Bachelor of Arts

The information on this page applies to future students. Current students should refer to their faculty handbooks for course information.

A Bachelor of Arts degree provides a rare chance for you to explore your passions, interests and ambitions. Both rigourous and rewarding, the Bachelor of Arts is well renowned as the go-to program for those wanting to challenge assumptions, discover new cultures, or scratch beneath the surface of our own society to encounter fresh ideas. Students who complete this degree will be well suited to meet the challenges of the modern 21st-century workplace, where specialisation, creativity, logic and critical argument come to the fore. Offering a myriad of choices across more than 45 subject areas, very few ‘Arts degrees’ are quite the same. Students are encouraged to tailor their studies to suit their interests, with the chance to incorporate up to two majors in their degree.

With hundreds of course combinations on offer there is no single formula for the degree: you can make it whatever you want it to be. Whether you wish to learn a new language, study the great works of literature or uncover archaeological remains, our courses will stretch and challenge you to think differently.

By undertaking our Bachelor of Arts degree, you’ll be guided by the expertise of an internationally respected group of educators. With arts and humanities at the University of Sydney consistently recognised as among the top 25 universities globally in academic rankings, our Bachelor of Arts program is both highly regarded and well supported by research leaders.

As a degree with a global outlook, our students are encouraged to take advantage of extensive exchange opportunities with foreign universities. Our courses are structured to facilitate viable exchange options in most semesters after the first year, helping many of our students to see the world and immerse themselves in a new culture.

No other university can offer the same breadth or depth of inquiry in their subjects as those offered in our degree. Greater concentration and specialisation enables our students to study at the highest standard. Moreover, a number of our majors present students with the possibility to undertake structured internship placements, enabling them to widen their networks and gain invaluable work experience before graduation.

A Bachelor of Arts degree will hone your critical thinking skills to help you become an independent thinker, able to form and articulate judgements based on argument and evidence. Accordingly, our graduates are in high demand from a broad range of employers, with career options as varied as the degree itself. Our alumni are invariably known for their ability to think outside the box, communicate effectively, research diligently, and synthesise complex information to reach their goals.

Please note: The units of study listed below are subject to change and are to be used as a guide only.

Course outline

Course Structure

Study plan


The Bachelor of Arts may be undertaken full-time over three years or part-time over six years. Full-time students enrol in junior units of study with a maximum 48 credit points (cp) during first year. A typical unit of study has a value of 6cp. All students complete at least one major (i.e. study in one subject area), comprising 36cp of senior units of study, from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. The degree structure provides for the completion of two majors, which can be an asset in a competitive job market while also providing a flexible basis for further postgraduate coursework or research study.

Further course information

Progression rules

A major in the Bachelor of Arts comprises the satisfactory completion of a minimum 36 credit points (cp) of senior units of study in the chosen subject area including any units of study specified in the table of undergraduate units of study as compulsory for that major. All students complete a major. Students planning to proceed to an honours year in their chosen subject area should be aware of additional pre-requisites for honours admission, normally a minimum 48cp of senior units of study in the subject area with a Credit average. Units of study completed at the University of Sydney Summer School which correspond to units of study permitted to count to this degree may be credited towards the course requirements. A standard full-time enrolment is 24cp per semester; less than 18cp per semester is considered to be part-time. A student may not enrol in more than 30cp in any one semester without permission and may not enrol in a unit of study, before meeting any prerequisites and corequisites for that unit of study. Candidates are required to attend all lectures, tutorials and other activities prescribed for their units of study.

What is an elective?

An elective is a unit of study within a degree, usually an option within a course. Electives allow more detailed study of a particular subject. Electives can be selected from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences or from other faculties within the university (subject to permission from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences).

Course opportunities

Most subject areas within the Bachelor of Arts allow for students to take part in an international exchange program. The program enables students to enhance their skills in a language other than English and their knowledge of other societies and cultures.

Course outcomes and further study

Graduate opportunities

Sydney Arts graduates work in government departments at all levels, and major private sector consultancies and corporations, locally and overseas. The Bachelor of Arts offers a range of subject areas that prepare graduates for careers in administration, education, business research, marketing, media, management consultancy, public relations, gallery and museum curatorship, hospitality and tourism, community and welfare. Our graduates are proficient in research and inquiry, and demonstrate personal and intellectual autonomy, and ethical, social and professional understanding, qualities sought after by leading employers all over the world.

Course accreditation

Sydney Arts students are encouraged to become members of professional associations concerned with their areas of study. Association membership for students is often heavily discounted and may provide: opportunities for networking; conferences on topical issues providing local and international perspectives; research on areas of practice, quality and innovation; interest groups in specific areas of industry; regular journals and other publications; access to current salary information based on surveys conducted by the association; advice on workplace agreements; events offering professional development and ongoing learning; scholarships, awards and prizes; further study (including short courses, professional accreditation programs, or postgraduate qualifications).

Further study

Eligible candidates may proceed to an honours year in the Bachelor of Arts , or apply for admission to a rich postgraduate program in the humanities and social sciences, comprising advanced learning and professional courses. Master degrees include capstone projects ranging from internships with government and non-government organisations in Australia and overseas, the gallery and museum sector, and leading media organisations, to opportunities for independent research projects which prepare students for higher degrees by research.

About honours

The Bachelor of Arts honours year is both a preparation for postgraduate study and a capstone to an undergraduate degree. Honours can be the culmination of your formal education, an experience that extends your intellectual range, hones your research abilities, as well as analytical and communication techniques, and helps you to develop the personal and professional skills needed to see a research project though to completion. Honours can also be the first step on a path to a career as an academic or professional researcher. The Bachelor of Arts honours year comprises seminar classes and work toward a short thesis on an independent research project under the supervision of an academic staff member who is an expert in the field of your research. For detailed advice see the Bachelor of Arts (Honours) .

Admission

Admission requirements

Admission to this course is on the basis of a secondary school leaving qualification such as the NSW Higher School Certificate (including national and international equivalents), tertiary study or an approved preparation program. English language requirements must be met where these are not demonstrated by sufficient qualifications taught in English. Special admission pathways are open for domestic mature aged applicants who do not possess a school leaving qualification, educationally disadvantaged applicants and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Applicants are ranked by merit and offers for available places are issued according to the ranking.

How to apply

Domestic students

How to apply

Applications for the University's undergraduate courses are made though the Universities Admission Centre (UAC). On-time applications for the March Semester close on the last working day of September. On-time applications for the July Semester close in May. Please note: not all courses are offered in the July semester intake.

International students

How to apply

Overseas applicants may apply (i) directly to the University's International Office, (ii) through a University overseas representative (education agent), or (iii) through the Universities Admissions Centre, for students applying on the basis of a current Australian Year 12 secondary school examination, or studying either an International Baccalaureate in Australia or a New Zealand Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) Level 3.

Fee disclaimer

Domestic students

Indicative Undergraduate Student Contribution Amount

This student contribution amount for a Commonwealth Supported Place is an indication only of the fees that are payable by you in the calendar year you commence your course, commencing in 2014 for a standard annual full time load of 48 credit points (1.0 EFTSL). The exact student contribution that you pay will depend on the specific units of study in which you ultimately enrol. If you are a Commonwealth supported student and was enrolled in a University course before 1 January 2013 your student contribution may differ.

For further information about how to calculate your specific total student contribution, please refer to the University's Future Students' website.

Annual review

Importantly, student contribution amounts are subject to annual review by the University, and are likely to increase each year of your period of study (subject to a Commonwealth specified cap), effective at the start of each calendar year.

Additional incidental fees

For some courses there are incidental fees additional to the student contribution. Some of those fees are significant, for example, faculty-specific materials, tools, protected clothing, and equipment. For further information about these additional incidental fees, please visit the University's Future Students' website.

Potential for inaccuracy

Whilst every reasonable effort has been made to include correct and up to date information here, you are also advised to consult directly with the Student Centre for domestic students or the International Office for international students so that they can provide you with specific and up to date information about those fees.

International students

Indicative international tuition fees for undergraduate students

This international tuition fee is an indication only of the fees that are payable by you in the calendar year you commence your course, commencing in 2014, for a standard annual full time load of 48 credit points (1.0 EFTSL). The exact tuition fees that you pay will depend on the specific units of study in which you ultimately enrol.

For further information about how to calculate your specific total tuition fees, please refer to the University's Future Students' website.

Annual review

Importantly, tuition fees are subject to annual review, and are likely to increase each year of your period of study, effective at the start of each calendar year.

Additional incidental fees and health insurance

For some courses there are incidental fees additional to the tuition fees. Some of those fees are significant, for example, faculty-specific materials, tools, protected clothing, and equipment. For further information about these additional incidental fees, please visit the University's Future Students' website.

In addition to the fees indicated here for the course of study, International Students studying on an Australian Student Visa must have appropriate health insurance for the duration of their studies on a Student Visa through an approved provider of the Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) scheme. This is a requirement of the Australian Government, unless otherwise exempted by the Government.

Potential for inaccuracy

Whilst every reasonable effort has been made to include correct and up to date information here, you are also advised to consult directly with the Student Centre for domestic students or the International Office for international students so that they can provide you with specific and up to date information about those fees.

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