Combined Degree Principles and Structures Guideline
|Date Approved||25 July 2012|
This policy is for implementation from 1 January 2013 and will apply to all new combined degree programs approved for development on or after 1 January 2013 and to any combined degree programs undergoing major revision resulting from an external review on or after 1 January 2013.
This policy describes the principles governing the structure of combined degree programs at the University of Newcastle. These changes will be incorporated, as appropriate, in the AQF compliant program schedules.
2. Policy Scope
This policy applies to all combined degree programs including postgraduate coursework and research higher degree programs offered by the University, and to all modes of delivery and all campuses.
3. Policy Intent
This policy supports the implementation of the Undergraduate Awards and Programs Schedule  and Credit and Articulation Procedure  and the general quality assurance processes of the University in relation to teaching and learning. It ensures consistency in the structure of combined degree programs.
4. Relevant Definitions
In the context of this document:
award means an academic qualification that is conferred when a student has met the relevant program requirements;
combined degree means a program offering that is a combination of two programs each listed separately within the Rules Listing Awards. Combined degrees may be formally offered through UAC or approved by the relevant Pro Vice-Chancellors. Graduates of a combined degree will be required to satisfy the requirements of each separate program component;
compulsory course means a course within a major which is necessary to fulfil the requirements of that major;
core course means a course within a program which is necessary to fulfil the requirements of that program;
course means the basic component of an academic program and usually represents 10 units of study. A course is identified by a course code and course name (e.g. BUSN2050 Contemporary Sports Management). A student should expect to spend, on average,120 – 140 hours of effort or total load (contact and non-contact including assessment) per 10 unit course. This applies to all courses for all fields of study and modes of delivery, including placement courses;
directed course means a course chosen from within a list or group of courses. A directed course list may be attached to a program, or a major within a program;
double major means the completion of separate two majors offered within the program, . Courses may only count toward one major. The selection of appropriate courses to complete an approved double major is a responsibility of the student;
elective means a course chosen by a student outside the core or compulsory courses of their program, from all courses available at the University (unless a course perquisite applies);
engaged learning is expressed:
- in a program that integrates academic studies with learning through authentic and productive "work place" experiences (within or outside the institution)
- through progressive experiences that facilitate integrating theory and practice, and provide opportunities for reflection and further practice.
faculty means the Faculty or qualified academic area (e.g. Wollotuka Institute or the Centre for Teaching and Learning) responsible for the program leading to an award, or, in the case of enabling programs, the English Language and Foundation Studies Centre (ELFSC);
learning outcomes means, in accordance with the AQF definitions, the expression of a set of knowledge, skills and the application of the knowledge and skills a person has acquired and is able to demonstrate as a result of learning. The three types of outcomes are graduate learning outcomes, program learning outcomes and course learning outcomes:
- Graduate Learning Outcomes: The four graduate learning outcomes are: fundamental skills, people skills, thinking skills and personal skills. These align with the AQF generic learning outcomes;
- Program Learning Outcomes: program outcomes include the AQF qualification level descriptors of Knowledge, Skills and Application of Knowledge and Skills;
- Course Learning Outcomes: learning outcomes from the compulsory courses mapped to the program learning outcomes;
graduate attributes means the three broad domains of attributes achieved by graduates at the completion of a university undergraduate degree. These are professionalism, community responsiveness, and scholarship;
major means a sequence of courses approved by the Program and Course Approval Committee. Each major must have at least 60 unique units of courses. Courses may only count toward one major. Where there is no specific major then the core courses can form a major;
program means the program of learning approved by Academic Senate that leads to the award of a qualification of the University;
unit means the proportional amount of academic credit allotted to a course. This term is used to:
(a) define the requirements for an award of the University;
(b) indicate a student’s enrolment load.
5.1. The core and minimum requirements for each component program must be met. This should be done economically, exploiting overlaps where possible, so that any accreditation of either program is not compromised.
5.2. Any courses in the programs that have overlapping content should be assessed in accordance with Academic Senate’s credit and articulation procedures, ensuring that
- the learning outcomes of the courses and the methods adopted to achieve these objectives are similar;
- the volume of learning of the courses is similar;
- the breadth and depth of the material studied in the courses is similar; and
- the assessment used is in accordance with Academic Senate’s policy on courses and assessment.
5.3. Each combined degree must be approved by the Program and Course Approval Committee, who will ensure that the approved combined degree has an appropriate study plan describing the structure and requirements to complete the combined degree within the advertised timeframe.
5.4. The two programs that are to be combined will usually be at the same AQF level, however, accepted combinations include Level 7 / Level 7, Level 7 / Level 8, Level 7 / Level 9, Level 8 / Level 9 and Level 9 /Level 10. Other combinations will be considered from time to time as proposed by Faculty Boards along with any requirements such as the graduates having to complete the lower level qualification first to graduate.
5.5. Each component degree of a combined degree should be described in separate program documentation. The minimum requirements for each component program must be met.
This means that a student will either:
- complete the required programs within the combined degree and receive a testamur for each of the two degrees, simultaneously; or
- complete the requirements for one program and not the requirements for the other, receive a testamur for the completed degree and leave the University.
5.6. The volume of learning of two combined degrees will usually be less than two separate degrees. For example:
- For 3+3 year programs (480 units if taken separately) the combined degree should usually be 320 units, i.e. volume of learning equivalent to 4 years.
- For 4+3 programs (560 units if taken separately) the combined degree award should usually be 400 units, i.e. volume of learning equivalent to 5 years.
- For 4+4 programs (640 units if taken separately) the combined degree award should usually be 480 units, i.e. volume of learning equivalent to 6 years.
- If units vary from those described above, relevant volume of learning information must be provided in published combined degree program information.
5.7. Consistent with the AQF Qualifications Pathways Policy (2011) and Academic Senate credit and articulation policies, students entering a combined degree may apply and be granted credit from other institutions.
6. Essential Supporting Documents
7. Related Documents
|Approval Authority||Academic Senate|
|Date Approved||25 July 2012|
|Policy Sponsor||President of Academic Senate|
|Policy Owner||Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic)|
|Policy Contact||Governance and Policy Unit|
New Guideline approved by Academic Senate Resolution AS12:084 (Doc AQFPG12:021e) on 25 July 2012.