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Most universities encourage students to specialise in either the sciences or the humanities, doing either Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degrees. But the world in which we live needs people whose expertise spans this divide.
Modern science is rapidly changing our lives. But these developments also require us to think carefully about their implications. Our new-found abilities in fields such as artificial intelligence and genetic manipulation may enhance human welfare, but are not risk-free. Problems such as climate change are difficult to solve because the practices that give rise to them also provide great benefits.
There are no straightforward answers or simple solutions. So it is essential that our best graduates have an understanding not just of science and technology, but of the opportunities and costs that scientific developments can bring.
At Otago, students have long been able to include humanities papers in a science degree and science papers in an arts degree, each normally taking three years. They can also complete a double degree programme, which would normally take five years.
The Bachelor of Arts and Science (BASc) adds to the range of options available. It enables graduates to present themselves to employers and the world at large as people who have real expertise in both the sciences and the humanities. But it takes less time than would be required for a double degree.
The BASc requires students to complete two major subjects: an arts major subject and a science (or applied science) major subject. Although the BASc is normally a four-year degree, students who are prepared to take on a higher workload can finish in three and a half years. Students can also include a minor subject in the programme.
Watch a video about the BASc and find out who to contact for help and information.
The normal structure of the programme for the degree of Bachelor of Arts and Science (BASc) is set out below. Some variations may be possible. For further details consult the University Calendar or the Head of the Departments teaching your major subjects.
- Every programme requires papers worth at least 480 points (normally 27 18-point papers would be taken, making a total of 486 points).
- Must include at least 216 points for papers from Arts and Music Schedule C and 216 points for papers from Science Schedule C.
- Must include two major subjects: one from those available for Bachelor of Arts and a different one from those available for either Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Applied Science.
- May include a specified minor subject.
There are about 1500 combinations of major subjects available, so it not possible to provide summaries of all BASc programmes. The following is only one example, showing a programme including the major subject requirements for History (an Arts major subject) and Genetics (a Science major subject).
Specimen BASc programme
Two 100-level HIST papers;
CELS 191, CHEM 191, BIOC 192, HUBS 191, 192, PHSI 191, PUBH 192
Three 200-level HIST papers;
Four 300-level HIST papers;
four of GENE 312-315, BIOC 352, MICR 335
Two further papers from Arts and Music Schedule C;
Two further papers in any subject
Regulations for the Degree of Bachelor of Arts and Science (BASc)
Structure of the Programme
Every degree programme
- shall consist of papers worth not less than 480 points,
- shall include at least 216 points from Arts and Music Schedule C and 216 points from Science Schedule C,
- shall satisfy the major subject requirements of both
- an Arts and Music major subject, and
- either a Science major subject or an Applied Science major subject,
- may include one optional minor subject that satisfies the minor subject requirements listed in Arts and Music Schedule A, Science Schedule A, and Applied Science Schedule A, or Commerce Schedule A
- may not include a paper that counts for both a major and a minor subject requirement unless that paper is at 100- or 200-level and is specified as compulsory for both requirements, and
- may include papers that are not listed in Arts and Music Schedule C or Science Schedule C
Prerequisites, Corequisites and Restrictions
- Every programme of study shall satisfy the requirements for prerequisites, corequisites, and restrictions set out in the Prescriptions (published in the Guide to Enrolment).
- A candidate with outstanding results in a subject prior to entering University may be permitted by the Head of Department concerned to enrol for a paper at 200-level without having satisfied the normal prerequisites. In such cases the candidate shall not be credited with the prerequisite papers, but shall be exempted from including those papers in a Major Subject Requirement. A candidate may not, having passed any such paper at 200-level, enrol subsequently for any paper for which the exemption has been given.
A candidate who is enrolled for the degree concurrently with another degree, or who has completed one degree and is proceeding with the other, may cross credit 100- and 200-level papers that are common to both degrees up to a maximum of 180 points.
The Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Humanities) or the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Sciences) may in exceptional circumstances approve a course of study that does not comply with these regulations.