Getting in

The University of Newcastle is home to many talented, enthusiastic and diverse students – just like you – and providing access for all to higher education is fundamental to who we are.

That’s why we have a number of pathways, scholarships and entry options to help you with getting in to uni.

Your guide to getting into Uni

Applying through UAC


Select the option that applies to you:

You should start planning your way into uni from Year 10 onwards. Think about:

  • Using our study areas to narrow down study options based on what you are interested in
  • Come and speak to us at events like Open Day, Schools Visit Day and campus tours
  • Check the Assumed Knowledge and Recommended Studies of the degrees you are interested in
  • If you are a high performer you can get a head start by completing some uni subjects while still at school
  • Sign up to our mailing list for regular updates
  • Have a look at adjustment points and other entry schemes that may give you an extra boost
  • Decide on some back up options like Newstep and other entry pathways if you don't get the required marks
  • See our Application FAQs .
  • Have questions? Ask a student.  We know you must have heaps of questions about university life – what’s needed to get into your degree, where to go for support, what on-campus accommodation is available and of course, where to find the best coffee. Jump on our website to chat to one of our Student Ambassadors.

We’re here to support you during your HSC, to help you make a successful transition to university and to support you through your studies.

You should apply for degrees with UAC before you complete your exams and receive your ATAR. You should apply as an early bird prior to September 30 to avoid additional costs. Once you have applied you can change your preferences as many times as you like before the change of preferences deadline. This means you can change your preferences around once you know your ATAR, however we always recommend leaving your dream degree in the number one position on your UAC application. For more information see our Application FAQ.

You can also consider the following entry options that might be applicable to you:

Nailed it in Year 11?

Consider your early entry options

Schools Recommendation Scheme (SRS)

You can apply for early entry based on your Year 11 results and recommendations from your school. The SRS is available for all University of Newcastle degrees except B Medical Science and Doctor of Medicine and B Midwifery.  Ensure your UAC application is submitted prior to 20 September.

Your HSC

Your HSC is still a great way into uni so it’s important that you continue to work hard but don’t worry - there’s more than one way in.

Year 12 Subject Spotlight Program

Your ATAR is important, but it isn’t all that matters. This program rewards students who have excelled in one or more HSC subjects related to your degree with an early offer. To be eligible, just make sure you list the University of Newcastle as your first preference in UAC, no additional application required.

ATAR and Selection Rank

Once you receive your ATAR, this rank will not change. However, you may be eligible for adjustments applied by the University to create your Selection Rank. These adjustments were previously called bonus points. Your Selection Rank is your ATAR plus any adjustment points. You may be eligible for up to 12 adjustment points. Your Selection Rank  is then used to determine if you are eligible for your chosen degree. Be sure to have the University of Newcastle as your first preference for your best chance of getting in.

Educational Access Scheme

Get up to four points if you have experienced educational or other disadvantage.

Year 12 Adjustment Scheme

Get up to four adjustment points for your HSC results in particular subjects.

Regional and Rural Adjustment Points Scheme

Receive five adjustment points if you went to a rural or regional school in selected postcodes.

Elite Athlete Program

You could receive up to four adjustment points by applying as an elite athlete through NUsport. We would also provide you with continued support throughout your studies to help balance the demands of study with your sporting career. Apply by October 31 in 2020 to be considered in our main admission rounds.

Fast-track Open Foundation  

This is a free pathway program that will be available in 2021 for eligible students. This program will enable you to undertake a single semester program allowing you to move quickly into your degree. To be considered for a Fast Track Open Foundation offer, simply list Newstep in your UAC preferences by December 19, 2020.

There are a number of additional pathways available. See our Entry Schemes page for more information.

I have also completed VET studies

If you have completed VET studies as part of or in addition to your HSC, you may have another assessable qualification for admission. These ranks are not combined, but assessed separately. The highest of the two ranks will be used to assess your eligibility for competitive admission.

Using your TAFE qualification for entry

We recognise your TAFE (or other accredited VET) qualifications as an equivalent estimated ATAR which you can use to gain entry into a range of our enabling programs or undergraduate degrees.

Apply through UAC and list all your relevant qualifications, both schooling and any AQF qualifications (e.g. Cert III). Our admissions team will then assess your qualifications and use your highest rank to ensure you are eligible for competitive entry into the degree of your choice.

You may be eligible for credit if you have  completed a Cert IV or above, and are going into a similar field of study.

I have completed the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma

The University of Newcastle accepts the IB Diploma and Bilingual Diploma as equivalent to an Australian Year 12 qualification. UAC will derive a selection rank from your total IB score and for our admission purposes this rank is comparable with the Selection Rank (SR). To see how your selection rank is calculated visit UAC’s website .

For advice on your options or how to order your preferences please contact us by calling 1300 275 866 or visiting AskUON .

As someone who recently completed secondary education, either at high school, TAFE or another VET provider, you will generally be considered for entry based on your Selection Rank (SR). Some degrees have additional entry requirements such as auditions or interviews and where required you will find these listed on the relevant degree page.

Try to choose what you are most interested in and then research some back up options with lower Selection Ranks (SR) to put as your later choices. A good tip is to look at degrees that may have similar first year subjects. This will help you reduce your overall study time if you want to apply to transfer to your degree of choice after the first year. We also recommend choosing one of our free pathway programs as a backup option as your fifth preference on your UAC application. Selection Ranks (SR) requirements for our degrees do change from year to year so only use the Selection Rank (SR) as a guide.

Secondary results don’t have a use-by date, so even if you completed high school 20 years ago, these results may be used to apply to the University of Newcastle. You can use your ATAR or equivalent (UAI, TER etc) to apply irrespective of when you completed Year 12.

It can be complicated to calculate your Selection Rank (SR) based on high school results prior to the introduction of the ATAR in 2009. Contact us at 1300 275 866 and let us do the calculating for you.

If you don’t think you will meet the Selection Rank (SR) for admission there are other options to get in depending on your situation:

  • Open Foundation
    Complete this one year or six-month program to get a new mark for entry.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander Admission Scheme
    Get entry help by identifying you are of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent.
  • Elite Athlete Program
    Get adjustment points and support by applying as an elite athlete.
  • Special Tertiary Admissions Test
    Complete this test for a mark for entry into some of our degrees.

For advice on these other options please contact us by calling 1300 275 866.

If you studied vocational education and training, the type of qualification, whether or not you completed it, and if it was graded or competency-based will all be taken into consideration to assess your eligibility for admission. TAFE and private providers, as well as some universities, typically offer Certificate III, IV and Diploma Australian Qualification Framework (AQF) awards. Some also offer Advanced Diploma and Associate Degrees.

For admission purposes, and to ensure fairness and transparency among applicants with different types of qualifications, all assessable qualifications are converted to a selection rank. Selection ranks from different individual qualifications are not combined or added together to form a rank. The highest of the two numbers will be the one used to assess your eligibility for admission. Different selection ranks are assigned to VET courses with graded assessment and competency based (ungraded) assessment. The tables below provide information on how to assess your selection rank based on your AQF qualification.

TAFE Guaranteed Entry

Many of our students come to us after completing TAFE studies. You can gain guaranteed entry into many of our 2021 undergraduate programs if you have previously completed an accredited Certificate  IV, Diploma, or Advanced Diploma at TAFE or another registered training organisation (RTO).


Complete Graded AQF Diploma or AQF Advanced Diploma

Grade Point Average Rank - AQF Diploma Rank - AQF Advanced Diploma
6.5+ 95 96.95
6.25-6.49 93 95.25
6.00-6.24 90 93
5.75-5.99 88 91
5.50-5.74 86 89
5.25-5.49 83 86
5.00-5.24 81 83
4.75-4.99 78 80
4.00-4.74 75 76

Complete and Incomplete Ungraded AQF Diploma or AQF Advanced Diploma

Rank - AQF Advanced Diploma Rank - AQF Diploma
76 75


Complete Graded AQF Certificate III or AQF Certificate IV

Please note: Certificate III qualifications and below are not accepted for the Bachelor of Nursing program.

Grade Point Average Rank - AQF Certificate III Rank - AQF Certificate IV
6.5+ 78 90
6.25-6.49 78 88
6.00-6.24 77 86
5.75-5.99 76 84
5.50-5.74 75 82
5.25-5.49 73 80
5.00-5.24 71 78
4.75-4.99 69 75
4.00-4.74 67 73


Complete Ungraded AQF Certificate III and AQF Certificate IV

Rank - AQF Certificate III Rank - AQF Certificate IV
6773

Note: Incomplete VET studies must be AQF Diploma level or above and more than 0.2 of a full time student (FTE) to be considered for admission.


It is probably best to contact our Enquiry Centre on 1300 275 866 to discuss your qualifications and grades. Our team are happy to advise you on your options.

Your previous qualifications may also make you eligible for credit to your degree. This will cut down on your study time. You can apply for credit before you start. See our credit page for more information.

If you don’t think you will meet the requirements for admission there are other options to get in depending on your situation:

If you completed higher education or partial higher education studies your grade point average (GPA) (or Grade Average as a percentage for pathway programs like Newstep, Open Foundation or Yapug) can be converted to a selection rank to be used for admission purposes. To ensure fairness and transparency among applicants with different types of qualifications, all assessable qualifications are converted to a selection rank. The selection rank from this qualification is not added to your ATAR. The highest of the two numbers will be the one used to assess your eligibility for admission.

If you have completed a degree and want to move onto postgraduate study please see our Postgraduate website.


Bachelor degree studies

Min GPA (>0.5FTE*) Selection Rank
6.5+ 97.30
6 93.40
5 86.30
4 77.65
3 67.25

*Your GPA can only be calculated if you have completed at least 20 units of study. A full-time study (FTE) load is usually 80 units per year.


Completed pathway (also known as enabling or tertiary preparation) programs

Overall Grade Average Selection Rank
>97 99.55
80 84
70 77
60 70
50 65

If you are currently studying a degree at the University of Newcastle and want to transfer across to another degree, please see our Internal Transfers page for current students for more information.

If you have completed or are soon to complete an Enabling Pathways program (Newstep, Open Foundation, or Yapug) you can apply with us directly for free for most degrees. Please visit the Your Next Move website for more information.

If you want to transfer or complete a tertiary preparation program at another university you will need to apply through UAC. Please contact our Enquiry Centre 1300 275 866 for information and advice.

If you think you may be eligible for credit please visit our credit section.

If you’re applying on the basis of overseas secondary qualifications, there are some that are considered as equivalent to an Australian Year 12 qualification. Note that equivalence of qualifications alone does not guarantee entry into programs. For admission purposes, and to ensure fairness and transparency among applicants with different types of qualifications, your overseas qualification will be converted to a selection rank so you can be compared to other applicants.

For advice on your options please contact us by calling 1300 275 866 or visit AskUON.

If you haven’t completed any formal secondary, VET or higher education studies we offer a range of options to get you on the pathway to your dream degree. Our recommended pathways are:

Pathway programs (Newstep, Open Foundation and Yapug)

The University of Newcastle is the largest provider of pathway programs in Australia. If you haven’t studied for a while, or your high school results weren’t what you expected, you can start at university with one of our pathway programs. Our pathway programs offer guaranteed entry to over 40+ University of Newcastle degrees. When you complete this program your Grade Point Average as a percentage can be converted to a selection rank to be used for admission purposes. The programs on offer are:

  • Newstep
    If you are aged 18-20 you can get a second chance for entry by completing our one year Newstep program. We recommend putting this as your fifth UAC preference, or you can apply to us directly.
  • Open Foundation
    Completing our Open Foundation pathway program will award you a new rank to apply to uni.  Finish Open Foundation in just a single semester or take your time - up to 2 years. Flexible study supports you to learn at your own pace, including online, part-time or full-time options.
  • Yapug
    If you are an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander student you could complete our one year Yapug pathway program.

Special Tertiary Admissions Test (STAT)

The Special Tertiary Admissions Test or STAT is an aptitude test, organised through the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER), that assesses a range of competencies considered important for successful tertiary study. If you are over 18 and not a current Year 12 student, results from the STAT multiple-choice test can be used for entry into some (but not all) of the degrees offered at the University of Newcastle. Make sure you look into which degrees accept STAT for entry.

If your qualification is not listed and you are unsure whether you can use it to gain entry please contact us on 1300 275 866 or AskUON.


If your qualification is not listed and you are unsure whether you can use it to gain entry please contact us on 1300 275 866 or AskUON.

Non-Award Admission

If you want to do one or two subjects at the University of Newcastle but not a full degree you can apply for non-award admission. You may want to do this for preliminary work for a higher degree, professional requirements or because of an interest in the area.

Find out more and apply by visiting Non-Award Admission.


Cross-Institutional Study

If you are currently at another university and want to do one or more subjects at the University of Newcastle for credit you can apply for Cross-Institutional Study.

Find out more and apply by visiting Cross-Institutional Study.

If you have more than one of the qualifications listed above they may all count towards your application. We are always happy to provide advice and discuss your circumstances so please contact us by calling 1300 275 866 or by submitting a question using AskUON. Otherwise check out our application FAQ.

If you have more than one of the qualifications listed above they may all count towards your application. We are always happy to provide advice and discuss your circumstances so please contact us:

  • Call 1300 275 866
  • Submit a question using AskUON

Otherwise, check out our application FAQ.

Give yourself the best start

Our bridging and refresher courses will help you feel confident about entering university study, while our new University Preparation Program (UPP) is a FREE program arming you with academic knowledge, learning support and confidence in the weeks leading up to your new degree.

2022 degrees Find out about your study options

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.