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Admissions and Recognition of Prior Learning Policy

Purpose

Scope

Principles

Policy statements

Policy ownership and support

Definitions

Approval information

PDF version

References


1. Purpose

1.1 Further to section 5, Student Rules, this policy outlines the management of admissions, readmissions, enrolment and transfers for all courses.

2. Scope

2.1 This policy applies to all UTS staff and students (commencing and continuing) for all courses.

2.2 The admissions requirements outlined in this policy do not apply to short forms of learning (refer Short Forms of Learning Policy).

2.3 The recognition of prior learning requirements outlined in this policy apply for microcredentials (refer Short Forms of Learning Policy).

3. Principles

3.1 Admissions standards focus on merit and reflect the potential for a student’s academic success.

3.2 UTS students are expected to have appropriate knowledge and skills, including English language proficiency, to successfully engage with their studies and related work integrated learning.

3.3 UTS will, where appropriate, consider educational disadvantage when determining admissions requirements. Staff and students should be aware of any published inherent requirements, and the potential implications of these for course progression or completion.

3.4 Staff and students should be aware of any published inherent (or essential) requirements, and the potential impact of these on a student’s ability to progress through or complete a course at UTS.

3.5 Opportunities are provided for students to have prior learning assessed and recognised as part of the university’s support of lifelong learning. This may be managed via recognition of prior learning, course transfer or an articulation arrangement.

3.6 Applicants are admitted by fair, timely and transparent processes on the basis of clearly defined requirements.

3.7 Staff involved in the admissions process must also be aware of the Privacy Policy, Records Management Policy and Code of Conduct.

3.8 Admissions, recognition of prior learning and enrolment procedures must be fair, transparent and in line with this policy, the Student Rules and the Delegations.

4. Policy statements

4.1 The statements outlined in this policy should be read in conjunction with the Student Rules, in particular section 3, section 5, section 6 and section 7.

4.2 Admissions standards for admission to a UTS course are outlined in Rule 5.7 and Rule 5.8. The statements outlined in this policy are in addition to these rules.

4.3 Approved admissions standards are recorded in the Register of Admissions Standards (Staff Connect) maintained and published by the University Academic Programs Office (UAPO).

Approving and reviewing admissions standards

4.4 Admissions standards are approved annually in line with Rule 3.2, Rule 5.7 and Rule 5.8. Academic Board and Executive Committee of Academic Board (ECAB) have authority for approving admissions standards for all award and non-award study on the advice of faculty boards via the Courses Accreditation Committee (CAC) and the Higher Degree Research Board (HDRB), in line with the Delegations (delegation 4.4).

4.5 The relevant faculty board is responsible for developing and reviewing admissions standards for award and non-award study. Where appropriate or required, faculty boards provide advice and guidance to HDRB.

4.6 The Provost is responsible for approving changes to admissions standards outside the Academic Board annual review process in line with delegation 4.4. These changes are reported to Academic Board as part of the annual approval process.

General admission requirements to UTS award courses

4.7 The following table sets out general admissions requirements for UTS award courses by award type. (Note: AQF is the Australian Qualifications Framework.)

General admissions requirements for UTS award courses by award type
Award course type AQF level Admissions requirements
Diploma Level 5
  • Course-specific admissions standards
Associate Degree Level 6
  • Course-specific admissions standards
Undergraduate Certificate1 Level 5, 6 or 7
  • Course-specific admissions standards
Undergraduate Bachelor degree Level 7
  • Apply through UAC (or relevant direct entry scheme where applicable)
  • Minimum selection rank
  • Stated matriculation requirements
  • Course-specific English Language requirements
  • Course-specific admissions selection criteria
Bachelor Honours degree Level 8
  • Bachelor degree
  • Course-specific English Language requirements
  • Course-specific admissions selection criteria
  • Specific faculty approval
Graduate Certificate and Graduate Diploma Level 8
  • Bachelor degree or recognised equivalent qualification and/or relevant work experience where recognised
  • Course-specific English Language requirements
  • Course-specific admissions selection criteria including professional qualifications or appropriate experience
Masters degree (coursework and research) Level 9
  • Bachelor degree or recognised equivalent qualification, and/or a Graduate Certificate or Diploma to demonstrate the capacity to pursue graduate studies at this level
  • Course-specific English Language requirements
  • Course-specific admissions selection criteria including professional qualifications or appropriate experience
Doctoral degree Level 10
  • Bachelor Honours degree with First Class or Second Class / Division 1 Honours, or
  • Masters degree by research, or
  • Recognised equivalent qualification, and
  • Course-specific English Language requirements
  • Course-specific admissions selection criteria including professional qualifications or appropriate experience

1. An addendum has been published to the AQF to add a new qualification type, the Undergraduate Certificate, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The AQF level of University Certificates depends on the existing higher education qualification to which it aligns and into which students have the option to transition.


4.8 Domestic postgraduate coursework students normally apply directly to UTS. International postgraduate coursework students apply via UTS International. The Provost, in consultation with the Executive Director, Lifetime Learner Experience Unit (LLEU) may determine exceptions to this requirement. The admissions selection criteria for direct entry courses are published annually in the Register of Admissions Selection Criteria (refer to Register of Admissions Standards (Staff Connect)).

4.9 The Graduate Research School coordinates applications for admission to graduate research courses from domestic and international students, including the verification of documentation and coordination with faculties in line with this policy.

4.10 Admissions selection criteria for award courses are reviewed annually by faculty boards as part of the annual review process initiated by UAPO.

4.11 Award coursework courses reviewed by faculty boards are approved (reaccredited) by Academic Board in line with the Award Course Approval Policy.

General admission standards for non-award study

4.12 Admission may be sought to non-award study (as defined in Schedule 1, Student Rules) either for individual subjects or a collection of subjects as published by UTS from time to time.

4.13 Applicants wishing to undertake non-award study must meet any academic prerequisites outlined in the UTS Handbook. Admissions requirements for non-award study subjects are outlined in section 7, Student Rules.

4.14 Cross-institutional domestic students are coordinated by LLEU. Cross-institutional international applications are coordinated by UTS International. All applications are subject to the availability of class places and the approval of the relevant faculty Responsible Academic Officer (RAO) in line with section 7, Student Rules.

4.15 The following table sets out the admission requirements for non-award study. (Note: AQF is the Australian Qualifications Framework.)

Admission requirements for non-award study
Non-award study AQF level Admissions requirements
Non-award single subject study various
  • Subject specific admissions standards and outlined in Rule 7.4
Professional registration courses various
  • Subject-specific admissions standards
Cross institutional study various
Study abroad program (undergraduate) Level 7
  • International applicant, and
  • Course-specific English language requirements, and
  • Course-specific admissions selection criteria, and
  • Equivalent of Australian high school qualification, and/or
  • Have completed one or more years of undergraduate study with at least the equivalent credit average
Exchange program (undergraduate) Level 7
  • International applicant, and
  • Course-specific English language requirements, and
  • Course-specific admissions selection criteria, and
  • Equivalent of Australian high school qualification, and/or
  • Have completed one or more years of undergraduate study with at least the equivalent credit average
Study abroad program (graduate) Level 8/9
  • International applicant, and
  • Course-specific English language requirements, and
  • Course-specific admissions selection criteria, and
  • Equivalent of Australian bachelors degree qualification
Exchange program (graduate) Level 8/9
  • International applicant, and
  • Course-specific admissions standards, and
  • Equivalent of Australian bachelors degree qualification
Study abroad (visiting research student program) Level 10
  • All admissions requirements for the relevant graduate research course

English language requirements

4.16 All applicants to UTS must satisfy the course-specific English language proficiency requirements for admission (refer English language requirements) approved by Academic Board and recorded in the Register of English Language Proficiency.

4.17 English language admissions standards must be set at a level that allows commencing students to participate effectively in their course.

Approving and reviewing inherent requirements

4.18 Faculty boards are responsible for developing and approving inherent requirements, essential for course progression and completion.

4.19 Inherent requirements are developed, reviewed and approved at least every five years, in line with the requirements of the Award Course Approval Policy and Procedures. Where inherent requirements apply to more than one course, faculty boards may apply an alternative review and reapproval process for all courses, so long as the process meets the minimum five-year review requirement.

Applying to UTS

4.20 Applicants must apply to UTS via the relevant approved application process as outlined in section 5, Student Rules and the Admissions Procedures (the procedures).

4.21 Refusal of admission and appeals against these decisions are outlined in section 5.6, Student Rules.

4.22 Excluded students (from UTS or another tertiary institution) must abide by the admission, readmission and disclosure statements outlined in section 5, Student Rules.

Offers of admissions

4.23 Offers of admissions must be made in line with section 5, Student Rules and the Delegations (section 4).

4.24 The Dean, Graduate Research School is responsible for the approval of applications for admissions to graduate research courses. The Graduate Research School must identify to the Provost any persons or bodies authorised to make an offer of admission to graduate research programs in place of the dean.

Special admissions schemes

4.25 Academic Board is responsible for approving the conditions for special admissions schemes. These will be listed in the procedures, with details published online.

4.26 Any changes or alterations to special admissions scheme conditions must be approved by Academic Board.

4.27 The Provost will recommend to Academic Board any variation to the minimum ATAR (or lowest selection rank) required for admission to specific award courses.

Admissions of minors

4.28 Students under the age of 18 (minors) may be admitted to UTS courses where the normal admissions requirements have been met, including any age restrictions imposed by third parties (for placement or accreditation purposes, etc.).

4.29 The RAO should provide advice to the Executive Director, LLEU (or nominee) regarding whether an applicant who is a minor meets the admissions standards for their chosen course and complies with any age restrictions.

4.30 UTS does not seek additional parental consent for the admissions of minors.

4.31 International students who are minors must also comply with the regulations as set out in Standard 5 of the National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2018 (Cwlth) (the National Code).

Course transfers

4.32 All students who wish to transfer between UTS courses must meet the admission requirements for the course into which they wish to transfer, in line with the Rules, this policy and the procedures.

4.33 Faculty boards are responsible for approving the transfer criteria for all courses, including graduate research programs, together with the assessment criteria and nomination of an RAO.

4.34 Where applicable, the student’s grade and relevant marks will be carried forward as part of the course transfer and included in any grade point average (GPA) and weighted average mark (WAM) calculations (see appendix A, Coursework Assessments Policy).

4.35 Credit will automatically be recognised where the subject numbers are identical in each course. The subject grade will be recorded for the course into which the student is transferred. In all other cases, recognition of credit is not automatic and an application for recognition of prior learning must be made. This process is managed by LLEU.

Articulation arrangements

4.36 All proposals for articulation arrangements must be covered by a written agreement, developed in conjunction with UTS Legal, processed through the online course approval process (OCAP) system (refer Curriculum approval and management: Curriculum management systems (Staff Connect)) and approved by an authorised delegate (see Delegations).

4.37 Admissions standards for articulation arrangements combined with the establishment of a new UTS award course are approved in line with the Award Course Approval Policy and Procedures.

4.38 Admissions standards for articulation arrangements combined with an existing UTS award course are approved as follows:

  • by faculty deans, where the articulation arrangement is in line with the provisions of the Rules and this policy, applied unilaterally by UTS with no formal agreement or an MoU with an external provider and no UTS resources are applied outside the university
  • by the Provost, where the articulation arrangement is under an agreement or MoU with an external provider and no UTS resources applied outside the university
  • by the Provost, via the Courses Planning Committee and CAC, where the articulation arrangement is under an agreement or MoU with an external provider and UTS resources are applied outside UTS.

4.39 Admissions standards for formal articulation arrangements set below UTS admissions standards are approved by Academic Board, via CAC or HDRB.

4.40 Requests for RPL that are in addition to the credit outlined as part of the articulation arrangement will be managed as a separate request for RPL in line with this policy.

Admission to courses conducted with other institutions (domestic and international)

4.41 UTS may run courses in conjunction with another institution (Rule 1.2.3). Students wishing to transfer from these courses to UTS may do so where this is included as part of the formal arrangement.

4.42 Admissions to dual programs of study for coursework courses are managed by UTS International. Collaborative research degree programs are managed through an agreement between the university and its partners with a reciprocal tuition fee scholarship arrangement coordinated by the Graduate Research School. Dual and collaborative programs are approved in line with the relevant approval framework and outlined in the agreement between the university and its partner(s).

4.43 UTS International is responsible for the admission of offshore students to UTS award courses offered in conjunction with an overseas tertiary education partner. These are offered in accordance with a formal agreement between UTS and the overseas partner. Admissions standards are approved by Academic Board.

Recognition of prior learning

4.44 Recognition of prior learning (RPL) is determined and managed by the relevant faculty board in line with section 6, Student Rules, this policy and the procedures.

4.45 The faculty identified as the designated subject owner is responsible for all RPL matters in relation to that subject.

4.46 Course-specific RPL limits may be set by the relevant faculty board. Students are generally expected to complete a minimum period of study at UTS of one-half (50%) of the total credit point requirements of the course. This limit does not apply to the following, which are not forms of RPL:

  • an articulation arrangement is in place
  • nested and stackable courses
  • the applicant is enrolling in a new version of a previously completed UTS course or its equivalent, or
  • as part of an existing course transfer precedent (refer Short Forms of Learning Policy).

4.47 Faculty boards, in assessing and determining prior learning, may also set additional requirements (such as testing or portfolio submission) for a particular course or subject.

4.48 For RPL as part of a concurrent enrolment at another tertiary educational institution, refer to Rule 7.2.

4.49 All RPL decisions are made in accordance with Rule 6.2. All RPL decisions are final. Students may not make personal requests for review of RPL decisions or make multiple applications for RPL.

Admissions and RPL standards and management

4.50 Admissions standards for each course of study are monitored on a yearly basis through the Course Performance Report prepared by the Planning and Quality Unit, for review by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education and Students) and provided to Academic Board.

4.51 UAPO is responsible for preparing and submitting to Academic Board, via CAC (for coursework courses) and HDRB (for research programs/courses), an annual report on the changes to admissions standards approved by the Provost in line with this policy and the Delegations.

4.52 The Director, Equity and Diversity Unit provides reports on the processes used for admissions. Reports should include the processes used to assess applications for admission to undergraduate courses via UTS special admissions schemes.

4.53 Faculty deans or their nominees, in consultation with the Provost, will determine the intake loads each year for each undergraduate award course offered by their faculties.

4.54 Faculty boards are responsible for ensuring the quality and transparency of RPL processes and decisions and for monitoring board decision trends.

Enrolment

4.55 Guidance on enrolment and variations to enrolment at UTS are published in the Student Rules (section 7 and section 11).

Policy breaches and exceptions

4.56 Policy breaches are managed in line with the Code of Conduct or the Student Rules and Student Rights and Responsibilities Policy as appropriate.

4.57 In exceptional circumstances, faculty boards or HDRB may submit a request to Academic Board to vary the admissions requirements outlined in this policy via the Teaching and Learning Committee. Academic Board must maintain a register of policy variations to track precedence.

4.58 In exceptional circumstances, faculty boards or HDRB may submit a request to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education and Students) to vary the RPL requirements outlined in this policy. A register of policy variations must be maintained by the office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education and Students) to track precedence.

4.59 Any approved exceptions or variations from this policy will be considered as part of the policy review process.

5. Policy ownership and support

5.1 Policy owners:

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education and Students) is responsible for:

  • enforcement and compliance of this policy, ensuring that its principles and statements are observed
  • the approval of any associated university-level procedures to support this policy
  • undertaking all necessary management, monitoring and reporting to Academic Board in line with the statements of this policy.

The Provost is responsible for:

  • enforcement and compliance of this policy, ensuring that its principles and statements are observed
  • the approval of any associated university-level procedures to support this policy
  • making determinations and recommendations and providing reports as outlined in the Student Rules (section 5 and section 7), the Delegations (section 4) and this policy.

5.2 Policy contacts:

  • Responsible Academic Officers (RAOs) are responsible for providing advice within faculties on implementing the provisions of this policy and for making determinations and recommendations as outlined in the Student Rules (section 5 and section 7), the Delegations (section 4) and this policy.
  • The Dean, Graduate Research School is responsible for providing advice on the admission of graduate research students in line with section 11, Student Rules, the Delegations (section 4) and this policy.
  • The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (International), or nominee (as appropriate), is responsible for making recommendations to Academic Board, via the Courses Accreditation Committee and with formal advice from the Associate Deans (Teaching and Learning) Network, on all foundation studies courses, and for making determinations in line with the Delegations (section 4).
  • The Executive Director, LLEU, or nominee (as appropriate), is responsible for making recommendations and determinations as outlined in the Student Rules (section 5 and section 7), the Delegations (section 4) and this policy.

5.3 Others:

  • Academic Board is responsible for making determinations as outlined in the Student Rules (section 5 and section 7), the Delegations (section 4) and this policy.
  • The University Academic Programs Office (UAPO) is responsible for maintaining admissions registers as outlined in this policy and its associated procedures.
  • The Courses Accreditation Committee (CAC), a committee of Academic Board, is responsible for reviewing this policy in advance of submission to Academic Board, reviewing any associated procedures in advance of approval, and making recommendations in line with its terms of reference.
  • Director, Equity and Diversity Unit is responsible for coordinating admissions, monitoring and reporting in line with this policy and its associated procedures.
  • Faculty boards are responsible for making recommendations and determinations as outlined in the Student Rules (section 5 and section 7), the Delegations (section 4) and this policy. Faculty boards are also responsible for setting specific RPL requirements and procedures, and ensuring a fair, transparent and systematic approach is established and monitored for quality control purposes.
  • The Graduate Research School is responsible for the management and coordination of admissions to graduate research courses, and for graduate research courses generally, in line with the Student Rules (section 5, section 7 and section 11), the Delegations (section 4) and this policy.
  • UTS International is responsible for coordinating a number of international applications in line with this policy and its procedures.

6. Definitions

These definitions apply for this policy and all associated procedures. These are in addition to the definitions outlined in Schedule 1, Student Rules.

Admissions standards means the specific and published requirements for a course that applicants must satisfy to be considered for admission, as approved by Academic Board. These include selection algorithms, AQF levels, minimum ATAR, lowest selection rank, professional requirements, prerequisites and subject specific requirements.

Articulation arrangements are a formal recognition of equivalencies and prerequisites between courses that enable admission to, or transfer between, a course taught by (or cooperatively delivered with) an external provider (domestic or international). The Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) state that these arrangements ‘enable students to progress from a completed qualification to another with admission and/or credit in a defined qualification pathway’. This may include a requirement to achieve specific grades or marks. These arrangements may involve exemptions for specific subjects or block credit transfer and/or guaranteed admission to a specific UTS award course.

Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) means a number (not a mark) that indicates a student’s position in relation to their Year 12 cohort, including students who did not complete Year 12. It is a rank that allows the comparison of students who have completed different combinations of HSC courses (see Universities Admissions Centre: ATAR).

Award course is defined in Schedule 1, Student Rules.

Course is defined in Schedule 1, Student Rules.

Course transfer is defined in Schedule 1, Student Rules.

Cross-institutional study is defined in Schedule 1, Student Rules.

Domestic student means a student who is an Australian citizen (including Australian citizens with dual citizenship) or a student who is a New Zealand citizen or a student who has permanent resident status.

Dual programs of study (including collaborative research degree programs) are those that lead to two awards for a student, one from UTS and one from another higher education provider, provided in tandem through a formal arrangement.

English language proficiency is defined in the English Language Policy.

Inherent requirements mean essential requirements for the course as defined in Schedule 1, Student Rules.

Lowest selection rank means the combination of ATAR and any points received from adjustment factors. This is the lowest possible selection rank that can result in an offer of a place.

Matriculation means overall eligibility for admission to a course. All applicants who meet course matriculation requirements are not automatically guaranteed to receive an offer; applicants must still compete for a place with other eligible applicants for the same course. To be eligible to apply for a course (or matriculate) at UTS, applicants must:

  • have attained a full New South Wales Higher School Certificate or equivalent with an ATAR of 69 (excluding adjustment points), or
  • have successfully completed a UTS Foundation Studies course, a recognised tertiary preparation course, associate diploma, AQF diploma or advanced diploma
  • have successfully completed one year of full-time tertiary study in a single institution, or
  • be at least 20 years of age as of 1 March on the year of admission.

Nested courses mean a set of UTS courses offered sequentially and may lead to qualifications at different AQF levels. Courses at the lower AQF levels are described as ‘nested’ within the higher level courses.

Selection criteria means specific requirements, including English language proficiency requirements, within the approved admission standards of each program, designed to establish eligibility and to enable ranking of applicants (where necessary) for admission into the course.

Special admissions schemes mean the various admissions schemes that address or recognise the impact of different life circumstances on an applicant’s ability to meet admissions requirements and provide pathways to enter a UTS course of study with a lower entry score than is normally required.

Stackable courses mean courses that are made up of a number of award courses, microcredentials or subjects.

Student is defined in Schedule 1, Student Rules. For the purposes of this policy, a student also includes a person who has:

  • recently completed the requirements of the course
  • withdrawn from the course
  • withdrawn temporarily from the course for a period of at least one semester through approved leave of absence
  • no active enrolment in subjects or in time-based study in a particular semester, or
  • been excluded from the course or from the university, in accordance with the UTS Rules, in the last semester.

Study abroad students and exchange students are full-time, non-award study students who are enrolled for one or two semesters and satisfy the admissions requirements for the relevant course (including English language requirements).

Universities Admissions Centre (UAC) means the organisation established by New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory universities to coordinate admissions to their award courses.

Approval information

Policy contact Office of the Provost and the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education and Students)
Approval authority Academic Board
Review date 2024
File number UR19/1200
Superseded documents Admissions Policy (UR11/1356)

Credit Recognition Policy (UR10/990)

Version history

Version Approved by Approval date Effective date Sections modified
1.0 Academic Board (AB/19-1/13) 27/03/2019 16/05/2019 New policy.
1.1 Acting Director, Governance Support Unit 08/07/2019 25/07/2019 Amendment to the internal course transfers section in relation to the transfer of GPA and WAM.
1.2 Academic Board (AB/21-1/13) 31/03/2021 05/05/2021 Changes to the general admissions requirements for UTS award courses by award type to include associate degree and the temporary inclusion (for 2021) of the undergraduate certificate.
1.3 Director, Governance Support Unit 24/08/2021 13/09/2021 Amendments to align with Short Forms of Learning Policy and Student Rule definitions. Changes made to reflect name change of Graduate Research School Board to Higher Degree Research Board.
1.4 Academic Board (AB/21-4/68) 29/09/2021 27/10/2021 Updates and corrections to the RPL process, course transfer and articulation arrangements. New inherent requirements section and statements. New policy breaches and exceptions section. Updates to definitions.

PDF version

Admissions and Recognition of Prior Learning Policy (PDF 26KB)

References

Admissions Procedures

Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF)

Award Course Approval Policy and Procedures

Code of Conduct

Courses Accreditation Committee (CAC)

Delegations

English Language Policy

English language requirements

Higher Degree Research Board (HDRB)

Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2015 (Cwlth)

National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2018 (Cwlth)

Online course approval process (OCAP) system (refer Curriculum approval and management: Curriculum management systems (Staff Connect))

Privacy Policy

Records Management Policy

Register of Admissions Standards (Staff Connect)

Short Forms of Learning Policy

Student Rights and Responsibilities Policy

Universities Admissions Centre: ATAR

UTS Rules: Student Rules

UTS Handbook