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Undergraduate Courses Procedure (for courses starting with numeric course codes)
  1. The purpose of these procedures is to set out minimum University requirements for undergraduate courses (diplomas, associate degrees and bachelor degrees). When a faculty seeks Academic Board accreditation for a particular course or sequence, it may specify more demanding requirements than are set out in these procedures.
  2. Courses prepare students for professional or paraprofessional work, as appropriate to the AQF qualification, and further learning. In addition to learning outcomes specific to the discipline or field of study, University of Canberra (UC) courses are designed to reflect the University’s professional education focus and enable students to acquire the Attributes of Graduates of University of Canberra Coursework Courses.
  1. These procedures cover the following undergraduate awards offered by the University of Canberra within the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF):
    • Diploma (AQF level 5);
    • Associate degree (AQF level 6);
    • Bachelor degree (AQF level 7).
  2. These procedures also cover clustered qualifications including articulated diplomas, associate degrees and/or bachelor courses, and combined bachelor courses.
  3. Over-arching principles for courses at the University are set out in the Course Policy.
  4. These procedures are applicable for all University of Canberra courses with a numeric course code. For courses with codes beginning with alpha codes, please refer to the Undergraduate and Postgraduate Coursework Courses Procedures (for courses starting with alpha course code).
  1. Key requirements
    1. When designing, revising or administering an undergraduate course, the parameters set out in the following sections should be considered.
    2. Requirements for individual courses are stated in the Course Particulars for each course.
    3. Undergraduate courses are normally designed for the admission of students with no prior experience of higher education.
    4. Characteristics of undergraduate courses
      1. Bachelor degree courses will be of two types:
        1. generic degree courses (such as that leading to the award of Bachelor of Arts); or
        2. named degree courses (such as that leading to the award of Bachelor of Medical Science).
      2. The University may consider accrediting courses leading to diplomas and associate degrees that:
        1. are in specialised or paraprofessional areas where there is demand for a shorter qualification with the options of immediate employment and further study to complete a related higher award;
        2. enhance flexibility and pathways for students and broaden educational offerings to meet the needs of the professions, industry and workplace; and
        3. articulate with bachelor programs at UC or at other higher education providers, or are designed as exit awards only from higher level UC undergraduate courses.
      3. Diplomas or associate degrees may be part of an articulation agreement with another provider in the following circumstances:
        1. to build partnerships;
        2. to service an area in which the University has limited capability or interest; or
        3. to initiate studies in a new discipline or sub-discipline.
      4. Diploma courses at the University of Canberra will provide students with academic foundation skills for further learning consistent with AQF level 5 criteria. Learning and Teaching delivery methods will assist diploma students to reach the level of undergraduate students in bachelor degrees.
      5. Where diploma, associate degree and bachelor degree courses form an articulated pathway their components will be inter-related (see Clustered courses below).
    5. Academic requirements of undergraduate courses
      1. Academic requirements for courses include:
        1. required components which are mandatory for students in the course;
        2. restricted choice components which enable students to select from limited, specified options; and/or
        3. open elective components which allow students to choose any UC unit(s) on offer to which they are admissible (subject to limits on Level 1 units).
      2. At least 50 per cent of the academic requirements of an undergraduate course will normally directly relate to the discipline indicated by the course and award name.
      3. Academic requirements for diploma courses will normally include an academic skills unit.
    6. Course components of undergraduate courses
      1. Undergraduate courses are made up of units, majors and/or minors.
        Unit Levels
      2. Units in a course are assigned levels:
        1. Level 1 units are considered as ‘introductory’ units;
        2. Level 2 and above are considered as ‘advanced’ units and will include content considered to be at an ‘advanced’ level.
      3. A diploma course will comprise units at Level 1 and Level 2 with the majority of units at Level 1.
      4. An associate degree course will not normally include Level 3 units.
      5. A three-year bachelor degree being undertaken by a student may include no more than 30 credit points at Level 1 for course completion.
        Open elective
      6. Diploma courses may include open electives appropriate to the course objectives and learning outcomes.
      7. Associate degrees may have scope for students to take elective units outside the primary discipline area.
      8. Bachelor degree courses should allow students to take at least 18 credit points of elective units outside their primary discipline/professional area as a major, minor and/or individual units. Elective units should, where possible, be made available as a sequence over successive teaching periods.
      9. Elective capacity may be limited in courses designed for professional accreditation or in combined courses. Exceptions to this rule for single bachelor courses require a rationale and specific approval by Academic Board.
      10. A major is a sequence of sequential or related units totalling 18 to 24 credit points (equivalent to 6 to 8 x 3 credit point units) that:
        1. will pursue learning in a particular area in depth;
        2. would normally contain no more than six credit points at Level 1; and
        3. has at least 6 credit points at Level 3 or above.
      11. A bachelor generic degree course will include at least two majors.
      12. A bachelor named degree course will include at least one designated major.
      13. Majors will appear on student transcripts when the student has enrolled in and completed the major.
      14. Majors exist independently of courses and units.
      15. Student choice within majors should be limited so that structures are not overly complex. Complicated requirements or choice may be best served by developing two majors.
      16. A minor is a group of units totalling 12 credit points (equivalent to 4 x 3 credit point units) and will either:
        • pursue learning in a particular area in-depth, in which case the minor will have no more than 6 credit points at Level 1 and at least 6 credit points at higher level(s); or
        • provide a coherent foundation to a field of study, in which case the minor will contain 12 credit points at Level 1.
      17. Diploma courses may contain a minor.
      18. Associate degree courses will contain at least one minor.
      19. Minors do not appear on student transcripts.
      20. Minors exist independently of courses and units.
      21. Student choice within minors should be limited so that structures are not overly complex. Complicated requirements or choice may be best served by developing two minors.
        Co- and pre-requisites and assumed knowledge
      22. The only co-requisite of a major or minor should be enrolment in a specified course. This may be waived by the course convener.
      23. Individual units in a major/minor should not have co-requisites or pre-requisites of units outside the major/minor.
      24. Unit pre-requisite and co-requisites may be waived by the unit convener responsible for the unit.
      25. Majors, minors and units may have assumed knowledge. To permit a range of elective majors, minors or units this is encouraged (where appropriate) over co-requisites and pre-requisites.
    7. Relationships between undergraduate courses
      Clustered courses and awards
      1. Clustered qualifications are a grouping of two or more qualification types at either the same or different AQF level. Nested qualifications are an example of clustered qualification involving articulated arrangements from a lower level qualification into a higher level qualification to enable multiple entry and exit points (definitions from AQF Explanations and AQF Glossary). Undergraduate examples include:
        1. combined bachelor courses leading to two awards (see next section);
        2. diploma course that articulates into an associate degree and/or bachelor degree; and
        3. associate degree that articulates into a bachelor degree.
      2. In articulated arrangements at undergraduate level, completion of a lower level award can provide both admission and credit towards the higher award(s). Students who complete the lower qualification can move into a linked higher level course in the same or closely related discipline with full credit, or into a less closely related course with less credit.
      3. The University will aim to ensure that to the extent consistent with academic policies and specific course requirements, where a course is linked to a higher level course in the same or similar discipline at UC (in a clustered or nested arrangement), successful completion of the lower course will guarantee entry to the related higher course.[1]
      4. When qualifications are clustered, academic requirements of higher level courses will be taken into account when designing related lower level courses.
        1. academic requirements for a diploma may be similar to the first year of a UC bachelor course;
        2. academic requirements for an associate degree may be similar to the first two years of a UC bachelor course;
        3. units in lower level courses should form the foundation of majors and minors in linked higher courses.
      5. Where academic requirements for a lower level award form part of the requirements for a related higher level award, the lower award is said to be subsumable in the higher award. (Awards are subsumable only where academic requirements for the lower level award enable full credit irrespective of students’ choice of units.) The Course Particulars for each course will indicate the relationship.
      6. Where a lower level award is created as an exit point only from a higher award, no stand-alone course is established. Students who complete the appropriate number of credit points, including requirements that may be specified, in the higher course may exit with a lower award in the relevant field. Learning outcomes for the exit award must be defined in the accreditation document for the higher level course, to demonstrate that the exit award meets the AQF specification for the qualification type.
      7. In a cluster of qualifications at the same AQF level, such as a combined bachelor course, some rationalisation of the volume of learning[2] may be justifiable.
        Combined bachelor courses (leading to two awards)
      8. The purpose of a combined bachelor degree course is, in general, the aggregate of the purposes of the two component courses together with the greater breadth of professional knowledge and skills and generic skills obtained by undertaking the combination. The combined course should therefore contain the essential features of both courses.
      9. Bachelor degree courses may be combined in two ways:
        1. formally (through accreditation of a combined course with both course names leading to two awards); or
        2. informally (where no combined course is accredited but academic requirements for the combination leading to two awards are determined for a student or students). The same principles apply to formal and informal combinations.
      10. Where courses are combined informally, requirements include the following:
        1. the conveners of both courses need to agree to the combination proposal;
        2. the duration of study for the combined course is determined by the course conveners based on the study plan they agree on;
        3. the student is responsible for ensuring they enrol in accordance with the study plan to be able to complete the courses in a reduced timeframe; and
        4. application form and study plan are submitted and held together by the Student Progress and Graduation Office to assess for course completion.
      11. Combined bachelor courses will normally contain the required components of the individual courses from which the combined course is constructed. Exceptions to this rule require a rationale and specific approval by Academic Board. The restricted choice components of each course should be included in the combined course to the extent possible and appropriate for the relevant award.
      12. Combined bachelor degree courses must require that students complete a minimum of an additional 24 credit points of work above the requirements of the longer of the two individual degree courses.[3]
      13. Proposals for combined courses leading to double degrees must be approved by both faculties where two faculties are involved.
      14. Wherever possible students enrolled in a combined bachelor course leading to a double degree will be allowed to apply for course completion for one course and be conferred with the corresponding award before completing the total requirements of the combined course. Students who have completed the requirements of one course in a combined bachelor course and received that award, may be re-admitted to the combined bachelor course and receive up to full credit for the completed course. On completion of the combined course such students would receive only the second award.
    8. Volume of learning and duration of undergraduate courses
      1. Standard duration for undergraduate courses is as follows. A longer course may be accredited for a specific purpose.
        Award Volume of learning of the course (in EFTSL[4])
        Diploma 1 year (24 credit points)
        Associate degree 2 years (48 credit points)
        Bachelor 3 years or longer (72 credit points or above) normally 3 or 4 years[5]
      2. Bachelor courses which require graduate entry, normally for professional-related purposes, may be   shorter than 72 credit points provided that all requirements of the AQF specification are met.
      3. Courses must be completed within reasonable time of commencement to ensure graduates’ knowledge and skills in the discipline are current. Shorter periods than the following may be stipulated for individual courses.
        Volume of learning of the course (in EFTSL) Standard maximum period of time to complete the course (from initial enrolment to completion including periods of approved leave)
        1 year (24 credit points) 4 years from date of enrolment to date of course completion
        2 years (48 credit points) 6 years from date of enrolment to date of course completion
        3 years or longer (72 credit points or above) 10 years from date of enrolment to date of course completion
[1]    Admission to some courses may be restricted by quotas, availability of professional placements etc.
[2]    Volume of learning “identifies the notional duration of all activities required for the achievement of the learning outcomes specified for a particular AQF qualification type … expressed in equivalent full-time years.” See AQF Glossary of Terminology and Volume of learning in the AQF Explanations.
[3]    For example, a combined course consisting of two 72 credit point courses requires a total of 72+24=96 credit points. A combined course consisting of a 4-year degree course and a 3-year degree course requires 96+24=120 credit points. Some combined courses, such as those with Law, require an additional 48 credit points.
[4]    EFTSL – Equivalent Full-Time Student Load
[5]    Four year bachelor courses with embedded honours are at AQF level 8 and are covered in the Honours Courses Procedure.
Roles and Responsibilities:
Who Responsibility
Academic Board
  • Accredits courses and approves course components
  • Approves exceptions in relation to open electives
  • Approves exceptions in relation to required components of combined bachelor degree courses
Course Convener
  • May waive unit pre-requisite and co-requisites
  • Agrees informally combined bachelor degree proposals with conveners from other courses
Faculties Jointly approves proposals for double degrees where two faculties are involved
Implementation and Reporting:
Compliance with this procedure will be monitored through course development processes. Learning and Teaching is responsible for checking all proposals for new courses and course changes before submission to the University Education Committee and Academic Board for approval.
Terms Definitions
Award An award means a degree, associate degree, diploma or certificate that may be awarded by the University under the University of Canberra (Courses and Awards) Statute 2010. An award is the public recognition by the University that a student has satisfactorily completed a course.
Course A course means a course of study and instruction, leading to an award, provided under Rule 5 of the University of Canberra Courses and Awards (Courses of Study) Rules 2013. Successful completion of all academic requirements of a course is the normal prerequisite for the granting of a University award.
Course Particulars Details of specific course information, including design, delivery, structure and assessment, which is approved through University course approval processes.
Exit award An exit award is an early point of exit for students who cannot or choose not to complete the whole course in which they enrolled, which provides an opportunity for students to discontinue study but complete a lower level award (if the requirements have been met for that alternative award).
Subsumable award Where academic requirements for a lower level award form part of the requirements for a related higher level award, the lower award is said to be subsumable in the higher award.