Coursework Curriculum Design - Procedures

Accessibility links

Coursework Curriculum Design - Procedures

Breadcrumbs

Approval authority
Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor
Responsible officer
Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor
Designated officer
Director, Centre for Support and Advancement of Learning and Teaching
First approved
16 August 2016
Last amended
17 August 2016
Effective start date
17 August 2016
Review date
31 July 2021
Status
Active
Related documents
Assessment: Courses and Coursework Programs - Academic Policy
Assessment: Courses and Coursework Programs - Procedures
Course Approval, Change and Discontinuation - Procedures
Coursework Curriculum Design - Academic Policy
Learning and Teaching - Academic Policy
Program Accreditation - Procedures
Program Accreditation and Course Approval - Governing Policy
Program Changes - Procedures
Program Discontinuation and Suspension of Intake - Procedures
Program Review - Procedures
Work Integrated Learning - Academic Policy
Superseded documents
Coursework Program and Awards - Academic Policy|Undergraduate Programs and Awards - Procedures|Postgraduate Programs and Awards - Procedures
Related legislation / standards
Australian Qualifications Framework
Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2011

Note: Staff guidelines regarding implementation through curriculum renewal are available on MyUSC at https://my.usc.edu.au/teaching/program-accreditation-and-course-approval

Definitions

Please refer to the University’s Glossary of Terms for policies and procedures. Terms and definitions identified below are specific to these procedures and are critical to its effectiveness:

Curriculum is the architecture of the body of knowledge, skills and applications that students engage with across the entire suite of learning activities and experiences in order to successfully complete a program

Curriculum design is a process of intentionally crafting the architecture of the entire suite of learning activities and experiences that a student will undertake in order to successfully complete a program, courses or study component to achieve the stated learning outcomes.

Graduate qualities refers to qualities of being and thinking that the university community values and agrees its graduates should exhibit on completion of their program (refer to the Coursework Curriculum Design – Academic Policy section 6.3.3 for details of the specific graduate qualities).

Inherent academic requirements of a program are those fundamental skills, capabilities and knowledge that students must be able to demonstrate in order to achieve the learning outcomes of the program without compromising the academic integrity of that program.

Owning program refers to the program identified as part of the accreditation or approval process to which that the course/study component/s has been constructively aligned.

1. Purpose of procedures

These procedures detail the process that must be undertaken for the University’s curriculum to align with the Coursework Curriculum Design – Academic Policy.

2. Procedure scope and application

These procedures apply to all programs, study components and courses offered by the University, excluding research higher degrees (Masters Degree (Research) and Doctoral Degrees).

3. Approach to curriculum design

3.1 Principles of curriculum design

3.1.1 The curriculum at the University is based on four principles. The curriculum is designed to be:

  • learning-centred
  • standards-based
  • constructively aligned
  • career and future focussed.

3.1.2 Designing curriculum is a dynamic, cyclical and recursive process. The phases of the curriculum lifecycle are:

  • Design which involves the planning, development and support activities to create or renew curriculum;
  • Consultation which involves seeking feedback from other stakeholders at the University (e.g. relevant program coordinators, Information Technology Services (ITS), Asset Management Services (AMS), Academic Secretariat, Library, Student Services & Engagement (SSE), Centre for Support and Advancement of Learning and Teaching (C-SALT);
  • Approval which is the accreditation and approval processes documented in related University policies and procedures (refer to 3.4.4);
  • Delivery which is the implementation of the curriculum;
  • Evaluation which involves collecting metrics and data, and analysing, reflecting on, reporting and sharing outcomes; and
  • Review which identifies strengths to be built on and opportunities for improvement and which typically will lead the curriculum design team back to the design phase.

The first three phases are addressed by these procedures.

3.1.3 At each of these stages, consideration should be given to the University’s four curriculum design principles to ensure the principles are evidenced in proposals.

3.2 Using the curriculum design principles

3.2.1 The curriculum design principles inform the design of the University’s curriculum. The principles enable a transparent institutional framework for those designing curriculum and those evaluating its quality. The four principles provide a shared language for both the curriculum development teams and staff involved in the accreditation and approval processes.

3.2.2 The curriculum design principles recognise the diversity of disciplines at the University and allows curriculum to be designed using a range of approaches. Curriculum design teams use the principles to demonstrate their approach to curriculum design and to demonstrate its quality. These details are communicated in the accreditation or approval documentation.

3.2.3 Support staff from Academic Secretariat involved in the approval of curriculum will check for compliance with relevant policies and procedures and structural requirements for the program, study component or course.

3.2.4 The bodies responsible for curriculum accreditation and approval assess the quality of the curriculum documentation using the principles as a basis and provide feedback to the curriculum design team.

3.3 Curriculum planning, development and support

3.3.1 Normally, curriculum should be developed in a collaborative environment through the establishment of development teams. These teams are then supported by staff with responsibilities to assist with curriculum design within the School, Faculty or University.

3.3.2 For the development of a new program or a significant change to an existing program, the program development team normally consists of:

  • Head of School (or delegate)
  • Program Coordinator (or program development team leader)
  • Staff with expertise relevant to the discipline of the proposed program (including staff outside the School offering the program) and staff who are likely to teach into the program
  • Administration or professional staff who support curriculum development in the School or Faculty

3.3.3 For the development of a new study component, the development team normally consists of:

  • Program Coordinator (or program development team leader)
  • Staff with expertise relevant to the discipline of the proposed study component or are likely to teach into the study component
  • Administration or professional staff who support curriculum development in the School or Faculty

3.3.4 For the development of a new course, the development team normally consists of:

  • Course Coordinator (or course development team leader)
  • Program Coordinator
  • Staff with expertise relevant to the course or are likely to assist with the teaching of the course
  • Administration or professional staff who support curriculum development in the School or Faculty

3.3.5 Program enhancement processes

Each program must establish a mechanism for staff involved in the delivery of a program or a study component to meet to discuss and review the curriculum. Outcomes and actions from these meetings must be recorded.

3.4 Curriculum design resources

3.4.1 School and faculty personnel

Within each school or faculty, academic staff with curriculum leadership responsibilities (e.g. Associate Deans Learning and Teaching, Deputy Heads of School) can advise and provide support to development teams or individuals on various aspects of curriculum design, consultation and approval.

3.4.2 Central resources

MyUSC provides University level information and details and provides the resources available to support curriculum development. This includes contact information on personnel from C-SALT and Academic Secretariat who can work with development teams and individuals at all stages of the process.

3.4.3 Curriculum-related policy and curriculum lifecycle

The University has policies and procedures relating to the curriculum lifecycle that are relevant to curriculum design:

  • Coursework Curriculum Design – Academic Policy

New curriculum and changes to existing curriculum

  • Program Accreditation and Course Approval - Governing Policy
  • Program Accreditation – Procedures
  • Program Changes – Procedures
  • Program Discontinuation and Suspension of Intake – Procedures
  • Course Approval, Change and Discontinuation – Procedures

Discontinuation of curriculum

  • Program Accreditation and Course Approval - Governing Policy
  • Program Discontinuation and Suspension of Intake – Procedures
  • Course Approval, Change and Discontinuation – Procedures

4. Designing Curriculum

4.1 Curriculum design begins with an understanding of the desired qualities of the graduate as defined by the various curriculum framing documents (refer to 4.4.2). These are articulated as program learning outcomes.

4.2 Planning backwards from the program learning outcomes, program development teams detail the suite of aligned learning outcomes for study components and courses. This leads to a process of selecting or designing and sequencing courses, assessment and learning activities that will support student achievement of the learning outcomes.

4.3 All programs, study components and courses have to meet structural requirements that address the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) level of the program and University requirements.

4.4 Program Learning Outcomes

4.4.1 Program Learning Outcomes are the specific learning outcomes students will have achieved when they successfully complete a program. They are identified, mapped, taught, practised and assessed within each University program.

4.4.2 A Program’s Learning Outcomes are normally informed by the following curriculum framing documents:

  • Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) and Fields of Education (FoE) Structure and Definitions
  • External professional accreditation standards (when applicable)
  • The University’s Graduate Qualities (refer to the Coursework Curriculum Design – Academic Policy section 6.3.3 for details of the graduate qualities)
  • Threshold learning outcomes (TLO) determined by Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC) discipline groups (when applicable).

4.4.3 The University’s Strategic Plan and key capabilities identified by successful early career graduates, alumni, industry and employers are further sources of information to define program learning outcomes.

4.4.4 Program learning outcomes have the following characteristics. They:

  • focus on what the graduate will know, be able to do and the qualities they can demonstrate at the conclusion of the program, expressed in terms of threshold level for graduates
  • define the scope and depth of the program
  • are measurable, realistic and achievable within the qualification type, level and the volume of learning
  • are framed at a high level of generalisation and use language that is comprehensible to students and prospective students

4.4.5 Program learning outcomes are realised through student achievement in courses. Methods of assessment are consistent with the learning outcomes being assessed.

4.4.6 Normally, a program would have between six and ten learning outcomes.

4.4.7 As identified in 4.4.2, a program’s learning outcomes are informed by a number of demands and curriculum framing documents. A recommended approach to the task of constructing a program’s learning outcomes is for the curriculum design team to identify the most applicable curriculum framework and to integrate the other framing documents as required.

4.4.8 For professionally accredited programs it is appropriate to begin with the framing document provided by the accrediting body and then to consider and incorporate the other frameworks. Where the program is not subject to professional accreditation, the University's graduate qualities or the TLO (where they exist) is an appropriate starting point.

4.5 Study Component Learning Outcomes

4.5.1 The learning outcomes of a major and extended major are constructively aligned to those of the owning program.

4.5.2 In the case of a major and extended major where there is no identified owning program, the design of the major and extended major learning outcomes should be guided by the University’s Graduate Qualities (refer to the Coursework Curriculum Design – Academic Policy section 6.3.3 for details of the graduate qualities).

4.6 Course Learning Outcomes

4.6.1 Course learning outcomes are informed by:

  • the relevant program learning outcomes and if applicable those of the major or extended major (if the course is contained within a major or extended major);
  • the course’s level of application of knowledge and skills (expressed in terms of Introductory, Developing or Graduate for undergraduate programs and Advanced and Specialised for postgraduate programs. (see section 7.4 for further explanation);
  • the University’s Graduate Qualities, in case, where it is unclear as to the “owning” program or the course is servicing multiple programs.

4.6.2 Course assessment is designed to provide evidence of student achievement of the learning outcomes; therefore a constructive alignment between course learning outcomes and assessment items must be shown.

4.7 Embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Knowledges and Perspectives

Students will be given opportunities to engage with Aboriginal knowledges and perspectives and Torres Strait Islander knowledges and perspectives in the curriculum.

4.8 First Year Curriculum

The first year curriculum (the first year of a preparatory or undergraduate program) should be learning centred, support students transition to university, provide a foundation on which further learning should be built and be focussed on developing each learner’s capabilities to succeed at University. The first year of a program’s curriculum should explicitly focus on ensuring that students transition effectively into University study, regardless of their background.

4.9 Program Design and Inherent Academic Requirements

On finalisation of a program’s learning outcomes, the program development team should consider the learning outcomes in terms of inherent academic requirements and commence the process of developing the required statement. The draft statement should be reviewed in the context of course learning outcomes and assessment.

5. Program Structural Requirements

5.1 Program

5.1.1 Programs are structured to meet the AQF requirements for the particular qualification level of the program.

5.1.2 A coursework program is composed of courses each of which is assigned a unit value (see Section 7.1). All coursework programs require a specified total of units to be successfully completed to qualify for the conferral of the relevant award.

Table 1: Total units required for completion of a Qualification Type

Qualification Type AQF Level Total units required for completion of the award
Diploma 5 96 units
Associate Degree 6 192 units
Bachelor Degree (3 years) 7 288 units
Bachelor Degree (4 years) 7 384 units
Bachelor Honours degree Embedded (four years) 8 384 units
Bachelor Honours degree - End-on 8 96 units
Bachelor Honours degree - Embedded (differentiated pathway) 8 384 units
Graduate Certificate 8 48 units
Graduate Diploma 8 96 units
Master Degree (Coursework)
  • In a different discipline with a Bachelor degree (Level 7)
9 192 units
Master Degree (Coursework)
  • In a different discipline with a Bachelor Honours degree (Level 8)
9 144 units
Master Degree (Coursework)
  • In the same discipline with a Bachelor degree (Level 7)
9 144 units
Master Degree (Coursework)
  • In the same discipline with a Bachelor Honours degree (Level 8)
9 96 units
Master Degree (Extended) 9 288 – 384 units
5.2 Other forms of programs

5.2.1 Graduate Entry Bachelor Degree

(a) The Bachelor Degree (Graduate Entry) is specifically designed on the assumption that admission is the basis of a complete Bachelor Degree, sometimes in a specified discipline, it is often a shorter alternative to the standard degree for initial professional preparation.

(b) Students completing the Graduate entry program must have achieved the same learning outcomes as students undertaking the standard program. Courses or a block of courses that are being exempt on the basis of the entry requirement (the previously completed degree) must be identified as part of the program proposal.

5.2.2 Double Degree program

(a) Double degree programs are available at both the undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

(b) The University supports two models of double degree program:

(i) Concurrent model - The two degrees are undertaken concurrently, with the student graduating from both programs at the same time.

(ii) Sequential model - a combined qualification with a single entry point leading to the award of two qualifications at different AQF levels involving two USC programs. The two awards are undertaken sequentially and entry to the higher level program normally requires a student to progress at a particular Grade Point Average in the lower level program. The student graduates sequentially from the lower, then the higher level degree.

(c) On completion of a concurrent double degree, the student graduates from both programs at once, with an award for each of the two component programs.

(d) On completion of a sequential double degree, the student graduates sequentially from the lower AQF qualification, then the higher level qualification.

(e) The entry requirements for a concurrent double degree program must encompass the requirements for both component awards.

(f) A double degree program must ensure that the learning outcomes for each of the component awards are met.

(g) Where courses are required in both component degree programs, these courses are used to satisfy the requirements of both degrees and should be identified as part of the accreditation documentation.

5.2.3 Nested suites of programs

Nested suites of two or more programs may be designed with specific credit transfer arrangements that allow the student to easily articulate between programs at different AQF levels. Arrangements for nested suites of programs are approved at the time of accreditation, and are subject to the following requirements:

(a) a nested suite comprises two or more programs in the same discipline area at different levels

(b) all required courses in a lower level program are included in all higher level programs

(c) a 100 per cent credit transfer arrangement exists between programs in a nested suites

Entry to the higher level program may specify a minimum level of performance or require additional entry requirements, which will be specified at the time the program is accredited.

5.3 Specific structural requirements for undergraduate programs

In an undergraduate program, the following structural requirements must be addressed:

(a) Where the University has mandated inclusion of a Core Course in the program, the program structure should show that it can be taken in the first semester of study.

(b) There are opportunities for interdisciplinary study through free electives. In a Bachelor Degree a minimum of 48 units are available as free electives, except where it can be shown that external professional accreditation requirements make this impossible. In the latter case there must be as many free electives as is permitted by the professional accreditation requirements. Less than 84 units of free electives in a program’s structure can impact on the ability of that program to be efficiently combined in a double degree.

6. Study Components

6.1 Four types of study components may be included in a program - Major, Extended Major, Minor and Specialisation. A Specialisation for postgraduate programs only.

6.2 All completed study components appear on the student’s Official Statement of Academic Record. As part of the accreditation process a program, with a structure that requires the completion of one major from an identified set, can request (providing certain conditions are met) that the completed major appears on a student’s testamur.

6.3 Major

(a) A Major is a series of courses (96 units) that pursue learning in depth and provide a coherent and rigorous enquiry in a single discipline or interdisciplinary area of study.

(b) Up to two courses outside the major may be prerequisites or co-requisites for courses in the Major where there is an academic justification for so doing.

(c) The majority of the units in a Major must be at Developing or Graduate level (refer to Table 2).

(d) In an education program, a major can be called a “Teaching Area”.

6.4 Extended Major

(a) An Extended Major comprises 144 units.

(b) The 144 units of the extended major must include the 96 units required to be completed for the major in the same discipline or area of study area.

(c) The majority of the units in an Extended Major must be at Developing or Graduate level (refer to Table 2).

6.5 Minor

(a) A Minor is a series of courses (48 units) that provide a coherent and rigorous enquiry in a single discipline or interdisciplinary area of study.

(b) Up to two courses outside the Minor may be prerequisites or co-requisites for courses in the minor where there is an academic justification for so doing.

(c) A Minor must consists of units at more than one course level (refer to Table 2).

6.6 Specialisation

(a) A specialisation may be included in a Master Degree, a Graduate Diploma or a Graduate Certificate.

(b) A specialisation comprises of at least 48 units of study that provide a coherent and rigorous enquiry in a single discipline or interdisciplinary area of study.

6.7 Major and minor in the same discipline area

Where both a major and a minor within the same discipline area are offered, there must be 144 units (12 courses) completed that are unique to that discipline area for both to be claimed.

6.8 Overlap between study components

Where there is overlapping courses between study components, a student is entitled to claim those courses for meeting the requirements for both study components, except in the case of a study component in the same discipline area (see 6.7).

7. Courses

7.1 Course Unit Values

Courses are assigned one of the following unit values: 6, 12, 24, 36 or 48.

7.2 Course Coding

Course are allocated a six digit code, which identifies the course’s discipline area, course level and individual numeric. The codes are requested by the owning School or Faculty and allocated as part of the course approval process.

7.3 Course Discipline code

A three digit alpha code is used to identifier the discipline area of the course. The list of discipline codes is updated on a regular bases to reflect new areas of studies offered by the University.

7.4 Course Level Codes

Courses are sequenced to foster progressive and coherent achievement of expected learning outcomes. In order to indicate the level of knowledge, skill and the application of knowledge and skill and whether the course is offered in an undergraduate or postgraduate program, courses are normally identified at one of the following levels:

Table 2: Course Levels

Program Level Course and Assessment Level Description Course Code Level
Undergraduate Introductory Engaging with discipline knowledge and skills at foundational level, broad application of knowledge and skills in familiar contexts and with support. Limited or no prerequisites. Normally, associated with the first full-time study year of an undergraduate program. 100 Level
Undergraduate Developing Building on and expanding the scope of introductory knowledge and skills, developing breadth or depth and applying knowledge and skills in a new context. May require pre-requisites where discipline specific introductory knowledge or skills is necessary. Normally, undertaken in the second or third full-time year of an undergraduate programs. 200 Level
Undergraduate Graduate Demonstrating coherence and breadth or depth of knowledge and skills. Independent application of knowledge and skills in unfamiliar contexts. Meeting professional requirements and AQF descriptors for the degree. May require pre-requisites where discipline specific introductory or developing knowledge or skills is necessary. Normally undertaken in the third or fourth full-time study year of an undergraduate program. 300 and 400 Levels
Postgraduate Advanced Engaging with new discipline knowledge and skills at an advanced level or deepening existing knowledge and skills within a discipline. Independent application of knowledge and skills in unfamiliar contexts. 500 Level
Postgraduate Specialised Demonstrating a specialised body of knowledge and set of skills for professional practice or further learning. Advanced application of knowledge and skills in unfamiliar contexts. 600 and 700 Levels
7.5 Course Ownership

Normally courses will have an identified owning program. The learning outcomes for each required course are aligned to the program learning outcomes for the program. Where a course is designed to be included in multiple programs, the University’s graduate qualities (refer to the Coursework Curriculum Design – Academic Policy section 6.3.3 for details of the graduate qualities) should be used to guide the development of the course’s learning outcomes.

7.6 Course student workload

The learning hours assigned to a course are based on one unit equaling 12.5 learning hours. This reflects the time spent on structured learning activities for the course, the number of hours apportioned to self-directed learning and the completion of assessable tasks.

Table 3: Courses – Learning Hours

Unit Value of Course Learning Hours Unit Value of Course Learning Hours
6 unit course 75 24 unit course 300
12 unit course 150 48 unit course 600

7.7 Courses will normally be designed on the basis of the total learning hours specified in Table 3. These hours apply regardless of the method of course delivery.

7.8 Parallel Teaching – Undergraduate Courses in Postgraduate Programs

7.8.1 Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma and Master programs may include courses based on Developing and Graduate level undergraduate courses taught in parallel, provided that the following conditions apply:

(a) The corresponding postgraduate course is identified as a separate course (different course code and Course Outline).

(b) The corresponding postgraduate course is offered with additional or separate delivery, tutorials and discussions.

(c) The corresponding postgraduate course include additional or separate assessment tasks with appropriate criteria that acknowledge the different expectations, Learning Outcomes, prior knowledge and life experiences of a student undertaking an AQF Level 8 or 9 program.

(d) Normally, the unit value of the courses taught in parallel with undergraduate courses does not exceed 48 units of a Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma or Master Degree program.

7.8.2 In cases where a course is taught in parallel with an undergraduate course then this arrangement must be clearly identified in the postgraduate version of the Course Outline.

7.8.3 In regard to 7.8.1 (d) the 48 units which could be taught in parallel with undergraduate courses represent the whole of a Graduate Certificate, half of a Graduate Diploma, or the equivalent of a full-time semester of a Master Degree (Coursework) program. The 48 units limited can be exceeded where the postgraduate program is providing “entry to the profession”.

7.8.4 In the case of nested postgraduate programs, the 48 unit limit applies to the complete nested package not to each of the individual programs.

7.9 Requisite courses

7.9.1 A prerequisite course encompasses specific knowledge and skills the student needs to possess in order to progress to a subsequent nominated course. As such, it must be completed prior to undertaking the subsequent course.

7.9.2 Co-requisite course encompasses specific knowledge and skills that complements the knowledge gained in a nominated co-requisite course. As such, it must be successfully completed prior or studied concurrently with the nominated co-requisite course.

7.9.3 An anti-requisite course contains substantially equivalent content and learning outcomes to the course for which it is nominated as an anti-requisite, such that it is not in the student's best interest to complete both courses. An anti-requisite condition may also be applied where a course has changed its code but the content remains essentially equivalent to that contained within the original course.

END

Back to top

Searching {{model.SearchType}} for "{{model.Query}}" returned more than {{model.MaxResults}} results.
The top {{model.MaxResults}} of {{model.TotalItems}} are shown below, ordered by relevance ({{model.TotalSeconds}} seconds)

Searching {{model.SearchType}} for "{{model.Query}}" returned {{model.TotalItems}} results, ordered by relevance ({{model.TotalSeconds}} seconds)

Searching {{model.SearchType}} for "{{model.Query}}" returned no results.

No search results found for

{{model.ErrorMessage}}