General Rules and Requirements

General Education Requirements

Science faculty
Please refer to the General Education section of this Handbook for further information on the rationale and requirements of the UNSW General Education program.

To summarise: to meet the 12 units of credit (UOC) General Education requirement students in the single Science Programs may EITHER:
  1. Complete 12 UOC of courses that were developed especially for the General Education program (these have the course identifier that begins with GEN). Please see below (*) for further restrictions about the choice of these courses; OR
  2. Complete 12 UOC of courses from any faculty or faculties, other than the Faculty of Science (course codes considered to be Science are found in Table 1 in program 3970). Please see below (**) for further restrictions about the choice of these courses; OR
  3. A combination of 1 and 2 to total 12 UOC.
Important Notes:
*Students in any Faculty of Science Program cannot take any GENS courses, as these courses are convened by Science. Students in Program 3991 (Medical Science) cannot take GENS and GENM courses. Students in Program 3986 (Advanced Mathematics) cannot take GENS courses and in addition, those doing the Quantitative Risk major in Advanced Mathematics cannot take any GENC general education courses from the Australian School of Business.

**The rationale for General Education at UNSW is to complement the more specialised learning undertaken in a student's chosen field of study. One of the Objectives of General Education (listed as number 8 at is:

“To provide opportunities for students to explore discipline and paradigm bases other than those of their professional or major disciplinary specialisation through non-specialist courses offered in those other areas.”

In this regard the Faculty of Science requires that students who complete mainstream courses for General Education do so by completing 12 UOC of courses that are not scientifically-based and which are not cognate with your Program or Major.

As an example it is not possible for a student doing the Geology Major in Program 3970 to complete MINE courses. Similarly, students in Medical Science (Program 3991) cannot do courses in Medicine as General Education.

If you are in doubt, please ask at the Science Student Centre before you enrol in a course.

Prerequisites, Corequisites and Excluded Courses

All Programs are governed by rules that specify what a student needs to complete in order to qualify for a degree. Normally a student will study a mixture of compulsory and elective courses.

Compulsory or "core" courses are ones that must be studied, usually at the stage specified in the program. Often one compulsory course is a pre-requisite for another that comes at a later stage in the Program.

Elective courses are ones that a student chooses in accordance with his or her own interests, subject to capacity in the course. Some electives may have to be taken from a specified list, which are referred to as Directed Electives.

Where a choice of courses is available in a Program, students must take care to satisfy pre-requisites and co-requisites and not complete excluded courses.

Pre-requisites are courses that must be satisfactorily completed before a student can progress to a later course. Pre-requisites are specified in the Course Descriptions in this Handbook: you will not be able to enrol in a course without a necessary pre-requisite.

Co-requisites are courses that must either be completed successfully before, or studied concurrently with, the course for which it is prescribed.

Excluded courses are ones that cannot be counted towards the degree qualification. As an example it is not possible to count the "normal" and "advanced" versions of the same course as they are excluded.

Progression in some Programs is subject to academic performance.

Double Majors

It is possible to complete a Double Major in both Science (Program 3970) and Advanced Science (Program 3972) and in any Dual Degree Program that incorporates Science/Advanced Science.

Students should be aware that double majors should be completed within the minimum units of credit prescribed for the Program. In some dual degree programs this requires careful planning. If there is not significant overlap between majors, some students may require longer than the minimum time to complete the degree.
Where a student completes two Majors both will be listed on their testamur. If a student continues on to complete Honours this will be listed separately.

In 3970 this will be as follows:
    Pass degree: Bachelor of Science with a Major in X and Y
    Honours: Bachelor of Science with Honours Class Z in X and a Major in Y

In 3972 this will be as follows:
    Bachelor of Science (Advanced) with Honours Class Z in X and a Major in Y.

Credit Transfer (Advanced Standing)

Students admitted to Programs administered by the Faculty of Science (including the Science component of Dual Degree Programs) may be granted credit for previous studies. This is referred to as "Advanced Standing": if granted these courses are "transferred" into your UNSW Academic Record, reducing your requirement to complete courses here. Advanced Standing is generally only granted on the basis of the completion of courses at accredited tertiary education providers.

All applications for Advanced Standing are subject to the following conditions:
  1. Where students transfer from another tertiary institution the Advanced Standing they are granted will not be superior to that which they attained at the previous institution. As an example a first year course at another institution will not be counted as Advanced Standing for a Stage II course at UNSW.
  2. Only courses completed within 10 years from the commencement of the UNSW degree will be eligible for Advanced Standing, with the exception of Advanced Standing for General Education or elective courses in a Program.
  3. Students can receive Advanced Standing based upon a partially completed or fully completed degree elsewhere up to a maximum of half of the units of credit required for the completion of the UNSW Program.
  4. Students who have completed a relevant Degree (Bachelor at Pass level) may enrol in Honours in Program 3970 in a Major cognate to their original degree only if they have satisfied the pre-requisites for entry to the Honours program determined by the School concerned. Enrolment into the Honours Program is entirely at the discretion of the School and/or Faculty of Science.
  5. Students admitted to a Dual Degree Program within the Faculty of Science can receive Advanced Standing based upon a partially completed or fully completed degree elsewhere up to a maximum of half of the units of credit required for the Science component of the Program.
Applicants should note that eligibility for Advanced Standing in a Science Program does not guarantee Admission to that Program.

All applications for Advanced Standing should use the Advanced Standing Application Form. This form and accompanying documents should be submitted to the Science Student Centre well before session begins. Please ask at the Science Student Centre about what documents you should use to support your Advanced Standing application.

Study Load: Reduced Normal and Overload

The standard full-time enrolment load at UNSW is 24 units of credit (UOC) per semester (Semester 1 and 2) however you are considered to be a full-time student if you are enrolled in at least 18 UOC. Please note, if you are an International Student you must be enrolled in 24 units of credit each semester. A maximum of 18 units of credit is permitted for Summer Term for programs under the authority of the Faculty of Science. Students with external commitments, such as part-time employment in excess of ten hours per week, should take less than a normal load in the relevant session. The standard full-time enrolment load can be exceeded only in exceptional circumstances by students with an excellent Academic Record and requires the permission of the Associate Dean (Undergraduate Programs). Students wishing to overload must complete and lodge the Application to Overload Form at the Science Student Centre before the deadline to add courses for the relevant teaching period. If you decide you do not wish to proceed with the overload please ensure you withdraw from the course prior to the relevant specified withdrawal date (see Key dates).

Academic Standing

Academic Standing is assigned to students at the end of each main teaching session. These levels are defined as: Good Standing (the student's current progress is deemed satisfactory), Referral, Probation, Provisional Suspension (Semester 1 only), Suspension, Provisional Exclusion (Semester 1 only) and Exclusion. Movement between levels is based on the proportion of units of credit (UOC) passed: to remain on Good Standing you must Pass more UOC than you Fail. If you Fail an equal amount of UOC or more than the UOC that you Pass then your Academic Standing drops one level. For further information please see the General University Rules & Student Information in this Handbook.

In the Faculty of Science, at the end of each year, all students not in Good Standing or on Referral are assigned an Academic Advisor to discuss their progress. A student on Probation will normally have their enrolment blocked until they have met with their Advisor and they will only be permitted to enrol in 18 UOC until their Standing improves.

Course Quotas

Quotas are imposed on some courses (usually because of constraints related to space). Where quotas are imposed, students' eligibility to enrol will be assessed on academic merit or on the basis of the requirements of the Program of study in which the student is enroled.

Undergraduate Information

Study Levels

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