Guidelines for Faculties: Transition to AQF Compliance (new and continuing programs)
|Date Approved||18 January 2013|
Commencement Date: 13 December 2012
The Australian Higher Education Standards Framework requires the University to comply with the Qualifications Standards. As part of this, the University will implement the Australian Qualifications Framework 2011 (AQF) and ensure compliance by 1 January 2015. These Guidelines support the Rules Governing Awards and Programs its associated Schedules and the Coursework Program Management Policy and the Program Management Policy and Procedure Manual and should be read in conjunction with those policy documents.
The Guidelines for Faculties: Transition to AQF Compliance were developed to guide the transition of programs to the new framework, providing targets for completion of program reviews to ensure compliance from 2015.
The Guidelines detail the types of changes that might be needed. Also, each Faculty will need to develop a Transition Plan for any programs that do not currently comply with the AQF requirements. This will need to be submitted to the Program and Course Approval Committee (PCAC) as soon as possible and no later than the July 2014 meeting. .
These Guidelines were developed only to facilitate the University’s transition to AQF compliance and will therefore expire on completion of the transition period (that is, no later than1 January 2015).
Revisions to programs and the development of Program Transition Plans are to be conducted in accordance with the normal program approval processes as prescribed by Academic Senate in the Program Management Policy suite.
Acknowledgement – these Guidelines have been based on an AQF Transition policy developed by Dr Julie Jackson, Pro Vice Chancellor (Educational Partnerships and Quality), La Trobe University
There are no definitions provided within this guideline. Refer to the Rules Governing Awards and Programs  and the AQF Glossary.
3.1. Awards and programs of the University are to comply with the Australian Qualifications Framework (2011). Any exceptions will be classified in the relevant schedule as non-AQF compliant programs (new 2013) (refer to the Non-AQF Compliant Programs and Courses Policy ).
3.2. Faculties are required to review each program against the AQF2011 and its addenda for compliance with all aspects of the AQF (2011).
a. Each Faculty is required to map the Graduate Attributes, Learning Outcomes and the AQF level descriptors for each program using the relevant template (refer to Section 4 of the Program Management Policy and Procedure Manual. Faculties are also required to review each program to ensure compliance with the AQF2011 and relevant University policies, such as the Bachelor Honours Policy ; and the Principles of Undergraduate Coursework Program Design within the Program Management Policy and Procedure Manual.
b. The mapping documentation, along with any other amendments to the program required under AQF or University policies (for example, changes to admission criteria, articulation arrangements, change of program code and title or structural changes to the program) must be submitted to the Program and Course Approval Committee through the relevant Faculty Board.
c. The timing of the completion of the AQF review for each program should be undertaken in such a way that the compliance strategies and program changes (including discontinuations of programs) are approved by the Program and Course Approval Committee for implementation no later than 31 July 2014.
(Note: the professional programs (e.g. Newcastle Business School’s Executive Programs and the enabling programs (eg.OFC, YAPUG and NEWSTEP) do not need to comply with this provision (Refer to the Non-AQF Compliant Programs and CoursesPolicy .
3.3. Program revision or discontinuation should be undertaken in accordance with the procedures described in the Program Management Policy suite.
3.4. Students enrolled in a non-compliant program prior to 31 July 2014 will be advised of the status of their program and provided with the options to either:
a. complete the program in which they originally enrolled; or
b. transfer to an AQF compliant program.
3.5. Unless granted an exemption by Academic Senate under the Non-AQF Compliant Programs and Courses Policy , non-AQF compliant programs may not accept new admissions from 1 January 2014.
3.6. The transition to AQF compliance will be monitored by the Program and Course Approval Committee on behalf of Academic Senate.
3.7. Failure to review programs in a timely manner may result in a recommendation being made to Academic Senate to discontinue the program(s).
4.1. Course Levels, Nomenclature and Notional
Higher Education programs taught at the University include Levels 5-10, with the nomenclature shown below. Notional duration is measured as Equivalent Full Time and does not preclude a shorter completion time as long as the relevant number of units is completed.
|AQF Level||Qualification||AQF Volume of Learning||Equivalent Units|
|Level 5||Diploma||1-2 yrs||80 - 160|
|Level 6||Advanced Diploma||1.5-2 yrs||120 – 160|
|Associate Degree||2 yrs||160|
|Level 7||Bachelor Degree||3-4 yrs||240|
|Level 8||Graduate Certificate*||0.5-1 yrs||40|
|Graduate Diploma*||1-2 yrs||80|
|Bachelor Honours (End on)||1 yr||80|
|Bachelor Honours (Embedded)||4 yrs||320|
|Level 9||Masters Degree (Research)*||1-2yrs||80 – 160|
|Masters Degree (Coursework)*||1-2 yrs||80 – 160|
|Masters Degree (Extended)*||3-4 yrs||240 – 320|
|Level 10||Doctoral Degree (Research and Professional)*||3-4 yrs||240 - 320|
*Note: These qualifications are still under discussion by the AQF Project Group, the Executive Committee and Academic Senate – further details will be circulated in early 2013.
4.2. 80 unit Diploma programs
4.2.1 The Faculty of Education and Arts will need to seek advice directly from the President of Academic Senate on their two undergraduate diploma programs. The Faculty may wish to review each program against the AQF level 5 descriptors.
4.2.2 The Faculty of Business and Law will need to review and convert its Diploma of Legal Practice into an 80 unit (level 8) Graduate Diploma qualification.
4.3. 240 unit Bachelor programs conversion to Level 7 Bachelor programs
4.3.1 Faculties offering 240 unit Bachelor programs will need to review each program against the AQF2011, including mapping the Learning Outcomes for the program against the AQF level 7 descriptors.
4.3.2 Each program will need to be reviewed in accordance with Section 3 above.
4.4. 320 unit Bachelor and 80 unit Bachelor Honours programs conversion to Level 8 Bachelor Honours programs
4.4.1 All 4 year 320 unit programs (embedded honours) will need to comply with AQF level 8 requirements and the University’s Bachelor Honours Policy  and the Principles of Undergraduate Coursework Program Design within the Program Management Policy and Procedure Manual, unless
a. The program is approved by the Program and Course Approval Committee as an AQF level 7 qualification with a volume of learning of 4 years.
4.4.2 All 80 unit end-on honours programs will need to comply with AQF level 8 requirements and the University’s Bachelor Honours Policy .
4.4.3 Programs with an approved Honours component will need a new program title (and program code) to ensure compliance with the AQF Qualifications Issuance Policy. Note: Change of program title requires a new program code in accordance with DIISRTE reporting requirements.
4.5. Graduate Certificate and Graduate Diplomas
These qualifications are still under discussion by the AQF Project Group, the Executive Committee and Academic Senate – further details will be circulated in early 2013.
4.6. Masters Degree (Coursework)
This qualification is still under discussion by the AQF Project Group, the Executive Committee and Academic Senate – further details will be circulated in early 2013.
4.7. Masters Degree (Honours)
This qualification type does not exist in the AQF. Existing programs will need to be discontinued and disestablished by the Program and Course Approval Committee following advice from relevant Faculty Boards.
4.8. Masters Degree (Extended)
This is program qualifies individuals in a range of contexts for professional practice and as a pathway for further learning.
Admission to this program requires the prior completion of Level 7 qualification. A Masters (Extended) is typically of 3 -4 years duration following a Bachelor degree.
4.9. Masters Degrees (Research)
This qualification is still under discussion by the AQF Project Group, the Executive Committee and Academic Senate – further details will be circulated in early 2013. However, existing Masters Degrees (Research) will have to demonstrate that Learning Outcomes will be equivalent to Level 9.
4.10. Doctoral Degrees
These qualifications are still under discussion by the AQF Project Group, the Executive Committee and Academic Senate – further details will be circulated in early 2013. However, all doctoral degrees including professional doctorates must have learning outcomes at Level 10 and include a research component of at least 2 years EFT resulting in a thesis, dissertation, exegesis or equivalent for independent examination by at least two external expert examiners of international standing.
Existing Doctoral Degrees will have to demonstrate that Learning Outcomes will be equivalent to Level 10.
4.11. Advice on Compliance
In addition to consulting the AQF documentation, Faculties may seek assistance from the President of Academic Senate and the Secretaries to the AQF Project Group and the Program and Course Approval Committee.
4.12. Review of Programs
4.12.1 Each Faculty AQF Working Party (FAQFWP) will be responsible for reviewing compliance with the appropriate AQF level of learning outcomes for each program offered by their Faculty and making recommendations to the Faculty Teaching and Learning Committee and Faculty Board for consideration prior to submission to the Program and Course Approval Committee.
4.12.2 For coursework programs (Levels 5 to Level 10), each Program Convenor is expected to complete the review of the program structure and Learning Outcome mapping in the first instance, and to submit the revised, and supporting, documentation to their FAQFWP.
where a Faculty Board on the advice of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (or Program Convenor) has determined that a program is no longer viable the completion of an AQF review is NOT required. The FAQFWP should be advised and the discontinuation and disestablishment of the program should be conducted in accordance with Program Management Policy suite.)
4.12.3 The FAQFWP will review submissions and determine that the program is either:
i) AQF compliant; or
ii) to be revised in accordance with the Program Management Policy suite; or is
iii) to be recommended for discontinuation.
4.12.4 FAQFWP will report their activities through their Faculty Boards to the Program and Course Approval Committee (PCAC) for final approval.
- PCAC currently holds the delegation for program approvals etc [000083 – Academic Governance and Support - Reference A1]
- Suggest that reports from FAQFWP are standing reports for Faculty Boards for the period of January 2013 to 2015)
4.13. Faculty Transition Plans
4.13.1 Faculties will prepare a transition plan for each program.
4.13.2 Transition Plans should be prepared for:
major revisions to programs that will impact on students; or
discontinued programs (as prescribed in the Program Management Policy suite).
4.13.3 The transition plans should be presented with the AQF Mapping, revisions to the PTS, admission criteria and other relevant supporting documentation via FAQFWP, the Faculty Teaching and Learning Committee to Faculty Board then onto the Program and Course Approval Committee.
4.14. Timeline for Transition
4.14.1 Under the Higher Education Standards Framework (HESF) (2011), the University’s program offerings should be AQF compliant by 1 January 2015.
4.14.2 The University is planning to comply with the HESF (2011), (including the Qualifications Standards, Chapter 4, Section 1) before 1 January 2015.
4.14.3 This means that:
admissions to non-AQF compliant programs may not be permitted after 1 January 2014, unless the program has been granted special status under the Non-AQF Compliant Programs and Courses Policy ; and
students enrolled in non-AQF compliant programs after 1 January 2014 will have been advised, in writing by the Academic Registrar, that they may either:
a. complete the program in which they enrolled; or
b. transfer to a compliant program. The transfer can only occur when there has been an informed consent provided by the individual student.
discussions with the Academic Registrar will need to occur to explore options for transferring students internally.
particular care will need to be given in the development of transition arrangements for programs with significant international cohorts. International Office should be consulted for specific program marketing, recruitment and admissions information.)
4.15. Revision of Programs
To ensure AQF compliance, revisions to programs may include changes to:
program names, for example from Master (Honours) to Masters, or Postgraduate Diploma to Graduate Diploma.
program duration (volume of learning), for example from 1 year Masters to 1.5 years.
program level to changing a degree from a Level 8 to a Level 9 qualification, or a Level 8 to a Level 7.
course levels to map learning outcomes (note this is a mandatory requirement).
graduate or program learning outcomes that are generic or discipline specific (note this is a mandatory requirement).
4.16. Discontinuation of Programs
Decisions to discontinue a program must be guided by the procedures prescribed in the Program Management Policy suite.
Non-AQF compliant programs should cease admissions as soon as possible prior to 1 January 2014.
Faculty Marketing managers will be responsible for ensuring that all references to these discontinued programs are removed from our external publications (including UAC and International admission guides) in a timely manner to ensure minimum disruption to students.
4.17. Approval of Revisions and Disestablishment
Proposed revisions or discontinuations will be presented to the relevant Faculty Board for consideration and then transmission to the Program and Course Approval Committee, in accordance with the procedures prescribed in the Program Management Policy suite.
5. Essential Supporting Documents
AQF Compliance Register (under development)
Non-AQF Compliant Programs and Courses Policy 000985 (new in 2013)
AQF Transition Timeline (Doc AQFPG12:005c)
Faculty AQF Compliance Working Party’s Draft Agenda for Meeting One
AQF Compliance Checklist (under development)
AQF Blackboard Discussion Forum
6. Related Documents
Higher Education Standards Framework (2011) [External link]
Australian Qualifications Framework (2011) and its addenda incorporating -
AQF Qualification Type Specifications (page 11)
AQF Qualifications Issuance Policy (page 57)
AQF Qualifications Pathways Policy (page 65)
AQF Qualifications Register Policy (page 71)
AQF Glossary of Terminology (page 79)
|Approval Authority||Academic Senate|
|Date Approved||18 January 2013|
|Date for Review||18 January 2016|
|Policy Sponsor||President of Academic Senate|
|Policy Owner||Academic Senate|
|Policy Contact||Manager, Academic Senate Secretariat|
New Guidelines approved President of Academic Senate, under delegated authority, 18 January 2013 for implementation from 13 December 2012.