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Different types of subjects

What different types of subjects are there?


Most Melbourne undergraduate degrees include subjects from outside your core study area. This is called the 'breadth' component of your degree. Breadth subjects allow you to gain knowledge and understanding across a broader range of disciplines, enabling you to develop interests and opportunities in areas distinct from your core studies. For information on breadth requirements, consult the Breadth Information page.


Taken in the final year, capstone subjects are designed to draw together the theoretical strands of your degree, and prepare you for life beyond study. Capstone subjects vary, and may involve work placements, project-based learning, a research project, or a coursework subject outlining business best practice. Capstone subjects are not normally available as breadth, or to students who are not enrolled in the relevant course or major.


A subject that must be completed in order to meet the requirements of your course.


Elective subjects (also sometimes referred to as 'optional subjects') are discipline subjects within your degree or major. Courses that require completion of elective or optional subjects allow you to choose from a list of subjects via your Study Plan.


The formal teaching in an intensive subject takes place over a much shorter time frame than a standard subject's 12 week semester. An intensive subject might compress the equivalent of a semester's teaching into a week or two, although self-directed study, assignments, or project work may continue for longer periods. Many intensive subjects are taught in the Summer Term.


'Selectives' or 'core subjects' are compulsory subjects where you get a small leeway of choice between a restricted set of options (e.g 'students must do one of these two subjects').    


A quota is a numerical restriction on enrolments in a particular availability of a subject. Many subjects at the University are termed as 'quota subjects' where resource restrictions such as specialised spaces, have limited the capacity for large enrolments and necessitated an enrolment quota. If a subject is quota restricted, this information will be listed in the University Handbook (particularly under the Additional Delivery Details section).


'Continuing subjects’ are taken over multiple successive study periods and can be identified by the word ‘part’ in their titles. For example a research project that runs over a full year may be split up into two subjects: ‘Research Project Part 1’ (for first semester) and ‘Research Project Part 2’ (for second semester). You just get holding grades for completing the earlier ‘parts’, with real grades only being issued when you complete the final ‘part’. Each subject in a continuing set will have its own Handbook entry, but all the information about the subject as a whole (i.e. across all ‘parts’) should just be on the ‘Part 1’ entry.