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Structure and Nomenclature of Bachelor Awards Policy

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Section 1 - Purpose and Context

(1) This policy outlines a set of guidelines for the structure and the titles of bachelor awards.

(2) In establishing the guidelines, Academic Senate has balanced the need to provide flexibility and choice for students with the need to achieve coherent and consistently structured and named, high-quality academic programs.

(3) The following principles underpin the University's approach to the structure and nomenclature of its bachelor awards:

  1. Flexibility and student choice
  2. High quality
  3. Coherence and defined areas of concentration
  4. Consistency, where appropriate, across the University
  5. Variation, where there are strong reasons for it
  6. Facilitation of student movement across the tertiary education sector

(4) The guidelines apply to both 240-credit point and 320-credit point bachelor awards offered at the undergraduate level at the University. Most units at the University are assigned a value of 10 credit points or multiples of 10, offered over one teaching session.

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Section 2 - Definitions

(5) For the purpose of this policy:

  1. Degree - the award with which the student graduates.
  2. Course of Study - the sequence of study the student pursues. Alternatives are 'course' or 'program'.
  3. Unit - the discrete learning modules that comprise the course of study.
  4. Key Program - an approved sequence of core, specified units, totalling at least 160 credit points, that is the core requirement for a student to take out a particular degree. The title of the key program may, provided it has been approved to do so at the time Academic Senate has approved the course, form part of the degree title and appear on the student's testamur.
  5. Elective - any non-compulsory unit undertaken in a course of study.
  6. Major - an approved sequence of 8 units or 80 credit points, taken as provided in clause (16), below, that make up an area of special focus within the course of study.
  7. Sub-major - an approved sequence of 4 units or 40 credit points, taken as provided in clause (17), below, that make up a shorter area of special focus within a course of study than a major.

Unit Levels

(6) The University has adopted the following classification for unit levels:

  1. Undergraduate Pass: level 1 to level 4;
  2. Honours: level 5;
  3. Postgraduate coursework: level 7;
  4. Research Masters: level 8; and
  5. PhD or equivalent: level 9.
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Section 3 - Policy Statement

Generic Skills and Knowledge

(7) The content of bachelor degrees is expected to reflect the University's objectives in having its students attain competence in specified generic skills and knowledge. Those skills and knowledge are defined in the University's policy on graduate attributes.

Structure of Bachelor Degree

Principal Components of the Degree

(8) The guidelines in this policy do not apply to the structure or module nomenclature of the Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery course, which are unique to that award. That course has, nevertheless, been approved by the University's Academic Senate, according to the University's usual quality assurance procedures.

(9) Courses for bachelor degree awards will have two principal program components:

  1. the key program, which will be defined as the prescribed or compulsory core of the degree program at the time the program is approved, and
  2. the elective program, which will be chosen by students from among units defined as electives, from time to time.

(10) A key program is a compulsory core of 160 credit points or more - that is, at least two thirds of a three-year degree. The key program in a bachelor award is a set of units that establishes a defining area of concentration or specialisation within the degree course. Each key program will include at least 60 credit points of study at level 3/ level 4. (Note that this requirement applies to the first three years of four-year degrees, up to the commencement of their embedded honours program or their professional year). The key program must be approved by Academic Senate as having demonstrable coherence. The key program of a degree course may be:

  1. a program of prescribed units, all of which a student must complete successfully to fulfil requirements for the degree;
  2. a program of some prescribed units and a number of unit options or alternatives, to be chosen by students from a prescribed pool; or
  3. a program containing one or more prescribed, specifically grouped sequences of units (eg, majors and sub majors), each of which must have demonstrable coherence. (For example, a sequence of units from first to third year level, in a particular discipline or area of study);
  4. a program containing a core set of units plus a choice from a defined set of majors, each combination of which must have demonstrable coherence.

The Elective Program

(11) An "elective" is any non-compulsory unit.

(12) The elective program in a bachelor degree course will comprise non-prescribed units to the value of at least 80 credit points. Electives are to be freely chosen by students according to their interests and career objectives from the range of eligible units offered across the University. An exception to the requirement may be approved where professional requirements or other substantiated considerations dictate that a key program comprises units to the value of more than 160 credit points. In such exceptional cases, the proposers of a course must provide a rationale and relevant documentation from the professional body for consideration by the Academic Planning and Courses Approvals Committee of the Academic Senate.

(13) A unit "option" or "alternative," taken from within a prescribed pool, is not an "elective," but part of the key program of a degree course.

(14) To guide students, schools will identify for the key program, which units satisfy this requirement and give examples of possible patterns of electives defined to give their studies additional academic coherence and breadth. (Note that where these units are taught by another school, there should be a formal agreement that the latter school agrees to teach the unit.)

Majors and Sub-majors

(15) Majors and sub-majors are approved, defined sequences of units that help students to undertake their course of study with focus. Both the key program and the elective program may contain majors and sub majors. In the case of the key program, they will be compulsory and as prescribed when the course is approved. In the case of the elective program, students may choose their electives in such a way that they meet the requirements specified for particular majors and sub majors.

(16) Majors comprise 80 credit points, no more than 30 of which can be at level 1. At least 30 credit points must be at level 3 or higher. A major may consist solely of level 2 and level 3 units.

(17) Sub-majors comprise 40 credit points, at any level. As with majors, sub-majors may consist entirely of units at one level or of units at different levels.

(18) Some units may count towards several majors and / or sub-majors. Where the same units are listed in the sequence for more than one major or sub-major, they can be counted towards each of these majors, even though the student only takes them once. However, the units may only be counted once for the purposes of the student's successfully completing the required number of credit points for a key program or an award. (Note that this has the effect of preventing excessive double-counting of units across majors and sub-majors.)

(19) Majors and sub-majors will only operate in four year degrees where this can be done without prejudice to the award. The majority of four year degrees are regulated by professional bodies and the identification of separate majors may not be applicable in this context.

(20) Where a degree has been professionally accredited, students will be advised of the units they must complete to gain professional recognition.

Unit Pre-requisites and Co-requisites

(21) Unit pre-requisites and co-requisites should be avoided where possible because their excessive use can curtail student choice and flexibility. Further, the use of prerequisites makes it more difficult for students to transfer from other courses within the University or from other institutions.

(22) Where possible, pre-requisites are to be replaced by a statement setting out the knowledge required to complete the unit successfully. Students are to be responsible for assessing their ability to meet this 'assumed knowledge'. Nevertheless, appropriate academic advice will be made available to help students make their assessment.

(23) Prerequisites are acceptable where it can be demonstrated that the prerequisite is essential to success in the unit - for example, where specific technical knowledge is required for progression to that level in the discipline or where work health and safety considerations require completion of the pre-requisite prior to enrolment in the relevant unit. In rare cases, co-requisites may be used where there is a clear pedagogical rationale for concurrent enrolment (for example, a theory-based unit run concurrently with a related, practice-based unit). When the use of a prerequisite or a co-requisite is proposed, a case must be included in the unit proposal documentation.

Advanced Standing

(24) The maximum Advanced Standing that can be granted for bachelor awards (excluding an honours degree) is defined in the University's Advanced Standing Policy.

(25) At the time a student is accepted into a program, appropriate academic advice must be given to identify those units the student must complete in order to be eligible to graduate. This advice will be given and recorded in accordance with the Academic Advising Policy.

Double Degrees

(26) A double-degree course of study is a course for two otherwise separate degree programs which have been studied in conjunction, and in which units from one are recognised as electives towards the other. Each component of the award must be identified in the course documentation as an 'exit' award. A student will then either:

  1. complete the full course of study for the double degrees and receive a testamur for each of the two component degrees, simultaneously;
  2. having completed the requirements for one of the exit awards before completing requirements for the other, receive a testamur for the completed award and then proceed to complete requirements for, and receive a testamur, for the second award; or
  3. having completed requirements for one of the exit awards before requirements for the other, receive a testamur for the completed award and leave the University.

(27) A student who exits from a double degree program, as in clause (26)c, but who subsequently elects to complete requirements for the second component of the double degree program, will then be enrolled in that second component as a separate award program and will not be enrolled in the original double degree program.

Award Titles for Bachelor Degree

(28) This policy establishes a systematic nomenclature for the majority of bachelor award titles. It also permits variation where the value of the variation can be clearly demonstrated. In this way, the policy provides a format for the majority of award titles, but enables variations in accordance with important considerations, such as marketing needs. See clause (38) below.

(29) Course names and identifiers for the same award undertaken by part-time and full-time candidates must be identical.

Award Title

(30) The accepted format of a Bachelor award title has two parts:

  1. a name, denoting a broad field of study, that will appear on the testamur; and
  2. a key program, that may appear in the degree title in parentheses. The key program may form part of the title of the award title that appears on the testamur, if it is approved by Academic Senate at the time the course is approved.

(31) The title of a major may form part of the degree title and appear on the testamur, provided it has been approved to do so at the time Academic Senate has approved the course, and only if it forms part of the degree as specified in clause (10) d of this Policy. Otherwise majors will not appear on the testamur.

(32) An example of a bachelor award title, including only a name is: Bachelor of Arts.

(33) An example of a bachelor award title, including both name and key program, is: Bachelor of Science (Medical Nanotechnology).

(34) The name and the key program title will meet one or more of the following criteria:

  1. they represent a field that covers a range of coursework from undergraduate to doctoral level;
  2. they are a recognised term used for a degree offered by a substantial number of other Australian universities or, where appropriate, by a substantial group of universities beyond Australia; and/or
  3. they represents a significant area of study that the University wishes to acknowledge in this way.

(35) Examples of names chosen for the University's Bachelor awards are as follows. (Note that this list does not include the names of all degrees offered by the University):

  1. Bachelor of Applied Science
  2. Bachelor of Animal Science
  3. Bachelor of Arts
  4. Bachelor of Business and Commerce
  5. Bachelor of Education
  6. Bachelor of Teaching
  7. Bachelor of Engineering
  8. Bachelor of Health Science
  9. Bachelor of Information Technology
  10. Bachelor of Laws
  11. Bachelor of Nursing
  12. Bachelor of Performance
  13. Bachelor of Policing
  14. Bachelor of Science
  15. Bachelor of Social Science
  16. Bachelor of Social Work

(36) The use of a key program in a bachelor award title is optional.

(37) Examples of key programs chosen for the University's bachelor awards are as follows. (Note that this list does not include the names of all key programs offered by the University):

  1. Accounting
  2. Financial Mathematics
  3. Marketing
  4. Environmental Health
  5. Occupational Therapy

(38) Variations to the requirements under clause (34), above, for an award title that appears on a testamur, (that is, to either the award name or the key program, or both) are possible where it can be clearly demonstrated to Academic Senate that the standard format is inappropriate and that the suggested alternative title meets one or more of the following criteria:

  1. it is common within the majority of universities that provide a similar course for the specified market, i.e., in Australia or a specific overseas location;
  2. it is the most recognised and accepted title with regard to the relevant profession;
  3. it is required for professional accreditation;
  4. it is an existing award title that has achieved demonstrably high recognition and regard in the relevant field; and/or
  5. it is a specialised area of study, reflected in a 320 credit points award.

Abbreviated Titles

(39) A consistent set of abbreviated award titles is published as Associated Information to the Academic Records Issuance Policy.

Majors on the Testamur

(40) At the time of publication of this version of the Policy, and, consistent with a 2003 resolution of Academic Senate, majors may not appear on testamurs except under the circumstances specified in clause 31. However, the issue of the inclusion of majors on testamurs is currently under consideration.

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Section 4 - Procedures

(41) Nil.

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Section 5 - Guidelines

(42) Nil.