UWA Handbook 2017

Undergraduate degree course structure

UWA's three-year undergraduate courses each comprise 24 units. The units you study must include:

  • a degree-specific major; and
  • at least four units which satisfy the broadening requirements of your course.

There are some limits you need to be aware of. You—

  • cannot include more than 12 units at Level 1; and
  • must pass at least four units at Level 3.

Beyond this you have great freedom to craft a course that best suits your interests. Read on to find out more.

A standard full-time study load is four units per semester. The minimum number to be classified as full-time is three units per semester. You are welcome to study part-time (i.e. one or two units per semester) provided you complete your degree within 10 years.1

1 International students may be required to study four units per semester full-time in order to meet their VISA requirements. Contact Student Administration for more information.

  1. Majors
  2. Broadening requirements
  3. Electives
  4. Credit points
  5. Levels
  6. Examples of degree course structure


A major is a structured sequence of units in a particular discipline or field of study. It provides you with the opportunity to develop the knowledge, understanding and expertise that will equip you to move into a rewarding career after graduation or to pursue further study in a similar area at postgraduate level.

Core units and options

Core units are the compulsory units in your major. Some majors are made up entirely of core units whereas others allow you to choose from a selection of options.

As you progress through the major, you will study your subject area in increasing depth and understanding. Units within majors are classified into three levels, representing increasing complexity and mastery of the subject area.

Major structures

There are single majors and double majors.

A single major consists of eight units from the same disciplinary field, normally in the following sequence:

  • two Level 1 units
  • two Level 2 units
  • four Level 3 units.

The structure of some single majors differ. A common alternative is:

  • two Level 1 units
  • three Level 2 units
  • three Level 3 units.

A double major consists of 14 units normally with:

  • two Level 1 units that provide the foundation for:
    • four Level 2 units
    • eight Level 3 units.

Degree-specific majors

Each three-year undergraduate degree has its own degree-specific majors:

You must complete at least one degree-specific major from your course.

Second majors

If you want to study a second major, you can choose one from any of the above degrees.

Complementary units

Some degree-specific majors require you to study complementary units that provide important additional knowledge and expertise in particular areas or allow you to fill gaps in your knowledge that will be required to successfully complete the major. Up to four complementary units may be specified, though many degree-specific majors have fewer and some prescribe none.

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Broadening requirements

The requirement to include broadening units in your course is designed to ensure that as a graduate you will be exposed to different ideas and ways of learning which will prepare you for the challenges of a changing global world and workforce. To achieve this purpose, you must pass four units that satisfy the broadening rules:

  • At least one unit must have as its main focus some aspect of the globalised and culturally diverse environment. These are classified as Category A broadening units and include:
    • LOTE (Languages Other Than English) units;
    • Study Abroad/Student Exchange units;
    • units taught by the School of Indigenous Studies;
    • approved Mathematics and Statistics units; and
    • all other units on the Category A list.

Your remaining three broadening units can be chosen from Category A or Category B broadening units. Category B broadening units are all approved units from outside your degree area.

You can count up to two Category A broadening units from your degree area towards your broadening requirements. Your remaining broadening units must be chosen from outside your degree area (Category A or B).

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 chosen from the areas of Commerce, Design or Science.


Elective units provide you with the opportunity to explore a range of interests and new disciplines. If you structure your degree with one degree-specific major there is potential for up to 12 electives. If you decide to study two majors there is still room for variety beyond your majors.

Electives can be chosen freely from the Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 units available in the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Commerce, Bachelor of Design and Bachelor of Science, providing you satisfy any unit rules including prerequisites and/or co-requisites.

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Credit points

Each of your units is worth a number of credit points. Most units are worth six points; a small number of project units are worth 12 points each. In order to complete your undergraduate degree you need to complete units worth a total of 144 credit points. The credit points for each unit are listed in its Handbook entry.

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All units are assigned a Level which indicates the amount of prior knowledge or maturity of learning required to study the unit successfully. Undergraduate units are classified into three levels. Level 1 units are entry-level or introductory units. You can progress to Level 2 or Level 3 units as soon as you meet the prerequisites and any other unit rules.

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Examples of degree course structure

The following examples map the possible paths of your undergraduate degree course with the choice of a single major, double major or two majors:

Course study plan with a single major—CSPGeneric-DSMGeneric-1 (opens in a new window)

Course study plan with a double major—CSPGeneric-DSMGeneric-2 (opens in a new window)

Course study plan with two majors— CSPGeneric-DSMGeneric-Generic (opens in a new window)

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