What is a Bachelor of Arts?

Answers to all your frequently asked questions
Wondering what a Bachelor of Arts actually is (but have been too scared to ask)? Want to learn more about what you can study, what jobs you can get and whether a BA is worth it? You’ve come to the right place. Read on.

What is a BA? What are "The Arts"? Do I have to study art?

Short answer: No, you don’t have to study art in a Bachelor of Arts… but you can. Let’s clear a few things up.

Broadly speaking, subjects within the arts and social sciences (which make up a Bachelor of Arts), deal with ideas around identity and what it means to be human.

The arts or humanities include subjects like philosophy, history, english, languages, visual arts, performing arts, media and communications and religion.

The social sciences also focus broadly on what it means to be human but take a more – you guessed it – scientific approach. Think economics, politics and international relations, archaeology, anthropology, sociology, criminology, linguistics, law etc.

The other thing you should know: we’ve been around a long, long time (est 1852!) and the Bachelor of Arts is USYD’s founding degree.

Simply put, we’ve been teaching the BA a long time and we’re very good at it. We’re consistently ranked among the best arts and humanities faculties in the world.

OK. What can I study in the Bachelor of Arts?

Short answer: You can study lots of things.

So when you take a Bachelor of Arts (BA), you’re opening the door to a super diverse education.

We offer over 45 majors in the arts and socials sciences alone – and that’s before you factor in our shared pool of majors which sit outside arts.

A few of the things you can do:

✓ Learn a new language ✓ Uncover ancient civilisations
✓ Study foreign cultures ✓ Discover digital cultures
✓ Explore great books and minds ✓ Create visual art
✓ Grapple with philosophical ideas ✓ Investigate political systems
✓ Pursue literary ambitions ✓ Understand religious beliefs
✓ Examine economic concepts ✓ Support social justice and wellbeing

So, you’ll choose a major and a minor from across the humanities and social sciences. (And you can also select a minor from the shared pool).

What's the difference between a major and a minor? Check out this handy page.

Is a Bachelor of Arts degree worth it?

Short answer: We’re going to give you a big YES on this one.

In a world as disrupted as ours, arts graduates’ capacity for leadership, creativity, and analysis has never been more relevant or sort after by employers.

By studying a Bachelor of Arts you’ll unlock innovative approaches to problem solving, develop an aptitude for logical argument, and learn to write in a clear, convincing way. You’ll provide the “human” element in any industry with exceptional communication skills, empathy and cultural competence. You'll lead the way.

Do arts students get professional experience?

Short answer: Yes, yes and yes.

You’ll be highly employable because of the soft skills we've just mentioned. But you'll also get access to industry throughout the degree.

Our extensive industry project and internship programs, give you the opportunity to experience life as a professional before graduation. So that after graduation, you’re ready to work.

Check out some of the recent professional experiences of our BA students here:

What sort of jobs do Bachelor of Arts grads get?

Short answer: Given how many things you can study in a BA, there are literally hundreds of jobs arts graduates can be found working in.

So, depending on your major, you might become an advertising executive, anthropologist, archaeologist, art historian, banking professional, business or data analyst, content producer, creative lead, diplomat, historian, heritage specialist, foreign affairs and trade officer, policy analyst, podcaster, journalist, museum or gallery curator, language and communication specialist, media adviser, editor or publisher, researcher or sociologist, social commentator, screen writer or author, ux designer.

Prospective students should refer to our course pages for the most up-to-date information.

BANNER: Photo by Sebastian Muller on Unsplash

Related information