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Graduation Policy

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Section 1 - Purpose and Context

(1) This policy covers matters relating to student graduation.

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Section 2 - Definitions

(2) For the purpose of this policy:

  1. Graduand means a student who has completed their award and been deemed eligible to graduate.
  2. Graduate means a graduand who has had their award conferred on them by the University.
  3. Graduation in absentia means when a degree is conferred on a student without their presence at a graduation ceremony.
  4. Average Mark means the Average Mark for a student, calculated by: Sum of (mark x credit points for subject)/Sum of credit points.
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Section 3 - Policy Statement

Part A - Graduation


(3) The University will normally conduct a minimum of one round of graduation ceremonies in a calendar year.

(4) The University may determine that all graduands are recognised at a virtual ceremony due to circumstances beyond its control resulting in the cancellation of a graduation ceremony.

(5) The University may record graduation ceremonies and transmit them via a publicly available website.

(6) It is a requirement of attendance at a graduation ceremony for students to provide consent to being recorded and the video made available for public viewing for a nominated period of time.


(7) A student is eligible to graduate from the award in which they are enrolled if:

  1. all program requirements have been met;
  2. no financial debt is owed to the University;
  3. there is no current Suspension, Exclusion or expulsion penalty on their record; 
  4. there are no outstanding proceedings related to allegations of Student Misconduct (as per clause 54 of the Student Misconduct Rule); and
  5. they have not already graduated from that award.

(8) The Chief Student and University Planning Officer has the authority to determine the eligibility of students to graduate under former University Member Rules for academic excellence and maximum time, and the approved policy on graduation. This policy statement should not act to undermine the discretion of the Chief Student and University Planning Officer to deal with individual matters that present as extraordinary cases of hardship or special circumstances outside the terms of this statement and in accordance with the law.

(9) In exceptional circumstances where program changes result in a student not being able to complete one or more named subjects in a program, the Dean or Deputy Dean, or equivalent, on the recommendation of the Director, Academic Program, or equivalent, may approve the substitution of one or more subjects in the program provided that:

  1. academic integrity, program learning outcomes and professional accreditation of the program are not compromised; and
  2. a clear academic rationale for each substitution has been provided.

Registering to Graduate

(10) All undergraduate and postgraduate students must register to graduate before the end of the last term of their program of study as defined by the relevant rules of the program in which they are enrolled. The deadlines for graduation applications will be published on the University's website for each term.

(11) Failure to lodge a form or failure to pay any fees or charges owing will result in the graduand not graduating at the next available round of graduation ceremonies.

Deferring Graduation

(12) Students eligible to graduate may elect to defer their graduation by notifying the Graduation Team in writing by the advertised deadline. The maximum period of deferral is until the next set of graduation ceremonies.

In Absentia Graduation

(13) Students eligible to graduate may choose to graduate in absentia. Students who elect to graduate 'in absentia' are not permitted to participate in any future ceremony as a 'presentee' for that award.

(14) Students who elect to graduate ‘in absentia’ and provide consent, may be recognised at the ceremony of their conferral.

(15) If a student has not registered to graduate within six months of completing the award requirements, they will normally be automatically graduated in absentia at the next graduation ceremony. This clause does not apply to students in double degrees who have completed the requirements for one degree and are seeking to graduate from both degrees in the same set of ceremonies.

Award of Honours

(16) The classes of Honours which may be awarded to a candidate who has completed satisfactorily the requirements of a Bachelor Honours degree shall be:

  1. Honours Class I;
  2. Honours Class II Division I;
  3. Honours Class II Division II; or
  4. Honours Class III.

(17) The requirements will be specified by the School offering the degree and published as associated information to the Honours in Bachelor Awards Policy.

Part B - Cumulative Grade Point Average

(18) Western Sydney University uses a cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) to measure the academic performance of individual students, to acknowledge excellence and determine recipients of Excellence Awards.

(19) The cumulative GPA will be calculated over the duration of a student's enrolment in a program.


(20) Each final grade is awarded a numerical value as shown in Table 1 below:

Table 1

Grade Numerical Value
High Distinction 7
Distinction 6
Credit 5
Pass 4
Conceded Pass (the use of the conceded pass grade ceased from 1 January 2006) 3
Fail (F), Fail-discontinued (E), Unsatisfactory (U), and Fail Non Submission (FNS), Practicum Fail (PF), Compulsory Fail (CF) 0

(21) The following will not be counted in the calculation of a GPA:

  1. a grade of Satisfactory (S);
  2. Withdrawn Without Academic Penalty (W);
  3. Credit for Prior Learning - Specified and Unspecified; and
  4. Aegrotat Pass (Z).

(22) Where a student has repeated a subject, both grades will be counted towards the GPA, and both results will remain on the official academic transcript.

(23) The formula for calculating the GPA is:

GPA = Sum of (credit points for the same specific subject x grade points for specific subject) / Total number of credit points attempted.

(24) The elements of the above GPA formula are:

  1. grade points for specific subject refers to the numerical value allocated to particular grades (e.g. H = 7; see Table 1 above);
  2. credit points for same specific subject refers to the credit points allocated to the subject studied (e.g. 10 credit points); and
  3. total number of credit points attempted refers to the credit points for all subjects attempted including credit points for subjects where the grade achieved was F, AF, FNS, E and U and excluding the credit points for S grades.

(25) For example, a student takes four subjects. Three were 10 credit point subjects and the student achieved grades worth 7, 6 and 5. One was a 40 credit point subject and the student achieved a grade worth 7. The GPA was worked out as follows:

[(10x7) + (10x6) + (10x5) + (40x7)] / (10 + 10 + 10 + 40) = 6.571

Part C - Academic Excellence

(26) Western Sydney University chooses to acknowledge academic excellence in coursework awards.

University Medal

(27) To be eligible for the University Medal, a candidate must have achieved:

  1. Honours Class I, or equivalent in Master of Research thesis (HD – 85 and above), requiring a cumulative GPA of 6.000 or greater in the subjects that form the Honours/Master of Research degree; and 
  2. a cumulative GPA of 6.000 or greater in the subjects that form the undergraduate degree component of the program; or
  3. for Doctor of Medicine (MD), cumulative GPA of 6.000 or greater, and a mark of 85 and above for the MD project.

(28) Where the Honours or Master of Research candidate has obtained their undergraduate pass degree at another institution, the candidate's academic transcript will be reviewed by the School Academic Committee (SAC). If the Committee determines that the standard achieved is the equivalent of the University's cumulative GPA of 6.000 or greater, the candidate will be deemed to be eligible, and will be recommended to the Dean.

Graduation with Distinction

(29) Graduands may graduate "with distinction" from undergraduate pass degrees and postgraduate coursework Masters degrees (or Graduate Diplomas where no extension to a Masters coursework award is available).

(30) Excellence will be measured by GPA calculated from a graduand's performance in the University subjects undertaken while enrolled in the award from which the student is graduating. See Part B Cumulative Grade Point Average for further information about how the GPA is calculated.

(31) School Academic Committees, or equivalent, will recommend to Academic Senate that students who have achieved a GPA of 6.000 or above should be awarded their degree "with distinction".

Dean's Medal

(32) The Dean's Medal will be awarded annually to students eligible for awards of:

  1. undergraduate Bachelor degrees equivalent to three years or four years full-time duration; or
  2. Coursework Masters degree (or Graduate Diplomas where no extension to a Masters coursework award is available) equivalent to one or more years full-time (or part-time equivalent) duration.

(33) Dean's Medals are not awarded to students graduating with postgraduate degrees other than coursework Masters (or Graduate Diplomas where no extension to a Masters coursework award is available).

(34) Students enrolled in undergraduate Bachelor double degrees and eligible for awards of the two degrees can be awarded the Dean's Medal for both degrees.

Criteria for Award of Dean's Medal

(35) The following criteria will be applied once per conferral year for the total number of eligible graduating students, in each of the undergraduate and postgraduate cohorts.

(36) To be eligible, as an undergraduate, the student must be a graduand:

  1. of an undergraduate Bachelor program offered by the School; and
  2. have studied for at least one year full-time equivalent (80 credit points) at the University in the program from which they are graduating; and
  3. not be a recipient of the University Medal for that program; and
  4. have a GPA of 6.000 or greater and meet one of the following criteria:
    1. In instances where the number of graduands for the School cohort is 50 or greater, the student is in the top 2% of the School cohort; or
    2. In instances where the number of graduands for the School cohort is 49 or less, the student with the highest GPA of 6.000 or greater in the School cohort.

(37) To be eligible, as a postgraduate, the student must:

  1. be a graduand of a one to two year postgraduate coursework degree offered by the School;
  2. have studied at least half of the credit points required for the program from which they are graduating at the University; and
  3. have a GPA of 6.000 or greater and meet one of the following criteria:
    1. In instances where the number of graduands for the School cohort is 50 or greater, the student is in the top 2%; or
    2. In instances where the number of graduands for the School cohort is 49 or less, the student with the highest GPA in the School cohort.

Dean's Merit List

(38) The Dean's Merit list will be compiled at the end of each academic year once final grades have been processed. The merit list will contain students who satisfy the following criteria.

Criteria for Recognition on the Dean's Merit List

(39) To be eligible, the student must be enrolled in a program offered by the School.

(40) To be eligible, the student must have completed at least four subjects or 40 credit points from the University in the relevant academic year.

(41) Students must have a GPA of not less than 6.000.

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Section 4 - Procedures

University Medal

(42) Recommendation by the SAC, endorsed by the Dean, will be referred to Academic Senate for approval.

(43) All documentation relating to recommendations, including SAC minutes, must be accompanied by an endorsement from the Dean.

Dean’s Medal

Method of Selection

(44) At the end of each conferral year, once final grades have been processed, the relevant yearly undergraduate and postgraduate graduation cohorts will be finalised by Student Experience and Marketing (SEM) and two lists will be generated for each School, showing the top 2% of the relevant undergraduate graduands/graduates and the top 2% of the relevant postgraduate graduands/graduates based on the GPA. These lists will be approved by the SAC before inclusion on the students’ records.

(45) Where several students share an identical GPA:

  1. in instances where the number of graduands is 50 or greater and where the number of eligible students determined by GPA scores exceeds the number determined by the top 2% threshold for the School cohort, the students with the highest Average Marks within the 2% threshold will be awarded the medals; or
  2. in instances where the number of graduands for the School cohort is 49 or less, only the student with the highest Average Mark will be awarded the medal.

The Medal

(46) Each medal will be engraved “for Academic Excellence” with the student’s name and year of award.

Method of Award

(47) The Dean will write to each student advising they have been awarded the Dean’s Medal and that it will be presented at a yearly awards ceremony organised by the School.

Dean’s Merit List

Method of Selection

(48) Once final grades are entered, students’ GPAs for the relevant academic year will be calculated.

(49) Student Experience and Marketing will generate a list of all students who have achieved a GPA of 6.000 of greater for approval by the SAC and subsequent inclusion on the students’ records.

Method of Recognition

(50) Students identified as per the above criteria will be sent a letter from the Dean recognising their outstanding achievement.

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Section 5 - Guidelines

(51) Awarding of University Medals - Process.