The University of New South Wales

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Undergraduate Handbook

Arts - 3400

This Program is no longer accepting new enrolments

Program Summary

Campus: Kensington Campus
Career: Undergraduate
Typical Duration: 3 Years
Typical UOC Per Semester: 24
Min UOC Per Semester: 3
Max UOC Per Semester: 24
Min UOC For Award: 144
Bachelor of Arts (Major)
Bachelor of Arts (Honours)
Bachelor of Arts (Combined Honours)

Program Description

*This program is not available to commencing students. Details below are provided as a reference for continuing students only. Prospective students who commence their Bachelor of Arts program from 2009 onwards should refer to the new UNSW Bachelor of Arts program 3403.

The Bachelor of Arts program is the most flexible of the degree programs offered by the Faculty. The basic degree requirements are simple: an approved major sequence from List A and a minimum level of study in other areas. Apart from that, you will have a great deal of freedom to 'focus' your degree, by choosing related courses to contribute to a particular specialisation, or to choose a wider range of courses that reflect diverse interests.

Program Objectives and Learning Outcomes

An Arts degree is a pathway through a wealth of knowledge in the humanities and social sciences. Its objective is to stimulate students intellectually; to immerse them in worlds of learning; and to graduate them as citizens with strong written and oral communications skills, the capacity to research, criticise and reflect, and the ability to work independently and collaboratively.

Program Structure

The basic requirements for the degree are:

1. a total of 144 units of credit. Each course offered by the Faculty has a unit of credit rating, depending on the number of hours taught and the type of course.

2. 48 units of credit obtained in Level 1 courses ie courses designed for students in their first year of study. Of these, no more than 12 can be in any one sequence of study. 24 units of credit must be obtained from courses offered specifically by the Faculty.

3. a major sequence (List A) in one of the following:
  • Australian Studies AUST
  • Chinese Studies CHIN
  • Development Studies COMD
  • Education EDST
  • English ENGL
  • Environmental Studies ENVP
  • European Studies EURO
  • Film MEFT
  • French FREN
  • German Studies GERS
  • Greek GREK
  • History HIST
  • History and Philosophy of Science HPSC
  • Indonesian Studies INDO
  • Japanese Studies JAPN
  • Korean Studies KORE
  • Linguistics LING
  • Media, Culture and Technology MEFT
  • Music MUSC
  • Political Economy PECO
  • Philosophy PHIL
  • Politics and International Relations POLS
  • Sociology SOCA
  • Spanish and Latin American Studies SPAN
  • Theatre and Performance Studies MEFT
  • Women's and Gender Studies WOMS
A major sequence is an approved progression of courses in a school or program: you will find details under the relevant entry.

4. at least 12 units of credit must be gained in Level 3 in your List A major.

5. at least 66 units of credit must be gained in courses offered by schools or programs within the Faculty.

6. at least 66 units of credit gained in schools or programs outside the sequence of study in which you are majoring, so that your program does not become too one-sided.

7. in addition to the areas listed under 3. above, major sequences (List B and C) are available in - List B: Aboriginal Studies, Asian Studies, Cognitive Science, Jewish Studies; List C: Art History and Theory, Biological Science, Computing, Economics, Geography, Geology, Human Resource Management, International Business, Mathematics and Psychology.

8. during their second and third years of study, students are also required to complete 12 units of credit from the University's General Education program. These courses are part of the requirements for the degree and do not incur an additional HECS or fee obligation.

9. 6 units of credit in an Upper Level HUMS3000 course detailed in the Handbook.

How to Choose Your First Year Program
You must include the first year requirements for at least two major sequences in schools within the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, as you must complete at least one to qualify for the degree. Find the courses you need from the corresponding entries in the Online Handbook: this will normally account for 24 units of credit of your first year program. In deciding which other courses to enrol in, you should consider which courses best complement the ones you have chosen. These may not necessarily be 'close relations'; for instance, a foreign language may be extremely useful for a history major, and vice versa. Unless you are a part-time student, you should enrol in courses carrying 48 units of credit, 24 units of credit per session.

Upper Level and Honours Entry
In structuring your program for second and third year Upper Level, it is essential that you fulfil the requirements for a major sequence, including the requirement to complete 12 units of credit at Level 3 to complete a List A major. If you have any doubts about them, make sure you consult a member of staff before enrolling in second year. Try to complement your majors with courses which will provide you with skills and perspectives which will contribute to a broader and more critical approach to your special areas of interest. Major sequences offered by programs such as Development Studies are designed to provide this kind of context. They offer an interdisciplinary context for a disciplinary major, or simply a way of giving more coherence to your other courses. Comparisons and connections are often the best way of bringing the particular problems of an area of study into clearer focus. Members of staff may be able to recommend particular courses from other sequences which will help you in the direction you wish to take.

While it is desirable that all Upper Level students seek advice on their program from their home school, it is essential for intending Honours students. If you want to proceed to fourth year Honours Level in one or two schools or programs, you should work out a program which fulfils the requirements for Honours Level entry with the Head of School or program Coordinator concerned as early as possible in second year. With Combined Honours (Honours in two schools/programs) in particular, this can avoid many later problems such as missing prerequisites.

Sample Program

Bachelor of Arts - Sample Program
(Example Only)
48 units of credit 
S1 Politics & IR (6)  Sociology (6) 
History (6) 
Spanish (6) 
S2  Politics & IR (6)  Sociology (6)  History (6)  Spanish (6) 
48 units of credit 
European Studies (6) 
Sociology (6)  History (6) 
Linguistics (6)
General Education (3) 
General Education (3) 
Sociology (6) 
Sociology (6) 
History (6)   
48 units of credit
European Studies (6)  
Sociology (6)   History (6)    HUMS3xxx course (6)
General Education (3)  
General Education (3)
Sociology (6)
History (6)
History (6)
Total Required for BA -
144 units of credit
Major Sequence -
42 units of credit
Second Major Sequence -
42 units of credit

General Education Requirements

Students are also required to complete 12 units of credit from the University's General Education program during their second and third years of study. For further information, please refer to "General Education" in the Table of Contents (see left-hand side of page).

Academic Rules

Pass Degree

To qualify for the award of the degree at Pass level, a student must obtain, normally over three years of study, a minimum of 144 units of credit in approved courses including:

1. a total of 48 Level 1 units of credit;

2. no more than 12 Level 1 units of credit in any one sequence of study from Lists A, B, and C below;

3. a major sequence of 42 units of credit from List A below;

4. at least 66 units of credit, including a minimum of 24 at Level 1, from sequences in Lists A and B;

5. at least 12 units of credit from Level 3 courses in a sequence from List A below;

6. at least 66 units of credit from courses offered outside the major sequence specified in 3. above, which may include major sequence(s) from Lists A, B or C;

7. 12 units of credit from the General Education program, normally taken in the second and third year of study;

8. 6 units of credit from a third year HUMS elective.

List A
AUST Australian Studies, CHIN Chinese Studies, COMD Development Studies, EDST Education, ENGL English, ENVP Environmental Studies, EURO European Studies, FREN French, GERS German Studies, GREK Greek, HIST History, HPSC History and Philosophy of Science, INDO Indonesian Studies, JAPN Japanese Studies, KORE Korean Studies, LING Linguistics, MEFT Film/Media, Culture and Technology/Theatre and Performance Studies, MUSC Music, PECO Political Economy, PHIL Philosophy, POLS Politics and International Relations, SLSP Policy Studies, SOCA Sociology, SPAN Spanish and Latin American Studies, WOMS Women's and Gender Studies.

List B
ASIA Asian Studies, ATSI Aboriginal Studies, Cognitive Science, ITAL Italian, JWST Jewish Studies, LATN Latin, SOCW Social Work.

Majors are not available in Italian, Latin or Social Work.

List C
BIOS Biological Science, CHEM Chemistry, COMP Computing, ECON Economics, GEOS Geography/Geology, GMAT Surveying Spacial Information and Systems, MATH Mathematics, MGMT Human Resource Management/International Business, PHYS Physics, PSYC Psychology, SAHT Art History and Theory.

Majors are not available in Chemistry, Physics or Surveying.

9. The Pass degree of Bachelor of Arts may be awarded with Distinction where a candidate has a weighted average mark (WAM) of at least 75% in all courses completed since enrolment at UNSW which are credited towards the degree.

Honours Degree

To qualify for the award of the degree at Honours level in one or two Schools/specialisations, a student must:

10. have obtained 144 units of credit in accordance with 1.-8. above and satisfied the appropriate prerequisites for entry to the Honours level program;

11. obtain a further 48 units of credit in an approved Honours program.

The Honours degree is awarded in three classes (Class 1, Class 2 in two Divisions and Class 3). Students who fail to obtain one of these classes may proceed to graduate with the Pass degree.


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© The University of New South Wales (CRICOS Provider No.: 00098G), 2004-2011. The information contained in this Handbook is indicative only. While every effort is made to keep this information up-to-date, the University reserves the right to discontinue or vary arrangements, programs and courses at any time without notice and at its discretion. While the University will try to avoid or minimise any inconvenience, changes may also be made to programs, courses and staff after enrolment. The University may also set limits on the number of students in a course.