Defining an Arts program is problematic given the huge range of types of Arts programs on offer. The Bachelor of Arts is not a universally defined program. A Bachelor of Arts in one institution actually might be described as a Bachelor of Social Sciences in another. In some cases, it is used by non-Arts related program.

A clear and true definition of Arts degrees is an elusive thing. The forerunner report “The Lettered Country”, (Pascoe, McIntyre, Ainley, & Williamson, 2003) took as its focus Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and defined the Arts degree as “all those bachelor programs in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, variously called a BA, BSocSci, or BA (specific field)” (Pascoe, McIntyre, Ainley, & Williamson, 2003, p. 7). That report referred to DEST data using the codes associated “the definition of the BA is the field of study described by government statisticians as ‘Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences’, or, since 2001, ‘Culture and Society'”(Pascoe, McIntyre, Ainley, & Williamson, 2003, p. 10 Section 2)

The change in coding from field of study code to field of education coding in 2001 meant that the new Society and Culture code now also includes focused on Law, Economics, and Human Services programs. It also does not include data on Media and Communication programs, as these are categorised under the ‘Creative Arts’ coding. Many institutions include Media and Communication programs as part of their Arts offerings.

Duplicating the approach used for “The Lettered Country” was therefore not appropriate for this scoping exercise.

DASSH_BA-Benchmarking-Project_economics
DASSH_BA-Benchmarking-Project_literature_preview

As a working definition for this project and for the report, the term “Arts” refers to those programs that adhere to the broader definition of humanities and social science programs, and could include professional, vocational, or technical curricula.

Project Definitions

Definition of Arts programs

For the purposes of this study, an Arts program is taken from the DEST “Society and Culture” Coding that includes:

  • 0901 Political Science and Policy Studies
  • 0903 Studies in Human Society
  • elements within 0911 Justice and Law Enforcement
  • 0913 Librarianship, Information Management and Curatorial Studies
  • 0915 Language and Literature
  • 0917 Philosophy and Religious Studies
  • 0919 Economics and Econometrics
  • 0999 Other Society and Culture
  • It also includes the Creative Arts 1007 code: Communication and Media Studies.

Arts programs described in this report are programs that are:

  • humanities or social sciences focused
  • are single degree undergraduate programs.

It therefore excludes programs like Bachelor of Arts (Psychology), as well as Bachelors of Creative Arts, Performance Arts (including Music) and accredited programs such as Bachelors of Police Studies and Social Work.

As a working definition for this project and for the report, the term “Arts” therefore refers to those programs that adhere to the broader definition of humanities and social science programs with the delimiters described above, and could include professional, vocational, or technical curricula.

Definition of Bachelor of Arts programs

The term “Bachelor of Arts” refers to programs that follow the above criteria and, in addition, adhere to a “liberal Arts notion” i.e. a tertiary curriculum that is:

  • humanities or social sciences focused
  • are single degree undergraduate programs
  • not accredited or dependent on a professional body for benchmarking
  • allow some level of flexibility in terms of choice for students
  • are aimed at imparting a general knowledge and developing intellectual capabilities.
Photo-by-Brooke-Cagle-on-Unsplash-g1Kr4Ozfoac
Photo-by-Brooke-Cagle-on-Unsplash-g1Kr4Ozfoac

Definition of Bachelor of Arts programs

The term “Bachelor of Arts” refers to programs that follow the above criteria and, in addition, adhere to a “liberal Arts notion” i.e. a tertiary curriculum that is:

  • humanities or social sciences focused
  • are single degree undergraduate programs
  • not accredited or dependent on a professional body for benchmarking
  • allow some level of flexibility in terms of choice for students
  • are aimed at imparting a general knowledge and developing intellectual capabilities.

Sign In

To access some documents in the BA Scoping Project website, you are required to sign in. To sign in, your browser must have “cookies-enabled” (this is the default setting in most browsers).

To obtain or recover sign-in credentials, please contact:

Executive Officer
02 6162 1297
eo@dassh.edu.au

Project Director

Professor John Germov
Pro Vice-Chancellor
Faculty of Education and Arts
The University of Newcastle
john.germov@newcastle.edu.au

Principal Investigator

Deanne Gannaway
Institute for Teaching and Learning Innovation
University of Queensland
d.gannaway@uq.edu.au

Skip to content