Governance

Policies and procedures

Policy No.
UP17/3
Function
Student Administration
Authoring Organisational Unit
Academic Council
Date Approved
04/10/2013 Revised 06/06/2020
Next Review Date
08/06/2025
Approving Body
Academic Council

The University of Western Australia

University Policy on: Courses - Undergraduate

Purpose of the policy and summary of issues it addresses:

This policy sets out the course requirements for the University's undergraduate degree courses and the principles underpinning the development of and changes to relevant undergraduate curriculum.

Definitions:

In this policy and any associated procedures,

the University is/means The University of Western Australia

AQF means Australian Qualifications Framework.

a degree-specific major determines the degree in which the student's course belongs to (see Table 1). A student who chooses to take more than one major must designate one of them as degree-specific major.

an area of knowledge is a group of proximal disciplinary fields that delineates broadening units at UWA. The five areas of knowledge are: Design and Creative Arts; Life and Health Sciences; Mathematical and Physical Sciences; Management and Commerce; and Society and Culture (see Table 2).

a bachelor's degree is a qualification awarded on successful completion of an undergraduate course comprising at least three years of undergraduate study. In order to meet the requirements for this degree, a student must complete 144 credit points, of which no more than 72 credit points must be at Level 1 and no fewer than 24 credit points must be at Level 3. The course must include at least one major and have a structure that meets broadening requirements. The BPhil (Hons), which is also a bachelor's degree, is a four-year course requiring 192 credit points. There are two type of bachelor's degree:

(a) Comprehensive bachelor's degree courses, which offer a wide range of majors and the ability to take additional majors or significant electives from across the University. Normally, ATAR subject (or equivalent) prerequisites are not applied to comprehensive degrees, and the necessary bridging units must be available for entry into majors with subject prerequisites; and,

(b) Specialised bachelor's degrees, which normally have a small range of majors available that are typically double majors. These degrees are normally more limited in their elective choice, while still meeting Broadening requirement. ATAR subject (or equivalent) prerequisites are applied to specialised degrees.

bridging units are units that substitute for ATAR-level (or equivalent qualification) subjects that are pre-requisites for a given major

broadening means the structure through which degrees deliver the requirement of broad-based knowledge and skills.

broadening units are normally offered in one or more areas of knowledge that do not include the area of knowledge of a student's degree-specific major but specific provisions apply in the case of 'Category A' broadening. Broadening units are normally six credit points.

a Category A broadening unit-

(a) is a broadening unit that has as its main focus some aspects of the globalised and culturally diverse environment; or

(b) is a Language Other Than English (LOTE) unit; or

(c) is a unit offered by the School of Indigenous Studies: or

(d) is a unit undertaken as part of an approved study abroad or student exchange program for credit and that is wholly taught by and undertaken at the host institution; or

(e) has mathematics and/or statistical theory as its core content, as listed in Schedule 1;

Category B broadening units comprise potentially all units that faculties are willing to offer to students from across the University, subject to prerequisites being met.

BPhil (Hons) means the Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours) degree course

a course means a plan of study necessary to qualify for a degree, diploma, certificate or other qualification approved by the Senate.

diploma means a course to the value of 48 credit points comprising the requirements of a major offered in an undergraduate degree course of the University.

Dissertation means the output of research, which may be wholly in written form or in the form of a composition, performance, exhibition or creative or other approved work. For a Postgraduate Coursework course (AQF Level 9) the output constitutes at least 25 per cent but less than 66.6 per cent of the requirements of the course in question. For Honours (AQF Level 8) the output of research constitutes 50 per cent of the requirements of the course.

UWA Educational Principles comprise a list of academic values that are intended to imbue student learning at all levels and seek to nurture excellence, enable creativity and intellectual exploration, and promote effective citizenship among UWA students and graduates.

end-on Honours means an honours degree course comprising eight standard units (48 points) taken after a student had completed the requirements of an undergraduate pass degree.

exegesis means a critical explanation or interpretation of a text object, manuscript or creative work submitted for examination as the student's honours research dissertation.

Foundational Units are degree-level core units that must be taken to complete the requirements of the undergraduate degree, irrespective of Degree-Specific Major

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.

LOTE means a language other than English

a single major is an approved discipline-based sequence of between 48 and 72 credit points (normally eight units to twelve units) within an undergraduate degree course. These units are spread across Levels 1, 2 and 3, with at least 12 credit points at Level 1; at least 12 credit points at Level 2; and at least 18 credit points at Level 3.

a double major is an approved discipline-based combination of unit sequences drawn from related fields of between 84 and 108 credit points (normally 14 to 18 units). The units are spread across Levels 1, 2 and 3, with at least 12 credit points at Level 1; at least 24 credit points at Level 2; and at least 36 credit points at Level 3.

a minor is an approved discipline-based or interdisciplinary-based sequence of 24 points (normally 4 units) of thematically or disciplinary linked units, with 6 or 12 credit points at Level 1; at least 6 credit points at Level 2; and, no more than 12 credit points at Level 3.

making an honours specialisation unavailable means the specialisation is temporarily not offered for new enrolments, but will be offered again at a future date.

making an honours specialisation available means the specialisation that was once made unavailable is now available for new enrolments.

a mature-aged 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).

PhD is the Doctor of Philosophy degree course.

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

a responsible organisational entity (usually a school or a Faculty Office) has the role of designing, coordinating and/or teaching a unit

rescission of an honours specialisation means the honours specialisation is not offered for new enrolments and is discontinued.

removing a unit means the unit continues to be offered but not in certain specialisations.

a specialisation designates a particular discipline chosen from within a wider field of study (e.g. Chemical Engineering within Engineering). It is usually applied to the chosen disciplinary focus of an honours or postgraduate course (e.g. a distinctive variant within a generic master's course), but in few cases may refer to a set of specialised units within an undergraduate course major.

student categories means the following: Commonwealth-supported, domestic fee-paying, international student visa holders and international students (non-visa holders)

undergraduate degree course means an undergraduate pass degree course or the Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours) degree course.

a unit is a discrete component of study normally representing 150 hours of student workload, including contact hours, personal study and examinations. It is equivalent to 6 points of credit. By special approval, some units may have a value that is a multiple of 6 points.

transition period means the period during which students in courses that do not form part of New Courses 2012 can complete their courses in accordance with the relevant rules and policies.

Policy statement:

1 General Principles

1.1 Within the context of maintaining the University's reputation and highest international standing, undergraduate degree courses must:

a) have a structure that is simple and flexible, and is standardised across the University;

b) ensure the number of units and courses provided by the University is viable;

c) ensure efficient delivery of academic teaching and administration of courses, for the benefit of staff and students;

d) reflect international expectations;

e) provide flexible pathways to postgraduate courses for students;

f) meet the educational needs of students and the wider community, at the highest possible standard;

g) provide broad based knowledge and skills for students;

h) provide pathways that enable students to make a considered choice about their focus and preferred profession or academic orientation; and

i) place emphasis on inquiry-based learning and research skill development, thus introducing students to the research culture of the relevant discipline.

1.2 Admission requirements for the relevant undergraduate degree courses must be set in accordance with University Policy on: Admission: Coursework.

1.3 Students are not permitted to enrol concurrently in award courses unless allowed by the relevant board in line with the University Policy on: Student Enrolment.

1.4 Undergraduate degree courses may be taken on a part-time or full-time basis in accordance with the University Policy on: Student Enrolment.

1.5 Time limits for courses must not exceed those stipulated in the University Policy on: Student Enrolment

2 Undergraduate Degree Courses

2.1 The University's undergraduate degree courses are aligned to the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) as follows:

AQF Level

AQF course type

UWA Undergraduate Degree Course types

Volume of Learning

(5)

Diploma

Graduate-entry Diplomas

48 credit points

(6)

Advanced Diploma

Advanced Diplomas

72 credit points

(7)

Bachelor's Pass Degree

Undergraduate Bachelor's Pass Degree, including both Comprehensive and Specialised Bachelor's Degrees

144 credit points

(8)

Bachelor's Honours Degree

Bachelor's Honours Degree (End-on Honours)

48 credit points

Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours)

192 credit points

Graduate-entry Diploma

2.2 Graduate-entry diploma, which is normally undertaken over at least three semesters, enables graduates to complete further undergraduate studies in the respective area of knowledge.

2.2.1 Specified credit from an incomplete award may be granted towards a Graduate-entry diploma within the limits permitted in the University Policy on: Credit Transfer, advanced standing and recognition of prior learning (UP11/34).

2.2.2 Credit is not granted towards a graduate-entry diploma course on the basis of units successfully undertaken as part of a previously completed award.

2.2.3 Where a unit that forms part of the chosen major has already been completed by the student and counted towards a degree course, the student must take a replacement unit approved by Chair, Academic Board on the recommendation of the relevant discipline.

2.2.4 Successful completion of the graduate-entry diploma may lead to an end-on honours course.

Advanced Diploma

2.3 An Advanced Diploma course provides a pathway for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students preparing them for entry to UWA's professional postgraduate courses.

2.3.1 Students who complete the requirements of an advanced diploma with the appropriate level of achievement as approved by the Academic Council on the recommendation of the relevant board, and who meet any other admission requirements approved by the Academic Council, are admitted to the relevant postgraduate professional degree.

Bachelor's Degree

2.4 Each undergraduate pass degree:

a) must be of three years' equivalent full-time duration and may lead to an additional year of an end-on honours course;

b) comprises a list of majors which provide for the nomenclature of the degree.

End-on Honours

2.5 An end-on honours course, and especially the research dissertation, trains and assesses students' abilities to contribute to the future development of their discipline through research that extends existing knowledge and/or through the original and creative application of knowledge in a way likely to impact upon future thinking in their fields of study.

2.5.1 The award of honours of the appropriate class may result from the completion of an end-on honours degree.

2.5.2 End-on honours students who fail or do not complete the course, but who have completed the requirements of the pass degree:

a) retain the relevant pass degree if they have taken it out prior to admission to the honours course; or

b) may apply to be awarded the pass degree if they have not yet taken it out.

2.6 A school must execute a benchmarking exercise (at least once during each period between school reviews) to appraise content, processes and outcomes associated with honours degree courses.

2.7 Scholarships for honours degree courses must be administered in accordance with the following: where the dissertation represents other than 50 per cent of the whole mark, heads of school are required to provide the mark and the percentage of the whole mark represented by the dissertation.

Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours)

2.8 The Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours) course:

a) of which honours is an integral part, is designed to enhance the University's attractiveness to exceptionally high achieving students and its reputation for providing education at the highest international standards of excellence;

b) provides a challenging course of four years' equivalent full-time duration with an especially intensive research focus;

c) produces graduates with high calibre research and communication skills;

d) demands a high level commitment to academic excellence, community and international engagement;

e) comprises an academic program, as set out in Schedule 2, that is designed by the Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours) Academic Coordinator in conjunction with staff from the research discipline of the student's selected major;

f) has only one intake which occurs at the beginning of the year.

2.8.1 Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours) students may have greater flexibility than usual to negotiate individually some aspects of their study program (for example through affiliation with major research groups) and the University provides careful quality assurance in relation to course approval and teaching arrangements relating to the BPhil (Hons).

2.8.2 Students in the Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours) course are offered ongoing affiliation with a University college (involving certain support privileges).

2.8.3 Students in the course have guaranteed entry into any UWA postgraduate course, including second-cycle professional degree courses, subject to:

a) successful completion of the Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours) course;

b) meeting discipline-related entry requirements including successfully completing selection processes; and

c) in the case of entry to a higher degree by research, availability of supervision.

2.8.4 The degree of Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours) is only awarded with an Honours classification of 2A or above.

2.8.5 A student in the Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours) who is awarded an Honours classification below 2A is awarded the degree to which their degree-specific major belongs, with the relevant classification of Honours.

2.9 An honours student may progress to a master's degree course as outlined in the University Policy on: Courses - Postgraduate Coursework.

3 Undergraduate degree requirements

3.1 Broadening can be achieved in three ways:

(a) by taking 24 credit (normally 4 units) of Broadening units, of which at least 6 credit points (one unit) of Category A unit and no more than 12 credit points (two units) of Category A units may be undertaken from the knowledge area of the degree-specific major; or,

(b) by taking a second major outside the knowledge area of the degree-specific major; or,

(c) by taking a minor outside the knowledge area of the degree-specific major.

3.2 Degree-level Foundational Units up to the value of 24 credit points can be required so long as the combined total of credit in Foundational Units and any given Degree-Specific major does not normally exceed 72 credit points in the case of a Single Major, or 108 credit points in the case of a Double Major. Requirements for Foundational Units are set out in Schedule 8.

3.3 The University ensures that students meet course requirements to take out the relevant award as follows:

UWA Undergraduate degree / awards

Degree requirements: To take out the relevant award students must successfully complete:

Graduate-entry Diploma

(a) units, normally to the value of 48 points, from the same disciplinary field, comprising a single major, excluding any complementary units;

(b) additional units to satisfy prerequisites and/or co-requisites

Advanced Diploma

(c) Level 1, 2 and/or 3 units, to the value of 72 points, which must have a distinctive disciplinary rationale which relates to the academic objectives of the course.

Bachelor's Degree

(d) 144 credit points (24 units) of which:

(i) no more than 72 credit points undertaken at Level 1;

(ii) at least 72 credit points undertaken at Levels 2 and 3 including at least 18 credit points at Level 3;

(e) Meet broadening requirements as laid out in Section 3.1 above

(f) A degree-specific major.

(g) Students commencing an undergraduate degree course of the University are required to take at least 6 credit points (one unit) of their major at Level 3 at the University, or 12 credit points (normally two units) in the case of a double major.

End-on Honours

(h) In accordance with the University Policy on Courses: Coursework Dissertation, an end-on honours specialisation comprising 48 credit points (8 units) of which:

(i) 24 credit points of coursework units undertaken at Level 4 and/or Level 5; and

(ii) 24 credit points of dissertation units, undertaken at Level 4 and/or Level 5, and normally completed over two consecutive semesters; and

(iii) At least 12 credit points (2 units) of the 48 credit points (8 units) are undertaken at Level 4

Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours)

(i) 192 credit points (32 units) of which:

(i) no more than 72 credit points undertaken at Level 1; and

(ii) at least 72 credit points undertaken at Levels 2 and 3 including at least 24 credit points at Level 3;

(j) Broadening units as set out in 3.1;

(k) normally at least 1 LOTE unit;

(l) a degree-specific major;

(m) in accordance with the University Policy on Courses: Coursework Dissertation, an honours specialisation comprising 28 credit points units of which:

(i) 24 credit points of coursework units undertaken at Level 4 and/or Level 5 including at least 12 credit points of Level 4 units; and

(ii) 24 credit points of dissertation units undertaken at Level 4 and/or Level 5, and normally completed over two consecutive semesters.

(n) a research project leading to studies in research methods and project management in their second and third academic years;

(o) appropriate assessment to demonstrate outstanding skills in both spoken and written communication in their second, third and fourth year;

(p) the University's residential program on commencement of the degree course; and

(q) one semester of study-abroad (which may include a research placement) that must normally be undertaken after the Level 1 units are completed and before the Level 3 units are completed (a scholarship is available for this purpose).

4 Development of new curriculum proposal

4.1 The development of a new:

4.1.1 undergraduate major must follow the procedures set out on the web and address key criteria as set out in Schedule 3.

4.1.2 undergraduate minor must follow the procedures set out on the web and address key criteria as set out in Schedule 7.

4.1.3 honours specialisation must follow the procedures set out on the web and address key criteria as set out in Schedule 4.

4.1.4 The development of a 'Category A' broadening unit must address key criteria as set out in Schedule 5.

4.1.5 The development of foundational units must address key criteria as set out in Schedule 8.

4.2 Approval must be sought from the Academic Council for the development of new curriculum proposals referred to in 4.1.1, 4.1.2 and 4.1.3.

5 Changes to existing curriculum

5.1 A proposal for a change to an Advanced Diploma, undergraduate major or honours specialisation and/or associated units must include:

a) a persuasive justification (that is, academic or administrative reasons); and

b) consultation and approval by the relevant board(s).

5.2 The circumstances in which changes to a major or honours specialisation may be undertaken are set out in Schedule 6.

5.3 Any changes to a major or honours specialisation must be planned ahead to ensure:

a) that any necessary action, such as implementing transitional arrangements, are taken to minimise any potential adverse impact on students;

b) high standards of teaching;

c) efficient delivery of academic teaching; and

d) compliance with relevant external or internal legislation or policy.

5.4 Any change to the details of units must be in accordance with the University Policy on: Changes to Units.

5.5 Changes to existing curriculum are undertaken in accordance with the procedures set out on the web and approved by the Curriculum Committee under delegated authority from the Academic Council.

Related forms: (Link)

TRIM File No:

F17/1403

Contact position:

Academic Secretary

Related Policies or legislation:

University Policy on Courses - Postgraduate Coursework UP15/7

University Policy on Courses - Coursework Dissertation UP15/6

University Policy on Admission: Coursework UP 16/5

University Policy on Changes to Units UP11/46

University Policy on: Student Enrolment UP18/5