The University of Newcastle, Australia

Why study society, arts and cultural studies?

With a broad range of majors and minors to choose from and the opportunity to enhance your learning through global study opportunities, you'll be ready for a diverse and rewarding career. See yourself here.

Ranked 207 ? in the world
World top 150 ? for sociology
88.9% ? of undergraduate Humanities, Culture and Social Sciences students satisfied with teaching quality

About society, arts and cultural studies

Art, language, history, English and writing, Indigenous studies, politics, and religion. There’s so much to explore in the area of society and culture, and even more career pathways for you to follow. Develop diverse skills across a broad range of subjects, or hone in on a specialisation that suits your interests. Whether you want to become a curator, creative director, producer, translator, journalist, community development manager, or cultural heritage conservationist a degree in the area of society and culture will help you get there.

  • Follow your passions, with a diverse range of subjects, majors and minors to choose from.
  • One-of-a-kind programs will provide you with unique specialties, like Development Studies which is the only degree in Australia to include Economics and Aboriginal Studies as core courses; or our new work-ready Arts degree with a choice of four streams and practical placement opportunities.
  • Build skills employers want like communication, teamwork, problem-solving and critical thinking. Our degrees make you ready for the real world and you can chase job opportunities both in Australia and around the world.
  • Mix humanities with the digital age with new approaches to learning like blended and online learning, digital streams and peer learning support circles.
  • Get hands on experience with placements, internships, industry collaborations and practical work experience.
  • Indigenous studies is one of the highest priorities at the University of Newcastle. Supported by our world-renowned Wollotuka Institute, students studying the Bachelor of Global Indigenous Studies can access a number of support services and resources to help ensure success.

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We advise that the information you provide is collected by the University of Newcastle and its contracted service providers and may be used to make you aware of future University events and opportunities. The University and its contracted service providers may use your personal information to invite you to participate in surveys or market research activities. The University abides by the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 (NSW), under which you have the right to access your personal information held by the University. The University’s Web Privacy Statement and Privacy and Information Access Policy provide further detail. This form is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

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Undergraduate society and culture degrees

We understand that sometimes you don't know exactly which degree you'd like to pursue, particularly in an area of study as versatile as society and culture. You might know, however, which field excites you. Whether it be languages, history, literature or the art of writing, use this area of interest to narrow down your study options based on your preferences and career goals.

All degrees

Degree name Selection rank
Bachelor of Arts
Bachelor of Arts (Honours)
Bachelor of Arts / Bachelor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Bachelor of Arts / Bachelor of Science
Bachelor of Arts / Bachelor of Laws (Honours)
Bachelor of Communication
Bachelor of Development Studies
Bachelor of Development Studies / Bachelor of Global Indigenous Studies
Bachelor of Development Studies / Bachelor of Social Science
Bachelor of Development Studies / Bachelor of Laws (Honours)
Bachelor of Global Indigenous Studies
Bachelor of Global Indigenous Studies / Bachelor of Laws (Honours)
Bachelor of Laws (Honours) Combined
Bachelor of Music
Bachelor of Music / Bachelor of Arts
Bachelor of Social Science
Bachelor of Social Science (Honours)
Bachelor of Social Science / Bachelor of Laws (Honours)
Diploma in Languages

Anthropology

Anthropology is the study of humans and cultural differences, in both the past and present. Within your degree you will learn the full extent and complexities of cultures. The study of anthropology draws and builds upon knowledge from the social and biological sciences, the humanities and physical sciences. A central concern of the anthropology major is the application of knowledge to the solution of human problems.

Career examples

  • Access and Equity Advisor
  • Cultural Heritage Officer
  • Cultural Tourism Curator
  • Equity and Diversity Officer

Degrees

  1. Bachelor of Arts (major in Sociology and Anthropology)
  2. Bachelor of Development Studies (major in Sociology and Anthropology)
  3. Bachelor of Education (Secondary) (major in Cultures and Citizenship)
  4. Bachelor of Social Science (major in Society and Culture, Geography, Aboriginal Studies and Studies of Religion)

Aboriginal studies

Aboriginal studies students explore Indigenous experiences and perspectives, with a focus on history, society, leadership, behaviours, beliefs and related issues. Specialising your degree in this area can lead to a career in a wide range of government and non-government sectors, where specific skills in cross-cultural awareness is sought. Appreciation of Indigenous culture and issues is extremely valuable when working for land councils, medical services, legal services, cooperatives and housing companies.

Career examples

  • Aboriginal Cultural Educational Officer
  • Community Development Worker
  • Multicultural Community Liaison
  • Native Title Consultant

Degrees

  1. Bachelor of Global Indigenous Studies
  2. Bachelor of Arts (major in Global Indigenous Studies)
  3. Bachelor of Development Studies (major in Cultures and Citizenship)
  4. Bachelor of Education (Primary)
  5. Bachelor of Education (Secondary) (major in Society and Culture, Geography, Aboriginal Studies and Studies of Religion)
  6. Bachelor of Social Science (major in Global Indigenous Studies)

Creative and performing arts

If you are looking to sharpen your skills and learn new and intriguing areas of self-expression, studying the Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA) major will develop your skills, boost your confidence and build your character. Whether you want to study art or drama, you will explore what it means to think creatively and how it can help you navigate an increasingly complex world.

Career examples

  • Actor
  • Designer
  • Photographer
  • Writer

Degrees

  1. Bachelor of Arts (major in Creative and Performing Arts)
  2. Bachelor of Arts (Honours) (major in Creative and Performing Arts)

English

English graduates are experts in English literature in the context of individual authors, genres, historical periods and themes. A major in English literature will teach you to understand literary texts in the light of their cultural and historical contexts. Graduates will learn the skills necessary to work in publishing and editing; education or in a library.

Career examples

  • Critic
  • Editor
  • Editorial Assistant
  • Librarian

Degrees

  1. Bachelor of Arts (major in English and Writing)
  2. Bachelor of Education (Secondary) (major in English and Writing)
  3. Bachelor of Education (Primary) (major in Writing and Publishing)

History

The study of history provides a window to the world, helping graduates understand and interpret the societies and cultures, the people and events of the past. Historians focus on anything from ancient societies like the Greeks and Romans; to the medieval period; right through to recent history with major world events such as the Vietnam War. Majoring in this area will prepare you to solely concentrate on history on its own or use the skills in other careers where it is relevant such as law, journalism, publishing, teaching and policy development.

Career examples

  • Cultural Heritage Officer
  • Exhibitions Officer
  • Historian
  • Publications Officer

Degrees

  1. Bachelor of Arts (major in Ancient History and Classical Languages)
  2. Bachelor of Arts (major in History)
  3. Bachelor of Education (Secondary) (major in Ancient History)
  4. Bachelor of Education (Secondary) (major in Modern History)
  5. Bachelor of Education (Secondary) (major in Society and Culture, Ancient and Modern History and Studies of Religion)
  6. Bachelor of Social Science (major in History)

Human geography

Majoring in human geography will see you focus on the branch of social science that deals with the study of people and their communities, cultures, economies and interactions with the environment. A simple example of the focus on human geography is the study of the differences in how people are more culturally tied to the natural environment in rural areas compared to those in cities. Human geography graduates learn to help resolve major urban and regional problems and ultimately have the ability to contribute to the creation of liveable communities, vibrant economies and sustainable places.

Career examples

  • Demographer
  • Development Manager (International Aid)
  • Transport Geographer
  • Environmental Geographer

Degrees

  1. Bachelor of Global Indigenous Studies (major in Human Geography and the Environment)
  2. Bachelor of Arts (major in Human Geography and the Environment)
  3. Bachelor of Development Studies (major in Cultures and Citizenship or Urban and Regional Development)
  4. Bachelor of Education (Secondary) (major in Geography)
  5. Bachelor of Social Science (major in Geography)

Languages

Proficiency in other languages enriches personal growth and gives you a deeper appreciation of cultural differences. Those who have studied a second language are attractive for a range of jobs, especially those involving travel; overseas postings and teaching; along with opportunities in sectors that have foreign-language clients, markets and stakeholders. Your major or diploma in languages can focus on one or more modern languages; sign language; or classical languages like Ancient Greek or Latin.

Career examples

  • Translator
  • Tour Guide
  • Overseas English Teacher
  • Immigration Officer

Degrees

  1. Bachelor of Arts (major in Ancient History and Classical Languages)
  2. Bachelor of Arts (minor in Chinese)
  3. Bachelor of Arts (major in French Studies)
  4. Bachelor of Arts (major in German)
  5. Bachelor of Arts (major in Japanese Studies)
  6. Bachelor of Education (Secondary) (major in Chinese)
  7. Bachelor of Education (Secondary) (major in French)
  8. Bachelor of Education (Secondary) (major in German)
  9. Bachelor of Education (Secondary) (major in Japanese)
  10. Bachelor of Education (Secondary) (minor in Teaching English as a second language)
  11. Diploma in Languages (either by itself or alongside another degree)

Linguistics

Linguistics degrees focus on the scientific study of language. Linguistics students learn about language as a human communication system, focusing on the structure, acquisition and uses of language, and the variety of world languages. Linguists study how to analyse the role of language in society and communication between people and cultures. Many linguists team this scientific knowledge of language and communication with a second language other than English.

Career examples

  • Cryptographer
  • Linguistic Analyst
  • Foreign Affairs and Trade Officer
  • Academic

Degrees

  1. Bachelor of Arts (major in Linguistics)
  2. Bachelor of Social Science (major in Linguistics)

Media studies

Media studies students learn to analyse the role of media in society. They study the way we consume and use popular media forms such as music, film and television; as well as new media like social media and the internet. Media studies experts consider the institutions and practices that shape these cultural forms and have a deep understanding of topics like audiences and consumption; gender and sexuality; digital labour; and representation and spectatorship.

Career examples

  • Archivist
  • Media Analyst
  • Media Research Analyst
  • Blogger

Degrees

  1. Bachelor of Arts (major in Film, Media and Cultural Studies)
  2. Bachelor of Global Indigenous Studies (major in Film, Media and Cultural Studies)
  3. Bachelor of Communication (major in Media Studies)

Music

Music students learn to write, arrange, orchestrate, conduct and perform musical compositions. Not only do they have strong technical know-how they can fuse entrepreneurial and creative applications of music technologies. Degrees in this area are broad and varied and you can specialise in things like performance (instrumental or voice), composition, creative production, song writing or teaching.

Career examples

  • Conductor
  • Critic
  • Music Producer
  • Vocal Coach

Degrees

  1. Bachelor of Music (major in Music)

Philosophy

Philosophy degrees allow students to explore life’s big questions and encourage critical and systematic inquiry into fundamental questions of right and wrong; truth and falsehood; the meaning of life; and the nature of reality, knowledge and society. In your study of philosophy, you will learn the importance of the structure of an argument and how to push further and ask deeper questions. Philosophers usually work in research and education but can also find roles in public service administration, community welfare and political advisory work.

Career examples

  • Researcher
  • Technical Writer
  • Ethicist
  • Political Scientist

Degrees

  1. Bachelor of Arts (major in Philosophy and Religion)

Sociology

A sociology major focuses on the study of human society and social relationships, particularly in areas concerning ethnicity and gender, employment and leisure, recreation and tourism, population health, lifestyle and well-being. Students learn to use quantitative and qualitative methods to research social data and often work in government departments. These graduates design and implement surveys, conduct interviews, analyse data, compile and evaluate information, and present the results in a report format.

Career examples

  • Social Researcher
  • Policy Analyst
  • Advisory Officers
  • Market Research Officer

Degrees

  1. Bachelor of Global Indigenous Studies (major in Sociology and Anthropology)
  2. Bachelor of Arts (major in Sociology and Anthropology)
  3. Bachelor of Education (Secondary) (major in Society and Culture, Geography, Aboriginal Studies, and Studies of Religion)
  4. Bachelor of Social Science (major in Sociology and Anthropology)

Studies of Religion

Studies of religion covers the history, literature, philosophy, beliefs and practices of the world’s belief systems. Your degree will focus on all main religions from antiquity to the present day. Graduates minoring in Studies of Religion can find employment in a variety of roles in many different types of organisations. Careers range in industries such as cultural heritage, government, journalism, law and politics.

Career examples

  • Access and Equity Advisor
  • Community Development Worker
  • Cultural Heritage Officer
  • Religious Education Coordinator
  • Technical Writer

Degrees

  1. Bachelor of Arts (minor in Studies of Religion)
  2. Bachelor of Education (Secondary) (additional teaching area in Studies of Religion)

What's
your
2020
vision?

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If you’re fascinated by the stories that language can tell us about ourselves, consider a path like the one Linguistics PhD Amy Dewar is pursuing.

“I’ve always loved the English language, I’ve always read a lot, so that was my entry to uni,” she explains. “The University of Newcastle has an excellent linguistics department with a strong focus on endangered languages.”

Amy is also a University of Newcastle alumnus, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) with Distinction in 2017. She was a double major in English and Writing, and Linguistics.

“I love the mechanics behind language. Studying it gave me the tools to look at what goes on behind what we say, and how the brain functions in terms of language.”

But the work Amy is most passionate about has a more personal impact. As part of her PhD research, she has spent months doing field work on Emae, a small island of Vanuatu. The only community in the world that speaks the endangered language of Fakamae lives there, and it’s Amy’s mission to help them document their language, culture, and heritage.

“My focus is endangered language documentation and description,” she explains. “My main impact is one of support. I record stories, songs, history, and put together literacy resources…a small dictionary on marine life, or plant life. It’s something the community feels really strongly about.”

Amy has seen firsthand how the gradual loss of a language can impact community relationships and important knowledge held within oral traditions.

“A lot of the elder speakers know all the words for everything, some younger speakers don’t,” she says. “It’s important because once this generation doesn’t know it, then future generations won’t either. It’s a lot of local knowledge and information about the landscape that’s located in those words.”

Her work will also contribute to our understanding of how the Pacific was settled, through observing the relationships between Fakamae and other languages in the region.

In the future, Amy’s aspiration is to make an even greater impact through her study of the Fakamae language.

“I hope to provide current and future researchers with information on this important language, and to create a lasting corpus which is accessible to the Fakamae community.”

Why study at the University of Newcastle?

Student lifestyle

Over the course of our 55-year history, more than 148,000 students have called Newcastle their home. And why wouldn't you want to? Our laid-back lifestyle, picture perfect beaches and thriving arts scene are just some of the reasons to love Newy.

Learn more about the Newcastle lifestyle

Experiences across the globe

Are you keen to take your studies around the world? There are opportunities for international experiences across every area of study, whether it’s an overseas exchange program, study tour or work placement.

Learn more about International study opportunities

Scholarships

We have over 100 scholarships available which support around 1000 new students at the University of Newcastle per year.

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