Policies and procedures

Policy No.
Student Administration
Authoring Organisational Unit
Academic Secretariat
Date Approved
Approving Body
Academic Council "Policy Under Review"

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The University of Western Australia

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University Policy on: Admission - Coursework



Overtype “Policy Name” with the name of the policy.  This must convey specifically, accurately and succinctly what the policy addresses eg Award of Honours, Study Leave.


This policy outlines the requirements for entry to the University’s coursework courses comprising undergraduate degree courses and postgraduate coursework courses. It includes detailed information on the standard and non-standard entry pathways and houses schedules of English Language Competence requirements, undergraduate degree course entry requirements and equivalents, undergraduate prerequisites and equivalents, Direct Pathway entry requirements, the majors and courses of the University exempt from deferral, and quotas in the Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours).


The University is committed to fair, transparent and consistent admission processes. This policy comprises principles governing these admissions processes in the following parts:

Part 1: General Principles

Part 2: Undergraduate Degree Courses

Part 3: Postgraduate Coursework Courses

Part 4: Deferral



In this policy and any associated procedures,

AEI NOOSR means the National Office of Overseas Skills Recognition (AEI-NOOSR), within Australian Education International. It manages international qualifications recognition, including educational and professional recognition information services and support

ATAR means Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank. The ATAR is a number between 99.95 and zero that reports a student’s rank position relative to all other students. In Western Australia, it is constructed on the basis of the Tertiary Entrance Aggregate, which is the sum of a student’s best four scaled scores. ATARs in other states are constructed under relevant state rules

Cycle 1 courses are undergraduate degree courses

Cycle 2 courses are postgraduate courses, usually requiring two years of full-time study after a Cycle 1 course and leading to a master’s degree

deferral is the taking of an authorised 'gap' between being offered a place at the University and commencing studies in the offered course. Deferral for commencing undergraduate students is administered by Admissions

direct pathways a direct pathway into one of the initial professional postgraduate degrees or to an end-on honours bachelor’s degree leading to a provisional or full professional registration which provides a limited number of places, reserved for appropriately qualified students, at the time they are admitted to their undergraduate course at the University, subject to making satisfactory progress and meeting prerequisites as defined in the relevant policies

domestic applicants are citizens or permanent residents of Australia, holders of Australian humanitarian visas, or citizens of New Zealand

home-schooled students are students who have completed their schooling either at home taught by family, or otherwise outside of the mainstream education system

Honours Courses are an additional year of study or part-time equivalent after a student’s bachelor’s degree with a significant research training component of at least half the point value of the honours course

international applicants are people who are not citizens or permanent residents of Australia or holders of an Australian humanitarian visa or citizens of New Zealand and who are not eligible to be a Commonwealth supported student

low socio-economic status (low SES) students are those whose permanent home address postcode is one defined as low SES by the Australian Bureau of Statistics

a mature age student is one who is 20 or older in the year of entry at 1 March (for first semester entry) or 1 August (for second semester entry). In the undergraduate course context, mature age students are exempt from the requirement to achieve the WACE

postgraduate coursework refers to a course of study that leads to the award of a graduate certificate, graduate diploma, Cycle 2 professional qualification or other master’s degree by coursework

professional experience means experience obtained through the practice of a profession and from which the professional competency or learning outcomes achieved can be assessed

relevant board means a board relevant to the case in point. The relevant board may include a position or a body of people with authority to carry out the function concerned

rural students are those who have completed their senior secondary qualification at an Australian school situated more than 75 kilometres from their state capital city general post office

STAT is the Special Tertiary Admissions Test and comprises a series of tests designed to assess a range of competencies considered important to success in university study

standard full-time duration refers to three years for a bachelor pass degree and four years for a bachelor honours degree

tertiary study is study at Australian Qualifications Framework Diploma Level 5 or above, undertaken as part of a recognised award course / is any formal study as accredited under the Australian Qualifications Framework undertaken at the level of Diploma or above

TISC is the Western Australian Tertiary Institutions Services Centre

the University is/means The University of Western Australia

UK NARIC is the National Recognition Information Centre for the United Kingdom. It provides an official, international source of comparison information and advice on international education and training systems and overseas skills and qualifications

WACE is the Western Australian Certificate of Education

work experience means experience obtained either in a general setting or in a professional setting that need not lead to specific competency or learning outcomes. Work experience may constitute grounds for admission to courses in part, but such experience must not provide grounds for credit


Policy Statement

1       PART 1: General Principles

1.1       Admission to undergraduate and postgraduate courses of the University is subject to:

a) the availability of academic staff in the relevant area;

b) the availability of resources and appropriate facilities;

c) any quota restrictions in force; and

d) the student satisfying the University that they have the ability to complete the course.

1.2       Admission to the University is determined on the basis of academic merit and/or approved admission requirement(s), which must:

a) identify applicants with academic suitability and the greatest potential to succeed in a course;

b) encourage broad access to the University’s courses;

c) be applied fairly, objectively and transparently on the basis of clearly defined, consistent and equitable processes; and

d) be consistent with the Equal Opportunity Act 1984 (WA), Commonwealth legislation, the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF), the Higher Education Standards Framework and the University Equal Opportunity Policy Statement.

1.3       Admission standards for undergraduate and postgraduate coursework courses support the University’s mission, values, strategic objectives and its commitment to maintaining the highest international academic standards while emphasising access, choice and flexibility for students.


1.4       The University determines, via the qualifications, tests and equivalents that it recognises and as set out in Schedule A, the minimum level of English language competence required for admission to undergraduate or postgraduate study.

1.4.1   Faculties may set a higher level than the University’s minimum level of English language competence for entry into some courses.

1.4.2   The University reserves the right to make, prior to enrolment, any offer conditional on the applicant satisfying the University’s English Language Competency if subsequent evidence demonstrates the applicant’s English language ability is insufficient.

1.4.3   The University reserves the right to request that an applicant undergoes an English test in addition to any other evidence of English proficiency provided.



The procedure outlining how the University decides its required minimum levels of English Language Competence is available in the attached Schedule A ‘English Language Competence’.


1.5       Admission to undergraduate courses, Direct Pathways and postgraduate coursework courses is administered through Admissions.


1.6       Opening and closing dates, where specified, must be applied fairly to all applicants.


1.7       All offers and acceptances are made in accordance with the procedures for admissions and enrolments.


1.8       Admission requirements, including criteria and procedures for ranking and selecting applicants, must be published, transparent and able to be easily understood.


1.9       A student’s application for admission to a coursework course or a Direct Pathway or transfer may be denied at the discretion of the University in situations where:

a) the student has engaged in dishonest and / or deceitful behaviour (not already covered under the University Policy on Academic Conduct) during the course of study at the University;

b) the student has been excluded from a course at the University on more than one occasion;

c) the student has previously been suspended or excluded from a course at another institution;

d) there is evidence that the student has made minimal or no academic progress during the enrolled course of study over three academic years and/or would be unable to meet the requirements of the course within the time limit specified for the course; or

e) the University considers that the student poses a risk to members of the University and/or the wider community.



2          PART 2: Undergraduate Degree Courses

2.1       The University determines and publishes admission requirements for the following undergraduate degree courses:


AQF Level

AQF course type

UWA Course Types




Diploma in Modern Languages

Diploma in Arts, Science, or Biomedical Science



Advanced Diploma

Advanced Diploma



Bachelor’s Degree

Bachelor’s Degree Course (3 years)



Bachelor’s Honours Degree

Bachelor’s Degree with Honours (End-on)

Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours) – Integrated (4 years)


2.2       Admission to degree courses referred to in Clause 2.1(iii) and (iv) may be administered via the Direct Pathway.


2.3       Prospective applicants seeking admission to undergraduate courses at the University must complete one of the recognised admission pathways of the University, as set out in Schedule B, and:

a) demonstrate a sufficiently high level of academic achievement to be offered a place;

b) satisfy the prerequisite requirements of the University; and

c) satisfy the requirements outlined in Part 1 of this policy.



The University’s admission pathways are outlined in attached Schedule B, ‘Undergraduate Degree Courses’.


2.4       Flexibility in the application of the Undergraduate Degree Course Rules may occur in accordance with the University Policy on Courses – Transition Arrangements (Undergraduate) UP11/36 for students who gain admission to the University via:

a) Studies undertaken within a partially completed degree offered by another Australian university; or

b) Studies completed at an overseas tertiary institution.


3          Prerequisites for Entry to Majors

3.1       The University aims to publish prerequisite requirements two and a half years in advance of an entry year, to allow current Year 10 students to make informed choices on their senior secondary course selection.


3.2       The University may waive or concede prerequisite requirements, as set out in Schedule C, in certain circumstances.



The University considers some interstate school subjects, international school subjects, and some units of the University, published in the attached Schedule C, ‘Undergraduate Prerequisites’, as equivalent to WACE prerequisites for entry to majors.



4          Mid-year Admission

4.1       The University normally admits students annually or for some courses via a mid-year admission process.


4.2       Mid-year admission is available to applicants in the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Commerce, Bachelor of Design and Bachelor of Science.


4.3       The Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours) and Direct Pathways to Medicine, Dentistry or Law are not available for mid-year admission.


4.4       Due to unit sequencing constraints, it may not be possible for students admitted mid-year who have nominated certain majors to complete their degree course requirements within the minimum time frame.


4.5       Where relevant, Admissions advise mid-year applicants on unit selection and availability of majors, on advice from faculties.



5          Direct Pathways

5.1       Any proposed variation to the admission requirements, ranking and selection requirements and the progression requirements for Direct Pathways must be approved by the relevant board.


5.2       Direct Pathways must be designed to take cognisance of restrictions, where applicable, imposed by approved course quotas or places allocated by the Commonwealth Government in line with funding arrangements, in order to facilitate genuine opportunities for graduate-entry into Cycle 2 professional courses. Where such restrictions apply, a maximum of 70 per cent of places in the professional degree may be allocated to Direct Pathway students.


5.3Ranking and selection of applicants for the Direct Pathways of the University may occur where:

a) The number of applicants meeting the admission requirements exceeds the number of designated places; and/or

b) Applicants are selected based on suitability for admission to the professional degree.

5.4       All criteria, including minimum standards for each criterion and the process used for ranking and selecting applicants, must be approved by the relevant board.


5.5       Students who successfully compete for a Direct Pathway place are initially admitted to an undergraduate degree of the University for which they are eligible.


5.6       Progression to the Direct Pathway place in the postgraduate degree course, as set out in Schedule D, depends upon:

a) completion of the undergraduate pass or honours degree course usually in the standard full-time duration, or otherwise only as approved by the relevant faculty or board;

b) completion of the undergraduate degree course with specified majors, where required;

c) completion of the undergraduate degree course with a minimum GPA of 5.5, where required; and

d) for the Doctor of Dental Medicine degree, a satisfactory level of achievement in tests of manual dexterity and spatial awareness.

5.7       Students who accept a place in the Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours) BH005 and a Direct Pathway place in one of the postgraduate degree courses offered by the Faculty Health and Medical Sciences, and who elect to exit early from the Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours) course:

a) must meet all the entry requirements for the postgraduate course of study; and

b) retain their right to a place in the nominated Direct Pathway postgraduate degree to commence in the originally planned year.



The details of all requirements for each Direct Pathway are specified in the attached Schedule D ‘Direct Pathway Requirements’, and are reviewed annually.



6          Transfers

6.1       Students may transfer to another undergraduate course or change the location at which they are studying, provided:

a) they do not seek to transfer into Direct Pathways to Medicine or Dentistry;

b) they meet the minimum entry score for that course at the relevant campus;

c) they satisfy any prerequisite requirements for the course; and

d) they submit an application to transfer by the due date in the manner specified by the University.

6.2       Undergraduate students may seek to transfer to a direct pathway into the Juris Doctor at the end of their first year of study provided they have successfully completed 48 points of their study with a GPA of at least 6.0.



7          Available Places in the Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours)

7.1       To remain in the Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours), a student is normally required to pass all units in which they remain enrolled after the final date for withdrawal without academic penalty and maintain a course weighted average mark of at least 75.


7.2       The Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours) selection process, including quotas (as set out in Schedule F), must be reviewed after two intakes in accordance with the University Policy on Course Quotas UP14/14.



The number of available places in the Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours), known as quotas, is outlined in the attached Schedule F ‘Quotas’.



8       PART 3: Postgraduate Coursework Courses

8.1       Application for admission to a postgraduate coursework course is made directly to the University or approved agent.


8.2       Admission requirements for postgraduate coursework courses must be consistent with the University Policy on Courses: Postgraduate Coursework UP15/7.


8.3       The minimum admission requirements for entry to a postgraduate coursework course include, but are not limited to, the following:

a) a bachelor’s pass degree or equivalent as recognised by the University; and

b) other requirements specified in section 1.1 (d) and 1.4 of Part 1 of the policy.

8.3.1   Additional admission requirements may be set in certain circumstances which include, but are not limited to, the following:

a) a minimum academic achievement, normally expressed as a Weighted Average Mark (WAM), for the bachelor’s pass degree.

b) relevant professional experience of at least two years or work experience of at least five years.

c) a minimum standard which must be achieved in any specified course prerequisite (e.g. an audition or a portfolio), where relevant.

d) professional practice requirements (e.g. police clearance, spatial awareness tests).

8.3.2   Any proposed variation to the requirements set out in 8.3.1 must be approved by the relevant board.


8.4       Where necessary, admission requirements for a postgraduate coursework course must make explicit any professional practice requirements (e.g. police clearance, spatial awareness tests).


8.5       Faculties must maintain a register indicating how any admission requirements (e.g. professional experience or work experience), which require academic discretion, are operationalised.



9          Ranking and Selection

9.1       To be considered for ranking and selection to a particular postgraduate coursework course, applicants must meet the minimum admission requirements specified above.


9.2       Differentiation between applicants for admission to a postgraduate coursework course may occur in the following circumstances:

a) where the number of applicants who meet the admission requirements exceeds the number of designated places; and/or

b) where a course aims to select based on the applicant’s suitability for admission into that course.

9.3       Where differentiation between applicants is required for admission to a postgraduate coursework course, at least two criteria must be used to rank and select applicants.


9.4       Applicants may be ranked and selected on the following criteria:

a) GPA or WAM;

b) academic or other tests;

c) interview/oral assessment;

d) specific knowledge test or aptitude test;

e) work/professional experience;

f) application statement;

g) referee report;

h) other criteria types.

9.5       Any entrance test must take into consideration equity of access.


9.6       All criteria, including minimum standards for each criterion and the procedure used for ranking and selecting applicants, must be approved by the relevant board.



10        PART 4: DEFERRAL

10.1    Applicants offered a place in a coursework course at the University may commence their studies straight away, or apply for a period of deferral:

a) normally once only;

b) generally for a period of up to twelve months or two consecutive semesters; and

c) where academic intake permits.

10.2    Deferral provides applicants with a guaranteed right to commence their originally-offered course, regardless of changes to admission requirements, subject to the conditions outlined in this policy. However, applicants who defer a course will be subject to the other rules and conditions that apply at the time the course commences, including fees and charges.


10.3    An applicant may apply for an extended period of deferral of up to two years in cases where circumstances beyond their control (for example serious illness, acute financial hardship or National Service obligations) prevent earlier commencement.


10.4    In considering a request for deferral, the University may take into consideration the impact on course quotas, where relevant.


10.5    Deferred applicants must indicate their intention to take up their deferred place in the relevant admission period.


10.6    A deferral lapses if a deferred applicant undertakes any tertiary study during the deferral period. Failure to disclose study undertaken during the deferral period also causes the deferral to lapse.


10.7    An applicant whose deferral has lapsed and who wishes to reapply for study at the University must submit a new application and is reassessed for a place based on current admission criteria.


10.8    Deferral is not normally granted for:

a) certain postgraduate coursework courses determined by the University;

b) applicants planning to enrol at an undergraduate level in certain major(s) determined by the University.

c) direct entry pathways where the reserved place would be taken up by more three years after completion of the undergraduate degree course.



The list of postgraduate coursework courses and undergraduate majors not subject to deferral is outlined in the attached Schedule E ‘Majors and Courses Exempt from Deferral’.



Related Policies or Legislation

University Policy on Conditions Applying to Admission to Postgraduate Courses of the University UP11/28

University Policy on Course Quotas UP14/14

University Policy on Courses – Postgraduate Coursework UP15/7

University Policy on Review and Appeal of Academic Decisions Relating to Students UP15/1

University Policy on Courses – Transition Arrangements (Undergraduate) UP11/36

WA Equal Opportunity Act 1984

University Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Policy Statement



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Example 1

This policy defines the nature and purpose of study leave provisions for academic staff and sets out eligibility criteria and other conditions that apply.

Example 2

This policy seeks to rationalise the award of honours across the University by addressing such issues as: entry standards, course content and structure, supervision, assessment, examination, grades, classifications, benchmarking and the maintenance and provision of documentation relating to these matters.  It is based on resolutions of the Academic Board flowing from the 1999 report of the Honours Working Party.


Policy No


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Approving body or position

Academic Council

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Academic Board/Council


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6 July 2016

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3 July 2019

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Academic Secretary

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