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Graduation Policy

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Section 1 - Purpose and Context

(1) This policy covers matters relating to graduation processes for students completing a University award program.

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Section 2 - Definitions

(2) For the purposes of this policy, definitions that apply can be found in the Policy DDS Glossary, in addition to the following:

  1. 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

Graduation Ceremonies

(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 an in-person graduation ceremony.

(5) The University may record graduation ceremonies and transmit them via digital channels in a public forum, either whole or in part.

(6) It is a requirement of attendance at a graduation ceremony for students to provide consent to being recorded and content being made available in digital channels either whole or in part.

(7) The University chooses to acknowledge academic excellence in coursework awards, as outlined in Part C – Academic Excellence.

Eligibility to Graduate 

(8) 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. all borrowed books have been returned to the Library and there are no outstanding loans
  4. there is no current suspension, exclusion or expulsion penalty on their record 
  5. there are no outstanding proceedings related to allegations of Student Misconduct (as per clause 54 of the Student Misconduct Rule) and
  6. they have not already graduated from that award.

(9) The Director, Data Integrity, Quality and Operations (Director, DIQO) 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 Director, DIQO 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.

(10) In circumstances where a student has completed subjects contrary to program rules, the Dean or Deputy Dean, or equivalent, on the recommendation of the Director, Academic Program (DAP), 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.
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Section 4 - Procedures

Part A - Graduation

Completion and Conferral

(11) A student who is deemed eligible to graduate (per the conditions outlined under Eligibility to Graduate), will be assessed and automatically completed and conferred in the next available conferral round. Conferral timelines will be published on the University's website.

(12) All students must order and make payment for postage of their graduation documents. Graduation documents will be mailed to the address specified in the order.

(13) Failure to lodge an order or make payment as required will result in the graduate's graduation documents being held and stored by the University until the order and payment are made.

(14) Students are responsible for ensuring their name details are up to date on their student record before their final term of study has concluded in preparation for inclusion on their graduation documents.

(15) Failure to update name details will result in additional fees for reprinting of graduation documents, if requested.

Early Exit

(16) The University will publish details of available Early Exit programs in the Online Handbook.

(17) Students must apply to Early Exit through the University Student Portal, My Student Records (MySR).

(18) A student who is deemed eligible to Early Exit (per conditions outlined under Eligibility to Graduate), will be completed and conferred in the next available conferral round. Conferral timelines will be published on the University's website.

(19) Approval to Early Exit will result in discontinuation of the student’s enrolled program.

Early Award

(20) Students who are enrolled in a double degree, integrated program or nested program can elect to graduate from an Early Award while continuing their study in their enrolled program.

(21) A student who is deemed eligible for Early Award (per conditions outlined under Eligibility to Graduate), will be completed and conferred in the next available conferral round. Conferral timelines will be published on the University's website.

(22) Double degree and integrated program students are not required to apply for an Early Award. Students may elect to graduate from both components of their program at once, at the conclusion of their studies.

Invitation to Attend Graduation Ceremony

(23) All graduates will be invited to attend a graduation ceremony following conferral of their award. The deadlines for registering to attend a graduation ceremony will be communicated to students via email alongside details for registration.

(24) Failure to respond to an invitation to attend a graduation ceremony will result in the graduate's attendance noted as in absentia and the graduate will not be invited to attend any future graduation ceremonies.

Deferring Graduation Ceremony

(25) Students eligible to graduate may elect to defer their graduation by notifying the University through the graduation ceremony registration system by the advertised deadline. The maximum period of deferral is until the next set of graduation ceremonies.

In Absentia Graduation

(26) 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.

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

(28) 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

(29) The classes of Honours that may be awarded to a candidate who has completed satisfactorily the requirements of a Bachelor Honours degree and requirements specified by the School offering the degree, are outlined in the Honours in Bachelor Awards Policy.

Part B - Cumulative Grade Point Average

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

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

Calculation

(32) 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

(33) 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 (Credit) - Specified and Unspecified (excluding internal credit), and
  4. Aegrotat Pass (Z)

(34) GPA calculation may include subjects a student successfully completed at Western in a different program to their currently enrolled program (Internal Credit) in accordance with the Credit for Prior Learning Policy.

(35) 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.

(36) 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.

(37) 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, FNS, E and U and excluding the credit points for S grades.

(38) 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

University Medal

(39) 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.

(40) 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.

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

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

Graduation with Distinction

(43) Graduands may graduate "with distinction" from all undergraduate degrees (excluding Honours) and postgraduate coursework degrees, including Diplomas, Graduate Certificates, Graduate Diplomas and Masters coursework degrees.

(44) 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.

(45) SACs (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

(46) 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.

(47) 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).

(48) 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

(49) 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.

(50) 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.

(51) 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 and
  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.

Method of Selection

(52) 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.

(53) 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

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

Method of Award

(55) 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 University.

Dean's Merit List

(56) The Dean's Merit list will be compiled at the end of each academic year once final grades have been processed.

(57) The merit list will contain students who satisfy the following criteria:

  1. enrolled in a program offered by the School
  2. completed at least four subjects or 40 credit points from the University  in the relevant academic year and
  3. have a GPA of not less than 6.000.

Method of Selection

(58) Students’ GPAs for the relevant academic year are calculated after final grades are entered.

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

Method of Recognition

(60) 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

(61) Awarding of University Medals - Process.