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Course and Subject Handbook 2011 Award Structures and Planning a Course of Study

Award Structures and Planning a Course of Study

The following information details the basic principles according to which the University’s Awards are structured. It is important that students also read the Requirements for Undergraduate Coursework Awards, Faculty Award Requirements and the Award Requirements for the course in which they are enrolled, to ensure familiarity with the conditions of the degree regulations.

1. Credit Point Structure

The University’s subject structure is based on multiples of 3 credit point subjects.

Most subjects have a credit point value of 3. However, some subjects - generally at Honours or postgraduate level - may have a higher credit point value such as 6, 9 or 12.

2. The Model

2.1 A 3-year degree normally requires 72 credit points based on eight subjects of 3 credit points at each of levels 1, 2 and 3. A four-year degree normally requires 96 credit points. The minimum duration and required number of credit points for each level of Award offered by the University is shown below.



Credit points


6 months part-time

6 credit points

Advanced Diploma (Undergraduate)

2 years

48 credit points


1 year

24 credit points

Undergraduate Degree

3 years

72 credit points

Undergraduate Degree

4 years

96 credit points

Honours Degree final year

1 year

24 credit points

Graduate or Postgraduate Certificate

6 months

12 credit points

Graduate or Postgraduate Diploma

1 year

24 credit points

Masters Degree by Coursework

12 months,

18 months or

2 years

24 credit points

36 credit points or

48 credit points

Masters Degree by Research

18 months

36 credit points equiv.

Doctor of Philosophy

3 years


Professional Doctorate

3 years


Faculties may allow students, with the approval of the appropriate officer, to graduate where the student is within one or two credit points of completing the prescribed requirements for the Award, including joint degrees.

2.2 The normal enrolment for a full-time student is 24 credit points in an academic year, or 12 credit points in each teaching period. Thus, a 3 credit point subject should be planned to require a quarter of a full-time student’s available time and effort in a teaching period. Further information on full-time and part-time status is given at section 7, below.

2.3 The maximum enrolment normally permitted is 18 credit points per teaching period.

3. Subjects

3.1 Subjects may not have different credit points for the same content at the same level.

3.2 Subjects that have substantial overlap in content are listed as anti-requisites.

3.3 The first year of an undergraduate degree normally requires the equivalent of eight 3 credit point subjects at level 1.

3.4 The second, third and fourth years of the degree normally require the equivalent of eight 3 credit point subjects, but may include subjects with a higher credit point value at levels 3 and 4. Honours and professional subjects can be any size in multiples of 3 credit points up to 24 credit points.

3.5 Postgraduate subjects are normally 3 or 6 credit points.

4. Contact Hours

4.1 Degrees should be designed with the expectation that the average student undertaking 24 credit points in a year can reasonably expect that the workload including contact and non-contact hours will be between 40 and 48 hours per week.

4.2 At the undergraduate level, each 3 credit point subject requires up to the equivalent of 6 hours of contact time per week for thirteen weeks. The maximum contact for a 24 credit point year should be 24 hours per week. Fieldwork and practicums can be conducted outside the designated teaching weeks.

5. Prerequisites, Anti-requisites and Co-requisites

5.1 Definitions:

5.1.1 A prerequisite is a subject or subjects or a set of conditions which must be met before enrolment in a subject is approved.

5.1.2 If there is significant overlap in content for two or more subjects, they may be defined as anti-requisites for each other. Students will not be able to enrol in, or gain credit for, any subject that is an anti-requisite for one of their existing subjects.

5.1.3 Co-requisites are two or more subjects that must be undertaken in the same Study Period.

5.2 Prerequisite subjects should be kept to a minimum and used only where sequential learning is involved. Prerequisite subjects may be implied in program structures.

6. Courses, Majors and Minors

The University has adopted the terms course, major and minor as the terminology used to describe the content of its Awards (refer to Glossary of Terms)

7. Full-Time and Part-Time Study and Study Overloads

7.1 Full-time study:

A full-time student normally enrols for 12 credit points in each teaching period and 24 credit points in each academic year. It is important to note that a student must be enrolled in at least 9 credit points in a teaching period to be regarded as full-time; those whose enrolment drops below 9 credit points at any stage in the teaching period normally will no longer be eligible for Centrelink purposes, for Commonwealth Learning Scholarship requirements, for full-time Student ID card or, if an overseas student, for a student visa.

7.2 Part-time study:

A part-time student normally enrols for fewer than 9 credit points in a teaching period and fewer than 18 credit points in an academic year. Part-time study in most courses is available, but classes during the evening can be offered in only a limited number of subjects. Students who foresee difficulty in attending classes during the day should therefore take note of published lecture times in planning their enrolment.

A part-time student is normally permitted to enrol in a workload that suits the student’s requirements provided that any specifications within degree requirements concerning minimum enrolment and/or maximum period of candidature are complied with.

7.3 Study Overloads:

Without approval from the Faculty Pro-Vice-Chancellor, students are not permitted to undertake more than:

  • the normal full-time study load of 24 credit points in a year; or

  • the number of credit points required to complete their course.

Commonwealth supported students taking subjects in excess of course requirements will not receive Commonwealth support for these subjects; instead they will be required to pay tuition fees for any subjects beyond course requirements.

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