Pros and Cons of a Bachelor of Arts at Melbourne University

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Considering a Bachelor of Arts at Melbourne University but have no idea if it’s the right choice for you?

Well, look no further as we’ve chatted with Brontë, a third year Bachelor of Arts (Media and Communications) student at Melbourne Uni, to gain some clarification about what the degree is really like. She’s given us the low-down on all the highs and lows of the degree, and why it might be the best fit for you.

Let’s see what she had to say!

Why should you study a Bachelor of Arts at Melbourne University?
Top 3 Pros of an Arts Degree
Top 3 Cons of an Arts Degree
Mistakes You Shouldn’t Make
Things to Know Before Starting a Melbourne University Bachelor of Arts
What Makes this Degree Different
Motivations for Studying a Melbourne University Bachelor of Arts
Potential Career Paths

Why should you study a Bachelor of Arts at Melbourne University?

A Bachelor of Arts at Melbourne Uni is a highly flexible and stimulating degree that allows students to follow their passions to the fullest extent.

Melbourne University Bachelor of Arts - Quote

The diversity of subjects offered are both enriching and intriguing, and students develop their critical thinking and reasoning skills through lots of readings, research, collaboration and class discussion.

Top 3 Pros of an Arts degree

#1: Skills that it teaches you

“First and foremost, the degree equips you with a great critical thinking mind that you can apply to pretty much whatever you decide to do afterwards. The writing skills are invaluable. You learn to write in so many ways, and it’s a skill that everyone gains no matter what major they’re doing,” shared Brontë.

As affirmed by Brontë, as well as the intended graduate attributes, the staple qualities of a Bachelor of Arts are acquiring effective communication skills and critical thinking. An Arts degree is incredibly intellectually stimulating and prepares you with adaptable research and reasoning skills to apply in a range of professional contexts.

#2: Quality of guest lecturers

In most lectures, they usually have really cool guest lecturers who are giants in their field. It provides you with access to make some really great connections which will really help you in the future, and it’s also inspiring to hear from people who have been really successful in your chosen field,” said Brontë.

A great feature of studying a Bachelor of Arts at Melbourne Uni is your exposure to a range of industry professionals both in the classroom setting and through faculty events in the form of public lectures, seminars and conferences.

#3: Relatively short degree 

A Bachelor of Arts at Melbourne Uni is a 3-year degree for full-time students without Honours. It also has relatively low contact hours, averaging at about 10 hours per week, so it’s quite accessible for students to balance with personal commitments.

If you’re looking to begin your professional career as soon as possible and don’t want to spend too much time in uni, a Bachelor of Arts may be the one for you! 

Top 3 Cons of an Arts degree

#1: Too much flexibility

Sometimes the amount of flexibility can make you feel very lost as the degree can sometimes be too abstract. You get worried that there might not be any real-world application that you can go into in terms of career paths,” said Brontë.

A positive and negative of a Bachelor of Arts is the amount of flexibility it offers to pursue a broad range of subjects that you’re passionate about. While this flexibility means that students can tailor their degree to fit their interests and career goals, the wide array of subjects often don’t provide specificity and can lack a significant depth of study.

#2: Very self-guided

Brontë said, “You don’t get support unless you are actively and consistently seeking it out. It can be hard if you don’t really get around to it, or you’re not a very social person.”

As Brontë mentioned, while support systems are available, you have to be assertive to seek out help or advice from faculty members. This is an aspect of university life that is usually difficult for new students to adjust to, especially those fresh out of high school as the learning process is much more independent and self-driven.

#3: Abstract career pathways

“Sometimes it can be alienating, as you feel that you know all this theory, but it would be good if it was more internship based where you can get real practical skills that can be directly applied to jobs. Especially with subjects like philosophy which is as abstract as it comes,” said Brontë.

A Bachelor of Arts is a unique degree in the way that it does not prepare you with the skills for one specific job, but instead offers various career pathways that you can explore. While the communication, critical thinking and research skills of an Arts degree are highly transferable to a number of industries, the lack of specialised technical skills means that it can often be difficult to obtain high-paying positions in fields directly related to your studies.

Any regrets? 

The main thing is that I probably would have liked to choose slightly different breadth subjects, as mine were more of an easy mark subject as opposed to something that really interested me,” explained Brontë.

At Melbourne Uni, students studying a Bachelor of Arts need to complete a minimum of 50 credit points of Breadth subjects, which are units outside of your core study or major. This is a unique feature to Melbourne Uni that allows students to explore diverse areas of interest while also studying for their main career goals.

You can explore the range of breadth subjects on offer here!

What do you wish you had known before starting a Melbourne University Bachelor of Arts? 

You don’t have to do any extra work, but it makes all the difference if you do your readings and prepare properly for all your classes as opposed to just coming in. You won’t get penalised for it, but by doing all your readings and work, you feel like you are actually doing your degree as opposed to just sitting in classes,” said Brontë.

As a Bachelor of Arts has quite low contact hours, this means that a lot of your work is based on completing pre-readings and research prior to your classes. Relying on a lot of self-study and self-motivation, the satisfaction and engagement that you gain from this degree is highly dependent on how much effort you decide to put into your coursework.

What makes this degree different from the ones offered at other universities? 

I think the breadth subjects are a big thing that Melbourne Uni is quite good at. The amount of opportunity to study pretty much whatever you want while still working towards a specific major is amazing,” Brontë highlighted.

In addition to breadth subjects, Brontë also told us that the majority of Melbourne’s Uni’s academic staff and guest lecturers have incredible life histories. Many lecturers have written parts of the learning materials that students need to read, so it’s common for students to get very first-hand experience with greats in the field of their choice.

What inspired you to choose a Melbourne University Bachelor of Arts?

I pretty much knew that I wanted to do a Bachelor of Arts at Melbourne Uni throughout all of high school. I didn’t even think of other options. In Year 12, I did all humanities and theatre subjects, and no maths or sciences,” shared Brontë.

For Brontë, her passion for humanities meant that her decision to select a Bachelor of Arts at Melbourne Uni was the most natural choice. In addition, the fact that her parents also completed a Bachelor of Arts at Melbourne Uni, alongside many of her friends also attending Melbourne Uni, only strengthened her decision.

What are the possible career paths?

Melbourne University Bachelor of Arts - Careers

As we’ve seen, a Bachelor of Arts is a highly versatile degree that opens up a number of doors in a range of industries. Based on your major and minor, as well as your elective and breadth subject choices, students have the opportunity to pursue roles in government, education, media and communication and arts and cultural organisations.

A few of the many roles that you can explore include:

  • Policy analyst
  • Advertiser
  • Translator
  • Art historian
  • Journalist
  • Gallery curator

Learn about other career paths you can pursue with a Bachelor of Arts here!


Ashley Sullivan is a Content Writer for Art of Smart Education and is currently undertaking a double degree in Communications (Journalism) and a Bachelor of Laws at UTS. Ashley’s articles have been published in The Comma and Central News. She is a film, fashion and fiction enthusiast who enjoys learning about philosophy, psychology and unsolved mysteries in her spare time.



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