Important information for all coursework students

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Hello Materials Science & Engineering Students!

This page contains important information, requirements, and procedures regarding your courses and degree for all students. Please, take the time to read it carefully. 

The link to this page has been emailed to all enrolled students. All students are expected to have read and understood it. Failure to read and follow the requirements may result in significant problems including, impact on the timely completion of your degree and additional financial costs.

Student portal web forms

Students can use the Ask a question form for their general enquiries. Other specific requests can be submitted via UNSW student portal web forms, including:

  • program progression check
  • recognition of prior learning (RPL)
  • cross-institutional study
  • course substitution
  • full class enrolment
  • late enrolment
  • overload studies
  • requisite waiver
  • timetable clash enrolment
  • review of results
  • fee remission
  • confirmation of enrolment (CoE)
  • reduce study load.

UNSW email

Your UNSW “” email address is the university’s official means of communication with you. You should check this email regularly and/or have it forwarded to your personal email account. Using excuses such as “I did not check my student email” or “I did not have access to my student email” for missing important information or key dates will not be accepted. Students can assign an alias to the email address if they desire. Students should use their UNSW email address when corresponding with the school/university to avoid potential rejection by spam filters and to indicate the email is genuine. Also, students should state their name and zID in the body of the email to enable easy identification by staff.

Course enrolment

Students should enrol in courses as stated in their program outline – this includes the actual courses and when they are done. Program guides for our undergraduate programs and 8717 Master of Materials Technology can be found on the school website and in the UNSW Handbook.

Students are responsible for ensuring they are enrolled in the correct courses. The school will monitor and report any deviations and, if necessary, amend students' enrolment as appropriate. Students should not enrol in courses from outside their stated program without permission – such courses are counted as ‘non-award’ and will attract full fee payment upfront as they cannot be put onto FEE-HELP.

Students who are effected by any of the below situations should consult the school via the Ask a question form for enrolment advice:

  • failed courses
  • progression has been impacted by COVID-19
  • disjointed programs.

General education

General education courses offered within UNSW Science will not count towards the general education requirement. This includes all GENSxxxx courses and any mainstream Faculty of Science and Engineering courses.

Courses from other faculties may be rejected for general education if they are deemed to be too similar to courses in the program – for example doing a chemical engineering course on fluid flow is not acceptable.  Students in double degrees should do courses from outside both faculties involved in the degree.  

PHYS1160 Introduction to Astronomy is apparently a popular general education course. The course is run by the School of Physics which is in the Faculty of Science and therefore not acceptable for general education in our school’s BE programs. If you do this course, or any other course from the Faculty of Science, it will not count towards your general education requirements. This is not new, it has always been the case.

Course information sheets

These contain all information relevant to the particular course including detailed course description, schedules, assessment tasks, assessment due dates and assessment weighting. Students should carefully read this information at the beginning of the course so they are aware of expectations and requirements. Course outlines are available for each MATS course in the Moodle course page.

Course clashes

Students cannot enrol into courses which have a timetable clash. When two or more courses have a timetable clash, permission must be sought in advance from the relevant course coordinator(s) using the Timetable clash enrolment form. Clashes are considered on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the extent of the clash, the measures taken to minimise the impact of the clash and the student’s overall academic performance.

Special consideration

Any student who is unable to complete an assessment task, or who believes their performance in an assessment task has been adversely affected by sickness or any other reason, may request special consideration. Students must make a formal application (via online services in myUNSW) for special consideration for the course/s affected as soon as practicable after the problem occurs. It is recommended that students also inform the relevant lecturer/course coordinator that a problem has occurred.

Fit to sit/submit

UNSW operates under a fit to sit/submit rule for all assessments. If a student wishes to submit an application for special consideration for an exam or assessment, the application must be submitted prior to the start of the exam or before an assessment is submitted. If a student sits the exam/submits the assignment, they are declaring themselves well enough to do so.

Academic plan

Students in the school’s BE programs are advised to declare their academic plan at the end of Year 2. You can declare your major using the stream declaration tool in your student profile tab on myUNSW.

Industrial training and presentation

As part of the accreditation requirements of Engineers Australia, all of the school’s BE single and combined degree programs require students to undertake a minimum of 60 days industrial training. Industrial training is administered by the Faculty of Engineering Work Integrated Learning (WIL) unit, including Moodle pretraining learning modules, placement approvals, risk assessment and insurance requirements, and IT report submission and marking.

Before applying for industrial training, students must complete all e-learning pre-requisite modules on Moodle. Approval must be sought from the WIL prior to undertaking the placement so as to ensure that the particular training is appropriate and to formally declare that the placement is related to the student’s university study and thus is covered by university insurance. Any training completed without prior approval may not be counted in the 60 days and, more seriously, may not be covered by university insurance. Please refer to the Engineering students industrial training for further information.

The school holds a presentation evening once a year for students to give a short presentation on their recently completed industrial training. The presentation is an important component of the industrial training and gives students an opportunity to showcase their skills and experience to their fellow students and our industry partners. All students are required to do the presentation once prior to graduation.

In 2021, the industrial training presentation event was held in May. The next presentation event will be held in March 2022.

Cross-institutional studies

Please be aware that cross-institutional study is not intended to be another way of doing exchange study.  Instead it is used for situation where a student is unable to complete a particular course at UNSW for good reason – for example, if a student fails a core course for their program but the course is not offered at UNSW in a timely way that would enable the student to complete their degree in a reasonable time. Normally, cross-institutional study can only be undertaken in a student's final year. The faculty and our school approve cross-institutional study according to the Faculty of Science rules.

Overload studies

Students who wish to overload (i.e. take more than 18 UOC in a term, or more than 12 UOC in summer term) must apply for permission by completing the Application to overload form. Applications to overload are considered on a case-by-case basis, and only students who have completed at least 48 UOC at UNSW, and have a cumulative WAM of 65 or higher, or are in their final year of study will be eligible to apply to overload. Students may only overload a maximum of 6 UOC (i.e. 54 in total per year). 

Maximum time to complete program

You must complete your program of study no later than the published maximum time to complete for your program. For example, the maximum time to complete a four-year undergraduate degree is 10 years. For postgraduate coursework award programs, the maximum time to complete is 10 years. Please see Maximum time to complete for more details.

Academic standing

Students whose academic standing is lower than ‘Good’ at the end of a term will be required to meet with an academic advisor. Failure to meet with an academic advisor may result in an enrolment block remaining on indefinitely and, in cases where a student’s academic standing is ‘Suspension’ or ‘Exclusion’, the school will not support any appeal the student makes against the suspension/exclusion. For more information about academic standing, please see UNSW Academic standing explanation.

Academic misconduct

Instances of academic misconduct such as plagiarism, cheating in exams etc. are treated very seriously by the school and are formally dealt with according to the UNSW Student misconduct procedure policy. In cases where academic misconduct is proven, penalties imposed may include zero marks for the assessment task and/or failure in the course. Students will also be put onto the UNSW Academic Misconduct Registry. Ignorance about what constitutes plagiarism or academic misconduct is not acceptable defence for having committed them. More information can be found at:

Student conduct
Academic integrity & plagiarism

Exam conduct

Exams, whether they be formal end-of-session exams or held in class during session, are governed by UNSW exam rules. In particular, it should be noted that being in possession of mobile phones or music players during an exam constitutes academic misconduct.

Rescheduling exams

UNSW recognises that there are students whose religious faith prohibits sitting examinations during certain periods or on particular holy days. Wherever possible, the university will attempt to accommodate students so they may fulfil both their religious and university obligations. For exams or assessment tasks held in a course during session, the course coordinator should be contacted as soon as possible and at least two weeks prior to the affected exam or assessment task. Where examinations administered by the UNSW Examinations Branch conflict with a student's religious obligations, you should contact UNSW exams before your exam. More information can be found at UNSW exams.

Maximum repeat fails

If you repeatedly and unsuccessfully attempt the same course or course rule, you will be required to meet with an academic advisor prior to enrolling in the following semester. This provides you with an opportunity to access appropriate support services and resources to enable you to successfully complete the course or course rule.

For more information, please see Maximum repeat fails.

Program transfers

Program transfers into or out of the school’s program are done via the university’s internal program transfer process. Students transferring into any of the school’s programs should consult with the school to have appropriate courses transferred from their old program. The school does NOT give permission for students to enrol in courses from outside their current program in anticipation of transferring to a new program.

Withdrawal without failure

Students can withdraw from a course without academic failure and financial penalty prior to the census date in each session. Students can also discontinue at a later date from a course without academic penalty only. Both these discontinuation dates are specified in the UNSW calendar.  Special permission (which will only be granted in exceptional circumstances) is required to withdraw from a course after both discontinuation dates have passed. See Changing your enrolment for more information.


The Nucleus (student hub)
Monday to Friday: 10am–5pm
Phone: (02) 8936 7005

Enquiries: fill out an Ask a question form.

Dr Owen Standard
Undergraduate Program Authority
Room 243A, Hilmer Building E10
Phone: (02) 9385 4437

A/Prof Runyu Yang
Postgraduate Coursework Program Authority
Room 349, Hilmer Building E10
Phone: (02) 9385 6787