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Monash University Policy Bank

Course Structure Policy (N.B. All new courses/major amendments to courses must comply with the Course Design Policy from July 2011)

Purpose

N.B. This policy only applies to existing courses and will be rescinded in 2015.
All new courses/major amendments to courses must comply with the Course Design Policy from July 2011.

The objective of this policy is to set out appropriate structures for all coursework programs.

Scope

All coursework programs across all campuses.

Policy Statement

1. Credit Points and Student Workload
A standard system of credit points based on student workload shall be used throughout the university.

The study commitment of a full-time student is defined as approximately 48 hours per week for each of the two standard semesters. This includes time spent in formal classes and private study time. A student enrolled in units totalling 48 credit points shall represent 1.0 EFTSL (100 percent) in terms of student statistics, CSP and fee structures.

One credit point implies a student workload of about two hours per week over a standard semester; a six credit point unit taught in a semester therefore implies twelve hours work a week by the student in varying combinations of formal class contact and self-directed study.

2. University Standard Credit Point Range
The university shall use a standard credit point range in relation to university taught unit offerings, normally involving 6 point units or multiples thereof (eg 6, 12, 18, 24).

3. Award Course Requirements
Each Monash course leading to the same award title, irrespective of major, specialisation, campus or mode of offering, must have the same credit point value.

4. Time Limits for Course Completion
The maximum time allowed to complete a course is determined by the following time limit formula (which does not include intermission):

Maximum course length = full-time study course duration x 2 + 2 years.

For example: 

  • Undergraduate:  3 year Bachelors pass degree x 2 = 6 + 2 = 8.
  • Graduate/Postgraduate:  2 year Masters program x 2 = 4 + 2 = 6.

Faculty Boards may set lower time limits if required.

5. Accelerated Study
Opportunities for individual students to accelerate in an enrolled course are normally limited to students who have:

  • completed at least one year of university study (i.e. a total of 48 credit points of units studied in one calendar year); and
  • achieved a credit average or higher in the previous academic year.

Exceptions may be made in relation to high achieving students in approved programs.

Eligible students are normally permitted to undertake a maximum of 72 credit points of units per calendar year (i.e. a total of 12 x 6 credit point units per calendar year), but no more than 30 credit points in a standard semester (i.e. 5 x 6 credit point units), and no more than 24 credit points in a non-standard semester (i.e. 4 x 6 credit point units).

Some professional courses may not allow acceleration due to professional accreditation and/or clinical requirements.

6. Unit Level Descriptors
The unit level reflects the academic level of the unit as represented in the table below:

Unit

Level

Unit Level Description

1

First year level in undergraduate program

2

Second year level in undergraduate program

3

Third year level in undergraduate program

4

Fourth year level in undergraduate program, honours, postgraduate diploma or certificate or Masters

5

Fifth year level in masters degree program (i.e.: Masters degree program requires a specialisation of 24 credit points at 5th year level).

6

Doctoral degree program

9

Introductory graduate level (taken in graduate diploma or certificate or masters program)

7. Offering of Compulsory Course Core Units
Compulsory units offered within degrees, or in major and minor sequences within degrees, must be offered at least once each academic year.  If a compulsory unit is cancelled in one standard semester in any academic year, it must be offered in the following standard semester.  There cannot be an interval of more than one standard semester between offerings of any compulsory unit.

8. Assessment for Multi-level Units
When a unit is listed as being taught at multiple levels, a qualitative distinction must be made in relation to the assessment required of each level.  This distinction must be clearly set out in the information distributed in the unit guide and the relevant university handbook.

9. Course Progression requirements
A pass is the normal minimum level of academic achievement for progression within courses, but higher standards are permitted when faculties present a justifiable case to the Education Committee.

To enable course progression, some faculties require students to complete major and minor sequences, or prerequisite units, at certain unit levels.

10. Completion of Prerequisites
Normally, students must successfully complete any prerequisites before commencing a unit of study.

11. Zero Credit Point Units
Zero credit point coursework units are only permitted under the following circumstances:

  1. the work undertaken by the student is not at Monash University (viz. students undertaking work experience in industry at a business).  Zero credit point units are only permitted for the establishment of work experience in industry units where fee assessment of the student would be inappropriate due to minimal resources being committed to the experience.
  2. the work undertaken by the student at Monash involves minimal resources by the University (e.g. equivalent to 2 credit points or less, no supervision by academic staff, minimal to nil assessment of work);
  3. an activity has to be undertaken by a student as a compulsory pre-requisite to undertake a future coursework, load bearing unit (e.g. Hurdle requirements);
  4. students require an extension to an already enrolled thesis unit and for which they should be charged as they are consuming University resources. (e.g. Thesis extension units where ‘enrolled credit points’ equal a value >0 and achievable credit points equal a value of 0); or
  5. the unit is established to allow the recording and approval of a final Honours grade.

12. Double Degree Courses
In order to graduate with two qualifications from a double degree award course the requirements of both individual awards must be met in their entirety.

The minimum length of an undergraduate double degree course must be at least as long as the longest of the two component degree courses plus 48 credit points.  The minimum length of a graduate/postgraduate double degree program must be at least as long as the longest of the two component degree courses plus 24 credit points.

Students may undertake double degree courses in an accelerated manner in order to complete the course in minimum time.  The number of credit points required for completion should be made clear to students as well as the minimum completion time.

13. Cross Faculty Courses
All cross-faculty degree courses shall be degrees of a managing faculty which has principal rights and responsibilities for academic governance; and there shall be:

  • provision for dispute resolution and for participation in relevant decision-making bodies by other faculties with significant teaching involvement;
  • monitoring and review of the initiation and operation of such cross-faculty courses.

14. Articulation between different award programs
The University shall ensure that where possible it will enable articulation between award programs.

15. Exit Awards
Faculties may choose to provide, in the legislation for an award program, an official exit point or several points of exit from an award program.

16. Schedule of Exceptions
A Schedule of Exceptions can be applied to any coursework program that differs from the Qualifications Categories Policy as approved by Education Committee.

17. UNDERGRADUATE COURSE STRUCTURE

a. Undergraduate Major
An undergraduate major consists of a minimum of 48 points in a field of study or discipline, including a minimum of 12 points at both second and third year levels respectively.

b. Undergraduate Minor Sequence
An undergraduate minor sequence consists of 24 credit points which are completed at levels one, two and three in the same, or a closely related, area of study. In some faculties, a certain number of credit points need to be completed at level one,  

c. Undergraduate Programs and Unit Electives
Students undertaking an undergraduate program of three years or longer in duration are normally permitted to undertake at least 24 points of undergraduate electives, including 12 points from the relevant unit offerings of other faculties. 

18. GRADUATE/POSTGRADUATE COURSE STRUCTURE
Faculties must differentiate between graduate and postgraduate as a title when naming and promoting degrees, ie:  Graduate Diploma or Postgraduate Diploma.  The Schedule of Qualification Categories outlines the entrance standard, duration and exit standard for graduate and postgraduate degrees.  The Schedule can assist faculties and students to differentiate between graduate and postgraduate degrees.

Only one-third of the credit point load of a postgraduate diploma or Masters may consist of undergraduate units. Two-thirds of the postgraduate diploma or Masters must be taught with fourth and fifth level units.  Masters specialisation consists of at least 24 credit points at fifth year level.

Fourth year units may be units suitable for a postgraduate diploma, or professional training, that build on three years of study in the discipline, whereas fifth year units are for Masters students.

Supporting procedures

Course Structure Procedures - Undergraduate Coursework

Supporting guidelines

Responsibility for implementation

• Faculty wide – Deans, Associate Deans (Education), Heads of Department/School.
• University wide – Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education)

Status

Revised

Key Stakeholders

• Faculty wide – Deans, Associate Deans (Education), Heads of Department/School.
• Students
• Pro Vice-Chancellor (Planning and Quality)

Approval body

Name: Academic Board
Meeting: 7/2008
Date: 19-November-2008
Agenda item: 15.2

Endorsement body

Name: Education Committee
Meeting: 7/07
Date: 13-December-2007
Agenda item: 8.3

Definitions

Accelerated Delivery (Course Duration): A course comprising more than 48 credit points in any academic year

Area of Study: A component of a course, such as an undergraduate major, and a graduate/postgraduate specialisation in a particular discipline.

Core Unit: A unit that must be completed successfully to satisfy course completion requirements.

Course: The accumulation of units, according to a set of rules, that leads to the award of a qualification (eg Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Engineering).

Commonwealth Supported Places (CSP): Higher education place for which the Commonwealth makes a contribution towards the cost of the student's education. For further information please refer to the Monash Enrolments website: www.adm.monash.edu.au/enrolments/csp/

Discipline: An area of study in a cognate branch of learning.

EFTSL: Equivalent Full-Time Student Load (previously referred to as EFTSU).

Extended Delivery (Course Duration): A course comprising fewer than 48 credit points in any academic year

Field of Study: A classification of units based on similarity in terms of the vocational field of specialisation or the principal subject matter of the course.

Formal Classes: Classes that are part of a unit’s curriculum, ie: Lectures, tutorials, practical classes, work experience, industry projects and seminars/forums.

Intermission: Students who experience difficulties during the year, or who wish to take a year off study for any reason, or on the advice of the faculty, can obtain intermission. The faculty will reserve a place in the course in the following year for that student. Intermission is normally granted in semester blocks, and cannot be longer than one year.

Major (also referred to as ‘Specialisation’).: The focal area of study undertaken in a degree. In some faculties the major may be highly structured, with requirements of units to be completed in a specific discipline area, while other faculties define their majors more in terms of credit points and level of units.

Minor Sequence: 24 credit points taken in a sequential order from levels 1-3 in an undergraduate program.

Multi-Level Unit: When a unit is listed as being taught at two levels.

Non-Standard Semester: Non-standard semesters are university teaching periods with start and/or end dates outside of the standard semesters.

Private study time: Study that is required as part of a unit’s curriculum, and is completed outside of formal classes (please refer to ‘formal classes’ definition).

Sequence: At least two units and a minimum of 12 credit points in a defined area.

Specialisation: The term ‘specialisation’ is synonymous with the term ‘major’.

Standard Delivery (Course Duration): A course comprising 48 credit points each year

Standard Semester: Refers to either Semester 1 or Semester 2 which are the main two teaching periods when the majority of university teaching occurs. A semester with start and end dates that conform with a typical two semester academic year and which have census dates of either 31 March or 31 August.

Unit: The basic component of a course in which a student will enrol to undertake study in a particular discipline.

Related legislation

  • Monash University Act 2009

  • Statute 2.2 - The Academic Board

  • Statute 2.3 - The Faculties

  • Statute 6.1.2 - Courses and Degrees

  • Statute 6B.1 - Multi-faculty degrees

  • Courses and degrees (general) regulations (University Calendar)

  • Degree Regulations made pursuant to Statute 6.1.2 - Courses and Degrees

  • Faculties Regulations
  • Related policies

  • Assessment in Coursework Programs policy and Unit Assessment procedures

  • Cancellation of Units policy and procedures

  • Course Titling and Abbreviation policy and procedures

  • Credit (including Recognition of Prior Learning) policy

  • Credit Transfer procedures

  • Coursework Courses and Units Accreditation policy and procedures

  • Establishing Cross Disciplinary Units procedures

  • Honours Year Programs policy and procedures

  • Monash Graduate Attributes policy

  • Qualification Categories policy, procedures and schedule
  • Related documents

  • Course Proposal Template

  • Course Costing and Course Profitability Models

  • Education Committee Biannual Report Proforma

  • Monash Directions 2025
  • Date Effective

    27-February-2008

    Review Date

    26-February-2011

    Owner

    Chair Education Policy and Programs Committee

    Author

    Education Policy and Programs Unit, Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Planning and Quality)

    Content Enquiries

    policy-education@monash.edu

    University Policy Use

    Version Number: 1.0

    Contact: adm-PolicyBank@monash.edu

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