C/3.1 Courses and awards
3.1.1 Policy principles
A primary function of QUT is to deliver higher education courses and programs and the University is committed to providing high quality and well-designed courses which meet the needs of its students and the community. Courses at QUT are designed and structured based on the following principles.
Courses at QUT will:
This policy is designed to:
A Course is a structured and coherent set of units or thesis components that leads to the award of a qualification. A course forms a coherent body of knowledge, skills and application of knowledge and skills, purposely designed (C/4.2) to support student learning and enable graduates to demonstrate achieving the learning outcomes for the qualification. Course learning outcomes, including transferable, non-discipline specific skills, are explicitly identified and align with the level of the qualification.
QUT offers award courses, which are assigned a course code and a credit point value for coursework courses (C/3.1.5) or Equivalent Full Time Student Load (EFTSL) value for research higher degree courses. These award courses are accredited by University Academic Board (C/4.1). QUT also offers non-award courses (C/3.3).
Course codes are in the format @@## where @ is an alphabetic character and # is a numeric character. The first two characters represent the school or faculty administering the course, or designate the course as interfaculty in the case of a course offered collaboratively by two or more faculties.
(b) Study Areas
A Study Area is a set of units within a course which together form a coherent body of knowledge, undertaken at an advanced level. A course may have two levels of Study Area: Study Area A and Study Area B. Study Areas may have Study Area Learning Outcomes that:
Study Area codes embed meaning regarding the faculty or school administering the course, the type of Study Area, and an abbreviated description of the Study Area.
Study Area A, also referred to as a Major, meet the following criteria:
Study Area B, also referred to as a second major, extension, or minor. Study Areas B meet the following criteria:
(c) Complementary studies
The term Complementary Studies applies to the group of units that are required in addition to core units and a Study Area A in some courses in order to fulfil course requirements. The units comprising this study package accordingly complement the discipline focus provided by the core units and Study Area A.
A Unit is a structured and coherent set of learning activities that normally work in concert with other Units to contribute to one or more course learning outcomes. Each unit is assigned a unit code and a credit point value (C/3.1.5) and approved by faculty academic boards.
The list of faculty / school codes and level indicators for units is available on the Student Gateway.
(e) Major research output
Examples of major research outputs include: theses, dissertations, exegeses, creative works or other major works submitted for the award of a higher degree. Major research outputs are assigned a code and an EFTSL value (C/3.1.6) and are approved by faculty academic boards. All major research outputs are coded using the same schema as for coursework units (C/3.1.9 (c)).
(f) Study package
A study package is used within QUT’s corporate curriculum systems as a term to describe an element of the curriculum structure. Courses, Study Areas, Units, Complementary Studies and Theses are examples of study packages.
The award title for a course is approved by University Academic Board through the curriculum development, approval and accreditation process (C/4.1) and is included in the title shown on the award parchment issued to students who have completed their course requirements (E/10.2). Award titles must meet the requirements specified in the Qualification Standards, including the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) Qualifications Issuance Policy, and are subject to the following requirements:
QUT has standardised abbreviations for award titles. A complete list of award titles, including approved abbreviations and details of QUT's standard abbreviations, is available on the QUT website. Any variation to the standard abbreviation must be approved by University Academic Board. For a new term to be used in an award title, an appropriate abbreviation must be proposed to and approved by the University Academic Board as part of accreditation (C/4.1.3 (f)). The approved abbreviations list is periodically updated to record new terms.
QUT uses a credit point system for all coursework courses for the purposes of calculating student load (Equivalent Full Time Student Load - EFTSL) for internal and external reporting. The credit point value is a measure of the proportion of the volume of learning which the unit represents to a student, and is the weighting used to calculate a student's grade point average (GPA). The total credit points per full-time year of a course is 96. Any variation is approved by University Academic Board and is regarded as overload or underload.
Consistent with the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) Explanation on Volume of Learning, the generally accepted length of time used for designing educational participation for a full-time year, which includes teaching, learning and assessment activities, is approximately 1200 hours. Using this guide, and recognising that actual time will vary for each students, a 12 credit unit is designed to take approximately 150 hours.
The standard units are 12 credit points. QUT may allow the following exceptions in certain circumstances. These exceptions must be approved by University Academic Board as part of the course requirements (C/3.1.7):
Higher Degree Research (HDR) courses are offered as time-based study consistent with the requirement of the relevant Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) level. These degrees are characterised by the enrolment of a student in a thesis unit, which may lead to a range of assessable outputs including dissertation, exegesis or creative work. Students admitted to HDR courses may enrol in their research thesis at any time, and receive an amount of Equivalent Full Time Student Load (EFTSL) corresponding to the volume of learning they are expected to complete the course on the basis of full-time study. Equivalent Full Time Student Load is consumed as the student progresses through the course on either a full-time or part-time basis. If coursework units are offered within the HDR course, students enrol in the units as required and an equivalent amount of EFTSL is subsumed according to the number of credit points in the units.
A designated unit has content that has been identified by the faculty as critical to meeting a satisfactory level of competence. A faculty academic board requires students to complete the unit with a passing grade in order to continue in the award course. Such units include performance-based or work integrated learning units, units requiring the development of particular skills, and units requiring the demonstration of certain personal qualities.
A schedule of designated units can be found on the Student Gateway.
Course requirements set out the specific requirements for admission to and completion of an award course and include the following:
Course requirements must be made available to students at the time of enrolment (E/2.1 and E/4.3.3) and are set out in the QUT Handbook. Students are eligible to graduate as soon as they have completed all the requirements for the course (E/10.1).
Course requirements are approved by University Academic Board at the time of approval of the course. Specified changes to course requirements can be approved by the faculty academic board in accordance with the curriculum development, approval and accreditation policy (C/4.1).
Attendance is not normally compulsory unless it is a specified course requirement to demonstrate progress towards, or achievement of course learning outcomes. Attendance may be required for field trips, work placements, occupational health and safety preparation, and performance or practice-based tasks. Attendance may be:
Field trips include all field excursions and industrial visits. Details of financial arrangements for and reimbursement of student expenses relating to field excursions are provided in E/7.2.
Reasonable adjustments to these requirements may be made for students, consistent with QUT's policies on disability and anti-discrimination (A/8).
Requirements for structuring courses and Study Areas enable faculties to offer courses that provide flexibility for students while also tailoring courses and their award titles to meet specific career paths and industry requirements.
Courses and Study Areas must be designed such that they are consistent with principles for curriculum design (C/4.2) and provide students with:
Guidelines for curriculum design and curriculum structures are provided on the Learning and Teaching Unit website.
(a) Sequencing and structuring
Course structures provide students with consistent and simple pathways for completion, and are expected to adhere to the following requirements:
(b) Credit points
Where possible, course structures are designed to minimise overlap between courses to ensure that requirements for maximum advanced standing can be met (E/4.2). Courses are designed to ensure that they do not overlap with another course at the same level by more than the amount specified below:
Study Areas within a course should not overlap by more than 50% of the credit points.
Where faculties choose, for purposes of tailoring offerings to specific industry requirements, to offer courses or study areas where unit overlap exceeds the above requirements, they may choose to establish course entry requirements so that students are prevented from attaining more than one award. Where faculties choose to allow students to complete a second course offered at the same level and by the same faculty (including a second attempt at the initial course, with a different Study Area A), students are required to complete a minimum number of credit points while admitted to the second course in order to meet its award requirements. This requirement would often be met by students completing a different study area to that completed in the first course, or through a customised study plan, developed in consultation with the Course Coordinator, provided the integrity of the award course is maintained. The minimum number of credit points required is as follows:
(c) Unit coding
Units codes are in the format @@@### where @ is an alphabetic character and # is a numeric character. The first two characters indicate the faculty or school administering the unit. Faculties may choose to use the numeric characters to indicate the year of the course in which the unit is normally taught. The third character indicates the level of the course in which the unit is normally taught or for special offering designation to different cohorts. Units may be offered to more than one cohort of students, but separate unit codes are required where a unit is offered to a general entry cohort and a corporate cohort, or at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Separate codes may also be used for cohorts of international exchange students.
Separate unit codes at undergraduate and postgraduate levels apply unless an exception has been approved by University Academic Board as part of the curriculum development, approval and accreditation process (C/4.1). Exceptions are determined by a clear academic rationale which may include analysis of relevant data for the cohort. Exceptions must be clearly communicated to students.
Where a separate unit code is required for a corporate cohort taught at the same award level through a corporate award course (C/3.4), the following requirements apply:
Separate unit codes are required for undergraduate and postgraduate cohorts, and the following requirements apply:
(d) Opportunities for cross-disciplinary study
Course structures must allow for student choice and provide a balance of professional requirements and opportunities for work integrated learning and cross-disciplinary study through the following:
MOPP C/3.2 Award classifications
MOPP C/4.1 Curriculum development, approval and accreditation
MOPP E/2.1 QUT Student Code of Conduct
MOPP E/4.3 Enrolment programs
MOPP E/7.2 Expenses related to student excursions
MOPP E/10.1 Graduation requirements
MOPP E/10.2 Award parchments