BlogUniversityPros and Cons of a Bachelor of Arts at Monash University

Pros and Cons of a Bachelor of Arts at Monash University

Wondering if an Arts degree at Monash is designed for you?

Wonder no more! We’ve got Renata here to draw out her own take on the Bachelor of Arts degree at Monash University, including its highs and lows. As Renata is an Arts and Law student, she has lots of pretty insightful opinions and experiences to share!

So, let’s read on to hear what she has to say!

Why should you study an Arts degree at Monash University?
Top 3 Pros of an Arts Degree
Top 3 Cons of an Arts Degree
Mistakes You Shouldn’t Make
Things to Know Before Starting Monash Arts
What Makes this Degree Different
Motivations for Studying Monash Arts
Potential Career Paths

Why should you study an Arts degree at Monash University?

Monash University is one of the top universities to go to for an Arts degree! You’ll not only gain international recognition but also be provided with amazing opportunities during and after studying the degree. 

With over 40 specialisations to choose from, the Bachelor of Arts at Monash empowers you with the freedom to explore what you really like and pursue it! With a wide array of specialisations such as anthropology, criminology, communications, economics, film studies, history, journalism, music, philosophy, psychology, language studies and more — your options are virtually endless.

Arts Monash - Quote

Monash’s Arts degree is also fairly flexible as you’re allowed to design your degree in terms of how many majors and minors you want to do throughout your time studying. Speaking of time, you’ll waste no time at all in Monash’s Arts degree as it jumps straight into what you’re actually interested in without the standardised first year units that are made compulsory in other universities. 

What’s more is that Monash’s Arts units are constantly evolving, so you’ll be kept up to date with the latest events and issues around the world. Monash University is dedicated to keeping the Arts faculty refreshed with modern content, disciplines and course structure, so you’ll always find something relatable and interesting in your art subjects. 

Top 3 Pros of an Arts degree

#1: Most useful degree 

“I’m sure we’ve all heard the jokes that, ‘An Arts degree is useless, what can you do with an arts degree,’ and so on, but I would argue it is one of the most useful degrees!” Renata says. 

Renata explains that it’s because “it’s not necessarily about the content. I think the Arts degree is marvellous in cultivating a lot of skills that you can use, not just in an academic sense but in pretty much any job that you’ll have in life”. 

Some of the skills which Renata lists include research and writing skills, critical thinking and analysis to teamwork, communication and time management which can be highly applicable to any job in a lot of fields. 

Renata also highlights that Monash’s diverse range of specialisations also facilitate the breadth of knowledge and skills that Arts students can obtain.

“There is an incredible range of majors and minors from traditional literature, music and philosophy to more things like politics, international relations and all the histories. At Monash, they also offer criminology and psychology which widens that breadth again,” she says. 

#2: Young and enthusiastic staff 

If you’re like me and tend to fall asleep during lectures, Monash’s Arts faculty keeps you awake and engaged during classes as their teaching staff are often young enthusiastic people who you can relate to. 

“Monash has a younger and a very diverse and dynamic teaching staff,” Renata says. “I don’t say that in a sense that age is any indicator of teaching ability, however, Monash’s Arts faculty has a younger range of teaching staff and that’s really valuable for staff and students to build a stronger connection and for there to be better student-teacher relationships,” 

Renata explains that Monash’s younger teaching staff can help you learn better “because students who feel like they can relate to the teaching staff, often feel more confident in talking and perform better in the classroom. So, that’s definitely another pro for me”. 

#3: Double degree flexibility 

If you’re torn between studying two degrees, Monash is one of the universities that allow you to pursue a double degree in Arts and another discipline that can be totally different from the Arts. 

“At Monash, you can pair your Arts degree with almost any other degree at the university,” Renata said, “and that’s so wonderful because at other universities, you can’t pair an Arts with Biomed or Arts and IT but you can pair both of those here at Monash.” 

And she’s right! At Monash, there are so many other degrees that you can do alongside the Bachelor of Arts.

Check out the full list of double degrees available for Arts students at Monash University here!

Ultimately Renata explains this is beneficial because “it means that you’re not getting just one degree — you can expand your horizons and develop interdisciplinary skills!” 

Top 3 Cons of an Arts degree

#1: Graduating without a job title 

Monash’s Arts degree does provide a diverse set of skills and knowledge for its Arts students to pursue any career path they want, but this can leave you without a clear job direction and title after you graduate. 

“A con of an Arts degree is that you’re not graduating with a job title,” Renata says. “So, when you get an Arts degree, you’re not qualified to do anything in particular like you would be with a Law degree where you graduate and you’re a lawyer.” 

“It can fill students with a lot of apprehension in not knowing what the Arts degree gives them,” Renata explains.

“Like they may start thinking, ‘What do I call myself now that I have an Arts degree? What am I going to do? Where am I going to go?’ So, it’s that lack of a job title that can be quite a bit of a con.” 

Renata adds, “I think it’s quite easy to use your specialisations to find work and find your niche, although it can be quite of a hindrance, pairing this with the fact that it is quite a common degree to obtain.” 

#2: Loads of independent learning 

Don’t be fooled by the lack of contact hours in an Arts degree. In reality, there’s lots of independent learning that you’ll have to do outside of class that makes up for the little contact hours that you have. 

Compared to other degrees, the Arts degree is a lot more independently driven and much less contact hours at university,” Renata shares. “So, in my Law degree, sometimes I have 6 hours of contact hours a day and for my Arts degree, I wouldn’t have more than 4 hours a week.” 

“With the arts degree, there is more of an expectation that you will do most of the learning at home,” Renata explains. “So, that involves a lot of self-directed readings, activities and learning and preparation for class in contrast to being taught what you need to be taught in the classroom.” 

Though, Renata clarifies that some people may like this more than others. “I guess that comes down to individual preferences. Some students like to have more independent study and can manage to keep themselves on track and manage their time at university.” 

So, are you the type who likes to learn by themselves? 

#3: Lack of practical experience 

Unlike other degrees at Monash, the Bachelor of Arts at Monash lacks opportunities for students to obtain practical experience in the real working world. 

There is a lack of practical experience within the Arts degree,” Renata says. “This is in contrast to something like the Law degree, where we have various times more often to have clerkships and more practical experience in the courts.”

Unless you independently seek it out externally within the university, there is little to none in terms of any sort of practical experience in any of the units that you take,” Renata adds. “So, you don’t really get an understanding of what is involved in working in those disciplines or what is beyond classroom learning.” 

However, Renata advises future students to search for opportunities by “simply approaching lecturers and building relationships with teachers. It’s been through talking to my teachers where I’ve been able to ask, ‘Hey, can I shadow you?’ or ‘Do you know anyone who’s working on this project?’ or ‘Are there any opportunities for this?’” 

This is easier to do through Monash’s enthusiastic and younger teaching staff, as Renata points out, “That brings me back to my original point about having this great dynamic with your teachers because we’ve been able to relate on a more colleague-friend basis which some students feel that they’re not able to do if their teachers were a bit less relatable and approachable.”

Any regrets? 

“No, I have no regrets,” Renata says. “For some context, I was a Melbourne University student before I was a Monash student and I was given the choice to stay at Melbourne University or move to Monash and I thought about it long and hard before I chose Monash but I don’t have any regrets about it.” 

“Obviously a common regret is that you didn’t involve yourself more, you focussed on your grades and put your head in the books so of course, if I had my time over maybe I would branch out more in my first year and go to more social things,” Renata acknowledged. 

“But at the end of the day, my friendships and connections have come through my work and my discipline so I don’t think that was any hindrance. So no, I have no regrets with the degree.” 

What do you wish you had known before starting Monash Arts? 

#1: Do units that you’re most interested in while you can 

Due to budget cuts, some of the Arts units at Monash University have been discontinued so be sure to do the subjects that you’re most interested in first before they become unavailable! 

“I wish I had known the impact of budget cuts,” Renata said. “It’s going to be evolving and changing but when I first started at the university, there were a lot more resources available and a lot more classes on offer. Class sizes were a little bit smaller than what they are now and I know that that is a result of budget cuts.”

Renata points out, “None of this is really controllable by the students and every university is feeling it but tacking on the end of this, one thing that I recommend is that if you see a unit that you want to do, do it straight away!

As she explains, “There is a high possibility that with budget cuts, things are going to be cut, so that unit might not be offered. That happened to me, where I had units that were changed and modified and cancelled. So, I wished that I had known that the units might not be there forever so do them while you can.” 

#2: Research what all disciplines can offer 

As Arts encompasses many different disciplines with their own unique knowledge and skills to impart, it is important to do some research into what type of jobs these disciplines can lead you to. As Renata says, “Have a look at all the disciplines that are on offer, I think that’s the most important place to start.” 

Besides disciplines, Renata also recommends future students to look at what different universities offer in their Arts degree. “This is because every university has its different slant. Some universities, for instance, are more theoretical while other universities are more about practical application in terms of taking philosophical concepts and applying to real world examples.” 

“So, you really need to determine what you need to do and from there, figure out other factors like what sort of international opportunities you’re interested in, whether you’re interested in exchange opportunities or research… if you’re interested in research, search up universities that have a strong research program or Master or PhD program,” Renata advises. 

#3: Look beyond university prestige 

Renata also encourages future students to look beyond the prestige of the university to really pursue your dream degree.

“One thing that did play with my head was the letterhead, the prestige of the universities. From a young age, I was always determined to go to Melbourne University because we were taught it was the ideal and I was fortunate enough to be part of the extension program during my Year 12 year as a first year but I realised it wasn’t the right university for me.” 

As such, Renata recommends that future students “be open-minded and look more closely at the degree itself rather than the university. Melbourne might be prestigious and have high entrance requirements and students may think it’s the ‘be-all and end-all’ but there are other universities that do offer really good courses and have really good selling points.” 

“If you’re going to pick an Arts degree to do anywhere, make sure you’re thinking about the content of the Arts degree, the facilities and the range of the campus, more than just the name of it,” Renata advises.

What makes this degree different from the ones offered at other universities? 

#1: Jump right into your majors and minors 

As explained earlier, the Arts degree at Monash does not require you to complete standardised subjects in the first year unlike other universities. This means that you can dive right into the units that you’re interested in without wasting any of your time! 

“A big difference is that you don’t have to do any standardised units,” Renata explains. “From day one, you jump straight into the first rank of units for any of the majors and minors that you want to do so you don’t have to do any research and literacy subjects that you’ll need to do at, let’s say, Melbourne University.” 

#2: Global Immersion Guarantee (GIG) program 

While other universities offer a non-guaranteed opportunity to travel to other countries, Monash Universities reserves a spot for every Arts student to study overseas with its Global Immersion Guarantee program (GIG)

“This means that every single enrolling Arts student, if they want to, has the opportunity to go on an exchange program in one of our international campuses and complete one of our unique 2-week intensive study program courses,” Renata says. “I have friends who did it and they say it’s one of the most wonderful experiences of their university life!” 

“It’s such a wonderful program that lots of other universities don’t provide that guarantee. They offer the opportunity to apply but the fact that Monash is saying that every single student has the opportunity to go on these exchange programs, to me, it’s such a selling point,” Renata shares.

Renata also says that these programs revolve around different topics like sustainability, human rights and inclusivity that you may be interested in. 

However, Renata notes that “they have enrolment rules. So if you do too many units, you can’t partake in that course. It’s for new enrolling students who have not completed any units yet”. So, if you’re fresh out of high school and into university, that applies to you!

What inspired you to choose Monash Arts?

I knew that I really wanted to pursue philosophy so it makes sense to undertake an Arts degree. I also wanted to explore what that meant in terms of other periphery disciplines and that’s when I knew I wanted to study bioethics.

Monash was the only university in all of Australia that offers bioethics at an undergraduate level so it was pretty much a solid choice for me there,” Renata says. 

Another big reason why I chose to do Arts at Monash is so I can combine it with Law. Other universities like Melbourne University have their model where you have to complete an undergraduate first and then move to postgraduate study. I didn’t want to do that, I wanted to do it concurrently so that was another selling point,” Renata explains. 

There are tons of reasons to choose to study arts at Monash as Renata sums it up, “I really did like the structure and flexibility of the curriculum and the campus is just amazing. Yes, it is a bit far away.

“Yes, it is not essentially located like RMIT, or Vic, or Melbourne but when you’re on the campus, there’s everything you’ll ever need like state of the art facilities, brand new buildings, wonderful teaching spaces and libraries — there’s so many reasons to choose Monash.” 

What are the possible career paths?

Arts Monash - Careers

As Monash’s Arts degree imparts its graduates with diverse sorts of expertise and skills, you can find yourself in any role in any field! Here are some fun examples of some of the work you can pursue with an Arts degree from Monash: 

  • Communications Officer 
  • Curator 
  • Marketing Director 
  • Film Director 
  • Environmental Consultant 
  • Tourism Consultant 
  • Urban Planning Specialist 
  • Politician 
  • Journalist 
  • Human Rights Representative 
  • International Relations Ambassador 

And more!

Check out more roles you can find yourself in with a Bachelor of Arts here!

Kate Lynn Law graduated in 2017 with an all rounders HSC award and an ATAR of 97.65. Passionate about mentoring, she enjoys working with high school students to improve their academic, work and life skills in preparation for the HSC and what comes next. An avid blogger, Kate had administered a creative writing page for over 2000 people since 2013, writing to an international audience since her early teenage years. 

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