UWA's three-year undergraduate degrees consist of 24 units or subjects. You will complete at least one degree-specific major, as well as a number of units designed to broaden your educational experience.

A full-time study load usually involves four units per semester.

  1. Majors
  2. Complementary units
  3. Broadening units
  4. Electives
  5. Examples


A major is a structured sequence of eight units in a particular discipline, or field of study. It provides you with the opportunity to develop the knowledge, understanding and expertise that will equip you to move into a rewarding career after graduation, or to pursue further study in a similar area at postgraduate level.

  • A degree-specific major is one chosen from the list of majors attached to particular degrees. For example, the Physics major is a degree-specific major within the Bachelor of Science. You must complete one major from the list of degree-specific majors for your degree.
  • You can choose a second major or a variety of units (electives) to complete your degree. The second major does not need to be from the same degree area: the common structure of majors and degrees means you can combine studies in a variety of areas within your degree.

Core and option units

Core units are the compulsory units in your major. Some majors are made up entirely of core units, whereas others allow you to choose from a selection of option units.

As you progress through the major, you will study your subject area in increasing depth and understanding. Units within majors are classified into three levels, representing increasing complexity and mastery of the subject area.

  • Most majors consist of two units at Level 1, two at Level 2 and four units at Level 3.
  • Some have two units at Level 1 and three at Levels 2 and 3.
  • A small number of double majors consist of two Level 1, four Level 2 and eight Level 3 units.

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Complementary units

Some majors may specify up to four additional complementary units. Complementary units are used to provide important additional knowledge and expertise in particular areas, or to allow you to fill gaps in your knowledge that will be required to successfully complete the major. In most cases, complementary units are only compulsory if you are completing the major as your degree-specific major.

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Broadening units

In your UWA degree you will be exposed to new experiences and knowledge by completing four broadening units.

Broadening units are chosen from any degree area outside your primary degree. So, if you're studying a Bachelor of Commerce, your broadening units will be chosen from areas within Arts, Science or Design. One of your broadening units will be chosen from a list of units specially designed to focus on issues affecting our global community.

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Electives are free-choice units that may be drawn from any subject area or discipline.

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Examples of degree structures

One major

Year 1 Comp Comp Major 1 Major 1 Area 1 Area 2 Broad Broad
Year 2 Comp Comp Major 1 Major 1 Area 1 Area 3 Broad Broad
Year 3 Major 1 Major 1 Major 1 Major 1 Area 1 Area 4 Area 5 Area 6

In this example, a student has chosen to complete just one major which includes four complementary units. As well as four broadening units, this student has chosen to pursue elective (free-choice) studies in a number of areas of interest.

Two majors

Year 1 Elective Elective Major 1 Major 1 Major 2 Major 2 Broad Broad
Year 2 Elective Elective Major 1 Major 1 Major 2 Major 2 Broad Broad
Year 3 Major 1 Major 1 Major 1 Major 1 Major 2 Major 2 Major 2 Major 2

This student has chosen to take two majors: the degree-specific major (in green) and a major from another degree (in purple). Because the degree-specific major chosen does not specify complementary units, there is still room in the degree structure for some elective (free-choice) units.

Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours)

The Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours) has a similar structure to the underlying Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Commerce, Bachelor of Design or Bachelor of Science in the first three years, but is augmented by additional study opportunities including cooperative group-research projects, a pre-semester residential camp, advanced training in communication and research skills and individual academic mentoring. Honours is an integral part of the course, which culminates in an extended honours project in the fourth year of study.

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Further information

Year 12 Info Session