Specialisations

What is a specialisation?

A specialisation is a group of units that make up a key program, major, sub-major in an undergraduate course or specialisation within a postgraduate course.

  • A key program is made up of 160 credit points or more
  • A major is made up of 80 credit points (normally 8 units)
  • A sub-major is made up of 40 credit points
  • A postgraduate specialisation is made up of 40 credit points    

For example if you are enrolled in the Bachelor of Health Science you must select a key program in Health Promotion, Health Services Management or Therapeutic Recreation. You can also select a sub-major in addition to your key program, but this must be in a different discipline area to your key program.

To find out which key programs, majors, sub-majors or postgraduate specialisations form part of your course structure, look up your course in the Western Sydney University Handbook.

If a key program, major, sub-major or postgraduate specialisation forms part of your course structure you should select it in MySR under 'Specialisation selection' before enrolling in your units. When you select a key program, major, sub-major or postgraduate specialisation in MySR you also have to enrol in the individual units which make up that key program, major, sub-major or postgraduate specialisation in the 'Unit selection' step in MySR for the relevant session/s.

Do I have to select a specialisation?

Some courses require you to complete a key program, major, sub-major as part of your undergraduate course or a postgraduate specialisation in a postgraduate course. If a key program, major, sub-major or postgraduate specialisation is required for your course structure, you will be asked to select it in MySR under 'Specialisation selection'. If your course does not require you to complete a key program, major, sub-major or postgraduate specialisation you will be notified that you can skip this step in the enrolment process. If you are enrolled in an undergraduate (Bachelors) course you will be given the choice to add optional majors or sub-majors depending on the number of elective units for your course.

Undergraduate courses

Can I do a major or sub-major different to my course area?

If you have 40 credit points or more of elective units available in your course, you will be given the option in MySR to choose to group these electives into an optional specialisation (major or sub-major). This optional major or sub-major can be outside your course area. If you have enough electives available, you will be given the choice to add an optional major or sub-major in MySR under 'Specialisation selection'.


In some courses you will have to choose a key program, major or sub-major as part of your course structure and you will also be given the choice to complete an optional major or sub-major. For example in a Bachelor of Arts you will need to select a major and sub major, or a key program and sub major as part of your course structure, however you can also choose to group your elective units into additional optional majors or sub-majors.

Differences between compulsory specialisations and optional specialisations
Key programs, majors and sub-majorsOptional majors and sub-majors
Part of the course structure  Not part of the course structure
Compulsory Non compulsory
Related directly to your course Does not have to relate to your course
Attached to your course Not attached to the course

Before you add an optional specialisation

  1. Make sure you have enough electives left in your course to complete your chosen major or sub-major. For example, you can't choose a major that requires the completion of six elective units if you only have two elective units left in your course structure (unless you have already completed four of the six units that make up that major).
  2. Check you have enough credit points as minimum credit point rules still apply. If you have obtained the minimum credit points required to complete your course and you have completed all course requirements you will have to pay up front (non award) for any additional units you choose to complete to qualify for an optional major or sub-major. For example a general 3 year bachelors degree requires the completion of a minimum of 240 credit points. If you have fulfilled the course requirements of that bachelors degree and you have completed 240 credit points, however you still need to study two more units (20 credit points) to qualify for an optional major, then you will need to pay for these units at non award rates, without commonwealth support.
  3. Contact your Director of Academic Program, Academic Course Advisor or the specialisation owner for advice as to whether the specialisation fits into your course. Find your Director of Academic Program, Academic Course Advisor or specialisation owner in the Western Sydney University Handbook.