on drafting, writing and editing your work.

The great thing about a Bachelor of Arts is that you rarely ever have sit-down exams! If your subject does have an exam, it’s usually a take home exam over a three-day period where you are given a choice of questions relating to a week of content. The word limit is usually 2,000 to 3,000 words and is typically valued at around 50-70% of your final mark.

Different majors have very different ways of structuring their assessments. For example, the Capstone subject for a Media and Communications major includes a mid-semester short essay worth 35%, a case-study during final examination worth 60% and class participation worth 5% throughout the semester.

In contrast, the Capstone subject for a History Major involves a researched historical project during the semester worth 70%, and a reflective journal assessment during final examination worth 30%.

What skills do you develop?

Bachelor of Arts Melbourne - Skills

The skills that you develop through a Bachelor of Arts are highly varied and transferable across different industries. The core skills that graduates leave with are effective communication and critical and analytical thinking to deal with a range of complex social contexts. 

Through developing their research and reasoning skills, students studying a Bachelor of Arts at Melbourne Uni develop a broad worldview and are equipped to use their creative thinking and self-awareness in a number of situations involving social and cultural diversity.

What’s the Faculty and Culture Like?

Faculty

As Australia’s #1 university for Arts, Melbourne Uni has world-class learning spaces and an academic staff to match to ensure students reach their highest potential. The staff provide students with plenty of resources to gain insight into their career paths and are always happy to support you with your studies, as long as you take the initiative to ask for help.

Unlike high school, staff members won’t chase up after you if you’ve missed any work or neglected to hand in assignments, so it’s up to you to seek out help.

Bachelor of Arts Melbourne - Quote

Culture

Within classrooms, you can expect to enter a really interactive and enthusiastic environment as class discussions are at the forefront of your studies. Rather than having a teacher talk at you, open discussion is encouraged to welcome different arguments and opinions and build upon researched ideas.

Outside the classroom, Arts students are usually happy to socialise with each other and it’s quite common for people to study together as a group after a class in the library.

Melbourne Uni also boasts a vibrant social life with over 200 clubs and societies on offer for students to explore new interests and meet new friends.

As an Arts degree is so broad, there are so many different societies that may pique students’ interest, including language, performing art and political clubs, but a great place to start is with the Melbourne Arts Students Society. As the largest faculty club on campus, M-ASS provides students in the Faculty of Arts with access to tons of social events, academic resources and career initiatives to help make their university experience as worthwhile as possible!

“I’m in the Melbourne Uni Shakespeare Company, and I did a show in 2019 with them, and that was really nice because they’re a lovely group of people. Most people I know are at least in one society, and there are a lot of popular sports ones!” — Brontë Maruff

Exchange Opportunities

At Melbourne Uni, students studying a Bachelor of Arts have the opportunity for international exchange at more than 180 universities worldwide! If you’re looking to gain a new perspective, here is a list of all the partner universities that offer exchange.


Ashley Sullivan is a Content Writer for Art of Smart Education and is currently undertaking a double degree in Communications (Journalism) and a Bachelor of Laws at UTS. Ashley’s articles have been published in The Comma and Central News. She is a film, fashion and fiction enthusiast who enjoys learning about philosophy, psychology and unsolved mysteries in her spare time.

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