The University of New South Wales

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General Handbook


Advanced Standing, sometimes referred to as credit transfer, at undergraduate level is recognition of prior study at a University or TAFE. At postgraduate level it is recognition of prior postgraduate study in a university.

An award is a degree, diploma or certificate obtained when a student graduates from a program at UNSW. It recognises the student's successful completion of that program.

A Bachelor degree is the formal award a student receives when they successfully complete an undergraduate university degree program, ordinarily of three or more years duration.

This is the teaching location where a program, course or plan is taught. UNSW has several campuses including the main campus at Kensington, the College of Fine Arts campus in Paddington, and the Australian Defence Force Academy in Canberra.

A co-major is part of a sequence of study for a program in which the requirements for two majors are met.

A combined program is a program of study which leads to the award of two degrees, that is, the graduate earns two qualifications (an example of this would be the Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Laws.) These are also sometimes called combined degrees. They have a single set of program rules.

A course which is compulsory and must be passed in order to complete the requirements of the program.

A corequisite is a course which must be completed successfully before, or studied concurrently with, the course for which it is prescribed.

Otherwise known as a subject, a course is an individual study unit offered within a program and plan (for example, MATH1131 - Mathematics 1A). Students enrol in many courses to make up their program of study, some of which may be core courses (courses which need to be completed to satisfy the requirements of a particular program) and some of which may be elective courses (where students are given a choice of courses). At UNSW, courses are identified by a four character alphabetic prefix which identifies the subject area or specialisation administering the course and a four-digit numeric suffix e.g. ECON1101 Microeconomics 1.

Coursework refers to a mode of study which is largely or wholly constituted of courses involving face-to-face class instruction. It is a term which is commonly used with regard to undergraduate and postgraduate study. The other mode of postgraduate study is research.

A degree is the formal qualification awarded when a student graduates from an undergraduate program of study such as a Bachelor of Arts, or a postgraduate Masters or PhD program.

See School.

A doctoral program is a postgraduate research program where students independently research a specific topic under the guidance of a supervisor to produce a thesis. For a doctorate, considerably more original work is required than for a Masters by Research program. Students should note that in some faculties, coursework may also be prescribed.

Exclusions are courses students are excluded from taking, generally because they have content in common with courses for which the student has previously been granted credit.

Faculties are the large academic organisational units of the University, and are generally comprised of several schools or departments. UNSW has eight faculties: Arts and Social Sciences; Built Environment; Commerce and Economics; Engineering; Law; Medicine; Science; and the College of Fine Arts. University College, ADFA and the Australian Graduate School of Management are also regarded as faculties.

UNSW offers several "fast-track" or "Masters track" programs. These give students the opportunity, if they meet progression requirements, to progress directly from an undergraduate program to a particular Masters program with some courses in the final year counting towards both qualifications e.g. the Bachelor of Engineering/Master of Commerce.

UNSW requires undergraduate students to complete some courses outside the study area of the degree program in which they are enrolled. General Education courses are offered in a variety of general subject areas to allow students to complete this requirement.

International students are citizens of a country other than Australia or New Zealand and are not Australian permanent residents.

Local students are Australian citizens, Australian permanent residents or New Zealand citizens.

Many programs require students to complete a major. A major is an approved sequence of study in an area of academic or vocational specialisation. This is also sometimes referred to as a 'plan'.

A Masters program or degree is a postgraduate program where students enrol in an approved sequence of courses involving face-to-face instruction. Some Masters programs also involve a research component.

In some programs, students are required to supplement their study major (see above) with a 'minor.' This is a sequence of study in a secondary area of specialisation, comprising fewer units of credit than a major (usually 24). For example, a student enrolled in an Science degree program might complete a major in Anatomy and a minor in Zoology. Majors and minors are both examples of a 'plan'.

Non-award enrolment means that the course/s undertaken by the student do not lead to the award of any formal degree, diploma or certificate at UNSW. Students from other universities ("cross institutional") often enrol in non-award courses at UNSW, as credit may be granted for these courses by their home institution.

See Doctorate.

A plan is a sequence of study within a program focused on a particular study area, usually requiring students to complete an approved sequence of 'core' and 'elective' courses. At UNSW, plans are identified by a five-digit alphabetical prefix and a five-digit numeric suffix e.g. SENGA13648 refers to the full-time Software Engineering plan.

Postgraduate programs of study are available to students who have already completed a university degree program in a related area. They offer the opportunity for students to further their skills and qualifications in a particular area of specialisation. Completion of a postgraduate program may lead to an award of a Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma, Masters (by Coursework or Research), Doctorate (PhD) or post-doctoral qualification.

Some courses have prerequisites. A pre-requisite is a requirement which must be completed before enrolling in the course or the next level of courses e.g. completing a Level I MATH course before progressing to Level II MATH courses.

A program is an approved program of study which leads to the award of a degree, diploma or certificate. Programs may be undergraduate or postgraduate and are identified by a four-digit numeric code e.g. the program code for the Bachelor of Psychology is 3432.

Research programs of study are postgraduate programs of study which involve a student independently researching a specific topic under the guidance of a supervisor and producing a thesis or report. Some research programs do involve a coursework component.

This is an academic organisational unit, also sometimes referred to as a department. Faculties may be comprised of several schools e.g. the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences has 12 schools including the School of Philosophy and the School of History.

The administrative time period in which Teaching Periods are defined, students enrol, and for which students are charged fees or student contributions. UNSW has two main 12-week semesters per year, as well as the eight-week Summer Term in December/January.

A specialisation is an area of academic expertise on which students focus their studies, often by enrolling in a plan offered in that area, such as a Philosophy major within an Arts degree. Examples of specialisations include French, Biological Science, Taxation etc.

Programs are generally structured in a number of 'stages' of study, requiring students to complete a specified number of units of credit and/or a particular sequence of courses at each stage. Generally, when a student completes their degree program within the normal minimum time, the different stages will correspond with the different years of the student's enrolment (e.g. Level 1 is Year 1, Level 2 is Year 2, etc).

Each 12-week Semester has two six-week Teaching Periods. A course in Semester 1 or 2 may run over either one or two of those Teaching Periods. The eight-week Summer Term has two four-week Teaching Periods - one in December and one in January. Summer Term courses may run over either one or two of those Teaching Periods.

Undergraduate programs of study are degree programs which do not require students to have previously undertaken university study in order to enrol. They are designed for students who have completed secondary studies (high school) in Australia or have a level of education deemed equivalent to this (e.g. equivalent overseas study or alternate entry programs).

Each course at UNSW has a particular load or weighting which is referred to as a unit of credit e.g. the course ELEC1101 Electrical Engineering is worth 3 units of credit. This is often abbreviated to UOC. UNSW programs require the successful completion of a certain number of UOCs and fees are also charged on a UOC basis.
See also Units of Credit (UOC) and student workload (myUNSW A-Z Guide)

Week Zero is being introduced as the first week of Semester 1 and Semester 2 at the Kensington and COFA campuses. It is the week before the commencement of the main 12-week teaching periods. The following activities are conducted in Week Zero: O-Week; introductions to laboratories; projects week (eg in the Faculty of Engineering); some field trips and residentials.

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© The University of New South Wales (CRICOS Provider No.: 00098G), 2004-2011. The information contained in this Handbook is indicative only. While every effort is made to keep this information up-to-date, the University reserves the right to discontinue or vary arrangements, programs and courses at any time without notice and at its discretion. While the University will try to avoid or minimise any inconvenience, changes may also be made to programs, courses and staff after enrolment. The University may also set limits on the number of students in a course.