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Advanced Standing Policy

This is the current version of this document. To view historic versions of this document click the link in the main navigation (grey) bar above or contact policies@uws.edu.au for versions that expired pre 1 June 06.

Section 1 - Purpose and Context

(1) This policy outlines the principles that underpin the University's approach to giving students advanced standing in coursework undergraduate, postgraduate and honours programs. It also sets out the procedures to be followed by staff in considering applications for advanced standing and the procedures to be followed by students in applying.

(2) The policy applies to all applications for, and awards of, advanced standing, including advanced standing covered by articulation pathways arrangements with Australian and overseas higher education providers.

(3) This policy does not cover advanced standing for courses for higher degree (Master and above) by research awards, because advanced standing is not normally available for those courses. The general provisions of the policy also do not apply to the Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery double degree course, as explained in Section 4 of the policy.

Section 2 - Definitions

(4) The following definitions apply for the purpose of this policy.

  1. Advanced standing - credit, expressed in the form of a specified number of credit points, towards an award course, granted on the basis of previous, successfully completed studies or prior learning.
  2. Exemption - a student can be granted permission to substitute a compulsory or core unit in a course for another approved unit, as they have already completed the requirements for the exempted unit elsewhere. Exemptions are usually given when a student has already received the maximum allowable advanced standing for their course.
  3. Formal learning - completed studies at a recognised University, higher education institution, TAFE or registered training organisation in Australia and recognised international institutions.
  4. Credentialed learning - programs or courses undertaken within the workplace, professional organisations or other training contexts, where appropriate certification is available.
  5. Informal learning - demonstrable skills and learning gained from work or life experience.
  6. Nested course sequence - an articulated sequence of courses such as Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma and Masters program.
  7. Equivalent unit - units that are considered substantially the same in content and learning outcomes between programs of the University.
  8. Non-award units - units of study offered by the University that students enrol in independently of one of the University's award courses.
  9. Student Learning Entitlement (SLE) - all undergraduate Commonwealth supported students are allowed the equivalent of seven years of full-time study or 7EFTSL (Equivalent Full-time Study Load) to complete their university studies. For further information on SLE and related definitions and explanations visit the Going to Uni website.
  10. Specified Advanced Standing - advanced standing given in the form of individual named units against a student's record. The University may give specified advanced standing where prior learning is regarded as having satisfied the learning outcomes of a particular unit taught in the University.
  11. Unspecified Advanced Standing - advanced standing given in the form of credit points only, not relating to individual units. The University may give unspecified advanced standing where the relevant previous learning is regarded as broadly consistent with the expected outcomes of the University's course the student intends to take, but where they may not be directly equivalent to the learning outcomes of any specific unit in the program.

Section 3 - Policy Statement

Facilitating Student Pathways

(5) The University aims to ensure that students complete their courses in the shortest time possible, consistent with course requirements and giving formal recognition for any relevant, previously achieved learning.

(6) The granting of advanced standing for previously achieved learning is an acknowledgement by the University that students have gained the knowledge, understanding and skills equivalent to the stated learning outcomes of related programs and units of study offered by the University of Western Sydney.

(7) The University recognises that learning takes place in a broad range of contexts - in formal study, in the workplace and in life experience. The granting of advanced standing for previous learning ensures that students commence study at a level that appropriately recognises that learning and ensures that they are not required to repeat successful learning activities in any UWS course.

(8) Applicants for advanced standing may request that their previous learning be assessed for advanced standing towards an undergraduate award (including the coursework component of an Honours award) or a postgraduate coursework award.

(9) The University may grant advanced standing on the basis of:

  1. Completed studies at a recognised University, higher education institution, TAFE or registered training organisation in Australia and recognised international institutions (formal learning); or
  2. Programs or courses undertaken within the workplace, professional organisations or other training contexts, where appropriate certification is available (credentialed learning); or
  3. Demonstrable skills and learning gained from work or life experience that is relevant to the course being studied (informal learning).

Conditions

(10) To protect the integrity of its awards, the University will only award advanced standing for, and as, whole units.

(11) Eligibility for advanced standing does not guarantee admission to the University.

Quality Assurance

(12) Academic Senate's Education Committee will review annually the granting of advanced standing to ensure that practices across the Schools are consistent.

(13) Academic Senate may commission comparisons with other universities to ensure that the advanced standing granted by UWS is consistent with practice in the sector.

Appeals Against Decisions on Advanced Standing

(14) If an applicant is dissatisfied with the outcome of their advanced standing application, they may appeal against the decision, in accordance with the appeal procedures set out in Section 4, Procedures.

Section 4 - Procedures

Part A - General Information

(15) Advanced standing may be awarded either as specified advanced standing or unspecified advanced standing, or as a combination of both.

(16) Units granted as advanced standing do not consume Student Learning Entitlement (SLE).

(17) Decisions on applications are made by the Academic Registrar, or nominee, on the recommendation of the relevant Academic Course Advisor or Director, Academic Program.

(18) The Academic Registrar has discretion to vary maximum allowable advanced standing amounts that can be granted.

(19) The University reserves the right to withdraw advanced standing where the documentation provided by the applicant proves to be incomplete, misleading, false or invalid or when an error has been made in assessing or processing the application.

Part B - Limits on Advanced Standing

Undergraduate Courses

(20) The maximum advanced standing that can be granted in an undergraduate course (including double and combined degree courses), except as specified in clauses below is:

  1. 160 credit points for a 240 credit point degree (ie. 66 per cent of the degree).
  2. 240 credit points for a 320 credit point degree (ie. 75 per cent of the degree).
  3. 320 credit points for a 400 credit point degree (ie. 80 per cent of the degree).

(21) If the advanced standing is to be counted towards a UWS undergraduate course that is of fewer than 160 credit points in value the student must, irrespective of any advanced standing for which they are eligible, complete half (that is, 50 per cent) of the total number of credit points for the course as an enrolled student of UWS. The exception to this is where the advanced standing is specified as part of an articulation pathways agreement or nested course sequence.

Completed Courses

(22) Where an application is made for advanced standing in an undergraduate course on the basis of a completed undergraduate course, the maximum advanced standing granted will not exceed 50 per cent of the total credit points for the course, or courses, to which the advanced standing is to be counted.

Bachelor Honours Courses

(23) At least 50 per cent of the credit points required to gain a Bachelor Honours award must be achieved through formal study at UWS.

(24) Advanced standing will not be granted for the thesis component of the Honours award.

(25) Applications for advanced standing for any of the coursework component of Honours courses will be assessed on a case by case basis. Further information is available in the Honours in Bachelor Awards Policy.

Postgraduate Courses

(26) Students will not be given advanced standing in a postgraduate award for units previously studied in an undergraduate award. An exception will be made for students entering certain professional postgraduate programs, who may be given advanced standing if a case is approved by the Education Committee of Academic Senate.

(27) The maximum advanced standing that can be granted towards a postgraduate program is 50 per cent of the total credit points for the course, except when a student is progressing through a nested course sequence. Refer to the Postgraduate Coursework Policy.

(28) Where a student has covered more content of the postgraduate award than the maximum allowable advanced standing of 50 per cent, the relevant Academic Course Advisor or Director, Academic Program may grant an exemption for core units where the student can demonstrate that they would otherwise be eligible for advanced standing, and allow students to study a substitute unit or units.

Course Transfer Arrangements

(29) Where a current UWS student has been given permission to transfer from one award course to another at the same level, they will upon application be granted advanced standing for all successfully completed equivalent units in the first course. [Course Transfer Policy]

Advanced Standing towards the Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery

(30) Applications for advanced standing towards the Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) course will only be considered in very exceptional circumstances, by the Dean of the School of Medicine. Those exceptional circumstances are where a student in another Australian Medical Council (AMC) accredited medical course is accepted by the Dean of Medicine for transfer into the MBBS course.

Advanced Standing towards Professionally Accredited Courses

(31) Advanced standing for units in certain professionally accredited courses (eg Law, Nursing) can only be given for units that are considered to be equivalent in a course at another accredited institution.

Time Limits for Currency of Previous Studies

(32) Advanced standing in specified units is not normally granted for studies completed ten years or more prior to application. Where advanced standing is being sought for studies completed ten years or more prior to application, the University may require an assessment of the currency of an applicant's knowledge. The University will determine the method of assessment.

Part C - Applying for Advanced Standing

Lodgement of Applications

Local Students

(33) Applications for advanced standing for local students must be made online via the University's website.

(34) For details about when and how to apply, applicants for advanced standing should refer to the Advanced Standing website.

International Students

(35) Applications for advanced standing for international students should be lodged with UWS International at the time of applying for admission to the University.

(36) Normally, applicants will be informed of the amount of advanced standing granted in their letter of offer for course admission. However, in some cases the assessment process may take longer than the period necessary to send the offer of admission. The applicant may be required to provide further evidence or undertake an appropriate assessment, in which case the University will contact the applicant directly.

Supporting Documentation for Advanced Standing Applications

(37) Where advanced standing is being sought on the grounds of successfully completed study at a recognised University, higher education institution, TAFE or registered training organisation in Australia and recognised international institutions (formal learning), the applicant must provide:

  1. a certified copy of the academic transcript; and
  2. extracts from institutional handbooks or other official documentation giving sufficient details of the studies to allow an assessment of the application. All supporting documentation must be in English, including certified translations where appropriate.

(38) Where advanced standing is being sought on the grounds of credentialed or informal learning, the University requires appropriate evidence that the relevant learning outcomes for the units and/or key learning areas have been achieved. The applicant may be required to supply certified copies of statements from employers, present a portfolio, attend an interview or demonstrate their competence through an appropriate form of assessment. The method of assessment will be established by the relevant Academic Course Advisor or Director, Academic Program, in consultation with the Unit Coordinator, where applicable. It is the applicant's responsibility to provide all certified documentation for assessment at the time of assessment, in consultation with the Academic Course Advisor or Director, Academic Program (or Unit Coordinatorr where applicable).

(39) If an articulation agreement exists between the University and the institution where the applicant has studied, course outlines may not be required and applicants will be advised accordingly.

(40) Where advanced standing is being sought on the grounds of study completed in a language other than English, the applicant must provide official certified translations of academic transcripts and, unless advised otherwise by the Academic Registrar's Office, certified copies of course and unit outlines.

Timelines for Applications and Notifications of Advanced Standing

(41) Applications for advanced standing should be submitted prior to the student commencing their first semester of study in a particular course at UWS. Applications submitted after this date may not be finalised prior to the census date of that session, which may impact on what advanced standing can be granted.

(42) The University will not grant advanced standing where an application has been made after the approved census date for a unit being studied in that teaching session.

(43) The assessment of applications based on informal learning may take longer than applications based on formal or credentialed learning. Applicants may be required to provide further evidence or undertake an appropriate assessment, in which case the University will contact the applicant.

(44) Applicants will be notified of the results of their application by email. This will normally occur within five weeks of the receipt of the application for applications based on formal or credentialed learning, but may take longer for advanced standing based on informal learning.

Grades Issued for Advanced Standing

(45) Advanced standing will be allocated the following grades for administrative purposes: Specified (K) and Unspecified (L). Academic marks and grades are not allocated for units for which advanced standing is given, with the exception of clauses 46 and 47.

(46) A student wishing to have successfully completed non-award units transferred to a program in which they are enrolled will be granted equivalent advanced standing. If the non-award units have been completed at UWS, the grades achieved will be transferred when the student's enrolment in an award program is confirmed.

(47) Postgraduate students progressing through a nested award will have marks and grades transferred to the new program.

Relinquishing Advanced Standing

(48) If a student can demonstrate valid academic reasons for relinquishing the advanced standing that has been granted, they may apply to the Academic Registrar's Office, providing details of academic reasons for the request. Requests to relinquish advanced standing on the basis of visa/immigration requirements are not considered valid academic reasons.

(49) Variations in advanced standing for international students may impact upon their visa status.

Part D - Appeals

Review of Decision by Director of Academic Program

(50) An applicant for advanced standing who wishes to challenge the decision about their advanced standing must first discuss the matter with the Academic Registrar's Office, whose staff will refer the application to the Director, Academic Program for the course in which the applicant is studying. The Director will determine whether any variation to the decision is appropriate, make a decision and advise the Academic Registrar's Office, in writing.

(51) If, following consultation with the Director, Academic Program, the student remains dissatisfied with the decision and considers he or she has evidence that meets the grounds specified in Clause 56 to lodge an appeal, he or she may appeal, in writing, to the Chair of the Advanced Standing Appeals Panel.

Appeals against Determinations Made in Relation to Advanced Standing by the Director of Academic Program

(52) The University provides the right of appeal against decisions on the approval of advanced standing. An appeal must be lodged in writing within 15 working days of the date of notification of the advanced standing determination. Any appeal must set out the grounds for the appeal. The Academic Registrar or nominee will normally convene an Advanced Standing Appeals Panel to assess the appeal. The Appeals Panel will consist of:

  1. the Academic Registrar or nominee;
  2. at least three academic staff of the University, including:
    1. a representative from the School responsible for teaching the unit(s) which form the basis of the appeal,
    2. a representative from another School; and
    3. the Associate Pro Vice-Chancellor (Education) from the relevant discipline area or nominee (who will act as Chair).

(53) No member of the Appeals Panel may have had any previous involvement with the decision under appeal.

(54) The appellant will not normally have the right to be present when the Appeals Panel convenes. A fee for the lodgement of an appeal may apply. This fee will be refunded in the case of a successful appeal. An appellant will be notified in writing of the outcome of the appeal within twenty working days of the date of lodgement of the appeal.

(55) The student must ensure that any appeal, together with supporting evidence, is received by the Chair within 15 working days of the date of the letter advising of the final decision of the Director, Academic Program. Late appeals will not be considered, unless the Chair is satisfied there are extenuating circumstances.

Grounds for Appeal

(56) An appeal can only be made on one of the following grounds, which must be specified and addressed in the appeal letter:

  1. that there is evidence that the decision with regard to the application for advanced standing was made as the result of a procedural error or was in breach of procedural fairness; or
  2. that there is evidence that the decision regarding award of advanced standing to them does not give appropriate recognition for their previous study.

(57) Any further appeal by a student, which can only be made on the grounds of a breach of process or a breach of procedural fairness, must be made to and considered by Academic Senate's Academic Appeals and Integrity Committee, in accordance with the provisions for that committee (refer to the Academic Senate Standing Committees web page).

Section 5 - Guidelines

Related Policies

Academic Senate Standing Committees Web Page
Course Transfer Policy
Honours in Bachelor Awards Policy
Postgraduate Coursework Policy