For some students, study choices end when their course application is first submitted, but for others, choosing a specialisation can prove just as tricky as choosing a course in the first place. It s easy to get confused by all the academic terminology at use when applying for and enrolling in courses, so we re here to help clear up some of the confusion.
What s the difference between a course and specialisation?
A course leads to a certain qualification, such as a degree or a diploma, and requires certain units of study (usually four subjects per semester for full-time students). You would have selected your course when you first submitted your application. Some courses also require students to choose a specialisation or major. Sometimes you need to decide on a specialisation before you apply (usually listed in brackets after the course title), while other courses allow you to choose a specialisation as you study, after you ve explored a few areas of interest. For example, you may apply for a Bachelor of Business (Marketing), where the Bachelor of Business is the course and marketing is the specialisation. You could also apply for a general Bachelor of Business without a predetermined major and choose a specialisation once you ve determined your specific interests.
Which courses offer specialisations?
Not all courses require students to pick a specialisation students studying highly regulated fields such as dentistry and medicine follow a set program of core subjects designed to meet accreditation requirements. General courses in arts, business and science tend to offer plenty of room for specialisation, with a Bachelor of Arts likely to offer a wide range of study areas everything from art history, creative writing, criminology, geography and history to languages, media, philosophy, psychology and sociology. There are also some specialised fields of study that require students to pick a major from the start (engineering, for instance).
How do I choose a course and specialisation?
If you have your heart set on a certain career or area of study, you may look at studying a course with a predefined major. If you are still unsure about what you want to study, you might apply for a general degree that allows you to try out a few study areas before you specialise or perhaps one that doesn t require you to specialise at all. Some courses also allow students to choose a double major, specialising in two fields, while others allow you to choose a major and a minor, where students explore one area in depth, as well as a secondary interest. You may also decide to specialise later by completing postgraduate study in your field. Whatever path you take, it s important to pay careful attention to course guides and prerequisites for areas of interest.