Breadth subjects - Section contents

A breadth subject is a subject from a different area of study to the degree that you are enrolled in. Breadth subjects are only available to undergraduate students.

What is breadth?

Breadth is a key feature of your Melbourne Model undergraduate degree that allows you to study a wide range of subjects from outside your home faculty. It’s a requirement of your course that a certain number of subjects are dedicated to breadth. Through breadth, you will develop a broader range of skills and can explore interests that may not traditionally be available within your main field of study.

What are the benefits of breadth?

Breadth has been designed to encourage and enable you to:

  • Develop skills that complement your major/specialisation
  • Pursue interests outside of your main study area
  • Take advantage of specially designed multidisciplinary UNIB subjects (see below for more information)
  • Meet prerequisites for graduate courses in non-cognate disciplines.

University Breadth Subjects (UNIB)

In addition to the breadth subjects available to you from other faculties, you can also choose a University Breadth Subject (UNIB) which examines current critical issues using approaches and techniques from multiple disciplines. Designed and taught in partnership among the University’s faculties and schools, these subjects address topics through diverse disciplinary lenses. You will learn how to synthesise ideas from different fields and collaborate in multidisciplinary settings. These skills are needed in solving many of the world’s challenges and are highly valued by employers.

What are the rules for breadth?

All Melbourne Model undergraduate degrees include the same basic breadth rules.

  • You must complete a minimum of 50 points of breadth subjects.
  • You can complete maximum of 37.5 points of level 1 breadth subjects.

Breadth information for your course

There are also additional breadth rules specific to each course and to certain majors. These are listed in detail under each course entry in the Handbook.

  • Bachelor of Arts students complete a breadth component of 50 points (four subjects), with another 25 points (two subjects) available for the student to select either breadth or Arts electives as free subjects.
  • At least 12.5 points of breadth must be taken at Level 1.
  • Students who undertake a major in Psychology will complete 125 points, with 100 points taken as Arts elective subjects and 25 points taken as breadth.
  • Students who undertake a major in Economics will complete 112.5 points with 37.5 points taken as Arts elective subjects, 50 points taken as breadth and 25 points taken as free subjects.
  • Students who undertake a major in Chinese at Entry Point 1 will complete 125 points with 100 points taken as arts electives and 25 points as free subjects, leaving 50 points of of breadth to complete.
  • Bachelor of Arts students are able to enrol in selected Asian language subjects (Chinese, Indonesian and Japanese) as breadth. See the full list here. Please note that students wishing to complete a major in these languages cannot enrol in them as breadth.
  • Bachelor of Arts students have the choice of taking MULT10001 Aboriginalities as breadth. As this is normally an Arts Foundation subject, students taking this subject as part of the Australian Indigenous Studies major cannot count this towards breadth.
  • Please refer to the Handbook for available breadth subjects for the Bachelor of Arts.
  • Bachelor of Biomedicine students complete a breadth component of 50 points (four subjects), with another 25 points (two subjects) available for the student to select either breadth or Biomedicine electives as free subjects.
  • Not all subjects offered in Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Environments, Bachelor of Science, and Bachelor of Commerce are available as breadth to students in the Bachelor of Biomedicine.
  • Subjects from Science or Environments that are considered to have similar or overlapping content may not be available as breadth to Bachelor of Biomedicine students.
  • Please refer to the Handbook for available breadth subjects for the Bachelor of Biomedicine.
  • Bachelor of Commerce students complete a breadth component of 50 points (four subjects), with another 25 points (two subjects) available for the student to select either breadth or Commerce electives as free subjects.
  • Students pursuing accreditation in Actuarial Studies will take 75 to 87.5 points of breadth and free subjects, including two breadth subjects that are not Mathematics.
  • Students can choose to complete Mathematics subjects as breadth to meet the Quantitative Requirement for the course. Please refer to the Handbook for further information.
  • Please refer to the Handbook for available breadth subjects for the Bachelor of Commerce.
  • Bachelor of Design students complete a breadth component of 50 points (four subjects), with another 25 points (two subjects) available for the student to select either breadth or Design electives as free subjects.
  • The breadth options for Bachelor of Design students are restricted depending on the major that has been selected. Please refer to the Handbook.
  • Bachelor of Environments students complete a breadth component of 50 points (four subjects), with another 25 points (two subjects) available for the student to select either breadth or Environments electives as free subjects.
  • Please note that double majors are available to students who commence the Bachelor of Environments from 2015 onwards. The subjects that comprise the second major may be enrolled as breadth, free points and elective subjects. This means that a student undertaking a double major may enrol in less than the required 50 points of breadth. Students should seek further advice from Stop 1 regarding their subject choice.
  • The breadth options for Bachelor of Environments students are restricted depending on the major that has been selected.
  • Please refer to the Handbook for available breadth subjects for Bachelor of Environments.
  • Bachelor of Music students complete a breadth component of 50 points (four subjects), with another 25 points (two subjects) available for the student to select either breadth or Music electives as free subjects.
  • Please refer to the Handbook for available breadth subjects for Bachelor of Music.
  • Bachelor of Science students complete a breadth component of 50 points (four subjects), with another 25 points (two subjects) available for the student to select either breadth or Science electives as free subjects.
  • Not all subjects offered in Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Environments and Bachelor of Commerce are available as breadth to students in the Bachelor of Science.
  • Subjects from Biomedicine or Environments that are considered to have similar or overlapping content may not be available as breadth to Bachelor of Science students.
  • Please refer to the Handbook for available breadth subjects for Bachelor of Science.

How breadth affects entry into graduate courses

Each graduate course has its own entry requirements, including entry scores and subject prerequisites, which are used to assess applications during the selection process.

Entry scores

Each faculty uses a different calculation to assess applications for its graduate courses. This may be calculating the average mark of all your studies, which will include breadth subjects, or only considering the studies you have completed that are directly relevant to the study area. As these practices vary, you should check the specific entry scores that will be used to assess applications for the graduate courses you are interested. Check the University’s course search and seek advice about planning for graduate study.

Subject prerequisites

For graduate courses in disciplines different from your main field of study, you may be able to use your breadth subject allocation to complete subject prerequisites needed to be considered for entry. For example, you can meet the entry requirements for the Master of Engineering through the Bachelor of Commerce. The subject prerequisites for each graduate course is listed under its entry requirements, which can be found using the University’s course search.

If you can’t study all of the prerequisite subjects within the breadth rules of your course, you may be able to take extra subjects via the Community Access Program.

How breadth can enrich your degree and career

How to search the Handbook for available breadth subjects

You can find the available breadth subjects for your course in the Handbook, and use the filter tools available to refine your search.

To find which subjects you can take as breadth:

  1. Select the ‘Subjects’ tab.
  2. Select your course from the ‘Breadth in Courses’ filter.
  3. To narrow your search results, use the filter panel on the right-hand side of the search page to filter based on criteria such as:
    • What level (eg Level 1, Level 2) it is
    • When the subject is running
    • What study area it falls into
    • Whether it has any quotas or requisite subject restrictions
  4. You can double check that a subject is available as breadth in your course by clicking on ‘Further information’ then ‘Breadth options’ in the sidebar of each subject entry. If there is no ‘Breadth options’ section, then the subject is not available as breadth for any course (eg it is only available as a core subject for a specific course).

Always check the ‘Eligibility and requirements’ section for each subject to make sure you have met the subject requisites.

Breadth tracks

If you want to use your breadth to focus on a particular study area, you can also use the Handbook to view the University's breadth tracks.

  • Breadth tracks have been developed to help you to choose coherent sequences of breadth subjects.
  • A breadth track is a grouping of three or more subjects that will allow you to progressively develop knowledge and skills in a study area.
  • Breadth tracks are optional and subjects in a track need to be added to the breadth component of your study plan individually.
  • Breadth tracks will not appear as specialisations on your academic transcript.

See the Handbook How-To FAQ for more Handbook search tips.