This procedure supports the James Cook University (JCU) Credit and Articulation Policy and guides the operationalisation and implementation of that policy in a manner consistent with the requirements of the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) Qualifications Pathway Policy.
This procedure applies to domestic and international, prospective and current, undergraduate and postgraduate coursework students, and online coursework students. It covers credit by articulation arrangements with Australian and overseas higher education providers. It also covers award of credit for prior learning outside of a formal agreement. This procedure does not apply to credit for higher degree by research Awards, nor the granting or issuance of Intermediate Awards.
Refer to Policy Glossary.
Credit is the value assigned for the recognition of equivalence in content and learning outcomes between different types of learning and/or qualifications. Credit reduces the amount of learning required to achieve a qualification and may be applied via credit transfer, articulation, recognition of prior learning or advanced standing.
Articulation arrangements are the arrangements which enable students to progress from a recognised academic program to a James Cook University course with admission and/or credit in a defined pathway.
Course Credit: In accordance with the National Code 2007 it is defined as:
“Exemption from enrolment in a particular part of the course as a result of previous study, experience or recognition of a competency currently held. Includes academic credit and recognition of prior learning”.
Credit transfer is a process that provides students with agreed and consistent credit outcomes for components of a qualification based on identified equivalence in content and learning outcomes between matched qualifications.
JCU aims to ensure that pathways into and between qualifications are available to all students for all relevant qualifications. Information regarding credit shall be made publicly available, widely promoted and easily accessible to all prospective and existing students to enable them to make well-informed choices between alternative pathways, taking into account the credit that may be available to them. Information regarding credit shall be regularly reviewed to maximize applicability to new and updated qualifications and to student and industry needs.
Roles and Responsibilities
Students are responsible for:
- Completing and submitting all documentation required to support their application.
- Providing true, correct and complete documents. Any incorrect or incomplete or misleading documentation may result in delays in processing or rejection of application or cancellation of enrolment. If a student is identified to have provided misleading documents the Student Code of Conduct Policy will apply.
- Reflecting upon their prior learning and demonstrating how that learning relates to the intended learning outcomes for the subject or course when applying for credit based on informal or non-formal learning.
Colleges are responsible for:
- Assessing credit applications and determining the level of specified and unspecified credit awarded within the stipulated timeframes. (Refer to - Timelines for assessment and determination)
- Providing Student Services Directorate (SSD) with precedents, where appropriate, to facilitate centralised assessment and processing.
- Advising SSD if precedents and articulation agreements can continue to be applied post their nominated expiry date.
- Ensuring that determination and award of credit for prior learning outside of a formal agreement is overseen by the Course Co-ordinator.
- Approving and reviewing articulation and credit transfer schedules with other education providers;
- Notifying the Partnership Development Officer or equivalent representative of any new articulation or credit transfer schedule or changes to any existing approvals where relevant and ensuring that the partner institution operate in accordance of the articulation agreement.
- Monitoring the progress of students granted credit from partner institutions and making recommendations for change to the credit assessment process.
- Adhering to agreed timeframes to ensure the student experience is consistent and professional.
- The Directors, Academic Quality and Strategy for DTES and DTHM are responsible for analysing performance metrics reports supplied by SSD and developing continuous improvement strategies, for processing times and timeframe compliance.
- Course Co-ordinators are responsible for advising students about outbound exchange subject options to ensure the student makes appropriate study choices and does not prolong their degree.
Student Services are responsible for:
- Maintaining the information about credit for prior learning on the University’s public website including an up-to-date list of approved credit arrangements;
- Processing credit applications covered by a formal agreement or where there are clear and current precedents.
- Communicating with students (including prospective students) about their credit outcome/s.
- Recording credit granted or not granted in individual student records.
- Ensuring complete applications are forwarded to the Colleges for assessment.
- Reporting changes where international students applying for credit have a reduction in the length their course. SSD must notify the appropriate staff to report on the student’s Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) under section 19 of the Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Act.
- Maintaining a process for international students to accept a record of course credit granted. (National Code 2018, standard 2.4)
- Providing academic divisions regularly with reports of expiring precedents.
- The Director, Student Services is responsible for analysing performance metrics reports for processing times and ensuring compliance with timeframes.
- Providing advice to students on how to develop and change their study plan in order to fit in an exchange experience. This includes how many core subjects and electives are included in a study plan and how many credits are require for completion.
- Enrolling students into subjects for which they have been approved to study on exchange and applying credit to their degree once exchange program is complete.
Credit Types and Limits
Credit can be given to students in the form of block, specified, designated or unspecified credit, within course rules and timeframes.
- Specified credit involves granting credit for identified subjects, either core or elective subjects.
- Unspecified credit may be granted against one or more electives in cases in which a match is determined in terms of the content, volume, and level of learning to the JCU course overall, but where no direct match exists to JCU subjects.
- Block credit may be granted as a result of credit and articulation agreements between education providers.
- Designated credit is the same as specified credit except that the result/s obtained for the completed study are recorded and included in calculations such as the Course Weighted Average.
Sources of Credit
- Formal qualifications: Provided equivalence to JCU subjects can be determined, applicants may be eligible for credit if they have completed study at a university or recognised provider of post-secondary education. The time-limit for granting credit for completed formal qualifications varies by Award and is listed in the Award rules for each course.
- Incomplete formal qualifications: Credit for a partially completed formal qualification may be granted towards subjects passed at a university or a recognised provider of post-secondary education, provided equivalence to JCU subjects can be determined.
- Informal and non-formal learning: Informal and non-formal learning may contribute to credit by an applicant demonstrating appropriate methods, and as may be required under the Award rules which may include one or more of:
- Certificates of competency or attendance from industry recognised courses;
- Observation of workplace skills and practice by a qualified observer designated by the University;
- Completion of some or all of the assessment requirements (or equivalent) as may be specified by the co-ordinator of the subject for which credit is sought;
- Interview by expert panel of three persons, including one impartial expert in the area;
- Fully documented portfolio of work completed while practicing in industry. The authenticity of all work must be certified in writing by a supervisor or by the person/s responsible for commissioning the work;
- A comprehensive curriculum vitae accompanied by a statutory declaration from the applicant stating that the information contained in the curriculum vitae is a true and accurate record of the applicant’s experience.
- Advanced secondary school level studies.
- Credit applications submitted by a secondary school level for undergraduate awards are not normally granted unless prior agreement is in place, however applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
- Credit will not be granted for courses that have professional accreditation requirements that specifically prohibit the granting of credit based on secondary school level studies.
- Exchange - Global Mobility: The JCU Exchange program offers students the opportunity to study overseas, for one or two semesters, as part of their undergraduate degree. Students will gain credit towards their JCU degree as well as gaining personal confidence and career benefits.
- Students must undertake comparable subjects at their host institution in order to be granted credit towards their JCU degree. With over 50 host institutions available to choose from, students should obtain advice from their course coordinator when selecting a host intuition and their study plan. It is imperative that host institutions offer relevant subjects that can be credited towards a student’s JCU degree.
- Students will be granted the appropriate credit for the subjects that they successfully complete on exchange, but the grades that they receive overseas will not be transferred. The student will receive a copy of their academic transcript from the host university which will list the grades for overseas studies.
- Credit for study undertaken at the host institution is granted for degree purposes only. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure the acceptability of these subjects for professional accreditation purposes. Students are required to accept responsibility for ensuring that their study plan at the host institution is approved by the Course Coordinator and that any changes to their study plan whilst on exchange must be approved by JCU.
To be eligible to take part in JCU’s Exchange program students need;
- to be currently enrolled in a full degree undergraduate course,
- to have a minimum GPA of 4.5 at the time of application and on the date of departure,
- to have successfully completed at least one year full-time equivalent (FTE) study (24 credit points) at JCU by the date of departure and
- to be granted approval from the Course Coordinator to study overseas.
The student will continue to accrue tuition fees during the nominated and approved time overseas. These tuition fees will continue to be added to the students HECS-HELP debt as normal.
Students apply via the JCU website for Global Mobility.
Credit Limits and Restrictions
- Formal qualifications (undergraduate) The range of credit that may be granted for formal qualifications attained from a university or recognised provider of higher education is listed below.
- 25% credit for a Diploma linked to a 4 year Bachelor Degree / 4 year Bachelor Degree with Honours
- 33% credit for a Diploma linked to a 3 year Bachelor Degree
- 37.5% credit for an Advanced Diploma or Associate Degree linked to a 4 year Bachelor Degree / 4 year Bachelor Degree with Honours
- 50% credit for an Advanced Diploma or Associate Degree linked to a 3 year Bachelor Degree
- A maximum of 24 credit points (1 year full-time equivalent study) for a relevant Diploma (AQF 5) or equivalent
- A maximum of 36 credit points (1.5 years full-time equivalent study) for a relevant Advanced Diploma (AQF 6) or equivalent
- For non-Australian institutions: The qualification for which credit is being sought will be evaluated to determine equivalence with an Australian qualification. If equivalence can be determined, through the status of the institution (for example, a registered provider) and the contents and learning outcomes of the qualification, then the credit listed above can be used as a guide.
- Credit for informal and non-formal learning (undergraduate) The maximum credit that may be granted for the recognition of informal and/or non-formal prior learning is documented in the Award rules.
- Postgraduate (coursework) The maximum credit that may be granted towards postgraduate degrees by coursework are listed in the Award rules, and depend on previous cognate or non-cognate discipline study and previous relevant qualifications and experience. Prior learning required to meet entry requirements, regardless of whether it is through qualifications or relevant industry experience, is not sufficient to earn credit within the degree. The provision of credit will depend on demonstrated mastery to the requisite level of specific content and skills through previous study, qualifications, or relevant experience.
- AQF Level 7 and 8 credit may be granted into a Masters by Coursework degree based on assessment of the volume of learning as listed in the AQF and the relevance of those qualifications to the intended course of study.
- Nested JCU qualifications - Postgraduate (coursework) Awards: Students moving from an earlier stage of a nested course to a later stage will receive full credit for passed studies undertaken in the earlier stage, whether or not they have had the earlier Award conferred.
- Course transfers between JCU Awards: A current JCU student may apply to transfer from one Award to another, and will be eligible to gain up to 100% of credit for subjects undertaken where:
- the original Award has not been conferred, and,
- there is subject equivalence between the Awards, and,
- the academic integrity of the Award is maintained, and,
- the previous study was completed within the time limits specified in the award rules.
- Subsequent study of a JCU Award: A past JCU student may apply for admission to a JCU Award for which they meet the entry requirements and will be eligible to gain up to 100% of credit for subjects undertaken previously at JCU where:
- the previous study was completed within the time limits specified in the award rules, and,
- there is subject equivalence between the content and learning outcomes, and,
- the academic integrity of the Award is maintained.
Applying for credit
When to apply
Credit applications will be assessed when an applicant has submitted an application to study at James Cook University. Prior to and during the application for credit process students can gain access to an estimated credit outcome by accessing the credit calculator on the James Cook University website. Note: Not all precedents are covered in the calculator. Applications for credit into the Bachelor of Veterinary Science, Bachelor of Dental Surgery or Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery, will be assessed only when an Offer into the respective program is made.
How to apply
Students must complete the Application for Credit form on the James Cook University website.
What to include with the application – what evidence is needed
- Credit for previous studies: Students must provide scanned original copies of academic transcripts or eQuals. Students need to include the titles of subjects studied, results awarded, and the subject outlines or syllabi from the year studied. Students that are transferring credit within James Cook University are not required to provide subject outlines or an academic transcript.
- Students must demonstrate that they have achieved the learning outcomes by aligning subjects on their credit application.
- Recognition of Prior Learning - work experience: Demonstrating relevant and current equivalent learning outcomes or knowledge through one or more of the following methods:
- Certificates of competency or attendance from industry recognised courses
- Observation of workplace skills and practice by a qualified observer designated by the university
- Completion of some or all of the assessment requirements (or equivalent) as may be specified by the co-ordinator of the subject for which credit is sought
- Fully documented portfolio of work completed while practising in industry. The authenticity of all work must be certified in writing by a supervisor or by the person/s responsible for commissioning the work
- A comprehensive curriculum vitae (CV) accompanied by a statutory declaration stating that the information contained in the curriculum vitae is a true and accurate record of your experience.
- Bachelor of Social Work and Masters of Social Work - Submit a completed Recognition of Prior Learning – WS3503 / WS5303 Field Education 1 application form with your application.
- Bachelor of Education - Submit a completed Recognition of Professional Experience Completed within Pre-Service Teacher Education Programs application form.
- Articulation agreements: Students will need to provide JCU scanned original copies of their academic transcript and the agreed articulation agreement credit will be applied.
Assessing and determining credit outcomes
Who Assesses Applications
Credit, precedents and articulation agreements will be assessed and approved by trained academic or professional staff as per the delegations register. Applications without precedents are forwarded by the Academic Administration and Enrolment Teams (AAE) to the nominated Academic Services Officer. The Academic Services Officer is responsible for distributing the application to the trained academic or professional staff and ensuring the outcome is returned to AAE Team within the required timeframe.
- When assessing applications for credit, assessors must adhere to the following:
- Credit granted must apply only to the specified Award for which it is granted. If an applicant applies to change from one Award to another, the assessor can only grant in accordance with the Award requirements of the Award into which the applicant is transferring. Applicants must be advised by the assessor that this may result in loss of credit previously granted.
- Prerequisite requirements necessary to fulfil the entry requirements into JCU Awards cannot be included in the assessor’s assessment process for credit in the Award associated with the prerequisite entry requirement.
- Credit for previous study or informal/non-formal learning will only be granted once the student is offered a place in the course. Applicants must be advised by the AAE of the credit outcome within the nominated timeframes.
- Maximum credit listed in the Award rules must not be exceeded through the granting of credit for formal studies, non-formal experience alone or a combination of formal studies and non-formal studies.
- Credit must not be granted by the assessor which will contradict the award rules of the course for which the applicant is applying.
- Eligibility for credit does not guarantee the applicant a place in a course except where this is included as part of an Articulation Agreement (as defined in the Academic Board Guidelines for the Establishment and Review of Articulation Agreements.).
- Decisions for determining the Application of Credit will:
- Be based on establishing the equivalence of academic achievement taking into account the similarity or differences in the education processes involved;
- Consider if the learning is suitably relevant and current as per the award rules;
- Assess the relationship and equivalence between the subjects in one qualification with those in the other qualification in regard to the learning outcomes, volume and level of learning, program of study (including content), and learning and assessment approaches;
- Take into account the specifications of the relevant Award requirements; and the content and level of learning acquired other than from formal study, for example in a professional workplace or in a professional capacity; and
- Be subject to the Award’s admission requirements.
Timelines for assessment and determination
- Applications for Credit are received by SSD when a student:
- Applies for Admission to the University;
- Transfers between University courses;
- Successfully completes Cross-institutional Study; or
- Successfully completes a Study Abroad or Exchange Program.
- Overseas applicants to the University are requested to apply for credits and/or Exemptions during the Admissions process.
- International applicants to the University are requested to apply for credits and/or Exemptions during the Admissions process.
- Submits a Credit Application Form.
- Precedent and Articulation Agreements
- Credit is processed by AAE when a precedent and/or articulation agreement is pre-approved by the Academic divisions.
- Student is notified of credit outcome, whether granted or not granted, within a maximum of 5 working days.
- Individual assessments
- Subjects that are to be assessed individually that have not been previously approved are forwarded by AAE within 5 working days from receipt of the application to the Academic Services Officer as the nominated contact for approval.
- The Academic Services Officer is responsible for distributing the application to the trained academic or professional staff and advising AAE of the decision within 12 working days of receipt of the application from SSD
- The Student is notified of credit outcome, whether granted or not granted, within a maximum of 20 working days from receipt of application by AAE.
Basis for granting credit – Precedent, Articulation agreements, Individual assessments
- The University will provide current, accurate and accessible information to prospective and enrolled students on credit arrangements for prior study and informal/non-formal learning to enable them to make choices between alternative pathways and the credit that may be available to them.
- Granting credit recognises that the evidence provided and available suggests that an applicant has a sufficient basis of prior knowledge, understanding and skills to achieve the learning outcomes for the AQF level of the course in the time specified.
- Credit will not impinge upon the integrity of the University’s qualification outcomes and discipline requirements or the responsibility to make decisions on admission, prerequisites or programs of study and the student’s likely successful completion of the qualification.
- The University applies credit for whole (complete) subjects only.
- Students can apply for credit at any stage of their degree.
- Precedent and Articulation Agreements: When a precedent and articulation agreement is applied to assess credit, the applicant will receive their credit outcome notification within 5 working days. It is the responsibility of the AAE team to advise the student of the outcome and the reasons for the decision of the assessment of the application. The AAE must advise students of the complaints process when notifying them of their application outcome. Student Complaint Management Policy & Procedures
- Individual Assessments: When assessing credit applications without precedents or articulation agreements, applicants will be notified of credit outcome within 20 working days. It is the responsibility of the AAE team to advise the student of the outcome and the reasons for the decision of the assessment of the application. The AAE must advise students of the complaints process when notifying them of their application outcome. Student Complaint Management Policy & Procedures
- Once a decision has been made to grant credit, the decision cannot be rescinded unless:
- An error has been made in assessing an application;
- The documentation provided by the applicant is misleading or fraudulent; or
- The applicant requests that the credit be rescinded.
Procedure for rescinding and communication of outcomes
- Rescinding credit where error has been made or incorrect documentation: The AAE Teams are to contact the student directly to advise the removal of the subject from the study plan. Once contact with the student has been documented the AAE team can remove a rescinded subject from a study plan. If the subject does not meet the above rules the AAE Team will contact the Course Coordinator for advice on how to proceed.
- Applicant requests that the credit be rescinded: On the receipt from the request from the student the AAE teams can remove a rescinded subject from a study plan. Once the subject has been removed from the study plan the AAE Teams are to contact the student directly to advise the removal of the subject from the study plan. If the subject does not meet the above rules the AAE Team will contact the Course Coordinator for advice on how to proceed.
Internal processes and outcomes
Formal agreements and precedents should be documented and related credit schedules made available to students on the university website.
- Articulation Agreements: Articulation Agreements are designed to ensure consistency in agreements with both higher education providers or vocational education and training providers, whether Australian or overseas, and whether public or private.
- Articulation Agreements are designed to help students transition to JCU, and they typically involve (but are not limited to) an agreement to award block credit or credit. The Credit Calculator shows credit that may be allocated to a JCU course, based on previous studies at a recognised tertiary institution. It is the responsibility of the Colleges and Partnerships Development Officer to advise SSD of new or updated agreements or changes. It is the responsibility of SSD to update SMS of the changes, these changes will integrate with the credit calculator.
- Precedents: Precedents are designed to ensure consistency is evident when assessing and providing credit outcomes for individual subjects.
- Precedents are to be promoted within the Credit Calculator, available to prospective and current students on the JCU website.
- Academic Divisions assess the subject and advise a nominated timeframe of automatic approval (pre-approval), and any related conditions on that approval.
- Once a precedent is approved by the Academic Divisions it will be entered into the Student Management System (SMS) and will integrate with the Credit Calculator a copy of the email approving the subject will be saved to TRIM.
- If a pre-approved subject has a name change or code change it will be sent to the Academic Divisions for review.
- SSD will provide the Academic Divisions a report on precedents that are expiring.
- The Academic Divisions are responsible for advising SSD if they want to continue with an expired precedent or discontinue. If no advice is provided the precedent will be discontinued.
- SSD are responsible for updating and removing expired precedents.
- To ensure continuous improvement is evident, regular performance metrics by discipline will be published by the Associate Director, Student Enrolment and Client Services, for the Director, Academic Quality and Strategy for DTES and DTHM and Director, Student Services Directorate.
- To support compliance with credit timelines, regular reporting will be provided to Director, Academic Quality and Strategy for DTES and DTHM and the Director, Student Services Directorate.
- Automated reporting will be developed and implemented.
- To ensure compliance with the ESOS Act 2000 and National Code 2018, if an international student is granted credit which reduces their expected course duration SSD must notify the appropriate staff to report on the student’s Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE).
- To ensure compliance with US Government financial aid reporting requirements, for students originating from the US SSD must notify the International Compliance Officer (Sponsored Students) when credit is granted.
- Credit Calculator: The Credit Calculator is a recruitment tool to improve the conversion of students from enquiry through to enrolment and improve the student’s experience. This is achieved by promoting articulation agreements and pre-approved precedents and global mobility on the JCU website, hosted within the credit calculator.
- JCU Website: The credit website will be used as a tool to improve the conversion of students from lead to enquiry through to enrolment. This is achieved by:
- Improving the students experience when researching how to apply for credit, including terminology the user relates to, information gathering requirements for credit estimates and provide accurate information on what documentation is required to apply.
- Monitoring and improving the information and instructions on the JCU website
- Improving the student experience, by promoting credit on the JCU website, both articulation agreements global mobility and pre-approved precedents
- Capturing new leads via website page and nurture leads from enquiry to application.
Review of Decision and Appeal Procedures
Students are encouraged to resolve concerns about a credit decision informally by making an initial approach to the relevant staff member.
- Review of decision: A student may request a formal review of a particular credit decision(s), on the grounds of merit or procedural fairness, by submitting a complaint under section 2 of the Student Complaint Management Policy & Procedures. Students must be informed about this review process when notified of the outcome of their Application for Credit.
- Appeal: If a student, having received a determination of their review request, believes they have grounds for a student appeal, they may initiate that appeal using the Student Appeals Policy. The grounds for a student appeal are limited to a breach of procedural fairness having occurred in the resolution of a formal review.
Related policy instruments
Credit and Articulation Policy
NOTE: Printed copies of this procedure are uncontrolled, and currency can only be assured at the time of printing.
Deputy Vice Chancellor Students
Date for next Major Review
Approval date - the date the Policy Sponsor approved the establishment, minor or major amendment or disestablishment
Implementation Date - the date the procedure was published in the Policy Library and is the date the procedure takes effect
Procedure established to support Credit and Articulation Policy.
Credit, Advanced Standing and Articulations Project Officer
Credit, Articulation, Advanced Standing