Agents of change: the humanities and the social sciences
New arts and social
science courses at the University of NSW are teaching students to apply
the classical skills of the humanities to a rapidly evolving modern work
encouraged to hone their capacity for critical thought, effective
communication and rigorous research and apply these abilities to such
contemporary issues as climate change, international relations and the
new media, says the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences,
Professor James Donald.
A solid foundation in
the fundamental disciplines of the humanities and social sciences, a
great breadth in terms of what students can study, and the applicability
of research techniques and evaluation to a range of jobs are making
these degrees increasingly relevant, he says.
Our graduates leave
with flexibility and an alertness of mind, a realisation of the need to
step back and understand. They are young people who will make a
UNSWs reputation for
excellence in the humanities, social sciences and creative and
performing arts was enhanced this year by its outstanding performance in
the Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) initiative, scoring equal
first in social sciences and equal third in humanities and creative
With 10 undergraduate
degrees, including over 30 majors, and 15 masters programs, students are
likely to spend as much time in the media lab, theatre studio or music
practice room as they are in the lecture theatre.
A significant increase
in the number of international students choosing arts and social science
degrees at UNSW is providing even greater opportunities for cultural
exchange in the classroom.
Bachelor of International Studies a central component of which is a
years study overseas at a partner university as well as Masters in
Development, Social Development, Policy and International Relations are
highly sought after by overseas students.
At the same time,
UNSWs strength in the performing arts has seen exciting new
developments in the areas of creative writing, dance, music and theatre
and performance studies.
We are not an academy,
but if you are a student who has a passion for music, dance or writing
and wants to do that in the context of a rigorous academic humanities
degree, then its a really good opportunity, says Professor Donald.
have been particularly attracted by the introduction of appealing new
degrees in Media in Public Relations and Advertising, new this year, and
in Media in Communication and Journalism.
These degrees cover
media studies, specialist communication streams and a wide variety of
electives, combining traditional understanding of the humanities with
the new skills that will set students up for jobs as the media landscape
For example, students
are exposed to a classical approach to understanding how language
influences people, combined with practical courses in public relations.
They are taught the theoretical base of the new and conventional media
as well as professional skills in writing and image making. Internship
opportunities further boost their career prospects.
At postgraduate level,
the Master of Public Relations and Advertising, launched last year, and
the Master of Journalism and Communication, launched in 2009, balance
theory and practice to develop high level professional skills.
They are taught within
the Journalism and Media Research Centre, a centre of excellence for
research which is setting the agenda in public and industry debate about
the media in Australia and the region.
An increasingly popular
postgraduate choice with international students is the Masters in
Interpreting and Translation, which has national accreditation and
provides professional training in Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Indonesian,
French, German, Russian and Spanish.
We are the leader in
this area in NSW and nationally its not just about learning a
language, but the skills of translation and interpreting which are
increasingly in demand in the globalised economy, says Professor
Other new postgraduate
options include Educational Leadership, Secondary Teacher training and
University Learning and Teaching.