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Trimester FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions about Trimesters

Why is JCU moving to Trimesters?

The move to Trimesters has three benefits: more competitiveness, more flexibility, and more alignment.

The move to Trimesters brings JCU in line with the majority of universities in Australia and overseas - increasing our competitiveness in a crowded higher education market.

Trimesters also allow students to better manage their study load by focusing on two or three subjects per Trimester, while still completing a degree in the same amount of time. The flexibility allowed by Trimesters means students can structure their own degree progression and even build one or two Trimester breaks into their study plans to balance work, family, and university commitments.

The change also aligns JCU Australia, JCU Singapore and JCU Brisbane increasing opportunities for shared study experiences.

A Trimester is a model where teaching is split over three study periods during an academic year.  

JCU currently uses a Semester model which is two teaching periods per academic year.

Trimesters are shorter than Semesters. The JCU Trimester model will have shorter 10-week blocks of study, as opposed to the current Semester model of 13 weeks.

A graphic model of the Trimester mode

View the Academic Calendars here.

For undergraduate courses in the College of Business, Law & Governance the Trimester Structure commenced on 15 February 2021, which was the start of week one for Trimester 1.

For postgraduate courses in the College of Business, Law & Governance the Trimester Structure will commence on 13 September 2021, which is the start of week one for Trimester 3.

Undergraduate and Postgraduate Business, Commerce, Tourism and Information Technology Courses are in the Trimester Model.

Courses delivered in Trimesters Only include:

20510Bachelor of Business
20710Bachelor of Commerce
109110Bachelor of Tourism, Hospitality and Events
113121Diploma of Higher Education - Business Major
23511Graduate Certificate of Accounting  (some subjects may be offered in other study periods)
109011Graduate Certificate of Business Administration (some subjects may be offered in other study periods)
23506Graduate Diploma of Accounting (some subjects may be offered in other study periods)
109104Master of International Tourism and Hospitality Management
116204Master of Business Administration (all majors except Conflict Management & Resolution Major)
116604Master of Business Administration (Leadership) (some subjects may be offered in other study periods)
117704Master of Governance and Leadership (except Conflict Management & Resolution Major)
109504Master of Professional Accounting (some subjects may be offered in other study periods)
112104Master of Professional Accounting – Master of Business Administration (some subjects may be offered in other study periods)
112304Master of International Tourism and Hospitality Management – Master of Business Administration (some subjects may be offered in other study periods)

Courses delivered through a combination of Trimester and Semesters include:

115510Bachelor of Advanced Science
20310Bachelor of Arts - Bachelor of Business
12010Bachelor of Arts - Bachelor of Science
101510Bachelor of Business and Environmental Science
114310Bachelor of Business - Bachelor of Psychological Science
60610Bachelor of Business - Bachelor of Laws
109410Bachelor of Education (Secondary)
Accounting, Business and Economics Teaching Areas Only
109310Bachelor of Education (Primary)
109410Bachelor of Education (Secondary)
113121Diploma of Higher Education
Business Studies & General Studies if business subjects are selected
109804Master of Public Health – Master of Business Administration
112404Master of Information Technology – Master of Business Administration (Conflict Management & Resolution Major only)
112004Master of Business Administration – Master of Conflict Management and Resolution (Conflict Management & Resolution Major only)

No, not at this time. More information will be provided once timings are confirmed.

All students continuing or commencing Business, Commerce or Tourism undergraduate courses in 2021 started studying under the Trimester model.

All students continuing or commencing Business, Commerce or Tourism postgraduate courses in the second half of 2021 started studying under the Trimester model.

Yes students studying online will also follow the Trimester model.

How will the Trimester model work?

Each Trimester will run for 10 study weeks, with a mid-Trimester lecture recess. There will be a two-week break between Trimesters One and Two, and Two and Three. There will also be a summer break of nine weeks after Trimester Three.

The structure of each Trimester includes:

  • 10 weeks of teaching
  • One week lecture recess
  • One week for exams.

Studying a course over the Trimester model gives students the opportunity to spread their subject load in a way that works for them. They may choose to spread their subjects evenly across the three Trimesters, or study more intensively during one or two study periods.  

Under the current Semester model, students may study four subjects per semester, however, under the Trimester model they may study three subjects each for two Trimesters and two subjects for one Trimester. This will allow them to better balance their work, family and university commitments.

Please visit this page to view copies of communications sent to students (JCU Student ID required).

The flexibility to accommodate a separation of Trimester and Semester study periods could result in dual and double degree students studying one year business in Trimesters then one year other degree in Semesters. Or alternatively, one Trimester business and one Semester other degree in a given year.

All students currently studying a Diploma of Higher Education - Business Studies or a Diploma of Higher Education - General Studies (if Business subjects are selected) will have study plans structured to separate study into Trimester and Semester study periods. Affected students are encouraged to contact the Pathways Team to discuss their personalised study plan.

To be classed as full-time a student will be required to enrol in a minimum number of credit points in each standard study period.

A normal full-time workload for each Trimester is nine credit points (three subjects). For Student Income Support purposes a student must undertake 75 per cent of the normal full-time workload; being six credit points (two subjects) for a Trimester. For more information please refer to the Australian Government website for details about eligibility for Student Income Support.

Guidelines for undertaking study in the Trimester model and retaining eligibility for Student Income Support:

  • If a student requires Student Income Support for the full academic year they must enrol in six subjects spread across all three trimesters, with at least one enrolment in every Trimester. It is recommended students enrol in all their subjects for that year at the commencement of the academic year.
  • If a student’s enrolment pattern for the year will have an uneven number of subjects in each trimester, e.g.  3+2+1 or 3+1+3, it is recommended they enrol in all their subjects before the commencement of Trimester One to indicate to Centrelink they are planning to undertake the minimum 75 per cent normal full time load across the year.

Each study period and Trimester is allocated to a teaching period. The academic year is divided into two Teaching Periods. Teaching Period 1 is the first six months of the year and Teaching Period 2 is the second six months of the year. Subjects with a census date prior to 1 July fall within Teaching Period 1, and subjects with a census date on or after 1 July fall within Teaching Period 2. Trimester One and Two are included in Teaching Period 1 and Trimester Three is included in Teaching Period 2.

To be classed as full-time a student will be required to enrol in a minimum number of credit points in each standard study period.

A normal full-time workload for each Teaching Period is 12 credit points (four subjects). For Student Income Support purposes a student must undertake 75 per cent of the normal full-time workload; being 9 credit points (3 subjects) for that Teaching Period. For more information please refer to the Australian Government website for details about eligibility for Student Income Support.

Guidelines for retaining eligibility for Student Income Support whilst undertaking study in Teaching Periods when also required to undertake a subject offered in a Trimester:

  • If a student requires Student Income Support for the full academic year they must enrol in six subjects spread across two Teaching Periods. It is recommended students enrol in all their subjects for that year at the commencement of the academic year.
    • Teaching Period 1 example: If a student is required to enrol in two subjects in Study Period 1 and one subject in Trimester One they must be enrolled in the subjects before the earliest commencement date. In 2021 Trimester One commences on the 15 February 2021 and Study Period 1 commences on the 24 February 2021 therefore all enrolments must be finalised before 15 February 2021.
    • Teaching Period 2 example: If a student is required to enrol in one subject in Study Period 2 and two subjects in Trimester Three they must be enrolled in the subjects before the earliest commencement date. In 2021 Trimester Three commences on 11 September 2021 and Study Period 2 commences on 27 July 2021 therefore all enrolments must be finalised before 27 July 2021.

In 2021 Business, Commerce and Tourism undergraduate courses moved from Semesters to Trimesters. In the second half of 2021 Business, Commerce and Tourism postgraduate courses also moved from Semesters to Trimesters.

Instead of students studying across two x 13 week Semesters, they will instead undertake three x 10 week Trimesters per year.

Within the Bachelor of Business and the Bachelor of Commerce degrees, students can undertake a mix of both on-campus and online subjects. Students enrolled as on-campus (internal) are able to undertake online subjects.

No, graduation dates are not affected by trimesters.

International students should follow their study plan and complete their studies in the timeframe permitted under their visa. Trimesters will not change their visa requirements as they will be able to complete in the appropriate timeframe.

Students can enrol into a maximum of three subjects per trimester. Enrolment in additional subjects needs to be approved by the College. Students requesting approval will be assessed on their GPA score.

No students do not need to study in all three trimesters, however if a student receives Centrelink payments they may be required to undertake study in all three trimesters in order to be eligible for payments while studying. For more information see FAQ ‘How will studying in Study Periods and Trimesters affect my Centrelink Payments?’

No, not all subjects are offered in every trimester. Please refer to the subject search engine for subject availability.

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