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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 and courses and all ANU staff with educational responsibilities.

Policy Statement

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

Categories of awards

  1. ANU offers programs that lead to the following awards:
  • Diploma
  • Associate Degree
  • Bachelor Degree
  • Bachelor Honours Degree
  • Graduate Certificate
  • Graduate Diploma
  • Master Degree (Coursework 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 University Education 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 demand, academic merit and of research-led approaches to education is provided in program proposals. Prioritisation is given to programs which:
  • Attract, challenge and retain students of outstanding talent;
  • Provide combinations of awards, including at least one graduate award (eg combined master or bachelor + master);
  • Respond to or anticipate changing national or global workforce needs;
  • Utilise learning technologies and teaching approaches to extend the University’s educational reach on a national or global level;
  • Promote executive education pathways, especially in the area of public policy and other disciplines of national significance;
  • Are offered in partnership with one or more universities of outstanding reputation; and
  • Provide pathways of demonstrated efficacy for underrepresented cohorts, in line with the University’s access and equity strategies.

Coursework Program Accreditation

  1. Academic Board, on advice from the University Education 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 University Education 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. Program reviews must include input from an independent, external reviewer who is appropriately qualified and experienced. Programs subject to professional accreditation follow the review schedule of the relevant external accreditation body. Academic Board, on advice from the University Education Committee, reaccredits coursework programs for a maximum period of five years. University Education 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.
  • Graduate Certificates and Graduate Diplomas that do not meet the threshold criteria specified in Table 1

Disestablishing coursework programs

  1. 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.

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. The host ANU College will approve amendments to majors, minors or specialisations. Academic Board on advice from UEC will approve the creation or disestablishment of new majors, minors or specialisations. Academic Board will also approve the University ‘Vice-Chancellor’s’ courses on advice from UEC.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Colleges will report their list of new, reaccredited and disestablished courses to the University Education Committee once a year.
  5. Alpha codes for coursework courses are University-wide, discipline based codes, and are not exclusive to particular programs, contractual arrangements, or organisational structures.
  6. 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. No degree in a double Master program will be shorter than 48 units.

Table 1: ANU Academic Programs Design Principles

Award

AQF Level

Bologna Cycle

Units Required

Typical Volume of Learning

Pathways can include

Exit Qualifications can include

Structural Requirements

Diploma

5

Short

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

Short

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

1

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

1

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

1

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

Short

24

0.5–1 year

Bachelor degree

Only up to one-quarter of the unit total for a Graduate Certificate may consist of Bachelor degree or Bachelor Honours degree units.

Graduate Certificates may be accredited and re-accredited only in the following circumstances:

Where annually more than 5 students use it as an exit or destination, that is, they do not proceed to a cognate Master within two years; or

Where annually more than 20 students use the Certificate as a pathway to a cognate Award, and that cognate Award has been justified according to this table; or

Where an exception is approved by Academic Board on the basis of a significant strategic case being presented by a College

Graduate Diploma

8

Short

48

1–2 years

Bachelor degree; or Graduate Certificate

Graduate Certificate

Only up to one-quarter of the unit total for a Graduate Diploma may consist of Bachelor degree or Bachelor honours units.

Graduate Diplomas may be accredited and re-accredited only in the following circumstances:

Where annually more than 5 students use it as an exit, that is, they do not proceed to a cognate Master within two years; or

Where annually more than 20 students use the Diploma as a pathway to a cognate Award and that cognate Award has been justified according to this table; or

Where an exception is approved by Academic Board on the basis of a significant strategic case being presented by a College

Master Degree (coursework)

9

2

96

2 years

Bachelor degree

Bachelor Honours degree

Graduate Certificate

Graduate Diploma

Graduate Certificate

Graduate Diploma

Admission will normally be available directly into a 96-unit Masters

For a 96-unit Master degree, credit may be provided as follows:

No credit for any prior qualification in a non-cognate discipline;

Up to 24-units of credit for a Bachelor degree in a cognate discipline or Graduate Certificate in a cognate discipline;

Up to 48-units of credit for a Graduate Diploma in a cognate discipline or Honours degree in a cognate discipline;

Credit for non-formal or informal learning may be awarded as part of, or in addition to, credit for previous studies, consistent with the provisions of the ANU Credit Policy;

No more than 48-units of credit can be provided.

Cognate disciplines must be specified for each Master degree at the time of accreditation.

72- or 48-unit degrees, or degrees longer than 96 units are approved by Academic Board only with significant justification including, for example, reference to international standards, professional requirements, and/or an explanation of why the standard model is not suited to a particular graduate student market. They are to be the exception rather than the norm.

72-unit programs are restricted to students with a bachelor degree in a cognate discipline or a Graduate Certificate in a Cognate Discipline. Students with a Graduate Diploma in a cognate discipline may receive up to 24 units credit.

48-unit programs are restricted to students with a Graduate Diploma in a cognate discipline or Bachelor honours degree in a cognate discipline, unless an exception is approved by Academic Board.

Only up to one-third of the unit total for a 72-or 96-unit Master degree may consist of Bachelor degree or Bachelor honours degree courses. 48-unit Masters degrees are constituted by Masters level units only.

All Masters degrees must include a “substantial research-based project, capstone experience and/or piece of scholarship.”

Master Degree (extended)

9

2

144 or 192

3–4 years

Bachelor degree

Bachelor Honours degree

Graduate Diploma

Only up to one quarter of the unit total for a Masters degree (extended) may consist of Bachelor degree or Bachelor honours degree courses.

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

2

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

3

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

Bologna Cycle

Units Required

Typical Volume of Learning

Pathways can include

Exit Qualifications can include

Structural Requirements

Double Bachelor Degree (two testamurs)

7

1

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

1+2

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

2

Longest degree + 24 units

1.5–3 years

Bachelor degree

Bachelor Honours degree

Graduate Diploma

Students must complete the core requirements of both degrees

Information

Printable version (PDF)
Title Academic programs and courses accreditation
Document Type Policy
Document Number ANUP_000360
Version 22
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 11 Jul 2016
Review Date 11 Dec 2018
 
Responsible Officer Registrar, Student Administration
Approved By: Vice-Chancellor
Contact Area Division of Student Administration
Authority