Frequently asked questions (FAQs) - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

You can find answers to frequently asked questions below. Simply select the appropriate section and browse the information provided.

Application process

Am I an international student?

You are an international student, unless you fall into any of the following categories:

  • Australian citizen; or
  • New Zealand citizen; or
  • Australian permanent residency visa holder; or
  • Australian permanent humanitarian visa holder.
How do I apply to study?

If you are an international student, you can find out more about applying to study at USC by following the steps on our How to apply page. You will not have to apply through the Queensland Tertiary Admissions Centre (QTAC).

What are certified copies?

A certified copy is a true copy of an original document that has been sighted and verified by an authorised person.

The authorised person will sight the original document and any photocopies to ensure both are identical, and then:

  • write on, or stamp the copy "This is a true copy of the original document."
  • write their name, signature, qualification, date of signing and affix their business stamp
  • provide an address and a contact telephone number

Approved USC representatives are able to certify copies for you as part of the application process. If you would like to find out who else can certify your documents, contact the International Office.

I have completed prior studies. Can I claim USC credit for this?

USC may award credit for prior studies at other Higher Education providers. This means that you can, under specified conditions, gain credit for previous study and qualifications towards a USC qualification.

If you apply for credit during the application process to USC your prior studies will be assessed by our team, and any credit that can be awarded to you will be included in your offer to USC.

Be sure to read more helpful information about credit transfer before lodging your application.

How do I accept my offer?

Your USC letter of offer and associated documentation is an agreement between you and USC. To accept your USC offer and the terms of the agreement, follow the below steps.

STEP 1:

  • Read all the information contained in your letter of offer carefully.

STEP 2:

  • If you received an unconditional offer proceed to step 3.
  • If you received a conditional offer you will need to meet your conditions as outlined in your offer before you can proceed.

STEP 3:

  • If you decide that you want to accept your offer and enter into a written agreement refer to the ‘Acceptance of Offer’ page in your letter of offer and follow the instructions.
What happens after I have accepted my offer?

On accepting your offer and on receipt of your payment by USC, you have entered into a written agreement with USC. After USC receives your acceptance, you will be sent confirmation of this written agreement by email.

If you are applying for a Student visa, you will be issued a Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) after you have accepted your offer and paid any requested fees. You will need the CoE for your Student visa application.

You will also receive your USC network username and password, so you can access the USC network and enrol in your courses online.

I have a Conditional Offer. What does that mean?

If you have been issued a Conditional Offer, you do not yet meet the entry requirements for your chosen program and you will need to fulfil the conditions outlined in your Letter of Offer, before we can offer you an unconditional place at USC.

Please make sure you understand the conditions of your offer thoroughly and check with us if you are unsure about their meaning. Once you have successfully met the conditions of your offer, please forward us proof of this and we will be able to assess your application further.

Common conditions may include meeting English language requirements, completing academic requirements or providing USC with the certified true copies of your qualifications.

What is the Credit Transfer Advice and Acceptance form?

The Credit Transfer Advice and Acceptance form consists of a list of courses that you have been awarded as credit towards your program at USC. The courses that you have been awarded credit for count as completed courses towards your USC degree and you will not have to take them again.

If you apply for and are awarded credit during the application process to USC this document will be included with your Letter of Offer.

If you have been awarded credit towards your program at USC, you can identify your remaining courses and plan your future enrolment by referring to:

Do I have to accept all of my credit?

Your Credit Transfer Advice and Acceptance (CTAA) will be included with your Letter of Offer and you have the option to accept all, part or none of the credit awarded.

For example, you may decide that accepting all of the awarded credit will prevent you from enrolling in additional courses from which you would benefit.

If you do not want to accept all of the credit awarded to you in your CTAA, you should contact the International Office before you accept your offer, advising which courses you do not want to accept.

Your CTAA and Letter of Offer will be updated with your requested changes and reissued to you.

When do I get my Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE)?

You will receive your Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) once you have accepted your offer, and USC has received the requested tuition fees and other costs indicated in your Letter of Offer.

Please be aware that payments may take some time to process depending on your payment method, bank and country.

You will need your CoE to apply for a Student visa.

What visa should I apply for to study at USC?

As an international student, you have several different visa options available to you, depending on the length of your studies at USC. Most international students apply for a Student visa.

Before you depart you will need to ensure that you have a valid visa and passport to enter into Australia. For information about visas, please visit the Department of Home Affairs website and our Before your arrive page.

Study Abroad program

Can I study postgraduate courses as part of the Study Abroad program?

Yes. Our Study Abroad program also offers you the chance to study postgraduate courses, provided you meet the necessary entry requirements. Please note, our Study Abroad Postgraduate program is run during Semesters or Sessions, depending on the academic discipline you wish to study.

For information about the postgraduate courses offered to Study Abroad students, contact the International Office.

To find out the dates for a specific study period, consult the relevant academic calendar.

I am a US student. How many credits will I get for my studies at USC?

Credit at USC, as for most Australian universities, is not directly linked to the number of hours a student attends class for a given course. This means that the concept of ‘credit hours’ does not exist at USC or other Australian universities.

In general, most USC courses have an equal credit weighting or ‘unit’ value worth of 12 points regardless of the course level or the number of teaching contact hours (some exceptions apply). Whether courses are introductory or developing and graduate level, or whether they have 3 teaching contact hours or 6 teaching contact hours, the number of units or credits for each course is 12. There may be some exceptions to this general rule.

Commonly, US institutions award 3 or 4 credits per approved course undertaken at USC, or 12 to 16 credits, for a full-time course workload per study period.

How many European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) points do my USC courses convert to?

Credit at USC, as for most Australian universities, is not directly linked to the number of hours a student attends class for a given course. This means that the concept of ‘credit hours’ does not exist at USC or other Australian universities.

In general, most USC courses have an equal credit weighting or ‘unit’ value worth of 12 points regardless of the course level or the number of teaching contact hours (some exceptions apply). Whether courses are introductory or developing and graduate level, or whether they have 3 teaching contact hours or 6 teaching contact hours, the number of units or credits for each course is 12. There may be some exceptions to this general rule.

The standard full-time workload at USC consists of four courses per study period. For ECTS purposes, this standard full-time, four course workload is generally considered equal to 30 ECTS points.

Orientation and arrival

Do I have to attend Orientation?

As an international student, you have to complete the International Orientation task via USC Central once it becomes available on your student account. This task includes important information about your stay and studies in Australia.

In addition, USC offers an extensive Orientation program which allows you to find out more about USC and your program, as well as meet new people and get to know your new home. You will need to make sure you arrive in Australia early enough to attend.

If you are unable to attend Orientation, refer to the Orientation page for information regarding alternative workshops you can attend at the beginning of the semester.

If you are commencing your program in a Session or are enrolled in a Higher Degree by Research program, you will be contacted about your Orientation by the relevant School or the Graduate Research School.

When should I arrive? 

You should aim to arrive in Australia with sufficient time to settle in and acclimatise yourself to Australia, before Orientation commences.

If you are planning on staying in short-term accommodation initially and finding suitable long-term accommodation upon arrival, you should give yourself sufficient time to do so. We encourage you to finalise your accommodation arrangements before Orientation commences, to leave yourself free to settle into USC without distractions.

Learn about living in Australia, what to expect at Orientation and how to arrange accommodation before you arrive in Australia.

If you are studying in a Semester based program, plan to arrive early and participate in the pre-semester study skills and learning strategies workshops prior to Orientation. Attending these sessions will make your transition to study in Australia much easier.

How do I get from the airport to my accommodation?

Once you have finalised your flight details, you should consider how you will travel from your arrival airport to your accommodation.

The most convenient option is to book an airport transfer.

There are a number of companies that offer airport transfers across Queensland, including Con-X-ion. Most airport transfer companies accept online bookings.

To avoid problems or delays, you should organise your airport transfer before you depart for Australia.

For public transport options please visit Translink.

What study materials will I need when I start my studies?

When you start your studies at USC, you will need the following:

  • Access to your student email and Blackboard - access will be activated within 24 hours after you enrol in your classes. Visit IT Services for more information.
  • Your course outlines - you can find your course outline by typing your course code (e.g. PSY100) in the Course Finder. Your course co-ordinator will also make your course outline available on Blackboard before the start of the study period.
  • Text books - Prescribed textbooks are required reading materials that supplement your lectures and tutorials, so having regular and easy access to them is important. Confirm exactly what you will need with your lecturer or tutor in Week 1.
  • Course readers - listed in your course outline and available for purchase at Mail and Print Services (MaPS) in Building R on the USC Sunshine Coast campus.
  • Access to any online articles/chapters listed in your course outlines. For more information visit the Library.
  • Access to a good dictionary (e.g. Oxford English Dictionary Online and Macquarie online are available through the Library).
  • Access to a good Thesaurus (e.g. Macquarie online is available through the Library).
  • Student diary - available through Student Central.
  • Note paper and pens and/or laptop/tablet.
  • Schedule of study support workshops.
Is it compulsory to buy textbooks and/or course workbooks?

It is recommended that you purchase your textbooks and/or course workbooks so that you have them at hand for your readings, homework and assignments.

The course outline/s on Blackboard will specify the textbook details and/or course workbooks you will need to undertake your course.

  • Your textbooks may be 'Prescribed' or 'Recommended'. If they are 'Prescribed', this means you will definitely need regular access to them.
  • Generally, you need to read your textbook each week and answer revision questions. Your textbook is also a valuable resource for exam preparation.
  • Textbooks for most courses are held in the Reserve Collection of the Library. These can only be borrowed for two hours within the Library.
  • Not having access to a textbook or course workbook is not accepted as a reason to request an assignment extension.

When you attend classes in Week 1, seek advice from your lecturers and tutors about what you will need.

What activities can I do at USC?

USC encourages students to actively engage in the many groups and societies on campus. Students lead a wide array of cultural, discipline-based, social and special interest organisations.

Find out more on the activities, clubs and events page.

Accommodation

What are my accommodation options?

It is essential for international students to organise either short or long-term accommodation before arriving in Australia. Give yourself the best possible chance for a good start to your studies knowing you have somewhere to stay when you get to USC.

There are a variety of accommodation options close to USC's campuses whether you want to live in a privately owned student accommodation complex, share a house, book a homestay or find a place of your own. For more information and advice refer to the before you arrive page.

Study Sunshine Coast or Study Queensland also provide advice on finding appropriate accommodation for international students.

When should I organise my accommodation?

You should start thinking about your preferred accommodation option during the application process and book your accommodation once you have formally accepted your place at USC and received your Confirmation of Enrolment.

We strongly recommend you finalise your accommodation arrangements prior to departing for Australia.

Alternatively, you may wish to book short-term accommodation and find more suitable long-term accommodation upon arrival.

For more information and advice refer to the before you arrive page.

Is it possible to arrive without accommodation?

It is essential that you have suitable short or long-term accommodation arranged prior to departing for Australia.

If you do not want to commit to a long-term accommodation option from overseas, it is possible to book short-term accommodation and look for more suitable long-term accommodation upon arrival.

For more information and advice refer to the before you arrive page.

Can USC organise my accommodation for me?

USC does not organise accommodation on behalf of students. You will need to ensure you arrange suitable accommodation for yourself prior to departing for Australia.

During the application process, you will be provided with information regarding accommodation options, which will assist you in finding suitable housing.

For more information and advice refer to the before you arrive page.

Can I live in Brisbane and study at USC Sunshine Coast?

Brisbane is located approximately 100km south of USC Sunshine Coast.

By car, the north side of Brisbane can be reached in approximately 65 minutes. It can take longer to reach the city and the south side of Brisbane. Generally, you should expect heavy traffic and slow peak hour travel periods.

Travelling from and to Brisbane by public transport will take approx. 2 hours and 30 minutes, making living in Brisbane an unattractive option for students who do not have access to private transport.

If the majority or all of your courses are held at the USC Sunshine Coast campus, we strongly advise you to find suitable accommodation on the Sunshine Coast. At USC, classes are held Monday to Friday, starting as early as 8am and finishing as late as 9pm. Occasionally, classes may also take place on Saturday.

While there are usually options with class scheduling, some courses are only offered at certain times. Once enrolled, you must attend the class you are enrolled in.

Students who live in Brisbane or surrounding suburbs may find it difficult to attend their classes at USC Sunshine Coast.

Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)

Do I need to purchase OSHC?

The Department of Home Affairs (DOHA) requires that Student visa holders maintain OSHC for the duration of their Student visa, unless exempted under reciprocal government arrangements. Health insurance cover is also required for all family members residing in Australia on a dependent Student visa.

Students covered under the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme, the Swedish Legal, Financial and Administration Agency (Kammarkollegiet) or the compulsory health care insurance in Belgium, do not require OSHC. Belgian, Norwegian and Swedish students who are not required to purchase OSHC, will be covered for treatment that is medically necessary under their country’s Reciprocal Health Care Agreement (RHCA) with Australia.

USC can accept payment and arrange visa-length OSHC on your behalf with our preferred provider Allianz Care Australia.

For more information about OSHC refer to our before you arrive page and the Australian Government's Private Health insurance website.

I am studying on a temporary visa. Will I need OSHC?

Temporary visa holders, who are not Student visa holders, are not eligible for OSHC and should make their own travel and health insurance arrangements.

Can I take out OSHC with an overseas insurer?

No. Only government-approved Australian registered private health insurers can offer OSHC. This is because the Australian Government wants to be able to monitor and regulate insurers covering people living temporarily in Australia. The Government is not able to protect the interests of people insured by overseas insurance companies in the same way.

For more information about OSHC refer to our before you arrive page and the Australian Government's Private Health insurance website.

How can I arrange OSHC?

USC can accept payment and arrange visa-length OSHC on your behalf with our preferred provider, Allianz Care Australia. USC has no relationship with any other government-approved OSHC providers and cannot accept payment from students for any provider other than Allianz Care Australia. However, you can contact another OSHC provider and insure with them directly. Providers who offer OSHC can be found on the Australian Government's Private Health insurance website.

If you indicate in your USC application form that you would like USC to arrange your OSHC with Allianz Care Australia, your OSHC policy quote will be included in your Letter of Offer. If you accept your offer, and pay the OSHC fee, USC will schedule your policy with Allianz Care Australia.

How do I get my OSHC membership card?

If you hold an OSHC Essentials policy with Allianz Care Australia, you have the ability to access your e-membership card directly on the MyHealth portal or mobile application.

If you have arranged your OSHC through another provider, please contact them directly.

How do I upgrade my OSHC policy from single cover to family cover?

If you have purchased your OSHC policy through USC, you will need to contact Allianz Care Australia directly to upgrade your OSHC policy to either Dual Family or Multi Family cover. You can apply for the upgrade online through the MyHealth portal.

Dual family – covering the student, and either:

  • One adult spouse or de facto partner; or
  • One or more children under the age of 18 years old.

Multi family – covering the student and more than one dependant, which can include:

  • Only one adult spouse or de facto partner
  • One or more dependent children

If you have arranged your OSHC through another provider, please contact them directly.

How do I extend my OSHC?

It is a visa requirement that Student visa holders must hold visa length OSHC cover.

If you have received a CoE extension and will apply for a new Student visa, you may be required to purchase additional OSHC cover to ensure you have visa length cover. You should calculate the duration you will require prior to purchasing your policy.

If you would like to purchase an OSHC Essentials Policy with USC’s preferred provider Allianz Care Australia you can purchase this policy type via this link.

If you have arranged your OSHC through another provider, please contact them directly.

Payment

How can I pay my fees?

If you are a commencing international student, you can pay your fees via debit/credit card or through Flywire International Payments (options with Flywire may include bank transfer, debit/credit card in your home currency, electronic payment or other local options).

If you would like to accept your offer and pay your tuition fees please follow the steps on the ‘Acceptance of Offer’ page in your letter of offer.

If you are a continuing student wanting to pay your fees, you can choose from any payment option listed on your invoice. Generate and print your new invoice in USC Central after you have completed your enrolment.

For more information visit the How to pay your fees page.

When are my tuition fees due?

Your tuition fees for the courses you are enrolled in are due on the fee due date of the relevant teaching period.

If you are a commencing student, you made payment of any requested tuition fees indicated in your Letter of Offer when you accepted your offer. If you have any outstanding tuition fees, the remainder will be payable by the fee due date of the relevant teaching period.

A late payment fee will apply for payments that are made after the fee due date.

Refer to the academic calendar of the relevant teaching period.

Student support

Where can I find help?

USC offers a wide range of services to assist students with their studies and personal life. It is important to seek help as soon as you require it. Visit the Student Support pages for an overview of services available to you.

If you have questions about your Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE), Student visa, Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) or applying for future study, contact the International Office.

Do you offer English language support during my studies?

At USC, you will benefit from a wide range of student support.

Learning Advisers are trained professionals who are ready to help you develop a wide range of academic skills.

The Learning Adviser team have curated a series of Academic Skills Workshops that will assist you with your English language development.

Contact information

How do I update my contact details?

If you would like to update your contact information during the application process, please send an email to the International Office with the new details.

Once you are enrolled, you can update most of your personal information via USC Central.

If you are a Student visa holder, it is a requirement that you provide USC with your current mailing address in Australia. Please ensure you update your contact details within 7 days of arrival in Australia and keep them up to date at all times.

To update your personal details:

  1. log in to USC Central,
  2. select Personal Details,
  3. select the relevant heading (e.g. Addresses), and then
  4. select the chevron to update the relevant information.

To update your permanent home address, please complete the 'Change of address - International student' form located under the Personal details - change request heading, and submit to Student Central.

Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE)

What is a CoE?

A Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) is an official document issued by USC to international students who intend to study on a Student visa.

You supply the CoE to the Department of Home Affairs (DOHA) during the Student visa application process as evidence of your intended enrolment at USC. While you are studying, the CoE provides various Government Departments (such as the Department of Home Affairs) with important information about your enrolment status. Any changes to your enrolment at USC will be reported against your CoE.

The CoE contains your USC enrolment information, including:

  • Program of study
  • Program duration
  • Program start and finish dates
  • Estimated program costs

You are expected to complete your program within the duration specified in the CoE. Usually, unless you have been awarded credit transfer from previous studies, this will be the full-time study duration for the program you are enrolled in.

Why do I need a CoE?

International students who intend to study in Australia on a Student visa require a CoE. You must have a valid CoE at all times while you are studying on a Student visa - even if your visa is still valid.

It is your responsibility to ensure you hold a valid CoE and meet the conditions of your Student visa.

Can I extend my CoE?

As per the National Code 2018, Student visa holders are expected to complete their program within the duration specified on their CoE.

USC can only approve an extension to a Student visa holder’s program of study because of:

  • Compassionate or compelling circumstances;
  • An implemented intervention strategy for students who are at risk of unsatisfactory academic progress; or
  • An approved deferment or Suspension of Studies has been granted.

Examples of compassionate and compelling circumstances include (but are not limited to):

  • A medical issue evidenced by a medical certificate
  • Receiving fail grades, which meant you were unable to follow your recommended study sequence

You must contact Student Central as soon as you become aware of a problem which may impact on your ability to finish your studies on time. Together with Student Central, you should investigate a study plan option (e.g. taking courses in non-compulsory study periods), which will ensure you complete your program on time.

If, after consultation with Student Central, you are unable to produce a study plan that allows you to finish your studies on time, you should contact the International Office prior to your CoE end date for information regarding how to apply for an extension to your CoE.

If you have deliberately under-enrolled without prior approval and you are unable to finish your studies on time as a result, you may not receive an extension to your CoE and may not be able to complete your USC studies in Australia.

CoE extensions are assessed on a case by case basis and you may be asked to provide documentary evidence to support your application for a CoE extension.

Note, a new CoE does not mean an extension of your Student visa. After receiving your new CoE, you will need to lodge an application for a new Student visa with the Department of Home Affairs.

Why would my CoE not be extended?

CoE extensions can only be approved if they meet the criteria listed in the National Code 2018. Circumstances where a CoE extension application may not meet these criteria and therefore may not be approved include (but are not limited to):

  • Where the student took a reduced study load (under enrolled) in a teaching period for reasons other than compassionate and compelling circumstances, such as:
    • Financial hardship
    • Not liking the courses on offer
    • Work commitments
    • Improving grades where this is not approved by USC as part of an Academic Improvement Plan
  • The student failed courses and did not seek progression advice to determine if it was possible to complete on time.
  • The student has Fail Absent grades and cannot sufficiently evidence that these were due to compassionate or compelling circumstances.
  • The student has an overdue tuition fee balance on their USC Central account.

CoE extensions are assessed on a case by case basis. Students may be asked to provide documentary evidence to support their application for a CoE extension.

When should I extend my CoE?

We recommend that you apply for a CoE extension after your results are released for the last teaching period you are enrolled in before your CoE finishes. If you apply before results are released, are issued a CoE and subsequently fail a course, you may not be able to complete your program by the end date listed on your new CoE. This may mean that you would need to apply for another CoE extension at a later date, and if you have used the CoE to apply for a Student visa, that you may be required to lodge a further visa application.

If your Student visa finishes prior to your current CoE end date, and you believe that you cannot complete your program by the end date of your current CoE, you should apply for a CoE extension.

Note, you must use your CoE to apply for your new visa within 45 days of the date the CoE is issued, otherwise it may expire.

What changes to my enrolment may result in my CoE being cancelled?

USC will report changes to your enrolment against your CoE, which will notify the Department of Home Affairs and other applicable government departments.

Some changes may result in your CoE being cancelled. Changes to your enrolment which will cancel your CoE occur when:

  • You formally withdraw from USC
  • You fail to enrol in courses in a compulsory study period and have no Suspension of Studies approved
  • You have an approved change of program (in that case a new CoE will be issued for the new program)
  • Your enrolment is cancelled by USC* due to:
    • Non-payment of fees
    • Academic or general misconduct resulting in expulsion
    • Unsatisfactory academic progress

* In this instance, you will receive a notice of intention to report, and be advised that you have 20 business days to access USC's internal appeals process to appeal the decision. If you are not happy with the outcome of the internal appeal, you can submit an external appeal. Refer to the Student Grievances - Procedures. Your enrolment will be maintained until after the 20-day period, or where you have submitted an internal appeal until the appeal process is completed. In the case of unsatisfactory academic progress, your enrolment will not be suspended or cancelled until the internal and external appeals process is completed.

You will be advised by email once the CoE cancellation has taken place. You will have 28 calendar days from the date of the CoE cancellation to either leave Australia, obtain a new CoE, or apply for a new visa.