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Bachelor of Arts subjects

10 fascinating Bachelor of Arts subjects at UQ

Study tips
Published 21 Sep, 2022  ·  8-minute read

From Gaming Cultures to The Archaeology of Death and Crime Scenes, arts subjects are some of the most varied and interesting across all UQ’s programs.

One minute you could be diving into Hallyu, Korea's pop culture phenomena, the next you're examining unexplainable paranormal occurrences throughout history. With over 45 majors to choose from and around 350 courses on offer, we’d say the hardest part of studying a Bachelor of Arts (BA) at UQ is whittling down your options.

If you’re wondering what courses are in a Bachelor of Arts that might spark your interest, we’re here to help. We’ve picked out 10 of the most intriguing and diverse courses to help you build a program you’ll enjoy every moment of.

We’ve listed the UQ BA majors and minors these arts subjects belong to, to give you an idea of how you can fit them into your program structure. However, some of the courses may be available in several majors or minors, and you can also enrol in many as electives. Find out more about the program structure of the Bachelor of Arts.

1. Gaming Cultures

Bet you didn’t think you could spend your university years playing online games, in class. (Well, not every class.)

In this arts subject you’ll build skills in game design, wire framing and prototyping, which does ultimately involve getting some screen time. However, you'll also be examining narrative structures, modes of play and representation in digital games, and how these shape gaming cultures. 🎮

You’ll get to:

  • analyse games using feminist and queer theory
  • take a deep dive into Indigenous games
  • discuss games as a type of immersive theatre.

Basically, you'll learn more about something you already love and develop your skills so you can make your own contribution to gaming culture.

Bachelor of Arts subject: Gaming Cultures

2. Forensics: The Archaeology of Death & Crime Scenes

True Crime really is enjoying a moment or two in the limelight right now, but this course isn’t for students with a vague interest in Only Murders in the Building. As you may have guessed, there’s a big focus on the analysis of human remains – how to find, uncover, test and preserve them to assist with criminal investigations.

If you’re curious about how to tell how long a person has been deceased and assess the cause of death, this arts subject will be of interest to you. You’ll be introduced to skeletal analysis, trace evidence, DNA and forensic testing. You'll learn how these practices tie in with criminal investigations and are used in the criminal justice system. ⚖️

The course content is taught using high-quality model human bones rather than actual human remains. But it does involve viewing images of deceased people, human decomposition, skeletal and mummified remains, and traumatic injuries. Fascinated rather than squeamish? This one’s for you.

3. Writing the Genre Novel: Heroes, Lovers and Monsters

Love sweeping romances or rollicking adventures? Always having your nose in a book is very much a good thing for those enrolled in this course. The more you’ve read, the better! 📚

As the title suggests, however, you’ll be writing your own epic tale in this class – don't worry, not an entire novel (that’d be crazy, right?). Pick your favourite genre, workshop some ideas, come up with a synopsis and write the opening chapter. Simple. Sort of.

Don’t worry; you’ll have plenty of guidance along the way. Each week you’ll critically analyse popular genres from horror to fantasy and YA and learn a thing or two about how to write for each.

If your idea of a great time is devouring a book in a weekend, good news. You’ll be assigned a diverse range of novels to read and discuss. After all, reading is the best fuel for writing.

Bachelor of Arts subject: Writing the Genre Novel

4. Global Population Issues

Geography may not be the first subject you think of when considering a Bachelor of Arts, but this major covers some super interesting topics. These include the issues we face now and in the future due to a growing global population. 🌏

From Handmaid’s Tale-esque issues with fertility, to ageing populations, human trafficking and refugees, this course isn’t afraid to lay bare all the controversial population topics we need to discuss. How are more people on the planet affecting the environment? Why is child mortality so prevalent in some countries? What are the social implications of population policies like China’s infamous one-child policy?

Get ready for discussion and debate as you explore problems without clear-cut answers and learn a surprising thing or two about humans en masse and human behaviour.

The Bachelor of Arts offers a bunch of majors that you may not typically associate with this degree. You could dabble in economics, legal education studies, political science, mathematics and sports studies too.

In fact, many first-year students enrol in a Bachelor of Arts (BA) if they don’t receive the ATAR they need to get into a slightly more competitive program such as the Bachelor of Mathematics. They can then choose a relevant BA major (in this example, mathematics), and then upgrade to their preferred program in their second year, based on their GPA. Of course, many students who originally choose this path decide to stay in the BA, because *gestures at this list of amazing and diverse arts subjects*.

But it's great to have the tertiary studies pathway into university as a backup option, to ease your ATAR anxiety.

5. Korean Popular Culture: Korean wave

  • Bachelor of Arts major: Korean

Who said learning a new language had to be all memorising, pronunciation and writing? To really immerse yourself in a culture, you need context, and that’s what you’re going to get in this course.

Introducing: Hallyu, or, quite literally, Korean Wave. It's a word used to describe the ever-growing obsession with Korean pop culture sweeping the globe. It’s bold, exciting, dramatic and mega interesting to study.

In class, you’ll be delving into Korean music, TV dramas, fashion and food. Whether you're bopping along to K-pop, or being fascinated (or appalled) by meokbang, you’re going to come out the other side of this course with a deeper appreciation and understanding of Korean culture.

Bachelor of Arts subject: Korean Popular Culture

6. The History of the Supernatural

Grab your stakes and pitchforks, because we’re going vampire hunting. Your guide may not be Geralt of Rivia or the Winchester brothers, but your teachers will undoubtedly help you explore the fascinatingly blurred boundaries between science, religion and the supernatural.

In this course, you’ll cover myths and legends throughout history with a focus on supernatural beings such as angels, the devil, vampires, witches, fairies, ghosts, and aliens. 👽

You’ll look at where beliefs in these beings originated, and why they’re important in explaining people’s understanding of death, the afterlife and the world around us.

Studies of Religion isn’t only for religious students. This major critically analyses the crossovers between religion and science, and delves into some of the most interesting belief systems around the globe. If you have an interest in philosophy and sociology, you may be interested in this Bachelor of Arts major.

7. Beyond Rock: Music in the Digital Age

This one’s for all the music trivia buffs. If you have a deep appreciation of several genres and time periods of music, you’ll love this course, which covers music from the late 1970s to today.

You’ll be exploring gender roles in rock music and examining the socio-political factors behind the punk movement. Delve into hip hop, metal and electronic dance music (EDM) and discover the stylistic and social influences on these genres.

In class, you’ll also learn about aspects of music production including recording and intellectual property, and critically analyse the Australian music industry.

Of course, you’ll also get to listen to some absolute bangers. 🤘

Bachelor of Arts subject: Beyond Rock

8. Gender Matters

This is your ultimate introduction to Gender Studies. In this course, you’ll explore key feminist, queer and transgender theories, and address common questions around gender in everyday life. You’ll look at gender normativity, masculinity, the notion of “other” and gender as performance.

The subject matter in this class doesn’t shy away from heavy and controversial topics that challenge our everyday thinking. You’ll discuss the Motherhood Penalty, gender wage gaps, and sexual and gendered violence. However, you'll also hear stories of inclusivity, community and belonging. You'll also get the chance to celebrate the incredibly diverse subcultures that would not exist without variance in gender and sexuality. 🌈

By the end of this course, you’ll have a deeper understanding of gender and the challenges we face as a society when it comes to embracing and supporting people’s identities.

9. Global Media, War and Peace

Do you have a healthy level of scepticism when you catch up on news about the war in Ukraine? Do you know how to differentiate the reliable news providers from, well, fake news?

In a world where pretty much anyone can create content featuring their opinions and broadcast it around the globe, it can be difficult to pinpoint the truth. This course provides the tools necessary to help you interpret what you see in the media, to better understand how the politics of war and peace play out on and behind the screen. 📺

If you’re serious about the pursuit of truth and thrive in an unconventional learning environment, this course may pique your interest. If you’re an eager and respectful debater, even better! Class discussion is a massive component of this subject. You’ll debate the ethics of journalism, the geopolitical forces shaping cyberspace and how instant news affects our understanding of the world around us.

Hear from the likes of war reporters, documentary film makers, bloggers and social media activists in your lectures. These industry professionals speak about their processes for investigating conflicts and providing humanitarian aid, and outline how they use media to share their findings with the world.

Bachelor of Arts subject: Global Media, War and Peace

10. Photography from the Daguerreotype to Instagram

From the staunch black and white portraits of the Victorian era to Instagram influencers today, photography has a long and rich history. But how can we tell art from advertising today? And with advances in photoshopping, can we really spot real from fake?

Photography is such a popular medium and is so prevalent everywhere we go – in both our virtual and physicals worlds. It's not always easy to determine its purpose and intent. Boundaries are often blurred and, on social media especially, a search for ‘authenticity’ is commonly exploited through photography to market lifestyles and ideals. But history has shown us that photography can also be incredibly empowering – widening people’s worldviews and broadcasting the truth. It has the ability to instigate change.

In this course, you’ll explore and discuss photography and all the controversies surrounding it. You’ll visit exhibitions and view key historical and modern photographic artworks.

Whether you’re a film camera aficionado, polaroid junkie or VSCO girl, this course covers everything you need to know about photography as a form of visual communication. 📷

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