Each year thousands of adults across Australia make the rewarding and challenging decision to study at university as a mature age student.

Many do not have their HSC or formal qualifications. So how do you get in to university with no qualifications?  At UNSW it’s not a case of how much you are willing to pay or how ‘mature’ you are, it’s about hard work and potential.  By completing the University Preparation Program (UPP) you can build your academic skills, experience part-time study in a subject area of your interest and decide if you will make the decision to study at university as a mature student.

“I truly feel that the UPP course prepared me massively for Uni. What I learned about studying, researching, thinking and writing put me in an advantageous position for my first semester.”

Past UPP Student

Things to know

  •  
    To be eligible for UPP you will need to meet certain requirements:
    Entry Criteria

    Criteria

    Condition

    Age

    You should be 20 years or over on 1 March in the year you start the program.*

    Citizenship / Residency

    You should be an Australian citizen, New Zealand citizen or hold a current Australian Permanent Resident visa (including Australian Permanent Resident Humanitarian visa).

    Language

    English language proficiency is required if your previous schooling was not completed in English. Read the English Requirements Policy for further information.

    Previous study

    You should not already have attempted university study.

    If you have attempted university study (either in Australia or overseas) since leaving high school, you should visit our Contact us website or ring our Future Students Office on 1300 UNI NSW (1300 864 679). They will advise you on your best pathway, which may or may not be the UPP.

    Additional Criteria

    You should not be enrolled in another program of study at the same time.

     

    * Younger applicants who are eligible for the UNSW ACCESS Scheme may be eligible for entry to UNSW Prep.

  • Depending on which stream you choose, each has different time commitments and content.

    Stream

    Program length

    Class Times

    Other Time Commitments

    Humanities

    Learn more

    3 x 10 week terms

    2 hours per week

    Mon 6 - 8pm or Tue 6 - 8pm or Fri 12 - 2pm

    (5 hours in term 3)

    IMPORTANT: Evening classes may not be available for the elective course in term 3

    1 hour a week online

    6-8 hours of independent study per week, per UPP course

    Science

    Learn more

    3 x 10 week terms

    8 hours per week

    Mon 6 - 9pm and Wed 6 - 9pm, plus Tue 6 - 8pm or Fri 12 - 2pm

    1 hour a week online

    6-8 hours of independent study per week, per UPP course

    Business

    Learn more

    3 x 10 week terms

    8 hours per week

    Mon 6 - 9pm and Wed 6 - 9pm, plus Tue 6 - 8pm or Fri 12 - 2pm

    1 hour a week online

    6-8 hours of independent study per week, per UPP course

    Engineering

    Learn more

     4 x 10 week terms

     

    8 hours per week

    Mon 6 - 9pm and Wed 6 - 9pm, plus Tue 6 - 8pm or Fri 12 - 2pm

    1 hour a week online

    6-8 hours of independent study per week, per UPP course

  • There are four streams you can choose from: Humanities - Science - Engineering - Business.

    You can study the UPP in one of four streams depending on your area of interest and what you would like to study after the UPP.

    Stream

    Suitable* for degrees in:

    Term 1 Course/s

    Term 2 Course/s

    Term 3 Course/s

     Term 4 Course/s (Term 1 of the next year)

    Humanities

    Courses such as history, languages, literature, education, fine arts, architecture, social policy

    University Orientation and Study Skills 1

    University Orientation and Study Skills 1

    University Orientation and Study Skills 2

     

    An Elective - your choice from a list of 'Gateway Courses'

    Not Applicable

    Science

    Psychology or general science, such as biological, earth and environmental sciences, chemistry and physics

    University Orientation and Study Skills 1

     

    UPP Mathematics 1

    University Orientation and Study Skills 1

     

    UPP Mathematics 2

    University Orientation and Study Skills 2

     

    UPP Mathematics 3

    Not Applicable

    Business

    Commerce, marketing, accounting, economics, information systems or management

    University Orientation and Study Skills 1

     

    UPP Mathematics 1

    University Orientation and Study Skills 1

     

    UPP Mathematics 2

    University Orientation and Study Skills 2

     

    UPP Mathematics 3

    Not Applicable

    Engineering

     Civil, electrical, mechanical and other branches of engineering

     

    University Orientation and Study Skills 1

     

    UPP Mathematics 1

    University Orientation and Study Skills 1

     

    UPP Mathematics 2

    Communicating in Engineering

     

    UPP Mathematics 3

    Fundamentals of Mathematics B

     

    Fundamentals of Physics

     

    *Not all degree programs are available for direct entry. For further info, please see our Find a Degree tool.

    More information here: University Preparation Program Academic Rules 2024

    University Orientation and Study Skills (UOSS)

    The University Orientation and Study Skills (UOSS) courses are compulsory for each UPP Stream. They are offered exclusively for UPP students and no prior knowledge is required, except for English Proficiency. Topics covered include orientation to the academic system, time management and critical analysis skills, preparing seminar presentations, essay writing, note taking from lectures and written material, examination techniques and an introduction to online learning. All of these skills are invaluable for success in the UPP and for further study.

    “Being taught how to learn was critical. Had those skills been taught to me when I was younger I might not have failed the first time around.”

    “My study skills, from note taking to essay writing and exam preparation, were very good and this gave me significant advantages at uni.” 

  • Applications for 2024 will be available at www.uac.edu.au from April 2023. You may apply up until 1st February 2024, however places may have already filled by that time. You must accept your offer and enrol no later than the deadline stated in your offer.

    The UAC course code for the UPP is 430200.

    Course enquiries: email UPP@unsw.edu.au.

Want more information?

 Speak to one of our Future Student Advisers.