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The 10 most popular uni courses – what STEM electives do they need?

Most popular uni courses

UAC has released the top 10 most in-demand uni courses of 2023 and STEM high school electives can set you up for success in all of them

The most popular uni courses range from STEM degrees themselves, to commerce, arts and law. Some have STEM prerequisites or assumed knowledge, while choosing related STEM subjects in high school can give you a head start in others. We’ve listed these below.

Just a note: prerequisites and assumed knowledge are correct at time of publishing, but please make sure you double check with the universities before locking in your electives just in case they’ve made any updates.

The 10 most popular uni courses

1. Bachelor of Medical Studies/Doctor of Medicine, Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Medical Studies/Doctor of Medicine

University: UNSW Sydney

There are no STEM prerequisites for these degrees, however studying these subjects while still at school could give you a solid base to start from:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Maths

2. Bachelor of Business

University: University of Technology Sydney

Assumed knowledge for the Bachelor of Business is our old friend Mathematics!

3. Bachelor of Medical Science/Doctor of Medicine (Joint Medical Program)

University: University of Newcastle/University of New England

There are currently no subject prerequisites for admission to the Joint Medical Program. But want to give yourself an edge? Choose these high school electives:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Maths

4. Doctor of Medicine (Joint Program)

University: Western Sydney University/Charles Sturt University

An inherent requirement for this course is competent and accurate numeracy skills, which are essential for safe and effective patient care. Read this as don’t drop maths!

5. Bachelor of Arts

University: University of Sydney

There are no prerequisites for this course. It also has 72 majors! What you choose as a major might narrow down some STEM electives that could help build your knowledge before you start your degree. Here are some examples:

Major: Archaeology
STEM electives to consider: Earth and Environmental Science, Mathematics

Major: Criminology
STEM electives to consider: Biology, Information and Software Technology

Major: Digital Cultures
STEM electives to consider: Information Processes and Technology, Digital Technologies

Major: Economics
STEM electives to consider: Mathematics

6. Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Laws

University: University of Sydney

There are no prerequisites for this course and assumed knowledge depends on majors or units of study chosen. For arts major + STEM suggestions, see above.

If you’re dreaming of a law career in forensics, you’ll want strong skills in maths and data (so stick with Mathematics). If digital forensics is more your jam, add in Information Processes and Technology. Want to be a patent lawyer? You’ll need a good understanding of science, tech and engineering when looking over new inventions, so choose electives like Engineering Studies, Software Design and Development and Biology at high school.

7. Bachelor of Commerce

University: University of Sydney

Mathematics is a prerequisite of this course. You can check which subject you need to take (depending on which state/territory you live in) here.

8. Bachelor of Nursing

University: University of Technology Sydney

For this course, any two units of science and any two units of mathematics are recommended.

9. Double Commerce degrees

University: UNSW Sydney

For the Commerce degree, Mathematics Advanced is assumed knowledge. Double degree options are as follows. We’ve made notes of the extra STEM assumed knowledge you’ll need (or a Careers with STEM suggestion) next to each one:

  • Actuarial Studies – Mathematics Extension 1 (assumed knowledge)
  • Advanced Mathematics (Hons) – Mathematics Extension 1 (assumed knowledge)
  • Advanced Science (Hons) – Mathematics Advanced or Mathematics Extension 1 (depending on chosen area of study), plus one or more of Biology, Chemistry, Earth and Environmental Science or Physics (assumed knowledge)
  • Arts – this would depend on your major. For Environmental Humanities, Earth and Environmental Science could be helpful. For Global Development, choose Engineering Studies, Biology and Information and Software technology (Careers with STEM suggestion)
  • Aviation (Management) – Engineering Studies (Careers with STEM suggestion)
  • Computer Science – Software Design and Development, Information Processes and Technology (Careers with STEM suggestion)
  • Design – Digital Technologies (Careers with STEM suggestion)
  • Economics – ALL the maths! (Careers with STEM suggestion)
  • Education (Secondary) – Digital Technologies (Careers with STEM suggestion)
  • Engineering (Hons) – Mathematics Extension 1 and Physics; for Bioinformatics: Mathematics Extension 1 and Chemistry; for Chemical and Chemical Product: Chemistry, Mathematics Extension 1 and Physics, for Software: Mathematics 1 (assumed knowledge)
  • Fine Arts – Digital Technologies (Careers with STEM suggestion)
  • Information Systems – Information Processes and Technology, Digital Technologies (Careers with STEM suggestion)
  • Law – think about the type of law you’re interested and see if any STEM high school electives match up, e.g. environmental law and Earth and Environmental Science (Careers with STEM suggestion)
  • Materials Science and Engineering (Hons) – Mathematics Extension 1, Physics (assumed knowledge)
  • Media (PR & Advertising) – Digital Technologies (Careers with STEM suggestion)
  • Music – Digital Technologies, Engineering Studies (Careers with STEM suggestion)
  • Science – Mathematics Advanced or Mathematics Extension 1 (depending on chosen area of study) plus one or more of Biology, Chemistry, Earth and Environmental Science, Physics (assumed knowledge)

10. Bachelor of Science (Computer Science) single and double degrees

University: UNSW Sydney

Currently, there is no assumed knowledge listed for the Bachelor of Science (Computer Science) course. To give yourself a good head start, our suggestions are Software Design and Development, Mathematics, and Information Processes and Technology.

As for double degrees, you could study a Bachelor of Science/Science (Computer Science), a Bachelor of Economics/Computer Science, or a Bachelor of Economics/Computer Science – for all of these, Mathematics Extension 1 is assumed knowledge.

So those are the most popular uni courses of 2023! What do you think? Are you aiming for one of these? Let us know in the comments below.

Stuck on what to study in high school to get started in STEM? Head on over to the the Careers with STEM: Choosing Electives hub.

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