Choosing breadth subjects

Finding subjects to study as part of your breadth component can be exciting, but it can also be daunting. With so many subjects to choose from, how do you narrow it down?

There are no right or wrong ways to select your breadth subjects. As long as you're complying with the rules that govern breadth study, what you do in your breadth is entirely up to you.

Reasons for studying breadth subjects

There are many reasons why you might decide to study a particular subject or subjects through breadth, for example, for interest, to achieve prerequisites, or to complement your core studies. To help get you started, here are a number of things to consider.

For interest

  • Is there something you've always wanted to study, but never had the opportunity?
  • Do you have a particular skill or hobby you would like to maintain or develop?
  • Are there topics that you are curious about?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, you might like to use some of your breadth studies to explore these options further.

Example - breadth for interest

Amy is enrolled in the Bachelor of Environments. While she intends to go into Architecture when she graduates, she is fluent in French and would like to maintain and further develop her language skills. By using her breadth studies, Amy can complete as much as 75 points of tertiary-level French studies (two French subjects a year for the duration of her Bachelor of Environments).

Not only does this allow her to maintain her interest in French, but it also greatly increases her prospects of getting an architectural position in France when she graduates.

To achieve prerequisites

  • Are you considering continuing your studies in one of the University's Graduate Professional programs or at another university?
  • Is there another undergraduate course you intend to apply for that requires specific prerequisites that you have not yet attained?

You might be able to use some of your breadth studies to cover prerequisites that may be required for entry into another course.

Example - breadth to achieve prerequisites

Yu-Ning is a Bachelor of Music student, hoping to study graduate Medicine at the University of Melbourne. To be eligible, he must complete specific subjects at level 2. Having confirmed the entry requirements with the Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences Student Centre, Yu-Ning searches the breadth database to find the subjects he needs to study, while completing his Bachelor of Music.

By completing most of the Medicine prerequisites using his breadth studies while finishing his Bachelor of Music, Yu-Ning will be able to choose whether he continues with his music studies, or takes a different path into Medicine.

NOTE: Make sure you are aware of the entry requirements for any courses you may be considering in the future. For details on University of Melbourne course prerequisites, have a look at the University's Course Search database.

To complement core studies

  • Would you like to study a discipline that may provide a new insight into your core studies?
  • Is there a topic that might strengthen or support the major studies you intend to complete?

One way to use breadth studies is to undertake subjects that complement the core discipline areas of your degree. This may provide additional context or help you develop alternative techniques that could strengthen your performance in your core studies.

Example - breadth to complement core studies

Kate intends to complete a major in Economics as part of her Bachelor of Commerce. Although she has a number of interests outside her degree, she wants to concentrate as much as possible on her core studies and wants to make sure her breadth subjects will help her achieve this. After having a discussion with a Student Adviser in the Commerce Student Centre, Kate selects a combination of Politics and Statistics subjects for her breadth studies.

By selecting subjects that complement her core studies, Kate has provided herself with a broader context in which to study Economics, and has developed additional skills that may help her perform at a higher level than would otherwise have been the case.

Important things to keep in mind

While there is a great deal of choice in how you select your breadth studies, there are still some rules.

Whatever you decide to study, make sure you keep the following things in mind.

You must complete any pre or corequisites

Prerequisites and corequisites exist to make sure all students enrolled in a particular subject have sufficient background knowledge to understand the subject content.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you have met any pre or corequisites for any subject you undertake at the university, this includes subjects you are completing towards your breadth component. (For more on prerequisites and corequisites, click here).

Can't you just tell me what to do?

One of the most important things you will learn at university is how to think and act independently. Selecting your breadth studies is part of that learning experience. The information on this page is intended to help you make those decisions, but it won't tell you what to do.