Subject focus: Bachelor of arts in Australia and New Zealand

 Murdoch UniversityThis month's subject focus looks at Bachelor of Arts programmes on offer in Australia.  The Bachelor of Arts is an extremely flexible programme that allows you to study courses from different subject areas, if you wish, and build a degree that’s unique to your interests, academic strengths and future career goals.

Subjects that fall within arts and humanities include languages (both ancient and modern), literature, philosophy, religious studies, history, anthropology, linguistics, history, theatre, art history and theory, classical studies, music, creative writing, psychology, sociology, cultural studies, visual culture (including film and television), women’s studies, politics, international relations, development studies, archaeology, journalism, and media and communication, to name but a few. Many Australian universities can offer undergraduate students a choice of over 50 different subject majors when they enrol on a Bachelor of Arts!

A Bachelor of Arts in Australia or New Zealand offers UK students the chance to take a broad, more liberal arts approach to undergraduate study. When you enrol on a Bachelor of Arts in Australia or New Zealand you declare a ‘major’ subject. You then have the opportunity to take ‘electives’, subjects from outside your major. This makes it easy to combine the study of different subjects, in some cases even from completely different academic areas – you may be able to take Commerce or Science courses within a BA.  More information about this degree structure is available here.

Find out more about studying Arts, Humanities and Languages

Bachelor of Arts at Griffith University, Queensland

Griffith’s School of Humanities is committed to innovative and critical thinking and addresses the political, social and cultural big issues of the world.  The School of Humanities offers degrees that teach you to innovate, communicate and harness the power of your ideas - and one of these great programmes is the Bachelor of Arts.

With over 14 majors to choose from and the freedom to combine any two, Griffith’s new Bachelor of Arts degree gives you the power to create your own unique skill set build your future career. This programme is your springboard to success in an ever-changing environment, so combine studies in the fields that interest you, and make your dream job a reality.


You can choose any two of the following majors:

  • Creative Writing
  • Criminal Justice
  • English Language and Linguistics
  • History
  • Islam-West Relation
  • Journalism
  • Languages (including Chinese, French*, German*, Indonesian*, International English, Italian, Japanese, Korean*, Modern Greek#, Russian* and Spanish)
  • Literary Studies
  • Politics and International Studies
  • Public Relations
  • Screen Studies
  • Security Studies
  • Sociology

* via cross-institutional study with The University of Queensland. 
# via online cross-institutional study with Flinders University, South Australia

Work experience

Griffith University has a 5 star rating for graduate employability**. In your final year of the Bachelor of Arts, you will have the opportunity to complete an internship or work-based project, which will ensure that you graduate with the practical skills employers want.

**2014 QS Stars University Ratings 

Career opportunities

As a graduate of our Bachelor of Arts, you will have flexible, broad-based skills in writing, analysis and synthesis of information, research and policymaking. Our graduates have found exciting careers in government, non-governmental organisations, media, business, corporations and in the community sector as:

  • Advisors
  • Analysts
  • Communications managers
  • Event managers
  • Journalists
  • Liaison officers
  • Managers
  • Media officers
  • Policy makers
  • Public relations officers
  • Researchers

Do more than just study

Maximise your degree by participating in some of the great extra-curricular programs, which Griffith has to offer:

  • Industry Mentoring Programme - network with professionals in your chosen field.
  • Work-integrated learning - gain work experience while you study.
  • Community Internship - make a difference in the local community by combining volunteer work and academic study with this elective course.
  • Exchange programmes - spend one or two semesters at a partner university, or participate in a short­ term program.
  • Honours College - designed for high-achieving students. 

Key facts

Campuses: Nathan (Brisbane) or Gold Coast

Duration: 3 years (6 semesters)

Start Dates: Semester 1 (February) or Semester 2 (July)

Fees: A$23,500 per year (2016 fees)

Apply for credit: Griffith University awards credit for prior learning, which may relate to prior formal learning or prior informal and non-formal learning. Credit is also available to students who have completed the International Baccalaureate (higher level). 

Griffith University

Bachelor of Arts at Monash University, Victoria

As an arts student at Monash University you will learn to think critically and creatively. In a rapidly-changing modern world these skills will help you to adapt and evolve and be able to consider how to deal with new and emerging issues.

You will learn about the diverse world in which we live, form an understanding of the human condition and how the world as we know it has come to exist.

Arts at Monash encompasses many aspects of the humanities and social sciences. From philosophy, music or languages to human geography, politics or theatre performance you can choose from 40 areas of study.

Our extensive internship program and overseas study opportunities will challenge you and inspire your career choices.

The skills you acquire by studying arts at Monash are in high demand because they are relevant and transferable to a very broad range of careers and industries. Our courses are flexible, so you can follow your passions and work to realise your dreams.

About the Bachelor of Arts

An Arts degree is your comprehensive gateway to a wide range of fascinating and rewarding areas of study across the humanities, and social sciences.

Monash Arts is ranked in the top 50 universities in the world for humanities and social sciences (Times Higher Education Supplement, 2014-15). We have achieved this by taking an innovative approach in tackling world issues and fostering a global perspective. By studying Arts you will develop research skills, advanced discipline knowledge and self-reliance to acquire information, as well as assess evidence and convey complex ideas in speech and writing in order to answer complicated questions.

And with the scope to choose from a large range of different major and minor areas of study, including languages, history, communications, politics, human rights, and international relations, you will develop an informed, critical awareness of the fields you’re most passionate about, laying the groundwork for a wealth of exciting careers.

Degree structure

The structure of the Bachelor of Arts course allows you to choose units from many areas of study, and to gain a deep understanding and appreciation of the area you choose as your major. Emphasis is placed on how to apply your knowledge to real life situations and how to develop valuable skills in research.

While remaining flexible, the course also provides direction through core units in each year. These units are about consolidating and extending your learning so that you can get the most out of your major. You do not need to decide on your major straight away, you can make the decision during the first year of your course.

Alongside your major, there are minor units, arts specified study units and free choice units that include those from other Faculties.

Areas of specialisation

  • Ancient cultures
  • Anthropology
  • Australia in the World
  • Behavioural studies
  • Bioethics
  • Chinese studies
  • Communications and media studies
  • Criminology
  • English as an international language
  • Film and screen studies
  • French studies
  • German studies
  • History
  • Holocaust and genocide studies
  • Human geography
  • Human rights
  • Indigenous cultures and histories
  • Indonesian studies
  • International relations
  • International studies
  • Islamic studies
  • Italian studies
  • Japanese studies
  • Jewish studies
  • Journalism
  • Korean studies
  • Linguistics
  • Literary studies
  • Music
  • Performance
  • Philosophy
  • Politics
  • Psychology
  • Religious studies
  • Sociology
  • Spanish and Latin American studies
  • Theatre
  • Ukrainian studies

It’s a big world out there!

You can choose to study abroad at one of 100 Universities in over 30 countries that partner with Monash, including Warwick University.

We support you by offering generous scholarships and support in organising your international experience through our Monash Abroad program.

How to apply

Prospective students can apply with three A Levels, or combine two A levels with GCE scores to qualify. For specific grades please contact the staff at Study Options. Other equivalent year 12 (final high school year) results are accepted including International Baccalaureate diploma and American SATs.

To submit an application, download the Monash University application form, fill it in and send it to Study Options. You can find out more about getting your transcripts and passport certified here.

Key Facts

Duration: 3 years

Start Date: Semester 1 (February) or Semester 2 (July)

Fees: A$27,700 per year

Monash University

Bachelor of Arts at the University of Melbourne, Victoria

Kickstart your inspiring and flexible career with a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Melbourne. By enrolling in one of Australia’s most popular degrees, you will be surrounded by other high-achieving students from around the world, which will help you take on new challenges and push yourself to a higher level.  You can also develop an international perspective through cultural and language study, and enjoy opportunities to study overseas.

Our programme offers students:

Flexibility - Our innovative and flexible curriculum lets you tailor your degree to match your interests and career goals.

Choice - Choose your areas of specialisation from over 30 study areas, including languages, history, psychology, economics, and media and communications.

Diverse opportunities - Access diverse career opportunities by gaining vital skills that are transferable across industries and professions, including communication, teamwork and research.

Key features

  • Ranked #1 in Australia and #13 in the world for Arts and Humanities by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2013-2014
  • Over 30 areas of specialisation available, including languages, psychology, economics and media and communications
  • Teaching and research excellence from internationally renowned researchers and leading practitioners in their fields
  • Breadth subjects are a key feature of Melbourne's curriculum, enabling you to study courses from outside of the Arts.

Study areas

Bachelor of Arts students can choose from over 30 areas of study in the humanities, social sciences and languages. These can be studied as a major or a minor. Your degree may be made up of one major OR two majors OR a major and a minor.

  • Ancient World Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Arabic
  • Art History
  • Asian Studies
  • Australian Indigenous Studies
  • Chinese Language
  • Chinese Studies*
  • Classics
  • Creative Writing
  • Criminology
  • Development Studies*
  • Economics
  • English and Theatre Studies
  • English Language Studies*
  • Environmental Studies*
  • European Studies
  • French
  • Gender Studies
  • Geography
  • German
  • Hebrew and Jewish Studies
  • History
  • History and Philosophy of Science
  • Indonesian
  • Islamic Studies
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Knowledge and Learning*
  • Law and Justice*
  • Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
  • Media and Communications
  • Philosophy
  • Politics and International Studies
  • Psychology
  • Russian
  • Screen and Cultural Studies
  • Social Theory*
  • Sociology
  • Spanish and Latin American Studies

* Available as a minor only

Breadth subjects

Most of your core Bachelor of Arts subjects will be offered by the Faculty of Arts. Breadth subjects come from outside the Faculty and include disciplines such as:

  • Agriculture
  • Environment
  • Law
  • Medicine
  • Visual arts

Bachelor of Arts students must complete a minimum of four breadth subjects, but they can make up to 25% of your degree if you choose. Breadth subjects give students the opportunities to collaborate across diverse networks and disciplines, tapping into other bodies of knowledge and methods of enquiry. This approach to education provides students with a broader context in which their knowledge can be applied, and makes graduates more employable. Contact Study Options to find out more about the wide range of breadth subjects to choose from.

Internship and fieldwork subjects

There is no better way to make your degree count than to gain actual work experience during your course. The Bachelor of Arts provides plenty of opportunities through internships, fieldwork, community work placements and overseas intensive subjects to give your resume an extra edge and build future career networks. 

Career opportunities

Bachelor of Arts graduates go into a wide range of careers reflecting their interests and the breadth of studies possible within the Bachelor of Arts at Melbourne. Of 2012 Bachelor of Arts graduates, 74% went on to full-time employment or full-time graduate study. A further 18% were working part-time with many also studying part-time.

Bachelor of Arts graduates have gone on to employment in a wide range of sectors:

  • Government - Victorian Public Service and Australian Public Service (via Graduate Employment Programmes)
  • Non-government organisations (eg project coordination, research and policy support, advocacy)
  • Higher education, private educational and language colleges (eg student support services, tutoring)
  • Media and communications organisations (eg journalism cadetships, communications, online content management, media monitoring)
  • Arts and cultural organisations (eg public programs, publicity, gallery assistants)

Further study opportunities

The Bachelor of Arts lays an excellent foundation for many professions which are accessed via graduate coursework study. Many courses do not require particular discipline studies including law, primary teaching, arts management, information management/librarianship, journalism, international development. Others build on disciplinary areas studied at undergraduate level, for example, criminology and curating.

Key Facts

Duration: 3 years

Start date: Semester 1 (February) or Semester 2 (July)

Fees: A$28,248 – A$31,936 per year (dependent on subjects chosen)

The University of Melbourne

Bachelor of Arts at UNSW Australia, New South Wales

Study Arts at UNSW

The Bachelor of Arts (BA) is a three-year undergraduate degree, which provides you with a licence to explore big ideas, global perspectives, creativity and the social issues that impact our communities.

The flexibility of our arts degree allows you to structure your BA to suit your interests, talents and career aspirations. When you study arts at UNSW you will develop essential skills and knowledge that will translate to exciting and contemporary career options.


You will complete in-depth study in two discipline areas, which you select from 36 areas of study (see below for a full list). You may select two majors, completing your arts degree with a double major. Alternatively, you may select one major and one minor area of study. 

A major is the most in-depth area of study you can undertake in the BA, typically comprising nine courses over three years. A minor is also an in-depth area of study, usually comprising six courses over three years. The remainder of your degree includes electives from areas of study taught within the Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences and from other faculties. Electives allow for flexibility in your first year so that you can try out a few different areas of study before selecting a major. 

Dual degrees

A dual degree means you can study your arts degree concurrently with another degree programme. You will graduate with two degrees, broadening your graduate options. The Bachelor of Arts can be combined as a dual degree with: 

  • Advanced Mathematics
  • Art Theory  
  • Commerce
  • Computer Science 
  • Economics 
  • Education 
  • Engineering (Honours)
  • Environmental Management 
  • Fine Arts 
  • Law 
  • Medicine 
  • Music 
  • Science and Advanced Science 
  • Social Work (Honours)

Areas of Study

The following areas of study can be selected as either majors or minors (contact Study Options to find out more about the different majors):

  • Asian Studies
  • Australian Studies*
  • Chinese Studies
  • Creative Writing
  • Criminology
  • Development Studies
  • English
  • Environmental Humanities
  • European Studies
  • Film Studies
  • French Studies
  • German Studies
  • History
  • Indigenous Studies 
  • International Relations 
  • Japanese Studies 
  • Korean Studies
  • Linguistics 
  • Media, Culture & Technology 
  • Music Studies 
  • Philosophy 
  • Politics 
  • Sociology & Anthropology 
  • Spanish Latin American Studies
  • Theatre & Performance Studies 
  • Women & Gender Studies* 

External Majors Minors include: Art History Theory (Art & Design)*; Economics (Business); Geography (Science); Greek Studies**; Human Resource Management (Business); Indonesian Studies**; International Business (Business); Italian Studies**; Psychology (Science).

Note: All majors are also available as minors and students can only study one external major or minor. 

* Minor only 

**Offered as a minor through a cross-institutional study agreement with the University of Sydney

Vocational placements

As a student in the Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences you have the option to enrol in a degree credit internship course.

Our internship programme provides an exciting opportunity for arts students to put theory into practice and gain valuable professional experience.

Getting involved

Our BA students have further opportunities to gain ‘real world’ experience through a variety of opportunities both locally and globally, including:

  • projects in coursework
  • volunteer and paid roles
  • leadership in student organisations

International Opportunities

We send our students across the globe on exchange, on study tours, to work placements, and as part of unique student competitions and events. Your international experience will deepen your knowledge of the world, exposing you to new ways of thinking and shaping your future as a global citizen. You will cultivate international friendships and professional networks, gain new skills, and strengthen your readiness to compete in an international market. 

International exchange 

Spend a semester overseas at a partner university and receive credit towards your Bachelor of Arts degree at UNSW. UNSW has over 200 partner universities in over 38 countries including these prestigious partners: University of British Columbia, Vancouver; Peking University, Beijing; Fudan University, Shanghai; University of Copenhagen; Paris-Sorbonne University; Humboldt University, Berlin; University College, Dublin; Bocconi University, Milan; Kyoto University; Yonsei University, Seoul; National University of Singapore; University of Edinburgh; Boston College; Georgetown University, Washington DC; University of California, Berkeley.


A one-year honours programme is available for high achieving students in the Bachelor of Arts. Honours is an intensive study programme that provides the opportunity to engage in specialised research, to further develop analytical skills and expand your graduate options.


When you study arts at UNSW, you will develop skills, capabilities and ways of thinking critically. These graduate attributes are highly valued by employers and professions, and can help you stand out from other candidates. As a UNSW Arts graduate you will be equipped with the following skills:

  • Research skills
  • Critical and creative problem solving
  • Respect for social, cultural and individual diversity
  • Persuasive communication and presentation skills
  • An informed understanding of human experience, human culture and human society
  • An intellectual breadth and flexibility to understand and use knowledge in a range of contexts

Our graduates work across a broad range of professions including: Diplomacy; publishing; the arts and creative industries; international affairs; education; journalism; social justice; politics; university and public administration; interpreting and translating; business and entrepreneurship; media; research; teaching and business.

Key facts

Duration: 3 years (single degree)

Start: Semester 1 (February) or Semester 2 (July)

Tuition Fees: A$31,200 per year.

UNSW Australia

More features coming soon

  • September - Built environment
  • October - MBA
  • November - Veterinary Science

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