Manual of Policies and Procedures

C/3.2 Award classifications

Contact Officer

Director, Curriculum Quality and Standards

Approval Date

14/09/2018

Approval Authority

University Academic Board

Date of Next Review

01/09/2021

3.2.1 Purpose
3.2.2 Application
3.2.3 Roles and responsibilities
3.2.4 Qualification type
3.2.5 Double degrees
3.2.6 Joint awards
3.2.7 Dual awards
3.2.8 Entry requirements
3.2.9 Recognition of prior learning
3.2.10 Entry and exit pathways
3.2.11 Definitions
Related Documents
Modification History

3.2.1 Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to:

  • provide a high-level framework for the overall design and structure of Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) award and non-AQF award courses consistent with the Higher Education Standards Framework; and
  • describe the characteristics of the types of courses offered by QUT taking into consideration alignment with the AQF.

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3.2.2 Application

This policy applies to Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) and non-AQF award courses accredited by QUT.

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3.2.3 Roles and responsibilities

Position Responsibility

University Academic Board (A/3.6)

  • awards higher doctorates on the recommendation of the Research Degrees Committee
  • approves initial course entry requirements

Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Education)

  • approves protocols supporting award classifications (C/3.2)
Faculty academic boards
  • revise course entry requirements

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3.2.4 Qualification type

The award categories outlined in this policy are those most likely to be used at QUT. Of these categories, all except the University certificate are specified in the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF). The Higher Education Standards Framework and the AQF provide options for additional AQF awards and non-AQF awards which can be considered on a case by case basis. Full characteristics of each award category are provided by the AQF which should be read in association with this policy.

Additional procedures and requirements for research degree courses and for awarding a higher doctorate are provided in the Higher degree research candidates policy (D/5.3) and on the HiQ site.

University Certificate

University Certificates are a QUT award accredited by the University Academic Board (C/4.1.3). University certificates are normally developed as pathways to further study.

The volume of learning for a University Certificate is 0.5 years (48 credit points) full time.

Undergraduate Certificate

Undergraduate Certificates are a QUT award accredited by the University Academic Board (C/4.1.3). Undergraduate Certificates are developed as pathways to further study and may meet an AQF qualifications specification between Level 5 and Level 7. The pathway to further study and AQF level will be specified as part of course accreditation.

The volume of learning for a Higher Education Certificate is 0.5 years (48 credit points) full-time.

Diploma

Diplomas meet the AQF qualifications specifications for Level 5 diplomas. Diplomas are normally developed as pathways to further study and often include a sub-set of an existing bachelor degree award where a proportion of the units and academic characteristics are drawn directly from the parent bachelor degree but the award leads to distinctive Level 5 course learning outcomes.

The volume of learning for a diploma is 1 – 2 years (96 to 192 credit points) full time.

Associate degree

Associate degrees meet the AQF qualifications specifications for Level 6 associate degrees. Associate degrees are normally developed as exit awards from an existing bachelor degree where the units and academic characteristics are drawn directly from the parent bachelor degree but the award leads to distinctive Level 6 course learning outcomes.

The volume of learning for an associate degree is 2 years (192 credit points) full time.

Bachelor degree

Bachelor degrees meet the AQF qualifications specifications for a Level 7 bachelor degree. The bachelor degree qualifies individuals who apply a broad and coherent body of knowledge in a range of contexts to undertake professional work and as a pathway for further learning.

The volume of learning for bachelor degrees is 3-4 years and includes the following credit point values:

  • 288 credit point degrees (3 years full time)
  • 384 credit point degrees (4 years full time)

Bachelor degrees of 384 credit points or more which were initially offered prior to 1 January 2012 may be awarded with honours (C/5.2), on the basis of GPA.

Bachelor honours degree

Bachelor honours degrees meet the AQF qualifications specifications for a Level 8 bachelor honours degree. Bachelor honours degrees provide a link between undergraduate study and research programs by introducing students to research skills, and/or advanced skills for entry into a profession.  Bachelor honours degrees include research which comprises systematic experimentation and theoretical work, application and/or development that results in an increase in the dimensions of knowledge as expressed in the AQF.

Two broad options are available for bachelor honours degrees:

  • A stand alone qualification where the bachelor honours degree is a separate course following a Level 7 bachelor degree and the volume of learning is 1 year full time (96 credit points). Graduates receive both the award for the bachelor degree and the award for the bachelor honours degree.
  • A 'cluster qualification' where the bachelor honours degree is embedded in a Level 7 bachelor degree, typically as an additional year. Graduates receive the award for the bachelor honours degree only.

All bachelor honours degrees are awarded with a level of honours. The grading scales for the awarding of honours are provided in QUT Grading (C/5.2).

Graduate certificate and graduate diploma

Graduate certificates and graduate diplomas meet the AQF qualifications specifications for a Level 8 graduate certificate and graduate diploma respectively. The volume of learning for a graduate certificate is between 0.5 and 1 year full time, and for a graduate diploma is between 1-2 years full time.

Masters degree

Masters degrees meet the AQF qualifications specifications for a Level 9 masters degree. Masters degrees at QUT are classified as either coursework or research. The AQF also allows for an extended masters.

The volumes of learning for coursework and research masters degrees are, as a minimum:

  • 1 year full time (96 credit points) following an AQF Level 8 degree in the same discipline
  • 1.5 years full time (144 credit points) following an AQF Level 8 degree in a different discipline, or an AQF Level 7 degree in the same discipline
  • 2 years full time (192 credit points) following an AQF Level 7 degree in a different discipline.

Doctoral degree

Doctoral degrees meet the AQF qualifications specifications for a Level 10 doctoral degree. QUT offers both doctoral degree (research) leading to the award of a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), and doctoral degree (professional) qualifications.

  • The doctoral degree (research) is designed so that graduates will have undertaken a program of independent supervised study that produces significant and original research outcomes.
  • The doctoral degree (professional) qualification is designed so that graduates will have undertaken a program of structured learning (typically advanced coursework and/or research integrated practice) and independent supervised study that produces significant and original research outcomes.

The volume of learning for a doctoral degree is 3-4 years full time.

Course requirements for doctoral degrees are set out in the Higher degree research candidates policy (D/5.3) and relevant requirements for individual degrees. Individual course requirements for supervision and thesis examination must be based on the Good Practice guidelines for Higher Degree Research Studies and Supervision at QUT (QUT staff and student access only).

Course requirements for professional doctorates are established by the relevant faculty for each course in accordance with the AQF specification for level 10, and are approved by University Academic Board.

Higher doctorate 

The degrees of Doctor of Letters (DLitt), Doctor of Science (DSc), Doctor of Engineering (DEng), Doctor of Business (DBus) and Doctor of Laws (LLD) may be awarded by the University. Higher doctorates are located at Level 10 of the Australian Qualifications Framework.

A higher doctorate may be awarded by University Academic Board on the recommendation of Research Degrees Committee for original and substantial contributions of distinction which add to the knowledge and understanding of any branch of learning with which the University is concerned.

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3.2.5 Double degrees

A double degree is a 'cluster of qualifications', as defined in the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF), constructed as a single program of study that allows the student to complete two awards within a specified timeframe. A double degree may be:  two undergraduate degrees, an undergraduate degree and a postgraduate degree (vertical double degree); or two postgraduate degrees. The combination of postgraduate degrees at different levels (e.g.  graduate certificate and masters degree) is normally managed as a nested suite rather than a double degree.

On graduation, students receive individual awards for each of the component degrees. Double degrees may be developed as a combination of two QUT award courses or as a joint degree combining a QUT award course and an award course from another university (C/3.2.6).

In designing double degrees, faculties must consider the principles outlined in Protocols: Courses and awards/Award classifications (QUT staff access only).

Awards with distinction and awards with honours are awarded as appropriate for each component of the double degree (C/5.2). Graduates of double degrees are eligible for university medals (E/10.4).

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3.2.6 Joint awards

QUT encourages collaboration with other education providers through the development of joint awards where each provider can contribute a different discipline or perspective to an integrated course. Joint awards may be established as either a single award or two awards offered in collaboration between QUT and one or more other institutions. Joint awards are subject to all relevant QUT policy including Curriculum design, approval and accreditation (C/4.1); Course quality assurance (C/4.6); Assessment and feedback (C/5.1) and Academic integrity (C/5.3).

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3.2.7 Dual awards

Dual awards are constructed as a combined qualification with a single entry point leading to the award of two qualifications at different levels either involving two QUT courses or a QUT course together with a course offered by another registered provider. Students are admitted through a single entry point with a packaged offer for both courses. A quota is applied for entry for each dual degree.

Dual awards must be constructed to meet the criteria outlined in Protocols: Courses and awards/Award classifications (QUT staff access only).

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3.2.8 Entry requirements

QUT sets minimum entry requirements for each level of award course. Specific course entry requirements, which may include additional discipline-specific requirements, are approved at University Academic Board during course accreditation. The faculty academic board having responsibility for a course may revise entry requirements for an existing course, within the minimum standards established for each level of award course. Student admission (E/4.1) is determined on the basis of merit and perceived probability of success, with provision for alternative entry and entry for poorly represented community groups .

Minimum award level entry requirements and examples of possible additional entry requirements are outlined in Protocols: Courses and awards/Award classifications (QUT staff access only).

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3.2.9 Recognition of prior learning

QUT recognises that alternative formal learning, informal and non-formal learning may satisfy course entry or advanced standing requirements. Decisions that recognise prior learning must be consistent with the requirements of the Australian Qualifications Framework Qualifications Pathways, Recognition of prior learning (C/5.4) and Advanced standing (E/4.2) policies.

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3.2.10 Entry and exit pathways

QUT promotes the provision of alternative pathways into courses based on different combinations of formal, informal and non-formal learning. Entry through alternative pathways may also allow for advanced standing. Design principles and examples of entry and exit pathways are provided in the Protocols: Courses and awards/Award classifications (QUT staff access only).

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3.2.11 Definitions

An award course is an accredited course leading to the following qualification types: University certificate, diploma, associate degree, bachelor degree, bachelor honours degree, graduate certificate, graduate diploma, masters degree, or doctoral degree. The volume of learning is a dimension of the complexity of a qualification. It is used with the level criteria and qualification type descriptor to determine the depth and breadth of the learning outcomes of a qualification. The volume of learning identifies the notional duration of all activities required for the achievement of the learning outcomes specified for a particular Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) qualification type. It is expressed in equivalent full-time years.

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Related Documents

MOPP C/3.1 Courses and awards

MOPP C/4.1 Curriculum design, approval and accreditation

MOPP C/5.2 QUT grading

MOPP C/5.4 Recognition of prior learning

MOPP D/5.3 Higher degree research candidates

MOPP E/4.1 Student admission

MOPP E/4.2 Advanced standing

MOPP E/10.1 Graduation requirements

MOPP E/10.4 University medals

Good Practice guidelines for Higher Degree Research Studies and Supervision at QUT (QUT staff and student access only)

HiQ website - Research students (QUT staff and student access only)

Protocols: Courses and awards/Award Classifications

Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF)

Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2015

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Modification History

Date

Sections

Source

Details

06.05.20 C/3.2.4 Acting Chair, University Academic Board Revised policy to amend the qualification type, Higher Education Certificate to Undergraduate Certificate
27.04.20 C/3.2.4 Acting Chair, University Academic Board Revised policy to include the qualification type, Higher Education Certificate
14.09.18 All University Academic Board Revised and simplified policy - effective 01.01.19
11.08.17 C/3.1.4 Dean of Studies Revised policy to include consequential amendments following new course approval (MPhil) and research specialisations
27.03.15 All University Academic Board Revised policy
20.09.13 C/3.1.9 University Academic Board Policy revised to require separate unit codes and teaching for undergraduate and postgraduate cohorts - effective 01.01.14
24.05.13 C/3.1.3, C/3.1.4 University Academic Board Policy revised to align to regulatory environment including the TEQSA & CRICOS standards
25.05.12 All University Academic Board Policy revised to align to regulatory environment including the AQF and in response to operational feedback

19.02.11

All

Vice-Chancellor

Policy revised to include approved name change for Office of Teaching Quality to Learning and Teaching Unit

23.07.10

C/3.1.3,
C/3.1.8

University Academic Board

Policy revised to include SAMS terminology and processes

13.11.09

C/3.1.7

University Academic Board

Revised policy

14.11.08

All

University Academic Board

Revised policy effective from 01.01.09 (replaces former policies C/3.1, C/3.4, C/7.3, C/7.9) (endorsed by University Teaching and Learning Committee 21.10.08)

19.05.06

All

University Academic Board

Revised policy (endorsed by Teaching and Learning Committee 02.05.06); replaces former policies C/3.1, C/3.7, C/3.8 and C/3.9

21.05.02

All

Academic Policy and Programs Unit

Updated and linked to QUT Handbook

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