UWA Handbook 2017

Undergraduate degree course structure

UWA's four-year undergraduate Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours) degree comprises 32 units. The units you study must include:

  • a degree-specific major;
  • at least four units which satisfy the broadening requirements of your course (including GCRL1000 Global Challenges, Research and Leadership and a Language Other Than English (LOTE) unit;
  • an honours program the equivalent of eight Level 4 units (including a dissertation equal to four Level 4 units);
  • a research project and studies in research methods and project management in your second and third academic years; and
  • an appropriate assessment to demonstrate outstanding skills in both spoken and written communication in your second, third and fourth academic years;
  • an approved period of student exchange/study abroad.

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

  • can include no more than 12 units at Level 1;
  • must pass at least four units at Level 3; and
  • must maintain a weighted average mark (WAM) of 75 or above.

Beyond this you have great freedom to craft a degree 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. Honours
  7. Study Abroad and language studies
  8. Satisfactory progress
  9. Examples of degree course structure

Majors

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 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 differs. A common alternative is:

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

A double major consists of 14 units with, normally:

  • 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 course has its own degree-specific majors. Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours) students have the freedom to choose a degree-specific major from any of these courses:

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 to 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.

Back to top

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:

  • Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours) students must take GCRL1000 Global Challenges, Research and Leadership as one of their broadening units.

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 the degree area of your degree-specific major.

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

For example, if you are taking a degree-specific major from 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.

GCRL1000 Global Challenges, Research and Leadership

Global Challenges, Research and Leadership (GCRL1000) is a Category B broadening unit that introduces research practices and principles from a variety of discipline perspectives. GCRL1000 Global Challenges, Research and Leadership is only available to Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours) students.

Back to top

Electives

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 at least eight 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.

Back to top

Credit points

Most units are worth six points, a small number of project units and some honours units are worth 12 points each. In order to fulfil the requirements of your undergraduate Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours) course you need to complete units worth a total of 192 credit points. The credit points for each unit are listed in its Handbook entry.

Back to top

Levels

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.

Back to top

Honours

An honours program is an important component of your Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours) course. It will develop advanced research, project management and critical thinking skills that will prepare you for further postgraduate study and make you highly competitive within the workforce. An honours course comprises the equivalent of eight Level 4 units and normally includes a dissertation of approximately 15,000 words (equivalent to four Level 4 units).

You may apply to undertake honours in any discipline or field of study in which you have completed a major (either as a degree-specific major or as a second major).

To be awarded the Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours) degree you must achieve an honours classification of 2A or above. If you receive an honours classification below 2A you will be awarded the degree to which your degree-specific major belongs with the relevant classification of honours.

Back to top

Study Abroad and language studies

As a Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours) student you are normally required to include:

  • at least one Language Other Than English (LOTE) unit; and
  • an approved period of study outside of Australia (Study Abroad), undertaken after completing Level 1 units and before Level 3 units are completed.

Back to top

Satisfactory progress

Satisfactory progress in your Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours) course means you must maintain a weighted average mark (WAM) of 75 or above.

Back to top

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)