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Policy: Academic programs and courses accreditation

Purpose

To describe the standards which underpin the University’s introduction, modification, review and disestablishment of academic programs and courses.

Overview

This policy includes:

  • categories of awards
  • program design principles
  • priorities for the approval of new coursework programs
  • coursework program accreditation
  • coursework program reaccreditation
  • disestablishing coursework programs
  • coursework courses
  • combined programs
  • ANU academic programs design principles
  • ANU combined degree design principles

Scope

This policy covers all award programs, majors, minors, specialisations, and courses and all ANU staff with educational responsibilities.

Policy Statement

  1. ANU accredits and reaccredits programs, majors, minors, specialisations, and courses that:
  • align with the strategic directions of the University;
  • are consistent with the Australian Qualifications Framework; and
  • are consistent with the academic standards of the University, as set out in University policies.

Categories of awards

  1. ANU may offer programs that lead to the following awards:
  • Diploma
  • Associate Degree
  • Bachelor Degree
  • Bachelor Honours Degree
  • Graduate Certificate
  • Graduate Diploma
  • Master Degree (Coursework, Extended, and Research)
  • Doctoral Degree

Program Design Principles

  1. ANU programs are consistent with the design principles outlined in Table 1. In rare cases where an exception is required, a case that includes documented evidence of need must be made to the Academic Quality Assurance Committee for coursework degrees and to University Research Committee for research degrees. Each unique award will have only one set of orders, duration, and units required. Multiple awards will not be accredited with the same name.
  2. In rare cases, University Council may approve the offering of a non-Australian Qualifications Framework award.

Priorities for the approval of new coursework programs

  1. In the coursework program accreditation process, evidence of alignment with the ANU Strategic Plan, demand, academic merit and of research-led approaches to education is provided in program proposals.

Coursework Program Accreditation

  1. Academic Board, on advice from the Academic Quality Assurance Committee, accredits new coursework programs and amendments to coursework programs for a maximum period of five years. Program amendments are accredited until a program is due to be reviewed. Professional accreditation is the responsibility of the relevant managing ANU College(s).
  2. Enrolled students must be informed of an amendment to an academic program by the relevant managing ANU College(s) through the usual University means of communication and must be notified of their options and the transitional arrangements that will be put in place.

Coursework Program Reaccreditation

  1. Each of the University’s academic programs will be reviewed at least every five years, although the Academic Quality Assurance Committee may trigger a shorter review cycle for particular programs on the basis of evidence relating to viability, quality assurance, or student outcomes or experience. All program reviews must include an academic external to the University who is a subject matter expert; and additionally for graduate program reviews a person who is a non-academic practitioner in the area. In rare cases where an appropriate practitioner cannot be identified, AQAC may provide an exemption. Programs subject to professional accreditation follow the review schedule of the relevant external accreditation body. Academic Board, on advice from the Academic Quality Assurance Committee, reaccredits coursework programs for a maximum period of five years. The Academic Quality Assurance Committee determines the regular review cycle and also recommend programs for early review, based on the following criteria:
  • commencing EFTSL under 5; or
  • evidence of student retention rates under 80%; and
  • a majority of the courses within the program with an agreement rate of <50% for overall satisfaction in SELT for the past three years.

Disestablishing coursework programs

  1. Coursework programs may be disestablished by Academic Board on the advice of the Academic Quality Assurance Committee. If an academic program is to be disestablished, the relevant managing ANU College(s) must investigate any possible adverse effects that the change may have on students currently enrolled in the program, with particular regard to:
  • any transitional arrangements required; and
  • time-limits on the transitional arrangements.
  1. Where an academic program is disestablished, students will be assisted to complete the program of study within a designated period or be offered the opportunity to transfer to another program of equivalent nature. Enrolled students must be informed of a disestablished academic program by the relevant managing ANU College(s) through the usual University means of communication and must be notified of their options and the transitional arrangements that will be put in place. The default period for transitioning students out of a disestablished program is the full-time duration of study for the final cohort of students admitted, where an equivalent program for students to transition into can be identified, and the part-time duration of study for the final cohort of students where no equivalent program can be identified.
  2. The relevant managing ANU College(s) must seek to identify potential enrolments or potential student cohorts in pathways programs who may be affected by the decision to disestablish an academic program and notify them of their options and any transitional arrangements that will be put in place.

Major, Minor, and Specialisation Accreditation

  1. Academic Board, on advice from the Academic Quality Assurance Committee, accredits new majors, minors, and specialisations for a maximum period of five years. Professional accreditation is the responsibility of the relevant managing ANU College(s).
  2. Academic Board, on advice from the Academic Quality Assurance Committee, approves amendments to the admission requirements for Honours Specialisations; the host ANU College will approve all other amendments to majors, minors, and specialisations.

Major, Minor, and Specialisation Reaccreditation

  1. Majors, Minors, and Specialisations are reviewed as part of the review process for each program for which they are listed in the program orders.

Disestablishing majors, minors and specialisations

  1. Majors, Minors, and Specialisations may be disestablished by Academic Board on the advice of the Academic Quality Assurance Committee. If a Major, Minor, or Specialisation is to be disestablished, the relevant managing ANU College(s) must investigate any possible adverse effects that the change may have on students currently enrolled in the program, with particular regard to:
  1. any transitional arrangements required; and
  2. time-limits on the transitional arrangements.
  1. The disestablishment of a major, minor, or specialisation automatically removes it from the program orders of all programs in which it is listed. A program amendment proposal is not required.

Coursework Courses

  1. New courses are approved by the relevant ANU College for a period of five years. Amendments to a course are approved for the period to the next review date of the course. Disestablishment of courses is permanent on approval. Academic Board will approve the University ‘Vice-Chancellor’s’ courses on advice from the Academic Quality Assurance Committee.
  2. Each taught course (that is, excluding administrative codes, codes for exchange, etc), other than special topics courses, must be taught at least once over each three calendar year period. If a course is not taught at least once in a three calendar year period, it is to be disestablished as at 01 January of the year following that period unless the College Education Committee in rare instances approves a case as to why the course should not be disestablished. A list of any retained courses together with the rationale for retention of each is to be tabled at the second meeting each year of AQAC for discussion. For clarity, co-taught courses are not aggregated for this process.
  3. A shorter review and reaccreditation cycle for courses may be triggered by the ANU College Education Committee or equivalent on the basis of evidence relating to viability, quality assurance, or student outcomes or experience.
  4. Proposals to establish, modify or disestablish courses that involve either the academic content or resources of another ANU College must include documentary evidence of consultation with that ANU College. Applications for the reaccreditation of courses are approved by the ANU College Education Committee or equivalent according to ANU College processes.
  5. Colleges will report their list of new, reaccredited and disestablished courses to the Academic Quality Assurance Committee once a year.
  6. Alpha codes for coursework courses are University-wide, discipline based codes, and are not exclusive to particular programs, contractual arrangements, or organisational structures.
  7. The creation of new alpha codes must be approved by the Registrar.

Combined Programs

  1. ANU offers combined programs on its own, and in partnership with universities of outstanding reputation, both at undergraduate and graduate level (table 2).
  2. In order to graduate with two awards from a combined degree program the core requirements of both individual awards must be met in their entirety.
  3. The minimum length of an undergraduate combined degree program must be at least as long as the longest of the two component award courses plus 48 units. The minimum length of a double Master program must be at least as long as the longest of the two component degree courses plus 24 units, or at least 96 units, whichever is longer. No degree in a double Master program will be shorter than 48 units.

Table 1: ANU Academic Programs Design Principles

Award

AQF Level

Units Required

Typical Volume of Learning

Pathways can include

Exit Qualifications can include

Structural Requirements

Diploma

5

48

1 year

Senior Secondary Certificate of education or equivalent

Must be structured to provide a pathway program for particular cohorts who do not have a senior secondary certificate or equivalent.

The Diploma is not available as an exit option for the Bachelor Degree.

Associate Degree

6

96

2 years

Senior Secondary Certificate of education or equivalent

Diploma

Must be structured to provide a pathway program for particular cohorts who do not have a senior secondary certificate or equivalent

The Associate Degree is not available as an exit option for the Bachelor Degree.

Bachelor Degree

7

144 or 192

3–4 years

completion of Senior Secondary Certificate of education or equivalent

A Bachelor degree major consists of 48 units in a field of study or discipline.

A Bachelor degree minor or specialisation consists of 24 units in a field of study or discipline.

A Bachelor degree must permit a maximum of 60 units at 1000-level, unless professional accreditation requirements mean a different maximum is required.

Bachelor degrees of three years or more normally permit students to take a minimum of 48 units of electives, including units from other ANU College offerings and


Vice-Chancellor’s courses.

Bachelor Honours Degree

8

192, either as 144+48 or embedded in 192

Minimum 48 units at AQF Level 8 (4000-level) with as one year following a Bachelor degree or embedded in a bachelor degree that is longer than 3 years

Bachelor degree with an average of at least the minimum mark required for a Distinction grade (70% at ANU) in the discipline for 48 unit programs; completion of senior secondary certificate of education or equivalent for 192 unit programs

Bachelor degree

Honours grading schema must be used for overall grade (H1, H2A, H2B, H3)

Must include a research training minimum equivalent to 12 units of summative assessment tasks at a minimum of AQF Level 8. Research training may be in courses dedicated solely to research training or may be embedded as one component in each of one or more courses.

Must include a research project equivalent to a minimum of 12 units of summative assessment tasks at a minimum of AQF Level 8. . Research project/s may be in courses dedicated solely to a research project or may be embedded as one component in each of one or more courses.

All Honours components listed in program orders for 1 year honours plans are coded at 4000-level.

Honours components listed in program orders for embedded honours should be coded at 4000-level.

For 1 year Honours plans, the final Honours mark will include all courses taken towards the plan and be calculated as follows:

Σ (mark x units) / Σ units, giving NCN and WN a nominal mark of zero

For embedded Honours plans the WAM will be approved by Academic Board. NCN and WN will have a nominal mark of zero.

PhB (Hons) and Advanced programs may integrate research throughout the degree in line with agreed outcomes for these programs.

Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours) (PhB) and Bachelor of Engineering

(Research and

Development) (R&D)

8

192

4 years

Senior Certificate of Education or equivalent

Bachelor degree

The structure of ANU undergraduate research programs includes clearly identifiable components that provide the research experience. These components are advanced study courses (ASC) that are stand-alone research projects, and advanced study extension (ASE) courses that are standard courses with an additional module for PhB or R&D cohorts. For PhB programs that typically follow the 3+1 Honours model, the program includes a minimum of:

Years 1-3

18u ASC plus 18u ASE or ASC

Year 4

minimum 24u Honours research project

For R&D or other programs that typically follow the embedded honours model, the program includes a minimum of:

Years 1-2

24u ASE or ASC

Year 3

12u ASC

Year 4

12u ASC

Graduate Certificate

8

24

0.5–1 year

Bachelor degree

A graduate certificate must consist entirely of 6000-, 7000-, and 8000-level courses.

Graduate Diploma

8

48

1–2 years

Bachelor degree; or Graduate Certificate

Graduate Certificate

A Graduate Diploma must consist entirely of 6000-, 7000-, and 8000-level courses.

Master Degree (coursework)

9

96

2 years

Bachelor degree

Bachelor Honours degree

Graduate Certificate

Graduate Diploma

Graduate Certificate

Graduate Diploma

[To assist with reading, this is included at the end of this document]

Master Degree (extended)

9

144 or 192

3–4 years

Bachelor degree

Bachelor Honours degree

Graduate Diploma

Masters degrees are constituted by 6000-, 7000-, and 8000-level courses only.

The use of the title ‘Juris Doctor’ is permitted for a Masters Degree (Extended) for legal practice.

The use of the title ‘Doctor of ...’ is permitted for a Masters Degree (Extended) for five professions: medical practice; physiotherapy; dentistry; optometry and veterinary practice.

Masters Degree (Research)

9

48 - 96

1.5–2 years

Bachelor degree

Bachelor Honours degree

1.5 years following a Bachelor Honours degree

2 years following a Bachelor degree

A combination of supervised research and Masters level coursework where the research component is two-thirds or more of the qualification.

Master of Philosophy

Doctoral Degree (including professional doctorates)

10

96 - 192

3–4 years

Bachelor Honours degree, Master degree

A combination of supervised research and/or professional practice, doctoral level coursework and skills training. No more than one third of the qualification must be coursework and/or skills training.

Table 2: ANU Combined Degree Design Principles

Award

AQF Level

Units Required

Typical Volume of Learning

Pathways can include

Exit Qualifications can include

Structural Requirements

Double Bachelor Degree (two testamurs)

7

Longest degree + 48 units

4–6 years

Bachelor degree, Associate Bachelor degree

Bachelor degree

Students must complete the core requirements of both degrees.

Typically structured as 96:96 units or 96:144 (for combinations with Law).

The maximum number of 1000-level courses that may be permitted in a single component of a Double Bachelor degree is 48 units. Maximums of less than this amount are permitted.

Vertical Combined Degree

7+8, 7+9

No more than one third of units from the higher award can be cross credited to the lower award

4–6 years

Diploma, Associate Bachelor Degree, Bachelor degree, Bachelor Honours degree

Bachelor degree, Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma

Students must complete the core requirements of both degrees.

Typical configurations: bachelor+master; graduate certificate+graduate diploma; graduate certificate or diploma+master

Students must complete the core requirements of both degrees

Combined Masters Degree (coursework)

9

Longest degree + 24 units, or at least 96 units, whichever is longer.

2–3 years

Bachelor degree

Bachelor Honours degree

Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma, Master of Studies

Students must complete the core requirements of both degrees

Master Degree (Coursework) Structural Requirements

  1. Admission will normally be available directly into a 48 unit Master’s degree that requires cognate entry; or to a 72 or 96 unit Master’s degree that either does or does not require cognate entry.
  2. The cognate requirement may be met by a Bachelor degree, Bachelor Honours degree, Graduate Certificate, or Graduate Diploma, or equivalent work experience. Cognate disciplines must be specified for each Master degree at the time of accreditation.
  3. Masters degrees (coursework):
  • are constituted by 6000-, 7000-, and 8000-level courses only;
  • must require completion of at least 24 units (non-Advanced) or 48 units (advanced) of courses that are not co-taught with 1000-, 2000-, or 3000-level courses (to meet this requirement, all standard teaching events must be separate, but special events including guest lectures may be co-taught);
  • have minimum GPA entry requirement of 5.0 in the program used as the basis for admission for a non-Advanced Master degree;
  • have a minimum GPA entry requirement of at least 6.0 in the program used as the basis for admission for a Master Degree (Advanced); exemptions in place as at 01/01/2019 are grandfathered; and
  • may state additional entry requirements as relevant to the program.
  1. A Master degree must require students, amongst other things, to “demonstrate the application of knowledge and skills to plan and execute a substantial research-based project, capstone experience and/or piece of scholarship” (Australian Qualifications Framework: Addendum to the Second Edition January 2013, p. 6).
  2. A Master (Advanced) degree includes a thesis of at least 24 units.
  3. For a 48-unit Master degree, each individual program may specify its own credit limits that are up to but that do not exceed each of the following:
  • No credit for any prior qualification in a non-cognate discipline;
  • No credit for any prior AQF Level 7 or AQF Level 8 qualification in a cognate discipline an/or for non-formal or informal learning;
  • Up to 24 units credit may be awarded under the ANU Credit Policy for courses completed towards an incomplete AQF Level 9 or above qualification; and
  • All credit must be either specified credit or must state to which program requirement the credit relates.
  1. Not more than a cumulative total of 24 units credit may be given towards a 48-unit Master degree.
  2. For a 72 Master degree, each individual program may specify its own credit limits that are up to but that do not exceed each of the following:
  • No credit for any prior qualification in a non-cognate discipline;
  • Up to 24 units specified credit for AQF Level 7 or AQF Level 8 qualifications in a cognate discipline and/or for non-formal or informal learning;
  • Up to 48 units credit may be awarded under the ANU Credit Policy for courses completed towards an incomplete AQF Level 9 or above qualification; and
  • All credit must be either specified credit or must state to which program requirement the credit relates.
  1. Not more than a cumulative total of 48 units credit may be given towards a 72 unit Master degree.
  2. For a 96 unit Master degree, each individual program may specify its own credit limits that are up to but that do not exceed each of the following:
  • No credit for any prior qualification in a non-cognate discipline;
  • Up to 48 units credit for AQF Level 7 or AQF Level 8 qualifications in a cognate discipline and/or for non-formal or informal learning;
  • Up to 72 units credit may be awarded under the ANU Credit Policy for courses completed towards an incomplete AQF Level 9 or above qualification; and
  • All credit must be either specified credit or must state to which program requirement the credit relates.
  1. Not more than a cumulative total of 72 units credit may be given towards a 96 unit Master degree.

Information

Printable version (PDF)
Title Academic programs and courses accreditation
Document Type Policy
Document Number ANUP_000360
Version 27
Purpose To describe the standards which underpin the University’s introduction, modification, review and disestablishment of academic programs and courses.
Audience Staff-Academic
Category Academic
Topic/ SubTopic Teaching & Learning
 
Effective Date 4 Oct 2019
Review Date 4 Jul 2022
 
Responsible Officer Registrar, Student Administration
Approved By: Vice-Chancellor
Contact Area Division of Student Administration and Academic Services
Authority
Delegations