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Masters Degree (Extended) - Awards and Programs Schedule

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For implementation for new and revised programs from 23 August 2013

Section 1 - Introduction

(1) As a higher education provider authorised to self-accredit, the University of Newcastle is responsible under the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency Act 2011 (Cth) for ensuring that programs comply with the Provider Course Accreditation Standards. This Schedule provides the detailed principles and criteria that underpin the self-accreditation process for each Masters Degree (Extended) award that may be delivered and conferred by the University of Newcastle.

(2) This Schedule supports the implementation of the Awards and Graduation Policy and Governance Rule. The Governance Rule describes each type of qualification offered by the University and provide descriptions of authorisations for program management.

(3) Within the Schedule the general program principles and structures have been tabulated and the approved programs that are offered under it will be listed in Masters Degree (Extended) - Approved AQF Compliant Programs covered by this Schedule. For the specific descriptions and requirements of an approved program, refer to the program handbook.

(4) In the event of an inconsistency between subordinate policy documents and any Rule(s) or Schedule to the Rule(s), the Rule(s) made by Council prevails to the extent of the inconsistency.

(5) In the event of an inconsistency between an Academic Senate policy document and a College policy, procedure or guideline, the policy document of Academic Senate prevails to the extent of the inconsistency.

(6) Extracts from AQF (Second Edition) have been included in this document with permission of the Australian Qualification FrameworkCouncil (27 February 2012).

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Section 2 - Transition Arrangements for Implementation of this Schedule

(7) This schedule supports the Academic Senate strategy of offering AQF-compliant programs as soon as possible. During the transition to the new schedule, the pre-2013 Awards and Programs Schedules will remain in the Policy Library with an annotation to indicate that their AQF-compliant status has not been confirmed. Between 2013 -2015 current program offerings will be reviewed and, following the approval from the Program and Course Approval Committee, transferred to Masters Degree (Extended) - Approved AQF Compliant Programs of this Schedule.

(8) The introduction of the new schedules is expected to result in recommendations from College Boards for new programs, major revisions and the transition arrangements and discontinuations of existing programs. These recommendations will be considered for approval by the Program and Course Approval Committee in accordance with the delegations held by that Committee.

(9) Through this transition process the Assistant Dean (Education) will be responsible to the Program and Course Approval Committee for ensuring that continuing students will not be disadvantaged by a program revision or discontinuation and:

  1. appropriate teach-out or alternative arrangements have been made for current students; and
  2. consideration is given to international applicants in accordance with the ESOS legislation.

(10) The Pro Vice-Chancellor Student Experience and Academic Registrar together with the Assistant Dean (Education) and the relevant Program Convenors will be responsible for ensuring that students and staff are notified of any relevant program changes. This notification may include recent graduates who may seek to upgrade their programs for AQF compliance.

(11) Programs offering admission to students in 2015 will need to operate under an AQF  compliant schedule no later than June 2014 to ensure AQF compliance from 2015. 

(12) Non-AQF compliant programs will be automatically discontinued by last meeting of Academic Senate in 2014 unless they have been approved for continuation.

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Section 3 - Principles and Program Structures

Model:- Masters Degree (Extended)

This table describes an AQF level 9 program leading to the award of Masters Degree (Extended) under the Governance Rule, Clause 48.
Volume of Learning 240 units typically completed in three (3) years of full-time study or equivalent ensuring that the learning outcomes have been achieved.
Purpose The Masters Degree (Extended) is a program of structured learning with some independent research and a significant proportion of practice-related learning. It is designed to prepare graduates with an advanced body of knowledge in a range of contexts for professional practice and as a pathway to further learning.
Maximum Time
Maximum time to complete a Level 9 Masters Degree (Extended) will be eight (8) calendar years from date of admission, calculated on the basis of (2N+2) (Note 1), inclusive of periods of leave, exclusion or academic suspension.
Approved variations are included in Masters Degree (Extended) - Approved AQF Compliant Programs covered by this Schedule.
Principles and Structure Graduates of a Masters Degree (Extended) will have completed a program that:
i) includes a volume of learning equivalent to 240 units of study;
ii) has been designed to ensure that the learning outcomes can be met; and
iii) requires the completion of:
   a) at least 80 units at 6000 level;
   b) no more than 60 units at 4000 level; and
   c) no more than 20 units at 3000 level; and
iv) is structured to require the development of advanced:
   a) research skills through the completion of independent research or capstone course activities;
   b) discipline specific knowledge through the completion of at least 50 units coursework at the level of the qualification; and
   c) practice – related learning developed in collaboration with a relevant professional, statutory or regulatory body.
Individual program  requirements will be described in the program  handbook.
Admission and selection criteria The admission and selection criteria for each program  will be determined by the College, and approved by Academic Senate in accordance with the criteria listed below:
PART A: Admission Criteria and Pathways
College admission and selection criteria should specifically address the alternative pathways into the Masters Degree (Extended).
Without precluding the granting of individual credit, successful applicants to a Masters Degree (Extended) will typically complete 3 years (240 units) following completion of a Bachelor Degree.
  PART B – General Admission Criteria
College admission and selection criteria must:
i) be appropriate for this AQF Level and its required learning outcomes;
ii) take into account external benchmarks;
iii) ensure that successful applicants have:
  a) adequate prior knowledge and skills to complete the program successfully; and
  b) completed an AQF compliant Bachelor degree (or equivalent) from an Australian institution or recognised overseas institution;
iv) include special admission procedures to support access and equity targets; and
v) establish English language entry requirements to ensure that students are sufficiently competent in the English language to participate effectively in the program and achieve the required learning outcomes (Note 2).
  PART C – Additional Admission Criteria
Additional College admission and selection criteria may include requirements for:
i) prior completion of an approved level 7 or level 8 degree, (recognised under Pathways – nested or integrated qualifications (in this table)); and/or
ii) prior completion of such other work as prescribed by the College Board that may be recognised under Pathways – Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) (in this table); and/or
iii) completion of interviews, auditions or portfolios; and/or
iv) possession of such other qualifications, or professional experience, or other relevant attributes that are required to ensure successful completion.
Specialisation or major An approved specialisation of a minimum of 80 units identified by the College as from a specific field of study or specialty within a field of study, and excluding any undergraduate courses offered within the program.
Additional Requirements Any approved compulsory program components (CPC) or pre-requisites approved by the Program and Course Approval Committee on the recommendation of the relevant College Board.
Graduate Learning Outcomes Graduate learning outcomes underpin the design of all academic programs offered by the University. Graduate learning outcomes will be developed for each program in accordance with Academic Senate policy and as prescribed by AQF including:
i) fundamental skills, such as literacy and numeracy appropriate to the Level 9 Masters Degree (Extended) including English language proficiency;
ii) people skills, such as working with others and communication skills;
iii) thinking skills, such as learning to learn, decision making and problem solving; and
iv) personal skills such as self direction and acting with integrity.
i Knowledge Graduates of a Masters Degree (Extended) will have a discipline specific:
i) a body of knowledge that includes the extended understanding of recent developments in a discipline and its professional practice; and
ii) knowledge of research principles and methods applicable to the discipline and its professional practice.
ii Skills Graduates of a Masters Degree (Extended) will have discipline specific:
i) cognitive skills to demonstrate mastery of theoretical knowledge and to reflect critically on theory and professional practice;
ii) cognitive, technical and creative skills to investigate, analyse and synthesise complex information, problems, concepts and theories and to apply established theories to different bodies of knowledge or practice;
iii) cognitive, technical and creative skills to generate and evaluate complex ideas and concepts at an abstract level;
iv) communication and technical research skills to justify and interpret theoretical propositions, methodologies, conclusions and professional decisions to specialist and non-specialist audiences; and
v) technical and communication skills to design, evaluate, implement, analyse and theorise about developments that contribute to professional practice.
iii Application of Knowledge and Skills Graduates of a Masters Degree (Extended) will demonstrate the discipline specific application of knowledge and skills:
i) with creativity and initiative to new situations in professional practice and/or for further learning;
ii) with high level personal autonomy and accountability; and
iii) to plan and execute a substantial research-based project, capstone course experience and/or professionally focused project.
Qualification for the Award Completion of a Masters Degree totalling a volume of learning that is typically equivalent to 3 - 4 years.
Grading of the Award A Masters program will be conferred as an ordinary degree, or will be conferred 'With Distinction' in cases where a student has:
i) achieved a Grade Point Average of 6.0 or above; and
ii) completed 50% or more of the degree at the University of Newcastle.
Qualification Title
Master of (Field of Study). The qualification title should clearly indicate the field(s) of study or discipline. In accordance with the AQF Qualifications Issuance Policy, the following Qualification Titles may also be approved:
i) Juris Doctor for legal practice; and
ii) Doctor of (Field of Study) for medical practice, physiotherapy, dentistry, optometry and veterinary practice.
Pathways – General The University supports student mobility and the elimination of unfair and unnecessary barriers to our qualifications. Approved entry pathways and admission requirements are described in  Admission and Selection Criteria in this table.
Pathways – credit and advanced standing Granted in accordance with the AQF Qualifications Pathways Policy to a maximum of 160 units of credit, ensuring that the integrity of the program is preserved and the learning outcomes are achieved.
Advanced standing will be granted to eligible applicants on the basis of formal and non-formal learning completed, depending on the level and the discipline (as defined by 4-code Fields of Education (FoE) - refer to AQF paper- Discipline: An Explanation). Refer to Admission and Selection Criteria, Part A in this table.
Pathways – Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is possible for both formal and informal prior learning. RPL may be used for admission purposes or to grant advanced standing. RPL will be evaluated on a case by case basis and must be current and relevant to the program's learning outcomes.
Colleges must provide detailed information on RPL when submitting new or revised programs. Formal RPL admission arrangements must be approved by Program and Course Approval Committee.
Pathways – combined degrees A combined degree may be formally approved by the Program and Course Approval Committee (PCAC) and listed in Masters Degree (Extended) - Approved AQF Compliant Programs or determined on a case by case application in accordance with the Combined Degree Principles described in the Program Management Manual - Coursework.
Pathways – nested or integrated qualifications Nested qualifications are qualifications that include articulated arrangements from a lower level qualification to a higher qualification to enable multiple entry and exit points. These are purposely designed qualifications that enable explicit articulation pathways and encompass more than one AQF level and / or qualification type.
A Masters Degree (Extended) may be nested (integrated) with the following qualifications:
- Graduate Certificate (level 8);
- Graduate Diploma (level 8);
- Masters (Coursework) (level 9); or
- Doctoral Degree (Professional) (level 10).
Approved nested qualifications will be listed in Masters Degree (Extended) - Approved AQF Compliant Programs of this Schedule.
Pathways – Exit An exit award may be available to a student where:
i) an exit award has been linked to the program in which the student is enrolled;
ii) the student has satisfactorily completed the program  of study to the point where they are eligible for the exit award, as approved by the Program and Course Approval Committee on behalf of Academic Senate;
iii) the student is unable to complete the remaining requirements for their original enrolment;
iv) the student has made an application, in writing, to have their enrolment transferred and therefore be awarded an exit award and
v) the relevant Pro Vice-Chancellor has approved the application.
Approved Exit awards will be noted in Masters Degree (Extended) - Approved AQF Compliant Programs of this Schedule.
Pathways - Graduate Graduates of this program may seek admission to Masters by Research, Doctoral Degree (Professional) or Doctoral Degree (Research)
Professional Accreditation Masters Degree (Extended) may be accredited by professional associations.
Additional Information This section is intentionally blank.
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Section 4 - Notes

(13) 2N+2 where N is equal to the notional duration identified by the Volume of Learning.

(14) The IELTS Band for Masters Degrees (Extended) will be considered in the current review of the English Proficiency Policy to support the need of the University to ensure that students are sufficiently competent in the English language to participate effectively in the course of study and achieve its expected learning outcomes (TEQSA HESF Ch3, S3, Clause3.2).

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Section 5 - Relaxing Provision

(15) To provide for exceptional circumstances arising in any particular case, the President of Academic Senate, on the recommendation of the relevant Deputy Vice-Chancellor or relevant Pro Vice-Chancellor may relax any provision of this Schedule.

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Section 6 - Reporting

(16) The President of the Academic Senate will report all applications of the relaxing provision of this Schedule to the Academic Senate.