Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science

Course 902BB (2012)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2012.

Year and Campus: 2012
Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Level: Undergraduate
Duration & Credit Points: 500 credit points taken over 60 months


Eastern Precinct Student Centre


Eastern Precinct Student Centre
The Eastern Precinct (building 138)
(between Doug McDonell building and Eastern Resource Centre)

Phone: 13 MELB (13 6352)

Course Overview:

There is no commencing student intake into this course.

The Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science combined course provides students with an opportunity to obtain a general education in the humanities, social sciences and the languages and cultures of other people, and also to complete a major in one or more science disciplines, and one or more arts disciplines.


In arts/science at the University of Melbourne, we expect to educate our students in the fundamental skills of transforming information into knowledge and communicating this knowledge clearly. These outcomes are fully consistent with the University's general ambition for our graduates, and emphasise the transferability of the skills practised in the arts and in science.

Throughout their course, students will find that many of the abilities that they develop are shared by, and so are valued by and are applicable to, activities in all walks of life. In particular, these are the skills that are essential to providing leadership to the science-technology base of the Australian economy and culture.

The Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees aim to educate and train students in both science and humanities areas of study. The combined course enables students to access a major (specialisation) stream in both the arts and science components of the course, which may be chosen as complementary or independent to each other. In addition, the length of the course allows students to pursue minor studies in other discipline areas beyond their majors. Graduates are therefore aware of and educated in a broad variety of knowledge areas.

Course Structure & Available Subjects:

The BA/BSc degree requires the completion of a minimum (and maximum) of 500 points of study. Within the 500 points students must satisfy the minimum requirements for both the BSc component and the BA component.

These requirements are detailed below.

Science requirement

A minimum of 237.5 science points is required, which must include:

  • between 75 and 125 science points at the first year subject level;
  • completion of 50 points of a prescribed science major at the third year subject level.

Note that:

  • there are no second year subject level requirements;
  • students completing a science major in psychology must complete 50 science points at third year subject level (37.5 points of prescribed third year subject level psychology subjects plus an additional 12.5 points of third year level science subjects)
  • BA/BSc students cannot complete a science major in geography or history and philosophy of science.
  • Subjects offered in the areas of Geography, History and Philosophy of Science and Philosophy cannot count toward the science requirement of the BA/BSc course. The only exception is the subject 121-306 Applied Ecology (or 121-030 Applied Ecology) prior to 2010. Students who completed 121-306 Applied Ecology or 121-030 Applied Ecology may receive credit for this subject towards either the arts or science component of the BASc course. Students should advise the Eastern Precinct Student Centre if they would like the subject to count toward the science component of the BA/BSc course. BA/BSc students cannot complete a science major in geography or history and philosophy of science.

  • Students undertaking psychology subjects can receive credit toward either the science or arts component of the BA/BSc course. Credit for psychology points cannot be split between the two components. Students should advise the Eastern Precinct Student Centre if they would like psychology to count toward the science requirement of their BA/BSc course. Likewise, students should contact the Arts and Music Student Centre if they wish to count psychology toward the arts requirement of their degree.

A link to a list of subjects attracting science pointsis provided below.

Arts requirement

For the arts component of this degree students must undertake 225 points of study from arts-approved study areas comprising:

  • 50 points must be at first year subject level;
  • 75 points must be at second year subject level; and
  • 100 points must be at third year subject level.

Additional study at any year level can count toward the remaining 37.5 points, in addition to the minimum 225 points required to complete the arts degree.

No more than 162.5 points may be taken in any one area of study: a maximum of 25 points at first year level and 125 points at second/ third year level.

Balance of points

The remaining 37.5 points may be selected from either arts subjects or science subjects.


Science majors available in this course

All students in the BA/BSc are required to complete a science major.

It may be possible for a BA/BSc student to complete two science majors. Completion of two science majors requires the completion of at least 87.5 points of Level 3 science. Up to the equivalent of 12.5 points can potentially be cross credited between the two majors (where that subject is a valid option within both majors). Additional requirements apply to the following majors:

  • The biotechnology major can only be undertaken in conjunction with another life sciences major.
  • The environmental science major can only be undertaken in conjunction with a second science major (which cannot be biotechnology or history and philosophy of science).

To complete a major, students complete one of the science majors listed below. Students may not complete alternative combinations of subjects to major unless approval is obtained from the Eastern Precinct Student Centre. The University is committed to ensuring that students are not disadvantaged by recent changes to the curriculum and students may complete a major as defined by the current structure or a structure detailed in a previous year's handbook applicable to any year the student was enrolled in the course. Bachelor of Arts and Sciences students who require advice on an appropriate subject selection to complete a specific major should contact the EPSC.

The following science majors are available to BA/BSc students:


Subjects available for science credit

A full list of subjects available for science credit for the Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science course.

Please note: Students enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science cannot count Geography, HPS or Logic subjects towards the Science component of their course.


Arts majors available in this course

Students may elect to complete an arts major in this course.

Students cannot vary the major couse structure unless approval is obtained from the academic convernor of that major. Contact the Arts Student Centre for further information

Students should refer to the structure of the major as defined in the year they commenced their degree.

The following arts majors are available to BA/BSc students:

Subject Options:

All arts subjects undertaken in this BA/BSc must be from the following arts-approved study areas (see the individual area of study entry for full details):

  • all language subjects
  • American studies
  • Ancient, Medieval and Early Modern Studies (some non-arts approved subjects included)
  • Anthropology
  • Art History
  • Asian Studies (some non-arts approved subjects included)
  • Australian Indigenous Studies (some non-arts approved subjects included)
  • Australian Studies
  • Classical studies and Archaeology
  • Creative Writing
  • Criminology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Development Studies (some non-art approved subjects included)
  • English Literary Studies
  • English as a Second Language
  • English Language Studies
  • Environmental Studies (some non-arts approved subjects included)
  • European Studies
  • Gender Studies
  • Geography
  • Hebrew and Jewish Studies
  • History
  • History and Philosophy of Science
  • International Studies
  • Islamic Studies
  • Linguisitics and Applied Linguistics
  • Philosophy
  • Planning and Design
  • Political Science
  • Psychology
  • Screen Studies
  • Social Theory
  • Socio-legal Studies
  • Sociology
  • Theatre Studies
Entry Requirements:

There is no commencing student intake into this course.

Core Participation Requirements:

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study and reasonable steps will be made to enhance a student’s participation in the University’s programs. Students who feel their disability may impact upon their active and safe participation in a subject are encouraged to discuss this with the relevant subject coordinator and the Disability Liaison Unit.

Further Study:

Honours and Masters level studies are available as indicated at

Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences

Graduate Attributes:

Graduates in arts/science are independent and creative thinkers, and are able to approach scientific or social issues creatively. They are used to formulating hypotheses which can be tested for validity. They can extrapolate from the known to the unknown and are comfortable working with analogues rather than needing to deal with literal situations.

Studies in the humanities and social sciences strengthen students' understanding of the need to question and clarify issues surrounding a particular situation before developing a response. By suspending judgement and listening to other points of view, they are able to build on the ideas of others enabling their strong critical analysis skills. These studies also provide graduates with excellent written and oral communication skills.

The science disciplines also value clear reporting. Consequently, the arts/science graduate has developed skills of efficient and effective communication of ideas and results, whether in the accepted modes of scientific report writing or through more informal oral presentations. Graduates recognise the need to present information and ideas in an effective written form that is appropriate to the purpose and the reader.

Having undertaken laboratory and tutorial classes, arts/science graduates are adept at activity planning as well as the application of theory to practice. Some students will have found collaborative learning an efficient tool, while others will find their practical work enhanced by effective teamwork.

The need to manage the multiplicity of tasks (lectures, laboratory and assignment work) means that arts/science graduates are aware of the need to structure and manage time effectively and efficiently, to retain balance and to prioritise their activities. They are able to juggle several tasks simultaneously, take responsibility for their own work, independently or within a group, and to plan their schedule appropriately.

The breadth of the Science @ Melbourne program means that arts/science graduates will have been exposed, directly or indirectly, to thoughts and ideas from a number of bodies of knowledge. These graduates are aware of the breadth and depth of knowledge in areas beyond their specific areas of specialisation.

Generic Skills:

From their exposure to a range of quantitative and qualitative disciplines, Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science graduates have strong cognitive, social and communication skills. In particular they are able to:

  • synthesise and evaluate information from a range of sources and add new ideas to their existing knowledge;
  • observe, record and evaluate data or evidence appropriately;
  • make effective use of information to identify and solve problems;
  • synthesise and integrate disparate elements into a meaningful whole;
  • express ideas, opinions and judgements and present them effectively in written or oral format that is appropriate to the audience;
  • question, reflect and clarify;
  • explain and defend their position on an issue; and
  • work effectively in group discussions.

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