Diploma of Higher Education, majoring in General Studies

Future Students Australian courses Diploma of Higher Education, majoring in General Studies

Diploma of Higher Education, majoring in General Studies

This course provides students with basic skills and knowledge in a range of fields and offers a pathway to degree level study. On successful completion you can graduate with the diploma and receive advanced standing towards selected JCU degree programs. The Diploma of Higher Education in General Studies provides you the opportunity to study a range of topics.

Townsville, Cairns, Singapore
Start dates
February, July
1 year full-time
Part time available
Study mode
On campus

Career opportunities

A Diploma of Higher Education is a great pathway if you don’t have the academic entry requirements for your preferred Bachelor degree. It gives you a ‘taste’ of university study and a kick-start to your career.

Course highlights

Diplomas are designed for:

  • People who do not have the academic entry requirements for their preferred course and need a pathway course
  • People who would like to try a ‘taste’ of university study before enrolling in a full degree.
  • People who are not sure of the path of study they wish to undertake.

Course overview

The Diploma of Higher Education in General Studies is a respected qualification in its own right and students can enjoy all the benefits provided to full degree students.

The course includes core subjects plus electives in all disciplines.

Core subjects include:

  • Developing Academic Skills
  • Learning in a Digital Environment

Student also select from the full range of elective subjects in other Diploma of Higher Education Programs:

With successful completion of the diploma, you can continue into a degree program and may receive credit for successfully completed subjects.

How to apply

Check the QTAC information and apply by clicking on the relevant link below depending on where you wish to study.

Take note of the QTAC code for this course in the location you've chosen because you'll need to enter it as part of your QTAC application.

Townsville (310001) - Apply now
Cairns (320001) - Apply now

OP Score/Rank is representative of 2017 entry requirements and is therefore indicative only. Entry scores for 2018 will be finalised in the major offer round.

Our campuses in Singapore and Brisbane operate on a trimester system – three semesters per year. View academic calendars.


Major Structure

Students will be enrolled in set study plans which will allow them to articulate into their target degree. The study plans will allow for flexible enrolment options, involving a mix of core subjects (including CS1022 and CU1022), selected major and elective subjects. Study Plans can be discussed with the Pathways team.


Select 18 credit points of elective subjects from List 1

List 1 

MA1022:03 Essential Maths

SC1022:03 Essential Science

CU1010:03 Effective Writing

BA1001:03 Time, Truth, and the Human Condition

BA1002:03 Our Space: Networks, Narrative and the Making of Place

BM1011:03 Physiological Systems and Processes 1

BM1111:03 Introduction to Health Sciences

BS1001:03 Introduction to Biological Processes or BZ1005:03 Introductory Ecology

BS1007:03 Introduction to Biodiversity or BZ1006:03 Diversity of Life

BU1804:03 Business, Environment and Society in the Tropics

BU1805:03 Contemporary Business Communications

BU1808:03 Managing Consumer Markets

BU1812:03 Business Law

BU1902:03 Accounting for Decision Making

BU1903:03 Economics for Sustainable Business

BZ1008:03 Functional Biology

CH1020:03 Preparatory Chemistry

CP1801:03 Fundamentals of Problem Solving and Programming I

CP1802:03 Internet Fundamentals

CP1803:03 Design Thinking

CP1804:03 Programming II

CP1806:03 Interactive Media and Web Technologies

CU1010:03 Effective Writing

CV1200:03 Effective Speaking

EA1110:03 Evolution of the Earth

EG1000:03 Engineering 1

EG1002:03 Computing for Engineers

EG1010:03 Process Engineering

EV1005:03 Environmental Processes and Global Change

HS1003:03 Lifespan Development for Health A or HS1005:03 Lifespan Development for Health

HS1111:03 Communication for Nursing and Midwifery or RH1002:03 Communication Skills for Health Professionals

HS1401:03 Health and Health Care in Australia

IA1007:03 Linking Indigenousness 1

MA1020:03 Preparatory Maths or MA1008:03 Algebra and Calculus 1

MA1401:03 Statistics and Data Analysis 1

NM1010:03 Digital Toolbox

NM1200:03 Digital Photography

NM1400:03 Introduction to Design

NM1500:03 Introduction to Media Arts

NM1520:03 Drawing and the Digital

NM1810:03 Introduction to Creativity and Innovation

PC1004:03 Introduction to Pharmacy Practice and Pharmaceutical Sciences 1

PH1001:03 Preparatory Physics or PH1005:03 Advanced Stream Physics 1

PL1001:03 The Political World: An Introduction to Political Science

PY1101:03 Exploring Psychology: from Brain to Practice

PY1102:03 Exploring Psychology: from Perception to Reality

RH1004:03 Foundations of Allied Health Professional Practice

SC1101:03 Science: Nature, Knowledge and Understanding

SC1102:03 Modelling Natural Systems

SC1109:03 Modelling Natural Systems-Advanced

SL1001:03 Introduction to Speech Pathology

SP1001:03 Science and Practice of Physical Activity

SP1002:03 Sport and Exercise Nutrition

SS1010:03 Australian People: Indigeneity and Multiculturalism

SY1001:03 Australian Society: An Introduction to Sociology

WS1005:03 Human Rights and Social Issues

WS1006:03 Self in Professional Helping

Pathway into course

The Diploma of Higher Education is a one-year course (or two years, part-time) designed to help people who may not meet the academic requirements for entry into a Bachelor degree course. It is also designed to help students develop the necessary skills to be successful university students.

The Diploma consists of a combination of introductory and first year degree subjects. Successful completion of the Diploma will give you a recognised qualification in its own right.

Graduating with the Diploma will also allow you to enter many JCU Bachelor degree programs and may give you credit for some of the subjects you successfully complete.

For further information, email pathways@jcu.edu.au.

Students are encouraged to undertake the Tertiary Access Course if they have not studied recently and/or want assistance making the transition to University studies.

Get prepared – bridging subjects

Bridging subjects are designed to fill any gaps in your knowledge. We offer maths and chemistry bridging subjects that can be studied on-campus in Cairns and Townsville. You may need to enrol in a bridging subject if you have not achieved the grade of ‘Sound Achievement or better’ in Queensland Year 12 maths or chemistry.


Diploma of Higher Education

Course code


Course type

Diploma (AQF Level 5)


Division of Student Life (Administered by Learning, Teaching and Student Engagement)

Award Requirements

Admission Requirements

Course prerequisites

Business Major – English (Maths B desirable)

All other Majors – Nil

Minimum English language proficiency requirements


For the Business major1

International applicants of non-English speaking background must meet the English language proficiency requirements of Band 1 Schedule II of the JCU Admissions Policy.

For the Health major

International applicants of non-English speaking background must meet the English language proficiency requirements of Band 2 Schedule II of the JCU Admissions Policy.

For the Psychological Science major

International applicants of non-English speaking background must meet the English language proficiency requirements of Band 1 Schedule II of the JCU Admissions Policy.

For all other majors

International applicants of non-English speaking background must meet the following English language proficiency requirements:

  • An overall IELTS score of 5.5 (with no component lower than 5.0)

Domestic applicants of non-English speaking background (all majors1)

Domestic applicants of non-English speaking background who do not have English 4SA must be able to demonstrate that they have the English language proficiency required to participate effectively in the course. This can be demonstrated by having achieved one or more of the following

  • 4 semesters of sound achievement or better in a senior secondary language rich subject (e.g. English Communication, History, Legal Studies, Business and Communication)
  • successfully completed a university preparation course
  • a satisfactory result in assessment of academic readiness2
  • a minimum of 0.25FTE at tertiary level with a passing GPA
  • STAT Test–score of 157 or better overall or 152 or better in the verbal sub-score
  • other achievement deemed equivalent by the Dean, Learning, Teaching and Student Engagement.

1the Business major has a course pre-requisite of English 4SA

2a new JCU tool which combines a personal competency assessment and an academic skills assessment


All majors

Students of English speaking background are assumed to be proficient in the English language and are therefore not required to demonstrate English language proficiency.

Special admission requirements

Important: before you enrol you must speak with a Pathways team member to discuss your study plan.  Please call: Townsville campus 47815740 or Cairns campus 42321155 or email: pathways@jcu.edu.au

Additional selection

James Cook University appreciates that a student's performance in Year 12 studies may not always be a true indicator of their ability to succeed at university. Therefore JCU will consider a school principal’s recommendation of an applicant's potential for university study for admission to the Diploma of Higher Education.

Academic Requirements for Course Completion

Credit points

24 credit points as per course structure

Course learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of the Diploma of Higher Education, students will be able to:

  • Integrate and apply theoretical and technical knowledge and concepts, with depth in some areas, in a discipline or broad field of learning

  • Identify, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information, claims and evidence from a range of sources

  • Communicate ideas, arguments and perspectives in a clear and logical way through English language proficiency and a range of media and technologies

  • Analyse, plan, design and evaluate solutions to problems by applying creativity, initiative and judgment and, where appropriate, numeracy skills

  • Demonstrate autonomy and responsibility in learning independently and managing personal development and future pathways

  • Apply knowledge of diversity and interpersonal and/or intercultural skills to work effectively in teams to complete a range of activities within broad parameters.

Course Structure

Course Structure – Business Major


Select a major from Table 1


Types of majors

Mandatory, Single

Credit points in major

24 credit points


Available for mid-year entry

Not available at all campuses








This is not a pathway program

Course Structure – All other majors


CU1022:03 Developing Academic Skills

CS1022:03 Learning in a Digital Environment


Select a major from Table 2


Types of majors

Mandatory, Single

Credit points in major

18 credit points


All majors are available for mid-year entry

Not all majors are available at all campuses




Business Studies





Engineering and Applied Science




General Studies



Thursday Island


Delivery at Thursday Island will be in Limited Attendance mode



Thursday Island


Delivery at Thursday Island will be in Limited Attendance mode

Information Technology





Psychological Science 







Society and Culture










Business Studies, General Studies, Information Technology, Psychological Science and Society and Culture majors only
Thursday IslandHealth and General Studies majors only - delivered in Limited attendance mode




Business major only


Expected time to complete

One year full-time or equivalent part-time

Maximum time to complete

3 years

Maximum leave of absence

1 year


Course progression

Other than with the approval of the Dean, Learning, Teaching and Student Engagement or authorised delegate, Diploma of Higher Education students majoring in Health, Business Studies, Society and Culture, Information Technology, Science, Engineering and Applied Science, or General Studies must enrol in the two core subjects either prior to or concurrently with other Diploma subjects.

Course includes mandatory professional placement(s)


Special assessment


Professional accreditation


Maximum allowed Pass
Conceded (PC) grade


Supplementary exam for final subject

Not applicable

Advanced Standing


Not eligible

Maximum allowed

Not applicable


Not applicable


Not applicable

Other restrictions

Not applicable

Award Details

Award title


Approved abbreviation


Honours award


Inclusion of stream of study on testamur

The major will appear on the testamur

Exit with lesser award

Not applicable

Course articulation

Students who complete this course are eligible to apply for entry into JCU bachelor degrees. Successful Diploma students may be granted advanced standing for subjects successfully completed under this course towards a Bachelor degree.

This website is intended as general guide. Prospective students should contact the university to confirm admission requirements and the availability of courses. James Cook University reserves the right to alter any course or admission requirement without prior notice.