UWA Handbook 2017

Broadening requirements

Equipping you for a changing world

Australian and international employer groups and professional associations have repeatedly emphasised the need for graduates who are equipped not only with specific subject expertise, technical knowledge and employability skills but also with a broader understanding that prepares them for a changing world.

To achieve this broader education you must complete at least four units that are designated as broadening units. Broadening units fall into two categories—A and B.

Category A broadening units

Category A broadening units have as their main focus some aspect of the globalised and culturally diverse environment. To satisfy broadening requirements you must include at least one Category A broadening unit in your course.

You can count up to two Category A broadening units offered in your degree as broadening units. For example, if you are taking the Bachelor of Arts course you can include up to two Category A broadening units from Arts—your remaining broadening units must be selected from units offered only in other degrees (Commerce, Design or Science). You can take additional Category A broadening units from those offered in your degree (if you have space to take them as electives), but they won’t count towards meeting your broadening requirements. 

A wide range of units in different disciplines have been approved as Category A broadening. These include:

  • LOTE (Languages Other Than English) units. Units are available in Chinese, French, German, Italian, Ancient Greek, Latin, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean and Spanish.
  • units taught by the School of Indigenous Studies.
  • Study Abroad/Student Exchange units. Approved units completed as part of a Study Abroad/Student Exchange program count as Category A broadening units. UWA has arrangements with universities in more than 100 countries worldwide.
  • approved Mathematics and Statistics units.
  • all other units on the Category A broadening list.

The list of broadening units will identify whether a Category A broadening unit is offered in your degree.

Category B broadening units

Category B broadening units can be chosen from any discipline outside the knowledge area of your degree. For example, if you are taking the Bachelor of Science course you can choose Category B broadening units from the areas of Arts, Commerce or Design.

Broadening units can be stand-alone electives or form part of a major (as long as they meet the broadening rules). Remember, any unit you choose can count towards more than one of your degree requirements.

If you need further advice on choosing broadening units and how to incorporate them into your course, search the study plans for suggestions or contact a student adviser from your assigned Faculty Student Office displayed on studentConnect (login required).

Broadening your study will give you a global perspective that will make you a more well-rounded graduate and more attractive to employers.


  • Jun has an interest in buildings, structures and cities. He enrols in the Bachelor of Science course, choosing a degree-specific major in Engineering Science and a second major in Human Geography and Planning (from the Bachelor of Arts list). His Engineering Science major contains Category A broadening units, of which he can count two. Two units from his second major, Human Geography and Planning, satisfy his remaining broadening requirements, as the major is taught outside his degree area.
  • Emma is interested in ancient history and literature. She enrols in the Bachelor of Arts course. To pursue her interests, Emma chooses a degree-specific major in Classics and Ancient History and a second major in Philosophy (both from within the Bachelor of Arts). She decides to participate in a student exchange program at the University of Bristol, United Kingdom, where she completes two units in Latin, which count as Category A broadening. To satisfy her remaining broadening requirements she takes two Category A units from Science: SCIE1121 Our Universe and SCIE1122 Our Solar System.
  • Nic wants to work in the mining industry and is enrolled in the Bachelor of Commerce course with a degree-specific major in Management and a second major in Engineering Science (from the Bachelor of Science list). Nic satisfies his broadening requirements by counting two Category A and 2 Category B broadening units from his second major in Engineering Science.
  • Tham is hoping to pursue a research career in agriculture, forestry or horticulture and is enrolled in the Bachelor of Science course, majoring in Botany. To improve her prospects of employment with a leading multinational firm Tham decides to participate in a Study Abroad program at McGill University. She fulfils her broadening requirements by taking two approved Category A units as part of the Study Abroad program, and two Category B broadening units from Commerce: MGMT1135 Organisational Behaviour and MGMT1136 Management and Organisations.
  • Lisa would like to pursue a career as a professional opera singer and has an interest in art. She is enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts course with a degree-specific major in Music Studies and a second major in Music Specialist Studies. To help with her pronunciation and performance and make her more competitive as a graduate, she decides to take two units of Italian Studies (ITAL1401 Italian Studies 1 and ITAL1402 Italian Studies 2). These units count as two Category A broadening units. To fulfil her remaining broadening requirements she takes two units from Design: VISA1050 Art of Visualisation and Recording and VISA1052 Art of Expression.