A standing committee into the Bachelor of Commerce has approved recommendations to change the structure of the course over the next few years.
The changes would see a reduction in the maximum number of points students can get from breadth subjects, from 100 to 75 points.
The reduction of breadth points is to allow for two more core subjects: Accounting Reports and Analysis and a new subject, Principles of Finance, which will replace Finance 1. The aim of the change is to better prepare students for the workforce.
“The changes were guided by employers’ feedback,” explains Mason Zhong, the student representative on the committee.
“For example, the proposal to make Accounting Reports and Analysis a core subject was motivated by the fact that employers found Bachelor of Commerce graduates from non-accounting or actuarial backgrounds lacking the ability to interpret financial?statements.”
The changes are largely welcome. For some, however, the reduction of the breadth maximum due to complaints that graduates lack technical knowledge only highlights a common concern within the University: a tension exists between the Melbourne Model and the demand for courses to be geared toward employment.
“The importance of graduates being industry-ready cannot be understated,” says Paul Sakkal, UMSU Education Academic Officer.
“However, the move towards less breadth study is one of some concern. It is crucial that students be included and consulted with in order to reach an outcome that adequately balances vocational skillsets and the students’ well-roundedness.”
The breadth reduction may also cause problems for commerce students planning to undertake a Master of Engineering, since taking this path requires undergraduates to get their full 100 breadth points from engineering subjects.
But Professor David Shallcross at the School of Engineering is working on an alternate bridging method for commerce students who wish to go into engineering.
Accounting Reports and Analysis went through an overhaul this semester, most notably in a reduction in the amount of content covered. This scaling down happened in response to the subject receiving overwhelmingly negative reviews for several years.
The committee has also recommended making the final exams for all core subjects in the course a hurdle requirement.
There are also likely to be changes to the core subjects for students majoring in economics and finance, in addition to the changes to core subjects for the Bachelor of Commerce in general.