Enhance your degree through the arts and social sciences

undergraduate electives

Are you passionate about politics? Interested in exploring history and how this informs today's societies and cultures? Concerned about whether globalisation has been for the better or worse? Wanting to understand the ways in which social identities are constructed in the media? Eager to develop your business communication knowledge?

You can learn all of these things, plus much more, through the extensive range of electives offered by the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

Whether you are already studying arts and social sciences, or undertaking a degree that provides you with the flexibility to take units of study outside of your host faculty, we invite you to explore our exciting range of electives.

Below is a small list of just some of the many arts and social sciences electives available to undergraduate students in Semester 1 2018. You can find out more about these units and the many others available by visiting the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences' 2018 Undergraduate Handbook.

Important dates and information

Please check the requirements of your degree in detail and the handbook before enrolling.

Undergraduate electives

Unit of study


AMST2701 - American Dreams

This unit deconstructs the various contradictions around the American identity, from social progressivism to religious conservatism, and globalisation to nationalism. 
ANHS2606 - The City of Rome: History and Landscape 'The city, stick to the city, and live in its light.' (Cicero) This unit will explore the rich history of Rome's urban landscape from the middle Republic (c.200BCE) to the early fourth century CE. We will examine the ways in which the physical city interacted with and even affected the political, religious and cultural life of the Romans and how the great monuments of Empire were eventually destroyed, recovered and reinvented by later ages.
ANTH2627 - Medical Anthropology Medical anthropology is a comparative and ethnographic response to the global influence of biomedicine within diverse cultural worlds. This unit will examine major theoretical approaches, their respective critiques, and the methods that underpin them. Concepts such as 'health/illness', 'disease', 'well-being', 'life-death', and 'body/mind' will be analysed in a variety of cultural contexts and their implications for different approaches to diagnosis and treatment considered. The unit will include case studies of major contemporary health concerns, such as AIDS.
ANTH2668 - Comparative Cosmologies How do humans understand the universe and our place in it? This unit examines different ways of articulating the world as a totality through the comparative study of selected individual cosmologies. A key theme will be dialectics of the infinite in human existence. This will enable an appreciation of human engagement with specifically Western cosmological theories grounded in astronomy, astrophysics and mathematics.
ARBC1651 - Introduction to Arab Cultures This unit focuses on Arab societies and cultures. Main themes include: national boundaries, ethnic and religious diversity, Islam, Muslim contributions to world civilisations, religion and politics, including colonialism and nationalism, aspects of cultural life, including women and gender issues. 
ARCO2001 - Ancient Australia: Diverse adaptations People have occupied Australia for at least 50,000 years. During that period geographically varied cultural systems changed frequently, adjusting to altered economic and social contexts. This unit traces the long history of humans in this continent, a surprising, remarkable story of culture change.
ASNS2011 - A Survey of Buddhism This unit provides a survey of the major issues and developments in Buddhism's 2500 year history from its beginnings in India to subsequent developments in other parts of Asia, such as Sri Lanka, Southeast Asia, and East Asia, and its transmission to the West in the modern era. Students will be introduced to Buddhist thought, practices, literature, and artistic expressions, as well as academic approaches to the study of Buddhism. 
BBCL1001 - Reading Bible: Narrative, Law and Ritual This unit provides an introduction to the study of the Bible, focusing on understanding the literary techniques biblical authors used to convey their message when writing narrative, legal and ritual texts. The first five books of the Bible are the focus of textual study in this semester. 
CRIM3601 - Medico-Legal and Forensic Criminology This unit of study examines the relationship between crime, law, medicine and science. It focuses on criminal detection practices, death investigation systems, the coroner's office, autopsies and socio-legal management of the dead body, human tissue and organ controversies, and the role of medicine, science and psychology in criminal justice.
ECOP1001 - Economics as a Social Science Economic issues are central to the world in which we live. Economists hold very different views about the cause of these issues, how the economic system works and how it could work differently to improve outcomes for society. This unit explores the principal schools of economic thought and considers how different economic theories explain the nature of the economic system in which we live, shape views about policies implemented by governments, and advocate different policy solutions to persistent economic and social problems.
EDGU1001 - Creativity, Youth Culture and the Arts This unit explores the place of creativity and the arts in youth culture and society more broadly. Throughout this unit students will be given the opportunity to engage with ideas of creativity through performances and interactive tutorials and workshops. Students will also explore theoretical, sociological, psychological and political constructs of, and approaches to creativity and how they apply to their own developing creative capacities. This unit engages arts and artmakers by exploring performances and the creative processes behind those performances. The assessment tasks also allow students to make their own creative pieces.
EDGU1003 - Diet and Nutrition for Health and Sport In a world where nutrition advice is commonplace but not always accurate, learning the basics of good nutrition habits is vital for development and growth at all stages of the life cycle. If practiced correctly, nutrition can help prevent disease, assist in reaching health goals, influence sports performance and reach academic outcomes. This elective aims to equip students with the knowledge required to make informed food choices and gain skills in analysing their personal diet and nutrition habits. At the conclusion of the elective, each student will be a mythbuster of common diets, supplements and fads touted by the media, and be able to separate fact from fiction. Topics covered in the unit include the anatomy and physiology of digestion, the link between common diseases and nutrition practices, nutrition for sports performance, practical tips for shopping and cooking and the use of food to improve cognition. 
EDGU1004 - Young People, Sex and Sexual Health Sex and sexuality are concepts that generate much debate across educational, health and other institutional settings. These debates are mediated by historical perceptions of sex, sexuality, childhood and youth, and by complex social and cultural factors that shape contemporary living. Constructions of childhood, youth and sexuality shape approaches and pedagogies of sexual health in schools and other educational settings. This unit will critically consider sex, sexuality and understandings of sexual health from a range of historical, sociological, psychological, educational and public health perspectives. Students will explore how these varied approaches construct and constrain young people's sexual identities and shape approaches to sexual health education. Throughout the unit students examine the complex intersections between sex and sexuality and issues of gender, race, ethnicity, socio-economic status, social class, religion, geographic locatedness, asking how these relationships limit or enable young people's access to knowledge and their citizenship rights. 
EDGU1006 - Texts and Expectations What does the university expect of students in relation to texts?At university students are often confronted with reading requirements and written assessment tasks that are very different from those in high school or other educational contexts. This unit is designed to support students in developing effective reading and writing practices in the university context. The unit has three main objectives. Firstly, it assists students in understanding what is expected of them in reading and writing at university. Secondly, it develops students awareness of the structure and language features of different kinds of academic texts. Thirdly, it provides students with strategies to read and write academic texts more effectively. The unit provides a solid foundation that students can use to further develop effective academic literacy practices during the course of their studies. 
EDGU2000 - Teaching English Internationally 1 The rapid expansion of English as a global language has led to a demand for graduates across a range of disciplines to have skills and expertise in English language teaching. This unit aims to introduce the theory and practice of teaching English both in Australia to international students and overseas. The unit is run in conjunction with the Centre for English Teaching and involves lectures by CET staff, lesson observations and practical teaching. 
EDUF1018 - Education, Teachers and Teaching  This unit of study is the first of five core units that make up the program Education I-IV. It provides an introduction to key issues in education, including the complexity of teachers' work, the contested nature of the curriculum, and how formal learning functions in society. Equity and social justice are key themes that are examined by drawing upon knowledge in the sociology of education, cultural studies, curriculum theory, and educational research. Within this unit, students are also mentored by more experienced students during their first semester transition to the university. At the conclusion of the unit students should have developed and demonstrated a critical understanding of education, teachers and teaching.
EUST2112 - Eurovision: Re-visioning Europe The Eurovision Song Contest began in 1956 as a for-television event, designed to foster cultural diplomacy and peace in Europe. Today, it is watched by over 200 million people and even Australia is in on the act. Beyond its Euro-pop veneer, however, Eurovision has become a vehicle of soft power in Europe and a barometer of its political crises. In this unit, we examine the political and cultural history of Eurovision, and explore why it is so attractive to Australians. 
GOVT2117 - Comparative Politics  Drawing on examples from various world regions and using a variety of theoretical perspectives, this unit examines big issues such as democratisation, development, electoral systems, and ethnic conflict. Students will learn about key political science concepts such as the state, regimes, institutional design, and civil society, and will develop basic skills in comparative analysis.
HSTY1001 - History Workshop This unit introduces you to key aspects of historical thinking that have broad applications: evidence, change, context. Working in a small group with a specialist in the field, you will develop these skills by examining social, cultural, political, or economic transformation in one particular time and place over the course of a semester. Examples include Rome 1215, Venice 1516, the Straits of Singapore 1603, New York 1827, Shanghai 1927, La Perouse 1931, Leflore County, Mississippi, 1955, Melbourne 1956, Paris 1968, Moscow 1991.
HSTY2702 - Gender and Medicine in Modern America This unit explores the evolution of scientific and popular ideas of female and male bodies and minds in modern America. It addresses questions such as: How did the sex binary develop? In what ways do social norms about gender inform medical understandings of health and disease? How has the female body in particular been medicalised and regulated? 
HSTY2704 - Vikings of the Sunrise The largest ocean in the world is a sea of interconnected islands, peopled for over 40,000 years by some of the most intrepid navigators the world has known. In this unit, we will examine histories of the Pacific from diverse perspectives, focusing on the making and re-making of people, environment, and knowledge in this storied space. 
HSTY2706 - France in Modern Europe and Beyond  The history of France since the 19th century is marked by tumultuous social and political social transformations; by clashes of ideologies, classes and cultures, disastrous wars, colonialism and decolonisation. In this unit you will study these phenomena, their immediate legacies and their larger impact on France's search for identity in the context of migration and globalisation. 
ICLS1001 - World Literatures in Translation What is literature? How is it related to language and culture? What can we learn about different cultures and societies from the stories that they produced? With the shrinking of distances due to travel and technology in the modern age, do literatures of the world become more similar or more different? This unit reflects on these issues by looking at a range of exemplary literary works translated into English from Asian, European, and Middle Eastern languages, and examines them in the context of translation studies, national literatures, and different cultural and narrative traditions. 
JCTC1004 - People of the Book: Judaism Unbound What is the relationship between Jewish texts and Jewish life? This unit explores Judaism's foundational beliefs, rituals and traditions through its core texts–classical, medieval and modern. Tracing the evolution of Judaism from its roots in the ancient Near East to the diversity of its modern incarnations, it provides a window into the intellectual, ethical and cultural traditions that have shaped the oldest of the three monotheistic religions.
LNGS2627 - Analysing (Social) Media Discourse 'You won't believe what happens next (and it's not what you think)'. This unit examines linguistic approaches to media discourse. The language of news texts and social media will form a special focus of the unit. We will explore general aspects of media institutions, the ways in which social identities are constructed in the media, differences between the language of various types of media texts, and relationships between words and images.
LNGS4115 - The Language of Business What role does language play in business communication? Corporations make use of a wide range of different communicative activities, from company websites, mission statements, and corporate reports to communication on social media sites. People use language to construct and enact corporate images, workplace cultures, and leadership styles. This unit introduces students to linguistic approaches to business language, and explores the role language plays in organisations. Students will gain new insights into the surprising power of workplace discourse.
PHIL1011 - Reality, Ethics and Beauty This unit is an introduction to central issues in metaphysics, ethics and aesthetics. It opens with general questions about reality, God, personal identity and free will. The middle section of the unit will consider questions about values, goodness and responsibility. The final part is concerned with the question "what is art", the nature of aesthetic judgment and the role of art in our lives.
RLST1002 - Religion: Texts, Life and Tradition In this unit, students will learn about the major religions, ancient and modern: Indigenous traditions, Egypt and Mesopotamia, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Taoism. History, texts, beliefs and practices are outlined to provide a foundation using the lens of lived religion. Fundamental skills and methodologies of the discipline are integrated into the program.
SCPL2604 - Comparative Social Policy How do industrialised countries manage social risks? How can we meaningfully compare welfare policies? By exploring the theory, methods, and practical aspects of social policy, this unit investigates key principles underpinning social policies in a variety of countries, and examines differences between them.
SLSS3603 - Social Justice, Law and Society How does social justice relate to income and wealth distribution, identity, social recognition, law and rights? This unit examines the theory behind these concepts and relates them to real-life problems including: income and wealth disparities, race and gender inequality, disability rights, the environment and treatment of non-human animals.
SPAN2631 - Cultural and Social Change in Spain Spanish society has changed dramatically over the last half century. The restrictions on personal freedoms that were part of the Franco regime have been lifted to reveal a liberal, tolerant European society that nevertheless still shows some elements of its conservative heritage. This unit (taught in English) explores contemporary Spanish society and culture to show the reasons for the changes, and their effects. The areas under discussion will be family, sexuality and gender; class, money and consumerism; and mass/popular culture. 
USSC1201 - America and Australia: the issues compared Are we America’s ‘51st State’, or is there more than meets the eye? From gun rights to LGBTIQ issues, this unit looks at the ‘hot button’ topics between the two countries right now.