A guide to majors and specialisations

A guide to majors and specialisations

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.

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