How undergraduate study works

A degree is the most popular qualification studied at UC. Your first degree is called a bachelors degree and usually takes three or four years of full-time study to complete.

Courses and subjects

Courses are the building blocks of qualifications, of which degrees are one of the available options. Some universities call them papers, at UC we call them courses. Each course belongs to a larger subject area.

Course codes

Each course has a code (for example: HIST128 is a course in History) and is worth a certain number of points. These points count towards your qualification when you pass the course. The more work a course requires, the more points it is worth. At UC all undergraduate courses are worth 15 points or multiples of 15 points. Three-year degrees require a minimum of 360 points and four-year degrees a minimum of 480 points.

In your first year, you will study 100-level courses. The year level of courses is indicated by their course code (HIST128 is a first-year course, HIST235 is a second-year course, and HIST329 is a third-year course). You usually have to pass certain courses at 100-level in a subject before going on to 200-level in that subject in your second year. 

Planning your course of study

You need to consider a number of factors when you choose your courses and plan your degree. UC's Future Students team and our Student Advisors offer advice and guidance if you need more information or support.

To find out which subjects and/or degree will lead in the direction you wish to go, talk to your school Careers Advisor or check out Careers, Internships & Employment. Careful planning means you can relax and give things a go. Many of UC’s qualifications are very flexible. If you try something in your first year and find it is not really your thing, you may be able to change direction.

A normal full-time load is 120 points a year. The workload that will work best for you will depend upon a number of factors, including your academic ability and your other commitments. Take into account that study includes lectures, tutorials, laboratories, reading and assignments. One point equals about 10 hours of study, so if you are studying 120 points in one year, you should allow a minimum of 38 hours per week for study during the academic year.

Your study time will vary. Some weeks you will have no assignments or work due but at other times you may have a number of deadlines in a short space of time. You will need to manage your own time and plan ahead to succeed at university. Be careful not to do too many courses in a single semester to keep your weekly timetable manageable. From February onwards, you will be able to find your timetable on the Current Students page links or by studying the course information.

The Liaison office can answer your enrolment questions, provide course planning advice or arrange campus tours.

Degrees and majors

General degrees such as the Bachelor of Arts (BA) are the most flexible. For the BA you must specialise in at least two subjects, either by completing two majors (double major), or a major and a minor (for example: a BA in Sociology with a minor in Political Science).

Top tips for choosing your major(s)

  • In addition to the major/minor requirements, you will also need to complete the degree requirements, such as completing a number of points above 100-level.
  • If you are not sure what you want to major in, keep your options open by choosing a variety of 100-level courses which meet the prerequisites for a number of 200-level courses. You can even change to a different degree and usually retain credit for the courses you have already passed. Each subject has details on the first-year courses you need to take in order to advance.
  • If you know which subject or subjects you want to major in you can plan your degree by working backwards. Find out what the prerequisites are for 300-level courses in your major subject, then work out the courses you will need to take at 200-level, and their 100-level prerequisites.

Double degrees

A double degree means working towards two degrees at the same time. Points can be cross-credited (or shared) between your degrees. This means you could, for example, complete a BA (normally a three-year degree) together with a BCom (normally a three-year degree) in a minimum of five years. If you are considering a double degree it is strongly recommended that you talk to the Future Students Office or a Student Advisor.

Student Advisors

The Student Advisors in the Faculty of Arts can help with degree planning and special applications.