• Commerce students.  Photo credit: Curtin UniversityCommerce students. Photo credit: Curtin University

Undergraduate

At undergraduate level these subjects are usually studied within a Bachelor of Commerce or a Bachelor of Business. At Australian and New Zealand universities these are broad, general degrees that aim to provide students with a solid foundation in a wide range of business principles while at the same time building their knowledge and skills in a particular area (the subject the student declares as their major).

This broad-based approach means that Commerce students will be expected to take courses in a range of business areas such as accounting and finance, human resource management, marketing, information systems and management, particularly during their first year, while simultaneously specialising in their chosen subject area.

Major subjects available to commerce students include accounting; business economics; business law; business strategy and economic management; finance; financial economics; human resource management; information systems and information technology; international business; management; marketing; taxation; supply chain management; tourism; econometrics; banking and sustainability.

Not all subjects are studied in this broad-based way. Specialist degrees are also available. Examples of popular specialist courses include the Bachelor of Actuarial Studies, Bachelor of Applied Finance, and the Bachelor of Economics. These focus on the study of one subject in depth, and offer few if any opportunities to take electives outside that subject.

Postgraduate

At postgraduate level commerce and business subjects can be studied in different ways, depending on the student’s academic and professional background.

Master of Commerce courses are the postgraduate equivalent of the broad-based approach outlined above, where a student would be required to take courses from a range of different business areas – to gain a solid foundation of the subject as a whole – while also specialising in a chosen area. Admission to the Master of Commerce does not always require an undergraduate background in business, so they are great options for graduates of other disciplines looking to add a new set of knowledge and skills to their CV.

Applicants who do have an undergraduate background in a business subject can apply for a specialist masters degree, such as a Master of Marketing, Master of Finance, Master of International Business, Master of Economics or Master of Management. Post-experience degrees, including Master of Management and MBA, are also widely available.

Postgraduate courses in business and commerce courses can by coursework, by research (MPhil and PhD) or by a combination of the two (coursework and thesis).