Faculty Rules and Requirements

Handbook Rules and Editions

Science faculty
Students must follow the program rules and requirements in the UNSW Handbook published in the year they commence their studies with the Faculty of Science.

Students who transfer from another UNSW Faculty into Science (for example, from a Bachelor of Arts into a Bachelor of Science) must follow the program rules and requirements in the UNSW Handbook published in the year of their transfer.

Students, who are readmitted to UNSW after a period of unapproved absence or deferment, or after exclusion, must satisfy the program rules in the Handbook published in the year of their readmission. In addition, these students may be subject to restrictions on which courses taken at UNSW may be counted on their return. In some cases, students returning from an unapproved absence may be required to repeat courses. See the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) and Advanced Standing section below for more details. Students who take approved leave or deferment will follow the Handbook for the year of their original commencement unless otherwise approved by the Associate Dean (Academic Programs).

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

UNSW Students may be granted Recognition for Prior Learning (RPL) which may or may not reduce the amount of learning required to achieve a degree at UNSW.

Generally, RPL is only granted on the basis of the completion of tertiary-level studies, but in exceptional circumstances may also include non-formal or informal learning such as professional experience. RPL will not be granted on the basis of partly completed tertiary courses.

All applications for RPL at UNSW are subject to UNSW Recognition of Prior Learning (Coursework Programs) Policy and Procedures. Students seeking credit for courses completed at another university are required to submit documentary evidence (course outlines, academic transcripts) to support their application, and to nominate the course(s) for which they seek credit. In addition, the following conditions apply for all UNSW Science programs (including the Science component of dual award programs):
  1. Specified course credit, i.e. credit granted for an exact or near exact equivalence to a course at UNSW, will not be granted when more than 7 years has elapsed from the successful completion of the course (or other learning) and the student’s commencement in the Science program. Where this time period is shorter it will be stipulated in the individual rules for the relevant program.
  2. Unspecified course credit (e.g. General Education or free electives) will not be granted when more than 10 years has elapsed from the successful completion of the course (or other learning) and the student’s commencement in the Science program.
  3. Students may only receive credit of up to a maximum of 50% of the coursework component of their Science program, excluding Honours. For most undergraduate programs this will be 72 UoC (These limitations do not apply to credit or exemptions for internal transfer, or incomplete UNSW program of study). For dual award programs that include a Science component, it will be a maximum of 50% of the Science component of the dual degree, excluding Honours. Credit for the other program will be assessed by the Faculty that administers that program.
  4. Applications for RPL will only be assessed for students who have accepted a place to study in a UNSW Science program.
  5. Students must formally apply for RPL unless they become a UNSW student as part of a formal Articulation Agreement. Applications for RPL should be made as early as possible in the student’s program.
  6. Students who are readmitted into a Science program after a period of unapproved absence or deferment, or after exclusion, will not necessarily retain credit for all units completed at UNSW prior to the absence if the date of completion of the units of study is greater than the 7 and 10 year rules outlined in points 1 and 2 above. In these cases, the credit retained will be decided by the Associate Dean (Academic Programs) in consultation (when necessary) with the Program and/or Course Authority.

Course Exclusions

When a student has received special permission to enrol into a course which is excluded with another course they have already passed, only one of the two courses in question may count towards the student’s degree.

General Education Rules and Requirements

Science students must follow the General Education rules and requirements defined in their program rules, as well as all UNSW rules and requirements relating to General Education.

In general, this means students enrolled in a single award program must take 12 UoC of “non-Science” courses to fulfil their General Education requirement. “Science Courses” are defined in Table 1 below.

In addition, the following conditions apply to all UNSW Science students:
  1. No Science students may enrol in GENS-badged courses.
  2. No Bachelor of Medical Science student may enrol in GENS or GENM-badged courses.
  3. No student taking the Quantitative Risk major in Advanced Mathematics may enrol in GENS or GENC-badged courses and these students may not use any UNSW Business School courses to fulfil their General Education requirement.
  4. No Science student may take more than 12 UoC of GEN-badged courses in total. This means that GEN-badged courses can only count for the General Education requirement of a program, and not as Free Electives.
If in doubt about which courses can and cannot count as General Education, students should contact the Science Student Centre before enrolling.

Study Load and Overloading

A full-time study load for domestic undergraduate students at UNSW is between 18 – 24 UoC per semester, and for international students is 24 UoC per semester unless otherwise approved.

Part-time study is between 6 – 12 UoC per semester for domestic students and 6 – 18 UoC per semester for international students.

For Summer Term, a full-time (maximum) enrolment for all students is 12 UoC.

Students who wish to enrol in more than 24 UoC in a semester (or more than 12 UoC in Summer) must obtain approval from their Program Authority prior to enrolment. For Science students, this permission will only be given to students who meet the following criteria:
  1. Have completed at least 48 UoC at UNSW
  2. Have an overall WAM of 65 or above
These criteria may be waived by the Associate Dean (Academic Programs) if a student:
  1. Will be within 6 UoC of completing their program at the end of the semester in question, or
  2. Transfers between programs and needs to take specific courses to progress within the new program.
If approved, students will only be allowed to enrol into an additional 6 UoC per semester.

The Application to Overload form can be found on this website: https://www.science.unsw.edu.au/current-students/forms

Cross-Institutional Study

Students may apply to complete courses at another institution subject to the following rules.

1. Applications will only be considered if a student’s academic standing is GOOD.
2. The maximum limit for cross-institutional study in a student’s program is 12 UoC.
3. Normally, cross-institutional study can only be undertaken in a student's final year.
4. Cross-institutional study will only be approved if either:
       a) The course content is not taught at UNSW; or
       b) A student is unable to enrol in a UNSW course for good reason, for example, if the            course that a student fails was a core course for the student's program and the course          is not offered at UNSW in a timely way that would enable the student to progress with          their studies in a reasonable time.
5. Capstone courses where applicable must be completed at UNSW and cannot be     substituted for a cross-institutional course.
6. Credit will only be granted if the cross-institutional study is approved prior to the study.
7. Students will not be permitted to overload while taking cross-institutional study.

Approved international exchange is considered separately to cross-institutional study. However, when students have undertaken approved international exchange, additional cross-institutional study will only be permitted under exceptional circumstances.

Table 1: Definition of ‘Science’ Courses

'Science' courses are courses offered by the following Schools. The course prefixes associated with each School are in bold:
 Aviation  AVIA
 Biological Earth and Environmental Sciences  BEES, BIOS, CLIM, ENVS, GEOS,MSCI
 Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences  BABS, BIOC, BIOT, INOV, MICR
 Chemistry  CHEM
 Computer Science  COMP
 Data Science  DATA
 Food Science  FOOD
 Materials Science and Engineering  MATS
 Mathematics and Statistics  MATH
 Medical Sciences  ANAT, NEUR, PATH, PHAR, PHSL, SOMS
 Psychology  PSYC
 Physics  PHYS
 Optometry and Vision Science  OPTM, VISN
 Science Faculty  SCIF*

*Note: SCIF0xxx courses do not count as ‘science’ courses.

Undergraduate Information

Study Levels

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