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Graduate Diploma - Awards and Programs Schedule

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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 Graduate Diploma award that may be delivered and conferred by the University of Newcastle.

(2) This Schedule supports the implementation of the Awards and Graduation Policy. The Rules describe 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 Graduate Diploma - 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 Framework Council (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 Graduate Diploma - 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: Graduate Diploma

(13) This table describes an AQF level 8 program leading to the award of Graduate Diploma under the Awards and Graduation Policy.

Volume of learning 80 units typically completed in one (1) year full-time study or equivalent, designed to achieve the specified learning outcomes.
Purpose The Graduate Diploma qualifies individuals to apply a body of knowledge in a range of contents to undertake professional/ highly skilled work and as a pathway for further learning.
Maximum Time
Maximum time to complete a Level 8 Graduate Diploma will be four (4) calendar years from date of admission, calculated on the basis of (2N+2) (Note a), inclusive of periods of leave, exclusion or academic suspension.
Approved variations are included in Graduate Diploma - Approved AQF Compliant Programs  covered by this Schedule.
Principles and Structure Graduates of a Graduate Diploma will have completed a program that:
i) includes a volume of learning equivalent to 80 units of study; 
ii) may have a specialisation of a minimum of 40 units; and
iii) has been designed to ensure that the learning outcomes can be met; and
iv) requires the completion of:
   a. at least 60 units at 4000 level; and
   b. no more than 20 units at 3000 level.
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 Graduate Diploma and maximise the credit that can be granted for formal and non-formal learning already undertaken. This may include pathways provided by approved nested programs and recognised prior learning.
  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. satisfy the admission requirement of having completed an AQF compliant Bachelor degree (or an equivalent combination of formal and informal learning);
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 b).
  PART C – Additional Admission Criteria
Additional College admission and selection criteria may include requirements for:
i) prior completion of such other work as prescribed by the College Board that may be recognised under Pathways – Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) (below); and/or
ii) completion of interviews, auditions or portfolios; and/or
iii) possession of other qualifications, or professional experience, or particular attributes that are required to ensure successful completion.
Specialisation or major An approved specialisation of a minimum of 40 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 8 Graduate Diploma, 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 Graduate Diploma will have discipline specific coherent and advanced knowledge within a systematic and coherent body of knowledge that may include the acquisition and application of knowledge and skills in a new or existing discipline or professional area.
ii Skills Graduates of a Graduate Diploma will have discipline specific:
i) cognitive skills to review, analyse, consolidate and synthesise knowledge and identify and provide solutions to complex problems;
ii) cognitive skills to think critically and to generate and evaluate complex ideas;
iii) specialised technical and creative skills in a field of highly skilled and/or professional practice;
iv) communication skills to demonstrate an understanding of theoretical concepts; and
v) communication skills to transfer complex knowledge and ideas to a variety of audiences.
iii Application of Knowledge and Skills Graduates of a Graduate Diploma will demonstrate the discipline specific application of knowledge and skills:
i) to make high level, independent judgements in a range of technical or management functions in varied specialised contexts;
ii) to initiate, plan, implement and evaluate broad functions within varied specialised technical and/or creative contexts; and
iii) with responsibility and accountability for personal outputs and all aspects of the work or function of others within broad parameters.
Qualification for the Award Completion of the prescribed courses leading to a Graduate Diploma totalling not less than 80 units, ensuring that the learning outcomes have been achieved for the level.
Grading of the Award The award will be conferred as an ordinary award.
Qualification Title Graduate Diploma in (Field of Study)
Pathways - General Our pathways for students have been developed in accordance with the AQF Qualifications Pathways Policy supporting student mobility and eliminating unfair and unnecessary barriers to our qualifications.
Approved entry pathways are described in Admission and Selection Criteria (above).
Pathways –Credit and advanced standing Credit is granted in accordance with the AQF Qualifications Pathways Policy(especially clause 2.1.9) to a maximum of 40 units, ensuring that the integrity of the program is preserved and the learning outcomes are achieved.
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.
Pathways – combined degrees A combined degree may be formally approved by the Program and Course Approval Committee (PCAC) and listed in Graduate Diploma - 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 Graduate Diploma may be nested (or integrated) with the following qualifications - 
- Graduate Certificate (level 8);
- Masters Degree (Coursework) (level 9);
- Masters Degree (Extended) (level 9); and
- Doctoral Degree (Professional) (level 10).
Approved qualifications will be listed in Graduate Diploma - Approved AQF Compliant Programs.
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 approved exit award;
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 Graduate Diploma - Approved AQF Compliant Programs of this Schedule.
Pathways - Graduate Graduates of this program may seek admission to a Masters degree (Coursework) or Masters degree (Extended).
Professional Accreditation This section is intentionally blank.
Additional Information This section is intentionally blank.
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Section 4 - Notes

  1. 2N+2 where N is equal to the notional duration identified by the Volume of learning.
  2. The IELTS Band for postgraduate coursework programs 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, Clause 3.2).
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Section 5 - Relaxing Provision

(14) 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

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

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Section 7 - Appendices 

(16) Graduate Diploma - Approved AQF Compliant Programs