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Bachelor of Design (B-DES)

Bachelors DegreeYear: 2019 Delivered: On Campus (Parkville)

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Award titleBachelor of Design
Year & campus2019 — Parkville
CRICOS code090744C
Fees informationSubject EFTSL, level, discipline and census date
Study level & typeUndergraduate Coursework
AQF level 7
Credit points300 credit points
Duration36 months full time or 72 months part time

The Bachelor of Design is focused on the life-cycle of the constructed and inhabited world. Its application is wide ranging, from the macro-level of the metropolis, to the construction of buildings, bridges and landscapes, to the small-scale of systems and micro-structures.

Design is the unifying force that ties multiple disciplines together - from Architecture to Civil Systems, Computing, Construction, Digital Technologies, Landscape Architecture, Mechanical Systems, Property, Spatial Systems, Urban Planning through to Visual and Performance Design. Via completion of majors and minors, electives taken from other disciplines within the degree, double majors, and specialisations, students will encounter design in a transdisciplinary and complementary manner. Students will be exposed to the spectrum of design – from the creative and imaginative, through to the algorithmic and policy-generated, to iterative and managed problem-solving.

Design is the lens through which students will understand the constructed world and explore options for its future. In achieving this, students will demonstrate understanding of design processes and methods - identifying and analysing problems, synthesising ideas, prototyping and evaluating solutions and communicating outcomes as they apply to aspects of the constructed environments related to particular majors.

Students will learn from internationally recognised scholars and industry professionals, and, as graduates, will have a broad understanding of the role of design in the contemporary world. Graduates will be ready to further their education with a professional Masters degree or be skilled to enter the workforce.

Entry requirements

1. In order to be considered for entry, applicants must have completed: one of
(a) the Victorian Certificate of Education including

  • VCE Units 3 and 4 - either a study score of at least 25 in one of English, English Language or Literature or a study score of at least 30 in English as an Additional Language;

(b) the International Baccalaureate Diploma including

  • at least Grade 4 in English or English B (Standard Level or Higher Level);

(c) a senior secondary program, foundation studies program or equivalent approved by the Academic Board including appropriate English language studies.
Except for applicants eligible for Access Melbourne, minimum ATAR or equivalent overall performance rankings apply.
Meeting these requirements does not guarantee selection
2. In ranking applications, the Selection Committee will consider:

  • prior academic performance.

3. The Selection Committee may seek further information to clarify any aspect of an application in accordance with the Academic Board on the use of selection instruments.

4. For applicants who have not completed the Victorian Certificate of Education or the International Baccalaureate Diploma, the undergraduate English language requirements must be met.

  • For applications through the Victorian Tertiary Admission Centre, “middle band” selection adjustments are made only on the basis of eligibility for Access Melbourne.
  • Mathematical knowledge equivalent to VCE Mathematical Methods (CAS) Units 3 and 4 with a study score of 25 or more is required for the following majors: Construction, Civil Systems, Mechanical Systems, Property, Spatial Systems, Computing and Digital Media.

Students intending to pursue one of these majors should take VCE Mathematical Methods (CAS) Units 3 and 4 or an equivalent subject. A bridging subject will be available for students who have done VCE Mathematical Methods Units 1 and 2 but not VCE Mathematical Methods Units 3 and 4 or students who have received a study score below 25 in VCE Mathematical Methods Units 3 and 4.

Core participation requirements

A candidate for the Bachelor of Design degree must have abilities and skills which include the following: observation; communication; motor; conceptual, integrative, and quantitative; and behavioural and social.
Adjustments can be provided to minimise the impact of a disability, however students need to be able to participate in the program in an independent manner and with regard to their safety and the safety of others.
Observation: A candidate must be able to read text, diagrams, maps, drawings and numerical data. The candidate should be able to observe details at a number of scales and record useful observations of environmental contexts.
Communication: A candidate should be able to communicate with fellow students, professional and academic staff, members of relevant professions and the public. A candidate must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively. Communication includes not only speech but also reading and writing.
Motor: Candidates should have sufficient motor function to elicit information from external contexts. Off-campus investigations may include visits to construction sites, urban, rural and/or remote environments. Candidates should have sufficient motor ability to prepare documentation of analytic texts, drawings and models of findings and for the preparation of proposals for environmental interventions via digital or other means. A candidate should have the ability to actively participate in appropriate site and/or design studio‐based activities.
Intellectual‐Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Abilities: These abilities include measurement, calculation, reasoning, analysis, and synthesis. Problem solving, the critical skill demanded of graduates, requires all of these intellectual abilities. In addition, the candidate should be able to comprehend three‐dimensional relationships and to understand the spatial relationships of structures.
Behavioural and Social Attributes: A candidate must possess behavioural and social attributes that enable them to participate in a complex learning environment. Students are required to take responsibility for their own participation and learning. They also contribute to the learning of other students in collaborative learning environments, demonstrating interpersonal skills and an understanding of the needs of other students. Assessment may include the outcomes of tasks completed in collaboration with other students.
Major‐specific core participation requirements
Certain Majors employ studio-based learning, which includes the requirement to present work and to receive critique and feedback publically. “Crits” are an integral part of working in the industry and are an inherent requirement of the course.
The Bachelor of Design welcomes applications from students with disabilities. It is the University and degree policy to take reasonable steps to make reasonable adjustments so as to enable a student’s participation in the Bachelor of Design.
Students who feel their disability will prevent them from meeting the above academic requirements are encouraged to contact Student Equity and Disability Support (SEDS).

Intended learning outcomes

Graduates of a Bachelor of Design will have a broad and coherent body of knowledge of design as a concept, with depth in the underlying principles and concepts of at least one discipline in the areas of built environments, performing and visual arts, engineering, and relevant technologies as a basis for independent lifelong learning.

Graduates of a Bachelor of Design will have:

  • cognitive skills to review critically, analyse, consolidate and synthesise knowledge about their discipline;
  • cognitive and technical skills to demonstrate a broad understanding of design with depth in at least one discipline;
  • cognitive and creative skills to exercise critical thinking and judgement in identifying and solving design problems with intellectual independence; and
  • communication skills to present a clear, coherent and independent exposition of knowledge and ideas.

Graduates of a Bachelor Degree will demonstrate the application of knowledge and skills:

  • by applying a broad knowledge of design across a range of disciplines with in-depth knowledge in at least one area of study;
  • through the application of knowledge of the local and global contexts in which their discipline is practised;
  • through the application of project based learning, incorporating critical, analytical and methodological skills relevant to the identification and resolution of problems in practical and creative ways;
  • by applying appropriate methods of research and investigation in addressing problems;
  • by demonstrating an understanding of the social, professional, historical and theoretical contexts of the appropriate discipline;
  • by evaluating the role of design in addressing current issues facing local and global communities;
  • through an understanding of principles of sustainability and ethics appropriate to the discipline;
  • by demonstrating skills and use of technologies to enable production of designed outcomes appropriate to the relevant discipline; and
  • through communicating clearly and convincingly about design, technology, practice and future contributions to expert and non-expert audiences.

Generic skills

Graduates of the Bachelor of Design degree will have the capacity to:

  • Work collaboratively and productively in groups and across disciplines;
  • Apply critical and analytical skills and methods to the identification, evaluation and resolution of problems;
  • Engage confidently in self-directed study and research;
  • Communicate ideas effectively in written, graphic and oral formats;
  • Operate effectively in multicultural and diverse environments;
  • Use appropriate technologies;
  • Critically evaluate new ideas, research findings, methodologies and theoretical frameworks in their discipline; and
  • Recognise and understand the ethical responsibilities of individuals and organisations in society.

Graduate attributes

Graduates of the Bachelor of Design will possess comprehensive knowledge and skills through completion of at least one major in a specific discipline. Double majors, minors, specialisations and electives taken from subjects offered within the degree ensure that Bachelor of Design graduates have interdisciplinary perspective in the areas of the built environment, design, engineering, visual and performance design and technology, and breadth offerings offer graduates new ways of thinking in areas distinct from their major.

Students will have access to site visits, field trips, subjects taught by world renowned academics and industry based practitioners, participation in classes with real-world design briefs, and advanced fabrication technologies. Graduates of the Bachelor of Design with the skills to enter the workforce directly, go on to graduate study and then enter a profession or to a research higher degree.

Exposure to a range of disciplines within the Bachelor of Design will ensure students are able to critically examine different types of knowledge. Students will have access to diverse learning experiences in settings ranging from the lecture theatre and tutorial rooms to the design studio, stage, and scientific and computer laboratories.

Bachelor of Design graduates will be characterised by their creative, flexible and multi-disciplinary approach. Graduates will possess strong written, oral and graphical communication techniques, and will develop practical skills and apply these to problem-solving.

Bachelor of Design graduates will be exposed to working independently and in teams; to become adept at finding information for themselves through research and experimental activities; and to use a wide range of technological applications. Throughout the Bachelor of Design, a strong sense of professional ethics, intellectual integrity and social responsibility will be instilled in students. Graduates will be aware of their responsibilities to shape and manage their professional environments in a sustainable way.

Course structure

Course Rules:

The Bachelor of Design requires the successful completion of 300 points comprising:

  • 225 points of Bachelor of Design subjects including:
    • At least 62.5 points at Level 1
    • At least 62.5 points at Level 2
    • At least 75 points at Level 3 (including 50 points of a prescribed Bachelor of Design major at Level 3)
  • At least 50 points of breadth subjects including at least 12.5 points at Level 2 or Level 3
  • 25 points of breadth and/or elective subjects at Level 1, 2 or 3

Breadth requirements

Bachelor of Design students must complete a minimum of 50 points (four subjects), and a maximum of 75 points (six subjects), of breadth subjects.

At least 12.5 points of breadth must be taken at Level 2 or 3, and no more than 37.5 points may be taken at Level 1.

For information on breadth subjects and for a complete listing, please see: http://breadth.unimelb.edu.au/breadth/info/index.html. The breadth options for Bachelor of Design students are restricted depending on the major that has been selected. Detailed information on these Non-allowed Breadth subjects is available.

Additional requirements:

  • No more than 125 points at Level 1
  • No more than 37.5 points of breadth at Level 1


  1. Progression - All students must complete an online plagiarism training module in their first year of enrolment in the Bachelor of Design before being allowed to progress to the second year of enrolment.
  2. Students must normally complete 50 points of study at one year level before proceeding to the next subject year level.

To view a sample course plan please visit: http://edsc.unimelb.edu.au/undergraduate/course-planning/bdes

Breadth requirements

Please refer to the original document

Find breadth subjects

Use the Handbook Breadth Search function to find subjects that can be used as breadth studies in the Bachelor of Design

Subject options

Major requirement

Students must complete at least one major. A major consists of 50 points of study at third year-level within a single discipline. A discipline is an area of knowledge, such as Architecture or Spatial Systems.

A maximum of two majors may be recognised. Double majors are only available in selected disciplines. Further information about double majors can be found at:


It is not possible to complete a major and a minor in the same discipline.

50 points at 3rd year-level with subjects through the major controlled through the use of prerequisite chains.The prerequisite sequence for majors begins in first year. Please refer to each major’s handbook entry for more details.

Minor/specialisation/elective requirements

  • Specialisations consist of 25 points of study at third year level. First and second year-level prerequisite subjects may be required. Please check Handbook entries for individual specialisations.
  • Specialisations are a short sequence of subjects that focus particular themes relevant across multiple disciplines. Subjects in specialisations do not form part of any existing major but are distinctive and are complementary to a student’s major. Completions of specialisations may support a research pathway, lead to accreditation with industry bodies or may increase employment opportunities. First and second year-level prerequisite subjects may be required. Please check Handbook entries for individual specialisations.
  • Minors consist of 50 points of study at first, second, and/or third year (taken in any combination).Please check MSD web site for individual minors. Prerequisites may apply.
  • Minors are a shortened sequence of subjects taken from the range of existing majors in the degree. They provide a complementary course of study to a student’s major and, in some circumstances, may offer a pathway to a shortened 300 point Masters degree. First and second year-level prerequisite subjects may be required.

Elective: Electives are chosen from any subject offered within the Bachelor of Design. Prerequisites for some subjects will apply. Please check handbook entries for prerequisite requirements.

Breadth Options: Bachelor of Design students must complete a minimum of 50 points (four subjects), and a maximum of 75 points (six subjects), of breadth subjects.

At least 12.5 points of breadth must be taken at Level 2 or 3, and no more than 37.5 points may be taken at Level 1

Breadth Subjects Available for Bachelor of Design Students

  • University Breadth Subjects.
  • English as a Second Language Subjects
  • Subjects offered in the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Commerce, Bachelor of Design, Bachelor of Environments, Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Science that are available as breadth and that contrast with your major (or intended major).
  • Some subjects from within the majors in the Bachelor of Design may be available as breadth, depending on which major you are intending to take.

Note: For not allowed breadth subjects in Bachelor of Design click here

Majors, minors & specialisations


Name Credit Points
Architecture 50
Civil Systems 50
Computing 50
Construction 50
Digital Technologies 50
Graphic Design 50
Landscape Architecture 50
Mechanical Systems 50
Performance Design 50
Property 50
Spatial Systems 50
Urban Planning 50


Name Credit Points
Building Information Modelling 25
Environmental Design 25
Transport Design 25
Design Visualisation 25
Event Design 25
Design Histories 25
Towards Practice 25

B-Design Elective Subjects

Name Credit Points
Bachelor of Design Elective Subjects

Non-allowed Breadth Subjects within the Bachelor of Design - relating to specific majors

Name Credit Points
Non-allowed Breadth Subjects within the Bachelor of Design - relating to specific majors

Further study

Graduates of the Bachelor of Design will have the opportunity to continue their study through a number of pathways and dependent on their chosen field may be able to enrol in a professional masters or a research higher degree in an area related to your undergraduate study area. In addition to this, the University offers a range of new graduate-entry only programs, available to graduates of any 3-year Bachelor degree.
Professional Masters degrees are available in:

Construction Management
Landscape Architecture
Urban Planning
Urban Design
Design for Performance
Production Design for Screen
Engineering (Civil Systems)
Engineering (Mechanical Systems)
Engineering (Spatial)
Engineering (Software)
Information Systems
Information Technology
Master of Science (Computer Science)

The University will take all reasonable steps to ensure that double majors are available including the possibility of completion within three years and without timetable clash for a student enrolling in full-time load

This cannot however be guaranteed for all combinations of double majors, electives and breadth.

Last updated: 27 June 2019