If you're considering applying for recognition of prior learning or looking at study load, cross-institutional study, timetable clash or course substitution, it's a good idea to familiarise yourself with these important rules.

Details on UNSW academic policies are available at UNSW Policies, Procedures and Guidelines.

You can contact the The Nucleus: Student Hub for further assistance

  • *This is also referred to as credit transfer or advanced standing.

    All applications for RPL at UNSW are subject to UNSW recognition of prior learning (coursework programs) policy and procedures.

    In addition, the following conditions apply for all UNSW Science programs (including the science component of dual award programs): 

    1. Time limit 

    Defined as time elapsed from completion of course to commencement of science program. 

    • Specific credit (e.g. core course) 7 years. 
    • Unspecified credit (e.g. general education or electives) 10 years.

    2. Maximum recognition of prior learning permitted 

    • 50 per cent of the coursework component of the science program, excluding honours years.  
    • For dual award programs that include a science component, it will be a maximum of 50 per cent of the science component of the dual degree, excluding Honours. 

     3. Re-admission 

    Students who are readmitted into a science program after a period of unapproved absence or deferment or after exclusion will not necessarily retain RPL that was previously approved. The time limits above may be re-applied at time of re-admission. 

    Applications for RPL will only be assessed for students who have accepted a place to study in a UNSW Science program. 

  • Students who wish to enrol in more than 18 units of credit (UOC) in a standard term must obtain approval from their Program Authority before enrolment.  

    For science students, this permission will only be given to students who meet the following criteria: 

    • UGRD students have completed at least 48 UOC (minimum 36 UOC being studied at UNSW) 
    • PGRD students have completed at least 36 UOC (minimum 36 UOC being studied at UNSW)
    • have an overall WAM of 65 or above 
    • are on Good academic standing.

    If approved, students will only be allowed to enrol into an additional 6 UOC per term. 

    Approval to overload DOES NOT also constitute approval to enrol in timetable clashes, full classes or courses without meeting the pre-requisites.


    Postgrad online students following the Hexamester calendar

    Students who wish to enrol in more than 6 UoC per Hexamester (up to a max of 12 UOC) must seek approval.

    For data science students, this permission will only be given to students who meet the following criteria: 

    • have completed at least 12 UOCin a UNSW postgraduate online program (advanced standing is not included) 
    • have an overall WAM of 75 or above. 

    Postgraduate Online Psychology programs do not allow an enrolment over 6 UOC per hexamester.

  • Students may apply to complete courses at another institution subject to the following eligibility criteria:

    1. student’s academic standing is GOOD
    2. student has successfully completed at least 72 units of credit
    3. a) the course content is not taught at UNSW; or
      b) the course is not offered at UNSW in a timely way that would enable the student to progress with their studies in a reasonable timeframe
    4. the requested external study counts towards the students program requirements.

    The following limitations on cross-institutional study will apply:

    1. Maximum 12 UoC can be granted within a student's program.
    2. Capstone courses must be completed at UNSW.
    3. Overloading is not permitted.
    4. If a student has already been granted the maximum amount of advanced standing for their program, cross-institutional study will not be approved.

    Approved international exchange is considered separately to cross-institutional study. However, when students have undertaken approved international exchange, additional cross-institutional study will only be permitted under exceptional circumstances.

  • Science students may apply to enrol in a timetable clash subject to the following eligibility criteria: 

    1. a) the clash is for one hour, between two lectures, or a lecture & tutorial/laboratory, where the lecture is the class being missed;  or  
      b) a clash that exceeds 1 hour is accompanied by an approval from the Course Convenor 
    2. the student is not in their first term of study 
    3. a clash where a non-science course will be missed has approval from the non-science faculty.   

    Exceptions will be considered on a case by case basis where the clash is unavoidable, and the course is required for the student’s major or program. 

    In applying for a timetable clash, students acknowledge the following: 

    • a clash is not grounds for special consideration or alternative assessment requests 
    • students are responsible for revising any missed content due to a timetable clash 
    • students must ensure there are no assessments in any clashing classes or make appropriate arrangements if there are.
  • Students may apply for a course substitution or variation to the rules of their program or major for the following reasons: 

    • The core or required course is not available in the upcoming term, adversely impacting the student's progression or graduation. 
    • The student wishes to complete a course outside their program requirements due to career aspirations and/ or breadth of knowledge, and they have no room to complete this course as an elective or general education. Requests on this basis must be supported by a statement outlining the reasons. 

    In applying for a course substitution, students acknowledge the following: 

    • Approved course substitutions are valid for one term only. This means that upon failing a course substitution, the student would need to enrol in the core or compulsory course again, if available in the subsequent term. 
    • A course substitution is not grounds for special consideration under any circumstances. 
  • Free electives

    Non-Science 6 UOC Level 1 SCIF0106
    Non-Science 12 UOC Level 1 SCIF0112
    Non-Science 18 UOC Level 1 SCIF0118
    Non-Science 24 UOC Level 1 SCIF0124
    Non-Science 6 UOC Level 2 SCIF0206
    Non-Science 12 UOC Level 2 SCIF0212

    General education

    6 UOC General Education GENZ2000
    12 UOC General Education GENZ3500

    Science electives

    Science 6 UOC Level 1 SCIF6106
    Science 12 UOC Level 1 SCIF6112
    Science 18 UOC Level 1 SCIF6118
    Science 24 UOC Level 1 SCIF6124
    Science 6 UOC Level 2 SCIF6206
    Science 12 UOC Level 2 SCIF6212
    Science 18 UOC Level 2 SCIF6218
    Science 6 UOC Level 3 SCIF6306
    Science 12 UOC Level 3 SCIF6312
  • The deadline to enrol or add a new course is the Sunday of Week 1 for Term 1, 2 or 3. Only in exceptional circumstances will science students be permitted to enrol in a course late and applications must be submitted via the webform before midday Friday of Week 2.

    Swapping to or from the advanced version of the same course

    In Science we have many equivalent courses ( MATH1131/MATH1141, for example), where students can enrol in the higher or advanced version of a course for an extra challenge. If you’ve made the wrong choice, switching between equivalent courses will normally be permitted up until census date with approval from the course convenor. If after Week 1, please use the Late Enrolment Request Higher/Lower Course Variation webform to request the change.