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Associate Degree - 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 Associate Degree 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 the Associate Degree - 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 Associate Degree - 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 relevant 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: Associate Degree

(13) This table describes an AQF level 6 program leading to the award of Associate Degree under the Governance Rule, Clause 48.

Volume of learning
The volume of learning required for an Associate Degree is typically 160 units of study that will be completed in two (2) years of full-time study or equivalent.
The Associate Degree qualifies individuals to apply underpinning technical and theoretical knowledge in a range of contexts to undertake paraprofessional work and as a pathway for further learning.
Maximum Time
Maximum time to complete a Level 6 Associate Degree will be six (6) 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 the Associate Degree - Approved AQF Compliant Programs covered by this Schedule.
Principles and Structure

[Secretary’s Note – edits required to Undergraduate Coursework Program Principles and Structures Guideline to reflect change]
Graduates of this program will have completed 160 units of study that have been developed in accordance with the Undergraduate Coursework Program Principles and Structures Guideline including:
i) require the completion of a 40 unit sequence of core courses; and
ii) at least 10 units of electives.
This structure will be varied only in response to particular articulation agreements or external requirements as approved by the Program and Course Approval Committee (PCAC).
Admission and Selection Criteria
Admission criteria will:
- be appropriate for an AQF Level 6 and its required learning outcomes;
- take into account external benchmarks; and
- ensure that students have adequate prior knowledge and skills to complete the program successfully.
English language entry requirements will be set to ensure that students who are admitted will be competent in the English language to participate effectively in the program and achieve the learning outcomes.
The minimum admission and selection criteria for each program are set by the College and approved by Academic Senate. This may include special admission procedures and selection criteria.
Specialisation or major
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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 6 Associate Degree, 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 an Associate Degree will have discipline specific broad theoretical and technical knowledge with some depth in the underlying principles and concepts in one or more disciplines.
ii Skills
Graduates of an Associate Degree will have discipline specific:
i) cognitive skills to identify, analyse and evaluate information and concepts from a range of sources;
ii) cognitive, technical and creative thinking skills to demonstrate a broad understanding of knowledge and ideas with some depth in a discipline;
iii) cognitive, communication and analytical skills to interpret and transmit responses to sometimes complex problems; and
iv) communication skills to make a clear and coherent presentation of knowledge and ideas with some intellectual independence.
iii Application of Knowledge and Skills
Graduates of an Associate Degree will demonstrate the discipline specific application of knowledge and skills:
i) with initiative and judgement in planning, problem solving and decision making in paraprofessional practice and skills;
ii) to adapt knowledge and skills in a range of contexts and/or for further studies in one or more disciplines;
iii) to adapt fundamental principles, concepts and techniques to known and unknown situations; and
iv) with responsibility and accountability for own learning and work and in collaboration with others within broad parameters.
Qualification for the Award
Completion of the prescribed courses leading to an Associate Degree totalling not less than 160 units.
Grading of the Award
The award will be conferred as an ordinary award.
Qualification Title
Associate Degree (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 80 units, ensuring that the integrity of the program is preserved and the learning outcomes are achieved.
Pathways - 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 the Associate Degree - 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.
An Associate Degree may be nested (or integrated) with the following qualifications
- Diploma (level 5); and
- Bachelor Degree (level 7).
Approved qualifications will be listed in the Associate Degree - 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 the Associate Degree - Approved AQF Compliant Programs of this Schedule.
Pathways - Graduate
Graduates of this program may seek admission to a Bachelor Degree or a Bachelor Honours Degree.
Professional Accreditation
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Additional Information
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Section 4 - Notes

(14) Other Information about Programs – may be added here. 1. 2N+2 where N is equal to the notional duration identified by the Volume of learning.

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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.

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Section 7 - Appendices 

(17) Associate Degree - Approved AQF Compliant Programs