What can I study?

Areas of study

Charles Darwin University offers a wide range of courses in the following subject areas:

  • Aboriginal and Australian studies
  • Architecture, building, design and planning
  • Art and design
  • Business and economics
  • Computing and information technology
  • Education and teaching
  • Engineering
  • Environmental studies
  • Humanities and social sciences
  • Law and legal studies
  • Medicine and health
  • Music and performing arts
  • Science and mathematics


Teaching methods

You may find the style of teaching and assessment different from what you have experienced at home. All units will be composed of a combination of lectures, tutorials, labs and independent study.


Most courses meet in large groups for lectures once or twice per week. Attendance is required and note taking is advised. The lecturer will normally upload the presentation from the lecture on the unit website for students to access.


Students are assigned to small groups directed by a lecturer or an assistant. For science students, 'practical laboratory sessions' (labs) are included with or instead of tutorials. Participation is essential - asking questions, working through problems or experiments, participating in discussions, making presentations, and undertaking special projects. Grades given for participation and assignments are often part of the final grade for the course.

Independent study

All students are required to do independent study. Students complete assigned readings, papers and laboratory work that expand their knowledge. Students should expect to allocate 10-12 hours per course per week including lectures, tutorials, and independent work.

Study skills support

Study skills support is available at Charles Darwin University including tutoring, online study skills programs and library information sessions on researching and evaluating information.

Assessment methods and grades

Assessment methods

The most common forms of assessment are essays, research reports, presentations, exams (both mid-semester and final) and tutorial participation. A unit outline will be given to students in the first week that will clearly outline the assessment that will be used within that particular unit.

The final exam is normally the most heavily weighted assessment item. To score well students must move beyond mere repetition of facts and show academic growth and evidence of analytical thought based on independent study.


Grade Score Explanation
High Distinction (HD) 85% - 100%

Demonstrates imagination, originality or flair, based on proficiency in all learning objectives of the unit; work is interesting or surprisingly exciting, challenging, well read or scholarly

Distinction (D) 75% - 84%

Demonstrates awareness and understanding of deeper and less obvious aspects of the unit, such as ability to identify and debate critical issues or problems, ability to solve non-routine problems, ability to adapt and apply ideas to new situations, and ability to evaluate new ideas.

Credit (C) 60% - 74%

Demonstrates ability to use and apply fundamental concepts and skills of the unit, going beyond mere replication of content knowledge or skill to show understanding of key ideas, awareness of their relevance, some use of analytical skills, and some originality or insight.

Pass (P) 50% - 59%

Satisfies all of the basic learning requirements of the unit, such as knowledge of fundamental concepts and performance of basic skills; demonstrates satisfactory, adequate, competent, or capable achievement of the objectives of the unit.

Fail (F) Below 50%

Fails to satisfy the requirements of the unit.

In cooperation with affiliated universities and agencies, Charles Darwin University transfers grades and credits to the student's home institution where equivalent ratings are assigned.


How to select units

You may select units from any area or study, although some units do require the successful completion of prerequisites.

As a guide:

  • 100 level classes are introductory level and usually require no prerequisite knowledge
  • 200 level subjects are intermediate and require a basic understanding of the unit topic
  • 300 level above are advanced and require a good understanding of the unit topic
  • 400 and above units are usually graduate studies under the Australian system

A fulltime load at Charles Darwin University is four units per semester. In order to ensure you have a full-time load we require that you select eight units per semester for pre-approval, of which you will enrol in four when you arrive at CDU.

Popular units

Study Abroad & Exchange students can select units from any on offer at the University. Search for units in the CDU unit repository. Below is a list of units that are commonly undertaken by Study Abroad & Exchange students.

Indigenous studies

  • AHT214 Indigenous Art in Northern Australia
  • CIK200 Contested Knowledges
  • CIK210 Indigenous Knowledges: Representing and Recording Country
  • CIK220 Arctic to Uluru: Compartive Studies in Indigenous Policy
  • CIK240 Indigenous Cultures and the Environment



  • AOD201 Alcohol and Other Drug Studies
  • HIS142 Introduction to Australian History
  • HIS246   North Australian History to 1911


  • INI101 Indonesian Language 1
  • CAS110 Introduction to Yolngu Languages and Culture
  • CHN101 Chinese Language 1
  • GRK101 Greek 1


Behavioural Sciences

  • SOC140 Sociological Perspectives
  • SOC145 Global Sociology
  • PSY140 Introduction to Psychology A
  • PSY141 Introduction to Psychology B
  • PSY209 Social-Cultural Psychology
  • SWK141A Introduction to Human Services
  • SWK142B Communication Skills

Fine Art

  • AHT214 Indigenous Art in Northern Australia
  • CAI101 Introduction to Multimedia
  • CAI102 Creative Practice
  • NMD201 New Media Intermediate Studio



  • MUS110 Introductory Language of Music

Science and Environmental Sciences


  • LWA112 Environmental and Planning Law
  • LWZ100A Introduction to Legal Studies


  • ETL111 Educators as Effective Communicators
  • ETL304 Science Literacy

Information Technology


Architecture and Interior Design


  • ENG174 Electrical Engineering and Computing
  • ENG224 Electrical Machines and Power Systems

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