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University Preparation Program

This degree is for domestic students only
Each year, thousands of adults across Australia make the decision to study at university as mature age students. You’ll undertake a tailored, one-year program to prepare you for your program of choice. Learn the fundamentals of university study and get set up for success in your degree.
Commencing Terms
Term 1
1 Year
Delivery Mode
Face-to-face (includes blended)
UAC code 430200
Program code 6114
CRICOS code -
Entry Requirements
View all admission criteria
UNSW postgraduate students


Set yourself up for success with the University Preparation Program (UPP) – an alternative pathway to university for people aged 20 or older. This one-year program invites adults without any formal qualifications, such as the HSC, to undertake a series of courses that will prepare you for an easy transition into the degree of your choice. 

You’ll be introduced to university-style learning in a supportive environment and improve your academic skills before you start a degree. Essay writing, notetaking, giving presentations, critical thinking, researching and sitting exams are among the many skills you will learn.

Upon completion of the UPP, you can use your results to gain early entry into an extensive range of courses* at UNSW or apply to programs at other universities. 

*Exclusions noted under Future Careers tab.

Key features

No qualifications required
This program is designed for adults over 20 years old who do not have any formal qualifications. If you didn’t complete your HSC, get an ATAR or simply weren’t ready to take on university right after high school graduation, UPP is an opportunity to gain the foundation you need to achieve your goals.

Four streams based on your interests
The UPP offers four streams which you’ll choose based on what you’d like to study after completing the course: Humanities, Science, Business and Engineering. Each stream contains orientation courses where you’ll learn the fundamentals of university study, as well as topic-specific content.  

No tuition fees
There are no tuition fees for the UPP – it is fully funded by the Australian Government. However, there are some course-related costs you’ll need to cover, including the Student Services and Amenities Fee and the cost of any course materials such as textbooks or calculators.

Why study this degree at UNSW?

UNSW is a university for all

We provide opportunity, access and support to anyone who has earned it. As a mature age student ready to take control of your future, we’ll give you the tools, encouragement and guidance to unlock your true potential.

The full university experience
UNSW has a vibrant student community with over 300 clubs, societies and social activities. You can use all the support services and facilities on campus, including career coaching, peer mentoring, mental health services and more.

Pathways for a brighter future
Thousands of students just like you have completed the UPP and have gone on to study a wide variety of degrees*, from education to biological science, engineering and construction management. University study opens up career opportunities you may never have thought were possible. 

*Exclusions noted under Future Careers tab.


Program Code






UAC Code


Total UoC

Varies depending on stream

Want to learn more about UPP?

Entry requirements

To be considered for admission to this course you must:

  • be aged 20 or over on 1 March 2024 (younger students aged between 17 and 19 can apply for UNSW Prep).
  • be an Australian citizen, New Zealand citizen or hold a current Australian Permanent Resident visa (including Australian Permanent Resident Humanitarian visa).
  • not have previously undertaken university studies
  • demonstrate English language proficiency if you did not undertake your secondary studies in English.


Program structure

The University Preparation Program (UPP) is delivered over three terms (four for the Engineering stream). The UPP has four streams (study areas) that students can choose from:

  1. Humanities
  2. Science
  3. Engineering
  4. Business

You’ll complete courses in person, with allocated independent study to be completed in your own time.

Full program structure

Your study load and program structure will depend on your chosen stream. 


  • 3x10 week terms (Feb-Apr, Jun-Aug, Sep-Nov) 
  • 2-5 hours per week 
  • Suitable for those who want to study a degree in humanities, such as history, languages, literature, education, fine arts, architecture or social policy.  


  • 3x10 week terms (Feb-Apr, Jun-Aug, Sep-Nov) 
  • 5-8 hours per week 
  • Suitable for those who want to study a degree in psychological science, biology, earth and environment, chemistry or physics. 


  • 3x10 week terms (Feb-Apr, Jun-Aug, Sep-Nov) 
  • 5-8 hours per week 
  • Suitable for those who want to study a degree in commerce, marketing or other aspects of economics. 


  • 4x10 week terms (Feb-Apr, Jun-Aug, Sep-Nov. Plus, Feb-Apr the following year) 
  • 6-9 hours per week 
  • Suitable for those who want to study a degree in engineering, including civil, electrical and mechanical engineering.  

Future careers

The UPP is a pre-entry program to help you improve your academic skills before you start a degree. Areas of study for degrees following the UPP include:

  • Science: Psychology or general science, such as biological, earth and environmental sciences, chemistry and physics.
  • Business: Commerce, marketing, accounting, economics, information systems or management.
  • Engineering: Civil, electrical, mechanical and other branches of engineering.
  • Humanities: History, languages, literature, education, fine arts, architecture and social policy.

After completing the UPP, you’ll be able to apply for a wide range of degree programs at UNSW and other universities. If you choose to study at UNSW, you’ll benefit from our hands-on, practical approach to learning which focuses on building employability for success in the workforce. UNSW has been recognised for producing the most employable graduates in Australia*. Our students also earn the highest graduate median salaries of Go8 universities^.

*AFR Top 100 Future Leaders Awards 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023
^QILT Graduate Outcomes Survey 2022


Please note, UPP is not accepted as a basis for admission to the following UNSW programs:

  • Engineering/ Commerce
  • Combined Law
  • Medicine
  • Medicinal Chemistry
  • Medical Science
  • Advanced Science
  • Advanced Mathematics
  • Optometry

How to apply

Applications are made through the Universities Admissions Centre (UAC) using the UNSW UPP course code: 430200.

Applications open in August and on-time applications close towards the end of September for the following year’s admission. An on-time application costs $70. You can apply as late as January in the admission year (if places are still available) but the application costs $200*.

*The information in this publication is correct at August 2023. The university reserves the right to alter any program or admissions requirements herein without prior notice.

Need more information about the application process?

Ready to apply?


Tutition fees for the UPP are covered by the Australian Government. Please note this is subject to change  –  please check fee details prior to application.

There are other costs associated with study that you will need to cover:

  • Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF) ($78.25 per term, part-time), letting you access all the services available for students at UNSW.
    • Students can apply for SA-HELP, a Commonwealth loan scheme that assists eligible students to pay all or part of their SSAF.
  • Cost of any course materials such as textbooks or calculators.

Top 20

QS World University Rankings, 2024.

Employable Graduates

AFR Top 100 Future leaders Award.


#1 Australian uni attended by start-up founders.

The learning culture at UNSW, which challenges the status quo, helped set me apart from others.
Alumni, Harry Goldberg

Harry Goldberg