When planning your First Year studies the first step is to be aware of the BA's structure and requirements and whether you are entitled to any credit for previous tertiary study.

You then need to think about three factors: your workload, the subjects that interest you, and the mix of topics that will allow you to complete your chosen majors or switch to a different major if your plans change.

In enrolment terms, workload means "how many topics will I take each semester?"

To make this decision, you need to consider the time you have available for study, and whether you wish to be considered a full-time or part-time student.


Your Workload

Most topics are taught for one semester and in first year are weighted at 4.5 units. About nine hours of commitment per week for each topic is assumed from the average student. Over a semester, which includes a two-week mid-semester break from formal classes, "swot vac" and the examination period, this amounts to about 140 hours for each first-year topic.

This is a rough estimate and many students choose or need to commit more time. If you are hoping to spend less time than this, be aware that the topic assessment load, class contact requirements, reading expectations and other features of the topic will be based on the reasonable assumption that you can commit this time. This nine-hour commitment comprises class contact time and equally important non-contact time. Most first-year topics have three to four hours of contact time.

Your non-contact time will be spent in different ways, depending on the particular topic. It might include:

  • preparatory reading (of books or articles or other material ocated in the library or in topic readers) for discussion in class
  • preparing for practical sessions or laboratory sessions
  • preparing an oral presentation for a tutorial
  • preparing for and completing written assignments which are part of the assessment for the topic
  • preparing for tests
  • preparing for end-of-semester examinations
  • if necessary, discussing or clarifying topic material by appointment with a member of the teaching staff, such as the academic staff member responsible for your tutorial group.

Working on assignments for assessment, in particular, usually constitutes a considerable part of the workload for most topics.


Topic Selection

However many topics you choose to study at a given time, the selection of your complete First Year program is important because it sets the platform for your entire course. Most students take eight First Year topics (a total of 36 units). Four of these topics must be used to satisfy the requirements for two Arts sequences, so your first task is to decide which of the sequence options you will follow.

We recommend you use two of your other First Year topics to prepare yourself for a third sequence. This gives you the flexibility to not continue with one of your initial choices if you decide you are not attracted to it, or to complete three sequences (one major and two minors, or two majors and one minor).

After the core requirement of COMS1001 for BA students, or ARTS1000 for BAHA students this will leave one First Year topic as an elective. You can choose the First Year program for a fourth sequence (to really maximise your flexibility), add additional topics related to one of your chosen sequences, or simply choose something that interests you. Be aware also that some major sequences, particularly in the sciences, require you to take additional first-level topics as corequisites to complete the sequence or to prepare for future honours study.

Electives can be chosen from any topics offered by Flinders, provided requirements and prerequisites are met. However, it pays to plan ahead here too. One of the Second or Third Year electives that interests you may require you to take a specific topic in first year.

You may notice that some First Year topics are recognised as the foundation for more than one sequence. Where this happens, you may count these topics towards more than one sequence unless this is explicitly prohibited. However, you will still be required to select two other topics that satisfy the First Year requirements for a different sequence, even if at this stage you don't intend to follow that sequence through. This "multiple recognition" of topics is only permitted at First Year level.


Check the Timetable

To be feasible, your topic enrolments also must be consistent with the University timetable. Check to ensure that lecture times for the topics you have selected do not clash and that the lectures are given at times when you are able to be on campus.

Tutorial or practical classes are not listed on the timetable; most offer a range of options, allowing you to fit them around your schedule. But don't forget about them! Tutorials often are arranged at the first lecture in each semester or at an early time advised by the school or department.

If you are unsure, check with the school or department responsible for the topic.


Which Sequences?

 There are a range of options for major or minor sequences, so you should have little difficulty identifying something of interest. These might, for example, be the subject areas that led you to choose an Arts course, that have career relevance to you, or that are in fields that strongly interest you. For advice or assistance you can contact the BA Office or ask the BA Directors of Study (XLSX 19KB) about a specific sequence. To help you make your choices, you also might want to consider some of the following factors.

  • Breadth: Arts studies cover the "humanities", "social sciences" and "life sciences" (biology, etc.). You may want to become a broadly educated person who has studied at university in each of these three broad areas.
  • Specialisation: On the other hand, you may prefer to undertake extra first-year topic(s), beyond the two required, where an Arts sequence in which you are very interested offers a choice of more than two topics.
  • Continuity: You might want to continue studying subjects in which you were successful at high school.
  • Curiosity: The BA offers studies not normally available in high school, such as philosophy, international relations or development studies. You might benefit from finding out about these new fields.
  • Coherence: Studies in some BA sequences may complement work done in other sequences. There are many potential groupings of complementary sequences.
  • Connections: Many BA graduates continue with further studies, often in an area of professional specialisation. In order to qualify for some specialised postgraduate courses, you might need to have completed specific major sequences of study in your BA. If you are interested in the admission requirements for any specific postgraduate courses, check with the relevant school or department.