Admissions Policy

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To specify arrangements for admission to all coursework courses, and for cross-institutional and miscellaneous admission, whether by application through the Queensland Tertiary Admissions Centre (QTAC), directly to JCU or through an agent.


This policy applies to admission for domestic and international students to all coursework courses and to cross-institutional and miscellaneous admissions.


Definitions of terms used in this policy are as per the Policy Glossary.


1.    Principles

1.1   Eligibility for an offer is determined on the basis of merit, perceived probability of success, availability of a place in the course and other criteria as shown in the Award Requirements for each course.

1.2   Entry requirements for international students will be no less than the minimum requirements for domestic students.

1.3   The University may approve special admission schemes and support affirmative action to address groups of students underrepresented in higher education, provide access to persons who have experienced educational or social disadvantage and to pursue strategic objectives.

1.4   For some courses, the University may support affirmative action in the selection of applicants from rural and remote backgrounds, in accordance with the advice of the relevant Deputy Vice-chancellor.

1.5   The Admission Policy will be applied fairly and consistently and ensure that admitted students have the academic preparation and skills needed to participate in their intended study and achieve the expected learning outcomes.

1.6   Some courses have Inherent Requirements and/or post-admission requirements that students must meet in order to continue their admission and/or complete their course.  These requirements are published in the Award Requirements of the Course and Subject Handbook.

2.   Quotas

2.1   The University may limit the places made available for courses, subjects or majors using quotas or other limits.

2.2   Where the number of applications exceed quota, offers will be made in order of merit and may take into account additional selection requirements and special admission schemes.

3.    Application for Admission

3.1   Applications for admission are made through QTAC with exempt courses and cohorts to apply direct to the University in accordance with processes published at

4.   Entry Requirements

4.1   To be eligible for consideration of an offer into an award course, an applicant must:

  • be at least 17 years of age or have completed Year 12 or equivalent;

  • satisfy the course pre-requisites (refer section 5);

  • satisfy the English Language Proficiency Requirements (refer section 6);

  • satisfy all special criteria specified for the course (refer section 7), and

  • where required have obtained the required Overall Position (OP), Tertiary Entrance Rank (TER), Grade Point Average (GPA) or result cut-off as determined by the University for the specified course in the specified intake period, year, teaching location, attendance mode and liability category.

4.2   To be eligible for consideration of an offer into a joint degree, applicants must meet the admission requirements for both parts of the joint degree.

4.3   To be eligible for consideration of an offer into a non-award course, applicants must meet the Entry Requirements published in the Course and Subject Handbook.

4.4   To be eligible for consideration of an offer for miscellaneous enrolment in a subject, an applicant’s enrolment must be acceptable to the authorised delegate of the Academic Division or College.

4.5   To be eligible for consideration of an offer for cross-institutional study, an applicant’s enrolment must be acceptable to the authorised delegate and enrolment for credit to another institution must be approved by the other institution.

5.   Prerequisites

5.1   Course prerequisites are specified in the Award Requirements section of the Course and Subject Handbook.  These may be changed from time to time and prospective students are advised to check current requirements prior to application.

5.2   Prerequisites that have been published in the QTAC Tertiary Prerequisites guide cannot be increased (ie. new or higher requirements introduced) until the next admission period following the year for which the publication relates to.

5.3   Subject prerequisites will be met by obtaining an exit assessment in Queensland years 11 and 12 of not less than ‘Sound Achievement’ in 4 semester units for each prescribed subject or by demonstrating competence in a different but equivalent study or experience.

6.   English language proficiency requirements

6.1   All students are required to demonstrate the minimum English language requirements set out in the Award Requirements section of the Course and Subject Handbook or an approved English language pathway which is consistent with the English language proficiency requirements as set out in Schedule II.

7.   Special criteria for admission

7.1   For specified programs, selection for admission may be based on special criteria in addition to, in combination with, or in place of standard admission requirements.

7.2   Special criteria may include additional selection requirements and/or special admission requirements, such as: responses in a written application, responses in an interview.

7.3   The special criteria for admission are specified per course in the Award Requirements section of the Course and Subject Handbook.

8.   Basis of Admission

8.1   Applicants for undergraduate courses who have qualified for an OP/ATAR in the year immediately preceding the year for which admission is sought will be considered for admission on the basis of their OP/ATAR, unless they have received a higher tertiary entrance rank from post-secondary or tertiary studies.

8.2   Applicants for undergraduate courses listed in Schedule III who:

  • have completed at least half a year full time equivalent tertiary study will be considered for admission on the basis of their most recent course Grade Point Average (GPA);

  • have completed senior secondary studies in Australia in the two years prior to the year for which admission is sought and who have not completed at least half a year full time equivalent tertiary study will be considered for admission on the basis of their OP/ATAR.

8.3   All other applicants for undergraduate courses will be considered for admission on the basis of a tertiary entrance rank or equivalent as outlined in the International Admissions Manual.

8.4   Applicants for postgraduate courses will normally be considered for admission on the basis of a completed undergraduate degree in a relevant discipline.  Any exceptions to this requirement will be specified in the Award Requirements section of the Course and Subject Handbook.

9.   Admission Schedules

9.1   Admission schedules may be used to determine the order of merit of applicants when applying to courses with limited places

9.2   Admission schedules represent equivalences and relativities between different qualifications and experiences in terms of fitness for and likelihood of success in university study.

10.   Offer and Acceptance

10.1   An offer of a place in a course is made with reference to Teaching Period, year, teaching location, attendance mode and liability category.

10.2   In order to accept an offer, an applicant must meet all conditions and comply with all specified instructions and deadlines stated in the offer schedule.

10.3   Admission takes effect when the applicant accepts the James Cook University Student Contract – Terms and Conditions by the offer lapse date.

10.4   Where an applicant fails to accept an offer by the lapse date, the offer will lapse, unless an application to defer commencement of study has been submitted and approved.

10.5   An applicant’s offer may be reinstated after the lapse date on request.

11.   Deferrals

11.1   Where deferral is available (determined by the relevant Divisional DVC), domestic applicants may request to defer the commencement of their course for up to one year.  An extension of deferral may be permitted under exceptional circumstances.

11.2   Where deferral is available, international applicants may request to defer the commencement of their course for up to one year, providing:

  • The applicant has not previously deferred the same course; and

  • The proposed deferred commencement date is no more than 12 months after the original commencement date; and

  • There are compassionate and compelling reasons for the deferral

International applicants must reapply if they intend to defer for more than 12 months or if they are unable to commence on their deferred commencement date.

11.3   An applicant whose request to defer has been approved will be guaranteed a place in the course within the deferral period approved, unless the entry requirements have changed, or the course has been discontinued or suspended since the offer was made.

12.   Retaining a place in a course

12.1   To retain a place in a course for the following calendar year a student must:

  • receive a result in at least one subject in that course in the current calendar year, or

  • satisfy the relevant Divisional Deputy Vice Chancellor that special circumstances exist which entitle the student to retain a place in the course, or

  • have been granted Approved Leave, or

  • have been granted a deferral.

13.   Change of course, attendance mode and liability category

13.1   Applications for change of course, attendance mode and liability category are determined on the basis of merit, eligibility and availability of places.

13.2   International students are required to complete at least one Teaching Period before they are eligible to apply for a course transfer.

14.   Suspension or exclusion

14.1   A person who has been suspended or excluded from a course at this or another tertiary educational institution may be refused admission to any course at this University.

15.   Inaccurate information

15.   Where an applicant has been offered a place and it is later found that incomplete or inaccurate information was provided by or on behalf of the applicant that influenced judgement in relation to the applicant’s offer of a place, the offer may be withdrawn, the student withdrawn from course and/or subjects, or both.

16.   Right to withdraw offers

16.1   James Cook University reserves the right to withdraw an offer where an offer of place was incorrectly made.

Related policy instruments


Admissions Policy - Schedule II

Admissions Policy - Schedule III

Related documents and legislation

AVCC Code of Practice

Academic and Student Delegations Policy

Academic and Student Delegations Register  (PDF, 435 KB)

National Code of Practice for Registration Authorities and Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students

Educational Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Act 2000

Migration Act 1958

Migration Regulations 1994


Approval Details

Policy Sponsor

Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academic

Approval Authority

Academic Board

Date for next review


(Admission Schedule II to be approved by Academic Board; Admission Schedule III to be approved by Education Committee)

Revision History

[Approval date - the date the approval authority approved the establishment, minor or major amendment or disestablishment]

[Implementation Date - the date the policy was published in the Policy Library and is the date the policy takes effect]


Approval date

Implementation date





Minor amendments to align with Council approved Academic and Student Delegations Register

Associate Director, Enrolment and Client Services




Major review undertaken to meet TEQSA obligations satisfy the working requirements of courses delivered at JCU and to align it to the Policy Framework.

Acting Director, Student Services




Roles amended to reflect organisation re-structure

Policy Officer




Amendments to this policy and Schedule I were noted by Academic Board 6/13 11/11/2013 and approved by the Vice-Chancellor 28/2/2014; Implementation 4/03/2014











admissions, suspended, suspension, coursework student, international student, student visa holder, DIAC