How our degrees work

Get to know how undergraduate degrees work and what we mean by courses, points, majors, minors, and electives courses.

There are lots of new terms you'll come across when you're looking at study options for university. Understanding what they all mean and how they make up a degree is a good starting point before you choose your courses.


An undergraduate degree, also known as a Bachelor’s degree, is the first level of degree study at university. Each degree has its own set of requirements you need to complete in order to graduate.

Most degrees take three years of full-time study. Degrees in Engineering, Law, and Midwifery take four years of full-time study.

Some of our degrees are flexible—allowing you to mix and match different subjects. While other degrees are quite specialised and focus on one particular area of study. Most of your first-year courses in these degrees are already set, which may not leave space for elective courses.


Your degree is made up of courses (also known as papers at other universities). Courses are taught over one trimester or sometimes two trimesters.

Each course is taught at a certain level. In your first year, you will normally take 100-level courses. 200- and 300- level courses are more advanced.

Some degrees have core courses that all students have to complete.


Most courses are worth 15 or 20 points. The number of points indicates the workload—a 15-point course normally requires a total of 150 hours of study (including class time and independent study) and a 20-point course requires a total of 200 hours of study.

To pass a course, you need to complete a number of different assessments throughout the trimester. When you pass the course, you earn points towards your degree.

To complete a three-year Bachelor’s degree, you will need to gain 360 points—when studying full time that’s an average course load of 120 points (six to eight courses) per academic year.


A major is your main subject. For example, you might do a Bachelor of Science with a major in Marine Biology. To complete a major, you have to take certain courses at 100, 200, and 300 level for that subject.

Typically, a major takes up between 120 and 180 points.

Double majors

A double major allows you to focus on two subjects within one degree. Doing a double major is not harder or any extra work, it just adds more structure to your degree.

You can do a double major in these degrees:

And some of these degrees let you choose that second major from one of the other degrees—contact us if you would like to discuss your options.


A minor is like a major, but with fewer courses, particularly in your second and third years. To complete a minor, you’ll need to take courses in the subject at 100 level so you can continue with it at 200 level. Then, you need to complete 60 points at 200-level or above, with at least 15 points at 300 level.

These degrees let you include a minor:

Elective courses

You can take elective courses if you have space in your degree programme. Elective courses can be from other subject areas you are interested in.

Conjoint degrees

A conjoint degree allows you to complete two undergraduate degrees in a shorter amount of time than it would take to complete them separately.

Some of the courses you complete will count towards both degrees, which saves time—most can be completed within 4–6 years of full-time study. For example, a conjoint Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Arts can be completed within five years.

Most degrees can be studied together in a conjoint programme.