Advice about broadening disciplines, general education and the free elective

Apart from the many professional engineering electives in the program taken at the L3 (1 elective), L4 (3 electives), and L5 (4 electives) level, the BE ME program also includes another 36 UoC (6 courses) made up of: 

  • 24 UoC (4 courses) designated for the broadening discipline
  • 6 UoC (1 course) designated for general education
  • 6 UoC (1 course) designated for the “free elective”

Depending on the chosen broadening discipline area, the broadening discipline may be (and sometimes has to be) extended to either 30 or 36 UoC.

It is also a University requirement that the degree contains 12 UoC (2 courses) of general education, which are courses taken outside UNSW Engineering and not closely related to electrical engineering. This 12 UoC general education requirement has to be satisfied from the other 36 UoC listed above. Two possible scenarios exist for satisfying the general education requirement (also see table below):

1.     The broadening discipline taken within UNSW Engineering (e.g. Mechatronics, Computing, ..)

The broadening discipline is then limited to a maximum of 24 UoC. To satisfy general education requirements, the “free elective” must be taken outside UNSW Engineering as 6 UoC general education.

2.     The broadening discipline taken outside UNSW Engineering (e.g. Psychology, Music, Language,..)

The broadening discipline itself automatically satisfies the 12 UoC general education requirement. The “free elective” is a truly free choice elective and can be taken either outside the faculty, within the faculty, or even an extra electrical engineering professional elective. Broadening disciplines outside the Faculty of Engineering can be (and sometimes have to be) extended to either 30 UoC or 36 UoC.

For example, the Commerce broadening discipline requires a minimum of 30 UoC which still allows the “free elective” to be used to either extend the broadening discipline to 36 UoC or to be taken anywhere else freely.  On the other hand, the Language disciplines require 36 UoC of language courses, which means the 12 UoC designated for “general education” and the “free elective” need to be used for the broadening discipline.

Note the exception to scenario 2 above is the Mathematics and Physics broadening disciplines. These disciplines are both 24 UoC and offered outside UNSW Engineering. However extending them to either 30 UoC or 36 UoC will require approval from the program authority as many Mathematics and Physics elective courses may be too closely related to material studied in electrical engineering, and thus may not satisfy general education requirements.


Non-Engineering Broadening Discipline

Engineering Broadening Discipline

General education slot

(6 UoC)

Taken outside Faculty, could be part of broadening discipline*

Taken outside Faculty

Free elective slot       

(6 UoC)

Any 6 UoC course within the university, unless a 36 UoC broadening discipline*

Taken outside Faculty as general education

Broadening discipline slots                 

(24 UoC)

Broadening discipline courses

Broadening discipline courses

* Program authority approval is required to extend the Mathematics or Physics broadening discipline

Please look at UNSW Handbook

Recommended Program Plans for Broadening Disciplines

Please note the plans below are recommended plans for the broadening disciplines, and do not represent the only ways in which the program can be scheduled. In general the program plan for each broadening discipline is different due to the different scheduling of broadening discipline courses. Please also note that broadening discipline electives generally run in only one session, so planning is required.

BE ME in Music (24 UOC)

Year 2

  • MUSC1101 Music Reinvented (6 UOC)

Year 3/4/5

  • Select two courses in Musicianship


  • One course from the following: Electronic Music; Film Music; Popular Music; Music history; Psychology of Music; Music analysis; Ethnomusicology; Musicianship C]

Language broadening disciplines are available in a number of different areas, including those below.

Please see the attached PDF File in Commerce

BE ME in Mechatronics (24 UOC)

Years 2/3/4/5

  • MTRN2500 Computing for Mechatronic Engineers (6 UOC)
  • MTRN3500 Computing Applications in Mechatronics Systems (6 UOC)

Any two of

  • MTRN4010 Advanced Autonomous Systems (6 UOC)
  • MRTN4110 Robot Design (6 UOC)
  • MTRN4230 Robotics (6 UOC) 
  • MANF4611 Process Modelling and Simulation (6 UOC)

Note: the advice from Mechatronics is that ELEC3114 is equivalent to MTRN3020

Example plan 1 (link to “BE ME – Mechatronics Broadening Discipline Plan 1.pdf”)

BE ME in Photovoltaics (24 UOC)

Year 2

  • SOLA2540 Applied PV (6 UOC)

Years 3/4/5

Select three courses from either:

  • SOLA2020 PV Technology & Manufacturing ( UOC)
  • SOLA3507 Solar Cells (6 UOC)
  • SOLA5508 High Efficiency Si Solar Cells (6 UOC)
  • SOLA5509 PV Materials Processing (6 UOC)


  • SOLA3010 Low Energy Buildings and PV (6 UOC)
  • SOLA4012 Grid-Connect PV Syst (6 UOC)
  • SOLA5053 Wind Energy Converters (6 UOC)
  • SOLA5054 PV Stand-Alone Sys. Des.&Inst. (6 UOC)
  • SOLA5057 Energy Efficiency (6 UOC)

BE ME in Computing (24 UOC)

Years 2/3/4/5

Select two courses from the following :

  • COMP2511 O-O Design & Programming (6 UOC)
  • COMP3211 Computer Architecture (6 UOC)
  • COMP3231 Operating Systems (6 UOC)
  • COMP4601 Design Project B (6 UOC)

and two other courses from the many breadth and depth courses available.  Note that most COMP courses require COMP2521 Data Structures and Algorithms as a pre-requisite.

BE ME in IoT (24 UOC)

  • COMP1521 Computer Systems Fundamentals (6 UOC)
  • COMP2521 Data Structures and Algorithms (6 UOC)
  • COMP6441 Security Engineering and Cyber Security (6 UOC)
  • COMP6733 Internet of Things Design Studio (6 UOC)

BE ME in Mathematics (24 UOC)

Notes for the Mathematics broadening discipline:

  1. Students will be required to achieve a mark of at least 70 in either MATH1231 or MATH1241.
  2. Students will not do MATH2069 and MATH2099, but MATH2111 and MATH2601 instead.

Year 2/3

  • MATH2221 Higher Theory and Applications of Diff. Equations (6 UOC)
  • MATH2621 Higher Complex Analysis (6 UOC)

Year 3/4

  • MATH2901 Higher Theory of Statistics (6 UOC)

Years 4/5

  • Select one level 3 course (6 UOC)

Example plan 1 (link to “BE ME – Maths NEW Plan 1.pdf”)

Example plan 2 (link to “BE ME – Maths NEW Plan 2.pdf”)

Due to changes in the Physics courses, please contact the Program Authority about this.

The degree can be completed in 4.5 years if students do two summer sessions.

Be among the first to take the advantage of this leading program from School of Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications.