Policies and procedures

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

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The University of Western Australia

University Policy on: Setting and Managing Student Quotas in Coursework Courses

Purpose of the policy and summary of issues it addresses:

Student quotas may be set at the course/unit level and/or sub-group level within a course. This policy outlines the principles for setting and managing student quotas in coursework courses.


In this policy and any associated procedures,

the Universitymeans The University of Western Australia

Course quota is an upper limit imposed on the number of enrolments entering a particular course or a major/honours specialisation.

Course sub-quotais an upper limit imposed on the number of enrolments in a particular sub-group of students in a particular course or a major.

unit quota is an upper limit imposed on the number of enrolments in a particular unit.

a direct pathway refers to a pathway into one of the professional postgraduate degree courses which provides a limited number of places reserved for appropriately qualified students at the time they are admitted to their undergraduate course at UWA, subject to making satisfactory progress and meeting prerequisites as defined in the relevant policies.

relevant board(s) 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.

Policy statement:

1 General principles

1.1 The University exercises control over its student enrolment profile by enforcing: (a) minimum entry standards, as detailed in the University Policy on: Admission - Coursework; (b) rules or policies on course structures, content, and progression requirements; and (c) course quota, course sub-quota and unit quotas.

1.2 Entry to courses/individual units is not normally restricted by way of quotas where avoidable (e.g. as a preference for smaller classes).

1.3 Where high numbers pose a challenge, course coordinators are expected to make flexible arrangements where possible, such as scheduling repeat classes.

1.4 Student quotas may only be imposed on enrolments in specific courses/units when specific conditions where relevant warrant their imposition, such as: (a) ensuring a high-quality student profile; (b) student mix considerations, including equity considerations (e.g. sub-quotas for under-represented groups); (c) discipline mix considerations; (d) labour market considerations (e.g. major over-supply of graduates in a specific field); (e) impact of enrolments on teaching quality; (f) constrained specialist learning spaces (e.g. laboratory or studio space); (g) restricted student placements (e.g. clinical training placements); (h) supervision of dissertations, theses or off-campus fieldwork; (i) occupational health and safety considerations; or (j) Commonwealth Government policies and constraints, including, but not limited to, specific limitations imposed on student load in Funding Agreements and undertakings given to the Commonwealth Government in relation to the University's enrolment profile (e.g. as specified in the Mission-Based Compact).

1.5 Unit quotas are not normally applied to level 1 units or core units.

1.6 The impact of imposing a quota must be considered and, where appropriate, take account of student progression from undergraduate to postgraduate, including students in direct pathways, and enrolments in co-requisite and pre-requisite units.

2 Student Selection Principles for managing quotas

2.1 Where a quota has been approved, the allocation of quota places must be clear and transparent.

2.2 To inform potential students:

a) the University publishes the admission requirements and the course quota criteria applied to select students prior to the commencement of the student applications for an admissions period; and

2.3 faculties publish the allocation mechanism that is applied to units with quotas prior to commencement of student enrolment.

2.4 At the course level, students in direct pathway places are, subject to meeting any specified academic requirements, automatically allocated quota places in the initial professional postgraduate degree, or to end-on honours bachelor's degree course.

2.5 Students must meet the minimum admission requirements specified for a course that is subject to quota before being considered for selection to that course.

2.6 A range of criteria may be applied in selecting students for courses/units that are subject to quotas. Examples include, but are not limited to, selection based on:

  • Criteria applied at course/unit levels: (a) academic merit; (b) first-come, first-serve basis; (c) students in specific majors admitted first; (d) defined equity group (e.g. Indigenous, low SES); (e) results achieved in pre-requisite secondary school subjects or tertiary units;
  • Criteria applied at course only: (f) standardised selection tests (e.g. UMAT, GMAT, GAMSAT, LSAT); (g) interviews; (h) auditions; (i) portfolios of work; and (j) relevant work experience.

3 Quota Reporting and Approval Requirements

3.1 Course quota setting and subsequent changes to course quotas, are approved by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education) or delegate, following consultation between the Load Issues and Operations Network (LION group) and relevant Faculties.

3.2 Courses that have been approved with quotas or sub-quotas must have, prior to student enrolment, a course-specific selection plan approved by the University's Curriculum.

3.3 Information on quotas, including the allocation mechanism used to administer unit quotas are approved by the relevant board, and incorporated into the annual Student Enrolment and Load Plan.

3.4 The University's annual curriculum approval processes ensures, within the context of this Policy, approval by the relevant board of unit quotas for new units and changes to existing quotas, and consequent allocation mechanisms for the following: (a) quotas for new units; (b) new quotas for existing units; (c) changes in quotas, both increase or decrease, for existing units; and (d) removal of unit quotas.

3.5 Late changes to unit quotas or related allocation mechanisms can only be proposed and implemented, with the approval of the relevant board's delegate, prior to commencement of enrolment; and publication of the allocation mechanism.


The process for approving and reporting course quotas is set out in Appendix 1.

See appendix: Unit Quotas - Reporting and Approval Process

Related forms: (Link)

TRIM File No:


Contact position:

Academic Secretary

Related Policies or legislation:

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