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Policy: Timetable


To set out the framework which identifies minimal necessary constraints and within those constraints produces a student optimised University timetable.


The objectives of the policy are to deliver a timetable that is:

Timely: Students and teaching staff are provided with a timetable that is delivered at a time that facilitates planning and robust decision-making. The timetable will be released in accordance with the detailed timeline published by the Timetabling Office.

Reliable: Information on teaching activities should be accurate and up-to-date.

Stable: The timetable should have minimal changes after publication and minimise clashes for students. Changes are made according to the procedure and communicated as soon as they occur.

Personalised: Students should be provided with a full individualised timetable that includes lectures and tutorials, workshops, labs and seminars.


This policy sets out principles which apply to the production and publication of the University timetable.


This policy applies to the timetabling of all teaching activities that have a regular teaching structure in undergraduate and, where appropriate, postgraduate coursework programs.


Regular teaching activity - A teaching activity that is on at the same time and day, in the same location on a weekly basis.

Standard teaching hours - normally between 8am and 6pm, Monday to Friday.

Teaching activity - a discrete instance of a class i.e. lecture, laboratory, tutorial, practical, workshop etc.

Teaching space - a space that is primarily used for teaching activities. This includes both Teaching and Learning Commons and departmental teaching space.

Policy statement

General principles

  1. A timetable is produced and published to enhance the student experience through the effective delivery of regular teaching activities across the University.
  2. Recognising that there are constraints to availability of resources including staff teaching availability and teaching spaces, the timetable produces the best possible outcome for students within those constraints. Constraints are minimised wherever possible to allow the optimisation of the timetable.
  3. The University academic year includes semester and non-standard session teaching periods.
  4. The University centrally develops one timetable for all teaching activities for undergraduate, and where appropriate, postgraduate coursework.
  5. The data that is compiled and analysed to establish common enrolment patterns and reduce timetable clashes includes College and School feedback and recommended enrolment pathways for established diploma, degree, graduate certificate and graduate diploma combinations.
  6. Consideration is given to a range of constraints when constructing the class timetable, including, but not limited to:
    1. established pathways through programs;
    2. staff and student accessibility considerations;
    3. health and safety requirements;
    4. staff constraints (per the Timetabling procedure);
    5. activities running in all weeks of semester;
    6. activities with large enrolments;
    7. teaching activities that require specialised equipment; and
    8. specialist location/zone requirements.

  1. Additional equity considerations (where possible) include:

    1. the number of 8am starts teaching staff are allocated during the week;
    2. avoiding early teaching on a day following late teaching on a previous day;
    3. limiting continuous teaching to four hours within one day for: i) students; and ii) individual staff, unless otherwise requested;
    4. two hours to allow attendance at School meetings;
    5. adequate time for specific and approved research obligations.

Teaching times and hours

  1. Teaching activities are scheduled within standard teaching hours. Exceptions apply for:
  1. postgraduate teaching activities at the discretion of the College/School; and
  2. selected undergraduate teaching activities as agreed by the Timetabling Office with Colleges/Schools.
  1. Any teaching activity scheduled outside standard hours is scheduled in consultation with, or by the request of, the academic staff involved.
  2. Classes commence at five minutes past the published start time and conclude five minutes before the published end time.

Room allocation principles

  1. Timetabled teaching activities have priority over any other bookings in allocated teaching spaces.
  2. Under an automated constraints-based timetable, teaching activities are scheduled utilising student availability, staff availability, teaching rooms, equipment and facilities.
  3. Teaching activities are allocated to suitable teaching spaces under the automated constraints-based timetable, where available as requested by academics during the data collection and/or verification phase.
  4. All room allocations for teaching activities are the responsibility of the Timetabling Office (subject to points 4 and 6 above).
  5. During semester and standard teaching hours, the University allows room bookings for ad-hoc research or administrative purposes, only after the timetable has been published for the relevant period.
  6. There are no restrictions on room bookings outside of semester and standard teaching hours.
  7. Casual room bookings are made to utilise space that is not in use by teaching activities.

Staff and students

  1. The timetable provides students a reasonable range of education options, in standard teaching hours, to facilitate the completion of programs within the minimum duration.
  2. Colleges/Schools are responsible for providing teaching staff availability data to the Timetabling Office in an appropriate format as detailed in the Timetabling Procedure.
  3. The University cannot guarantee a timetable for all preferences or a clash-free timetable for all students, but endeavours to ensure that the most popular course combinations and those covered by program orders are scheduled clash free.

Production and publication

  1. The Timetabling Office releases an annual timetable production timeline.
  2. To facilitate the production of the timetable according to the timeline, the scheduling of classes is finalised according to the deadlines specified by the Academic Standards and Quality Office (ASQO) and complies with ongoing Australian National University accreditation deadlines. No changes are made to the timetable after the release of the final timetable without appropriate consideration or approval as detailed in the Timetabling Procedure.


Printable version (PDF)
Title Timetable
Document Type Policy
Document Number ANUP_005008
Purpose To set out the framework within which the University timetables classes and allocates teaching spaces, resources and facilities, to conduct face to face teaching and learning for students with minimal clashes.
Audience Students, Staff-Academic
Category Academic
Topic/ SubTopic Teaching & Learning
Effective Date 28 Nov 2023
Next Review Date 27 Nov 2028
Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration
Approved By: Academic Board
Contact Area Division of Student Administration and Academic Services
Authority: Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000
National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2018
Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2021
Delegations 0

Information generated and received by ANU staff in the course of conducting business on behalf of ANU is a record and should be captured by an authorised recordkeeping system. To learn more about University records and recordkeeping practice at ANU, see ANU recordkeeping and Policy: Records and archives management.