Abbreviations for University Qualifications - Procedures

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Abbreviations for University Qualifications - Procedures


Approval authority
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic)
Responsible officer
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic)
Designated officer
Pro Vice-Chancellor (Students)
First approved
23 June 2009
Last amended
8 January 2016
Effective start date
20 November 2014
Review date
20 November 2019
Related documents
Jointly Conferred Academic Awards - Academic Policy
Program Accreditation and Course Approval - Governing Policy
Related legislation / standards
Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) Act 2011
Australian Qualifications Framework
Download PDF


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:

Post nominals are the letters placed after a person’s name to indicate education qualifications, title of office, decoration or honour.

1. Purpose of procedures

These procedures establish a consistent approach to the titles and abbreviations for university qualifications as part of curriculum accreditation and approval processes. The intent is to also guide the allocation and style of post nominals for use by graduates of University of the Sunshine Coast award programs.

Non-award programs are not covered by these procedures.

2. Abbreviations for University Qualifications

2.1. A register of abbreviations for university qualifications will be maintained by the Academic Secretariat as part of its accreditation documentation.

2.2. The register contains the program code, the official name of a qualification awarded for a program or a higher degree by research, together with its official abbreviation, approved either as part of accreditation or as a subsequent change to the original name.

2.3. The register will be updated following the accreditation of any new program or higher degree by research or any approved change to the original name.

2.4. Academic Secretariat advises Student Services and Engagement of any new program proposals or any approved change to an existing program name together with the official abbreviation for input into the University’s student information system PeopleSoft.

2.5 An alphabetical list of the standard abbreviated form of each word used in official abbreviations to date is maintained by the Academic Secretariat.

2.6 The following protocols must be observed when determining award abbreviations:

(a) where an Australian professional or academic body or similar has specified that a particular abbreviation should be used, that abbreviation should be adopted

(b) the abbreviation for a new qualification must be consistent with any similar abbreviation included in the abbreviations lists, unless special conventions such as in (a) above apply

(c) where no precedent can be found, an abbreviation should be adopted that minimises potential confusion for students, employers and others, and reflects general use of abbreviations used for words in the qualification.

3. Use of post nominals

(a) Post nominals are to be consistent with the register of abbreviations for university qualifications maintained by the Academic Secretariat.

(b) Professional qualifications or memberships are placed after academic qualifications, eg BA PhD Sunshine Coast, MACS (Snr).

(c) The university qualifications are to be indicated in the order that they have been conferred.

(d) The preferred abbreviation for the University is ‘Sunshine Coast’, not USC, and may be placed after the award abbreviation in italics.

(e) No post nominals are prescribed for Honorary Awards.

(f) For jointly conferred academic awards, agreements with the other institutions are to be in place for the use of appropriate post nominals.

4. Titles and abbreviations of award programs

Title and abbreviations used for award programs are to be consistent with the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF).

AQF Level Qualification type Abbreviation Examples
4 Certificate IV Cert    
5 Diploma Dip Diploma in Languages DipLang
6 Advanced Diploma AdvDip    
6 Associate Degree AssocDeg Associate Degree in Science AssocDegSc
7 Bachelor Degree B Bachelor of Arts / Bachelor of Business   Bachelor of Laws# BA/BBus   LLB
8 Bachelor Honours Degree B … (Hons) Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical) (Honours) BEng(Mech)(Hons)
8 Graduate Certificate GradCert Graduate Certificate in Management GradCertMgt
8 Graduate Diploma GradDip Graduate Diploma in Psychology GradDipPsych
9 Masters Degree
M Master of Education MEd
9 Masters Degree
M Master of Creative Arts   Master of Business by Research MCA   MBusResearch
9 Masters Degree
10 Doctoral Degree D Doctor of Philosophy   Doctor of Creative Arts PhD   DCA

# Bachelor of Law uses LLB, by convention.

* AQF specifies the following exceptions for Extended Masters:

i The use of the title 'Juris Doctor' is permitted for a Masters Degree (Extended) for legal practice.

ii. The use of the title 'Doctor of ...' is permitted for a Masters Degree (Extended) for five professions only: medical practice; physiotherapy; dentistry; optometry and veterinary practice.


(Staff access only – Available from the Staff Intranet MyUSC):

Appendix 1 - Register of abbreviations for university qualifications

Appendix 2 - Alphabetical list of the standard abbreviated form of words used in official abbreviations


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