1. What is the AQF?
  2. What do the AQF levels mean?
  3. I am an undergraduate student.  What do the AQF changes mean for me?
  4. I've heard Honours degrees are changing: how?
  5. Do I have to transfer to the new Honours program in 2015?
  6. I’m a current Honours student: how am I affected?
  7. I am an international student: do I have anything different to consider?
  8. Will my fees change if I transfer to the new program?
  9. Will I be disadvantaged if I stay in my current program?
  10. Will the Honours program take longer to complete than my current program?
  11. What is the difference between current Honours degrees and the new Honours degrees?
  12. How is merit reflected in the new Honours degree?
  13. Will I still be able to pursue a research higher degree after completing a new Honours degree?
  14. Will past Honours graduates be affected?
  15. Have any other groups of programs been impacted by the AQF changes?
  16. I’m currently enrolled in a Masters coursework program.  Am I impacted by the new AQF levels?
  17. I’m completing a Graduate Certificate. Can I still get credit towards the Masters program in the suite?
  18. Where should I go if I want to discuss this further?

 

1. What is the AQF?

The Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) was revised in 2011 to provide a new national framework of qualifications in the Australian education and training sector. This framework covers qualifications in higher education (including universities), vocational education and training (TAFE) and schools. With this framework our Australian qualifications are more easily compared with qualifications from other countries, and also with qualifications from different institutions within Australia.

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2. What do the AQF levels mean?

The AQF consists of 10 levels, with each level defined by a set of learning outcomes that should be attained by a graduate of a qualification at that level. That is, by the time you graduate with your degree you should be able to demonstrate the knowledge, skills and application of that knowledge and skill relevant to your degree area and level of degree.

Qualification Type AQF Level
Diploma Level 5
Bachelor Degree Level 7
Bachelor Honours Degree Level 8
Graduate Certificate Level 8
Graduate Diploma Level 8
Masters by Coursework Level 9
Masters (Extended) Level 9
Doctorate (incl. Professional Doctorate) Level 10

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3. I am an undergraduate student. What do the AQF changes mean for me?

All universities in Australia have been asked to ensure their current programs are AQF-compliant by the start of 2015. At UQ we have used the process to ensure that we continue to deliver high quality programs that are relevant to our students.All UQ programs deliver the appropriate learning outcomes as stated by the AQF so that you graduate as a highly qualified professional in your chosen discipline.

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4. I've heard Honours degrees are changing: how?

From 2015, the University will offer three models for honours programs.

  • Option 1:  students enter a one year level 8 Bachelor Honours Degree after graduating from a level 7 Bachelor degree in the same discipline. (For example, the existing 'postgraduate' Honours model used in science and arts honours degrees.) 
  • Option 2:  students enter into a level 7 Bachelor Degree and (at some point during that degree) they apply to change programs to a level 8 Bachelor Honours Degree.
  • Option 3:  students enter a four-year (or more) level 8 Bachelor Honours Degree, and all students graduate with honours.

Options 1 and 2 are largely unchanged from the structures that have been offered at UQ to date.

The following table lists the programs that will be available only as a level 8 Bachelor Honours Degree.

Current program name New program name
Bachelor of Agricultural Science Bachelor of Agricultural Science (Honours)
Bachelor of Biomedical Science Bachelor of Biomedical Science (Honours)
Bachelor of Dental Science Bachelor of Dental Science (Honours)
Bachelor of Engineering Bachelor of Engineering (Honours)
Bachelor of Environmental Management Bachelor of Environmental Management (Honours)
Bachelor of Environmental Science Bachelor of Environmental Science (Honours)
Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Science Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Science (Honours)
Bachelor of Food Technology Bachelor of Food Technology (Honours)
Bachelor of Health, Sport and Physical Education Bachelor of Health, Sport and Physical Education (Honours)
Bachelor of Laws Bachelor of Laws (Honours)
Bachelor of Occupational Health and Safety Science Bachelor of Occupational Health and Safety Science (Honours)
Bachelor of Occupational Therapy Bachelor of Occupational Therapy (Honours)
Bachelor of Pharmacy Bachelor of Pharmacy (Honours)
Bachelor of Physiotherapy Bachelor of Physiotherapy (Honours)
Bachelor of Speech Pathology Bachelor of Speech Pathology (Honours)
Bachelor of Veterinary Science Bachelor of Veterinary Science (Honours)

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5. Do I have to transfer to the new Honours program in 2015?

All students that are currently enrolled in a program that will become an Honours program in 2015 will have an opportunity to change into the Honours program in 2015. However, no student will be forced to change to the Honours program. Bachelor programs that are being reclassified as Bachelor (Honours) will not be available to commencing students after semester 1 2014, but they will continue to be available to students already enrolled in the Bachelor program and who do not apply to transfer to the new Bachelor (Honours) program.

All new Honours programs will adopt an ‘opt-in’ approach for existing students. This means students will need to apply for a program change if they wish to complete their program requirements in the new Honours program.

All students will be advised of the implications for them and the actions they need to take prior to mid-semester break in semester 2, 2014. This information will be delivered via email, updated on this website and in scheduled information sessions.

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6. I'm a current Honours student: how am I affected?

Honours students who will graduate in 2014 are not impacted by the changes. Your class of honours will be determined on the basis of previously determined cut-offs and on the basis of courses published in course lists on the Courses and Programs website for 2014.

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7. I am an international student: do I have anything different to consider?

If you choose to transfer to the program with the new name, as an international student you will be made a new offer.  Once you accept the offer a new Certificate of Enrolment (CoE) will be issued with the corresponding name.

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8. Will my fees change if I transfer to the new program?

No, apart from annual indexation. Students will pay the same fees in the Honours program as their current program.

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9. Will I be disadvantaged if I stay in my current program?

No student will be disadvantaged by remaining in their current program until they have completed the program requirements.

In most cases, the list of required courses for the existing Bachelor and new Bachelor Honours program in the same discipline will be similar and students enrolled in either program will be enrolled in the same courses and taught together.

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10. Will the Honours program take longer to complete than my current program?

Each of the new Honours programs has the same minimum duration of study as the Bachelor degree that it will replace.

Where no significant changes will be made to the program’s course list or to the program rules, students will be able transfer to the new Honours program and have the equivalent number of units (#) to complete prior to graduation.

There may be instances where the new course list differs in the new Honours program or the program rules have been changed.  Where this happens, students who choose to transfer may not be eligible for full credit into the new honours program.  Students who may be affected in this way will be advised of the implications of changing to the Honours program and of any potential changes to their expected graduation year.

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11. What is the difference between current Honours degrees and the new Honours degrees?

The AQF has redefined what has been traditionally known as an Honours degree.  This change in definition means that many more of our degrees are now classified as Bachelor Honours degrees.

What was an Honours degree prior to the revised AQF?

Honours in many areas has traditionally been a first step on the pathway to pursue a research higher degree (e.g. a Research Masters or a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). Students with an Honours degree rather than the pass degree would typically have undertaken research relevant to their discipline. In some areas an Honours degree has also indicated a superior level of academic achievement.

What is the Honours degree now?

The AQF now recognises that an Honours degree is much more than just a pathway to a research higher degree and that it also provides the skills that qualify individuals to apply a body of knowledge in a specific context to undertake professional work. This new definition aligns Australia better with international practice.

Students who now undertake an Honours degree will have the following graduate outcome:

Graduates at this level will have advanced knowledge and skills for professional or highly skilled work and/or further learning. (www.aqf.edu.au)

The AQF defines a Bachelor Honours degree as a qualification that prepares graduates:

  • For a higher level qualification involving research, or
  • To advance the knowledge, skills and application gained in their Bachelor Degree, or
  • For professional practice for which higher level of learning outcomes are required for entry

The University recognises that many of our current 4-year degrees already have embedded research and research-skill competency training that ensure our graduates are prepared for professional or highly skilled work and/or further learning. All of our graduates will understand that evidence-based decisions, which are a result of systematic research and analysis of evidence, will produce the best outcomes whatever the discipline area. These skills, which underpin all of our current programs, are the hallmarks of an Honours graduate.

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12. How is merit reflected in the new Honours degree?

As with UQ qualifications at all levels, Bachelor Honours degrees are awarded when program requirements are complete. The academic merit or level of attainment in an Honours degree is reflected in the class of Honours you achieve and this will be printed on your official graduation testamur. Your grade point average may be calculated using all or a subset of courses from your Bachelor Honours program to determine the Honours class. The program rules indicate how the Honours class will be calculated in each program.

All students, regardless of their GPA, will be awarded a class of Honours. We are planning communicating with employers to advise them of this change and to highlight that classes of honours and GPA will still be used to acknowledge merit. The table below outlines the Honours class associated with each GPA range.

GPA range Proposed class of Honours
6.200 - 7.000 Class I
5.650 - 6.199 Class IIA
5.000 - 5.649 Class IIB
4.000 - 4.999 Class IIIA
<4.000 Class IIIB

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13. Will I still be able to pursue a research higher degree after completing a new Honours degree?

Yes. UQ has mandated that all UQ Honours degrees will be a pathway to a research higher degree. To ensure our students are eligible for further research work, all UQ Bachelor Honours programs must have at least 4 units of independent research or research preparation built into the curriculum. However progression to further study will still be based on your academic performance and completion of a Bachelor Honours degree alone will not guarantee you entry to a program for further study.

If you have further questions about pursuing a Research Higher Degree, you should contact the RHD contact(s) in your School.

Information about the entry requirements for a RHD at UQ can be found on the Graduate Schools webpage.

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 14. Will past Honours graduates be affected?

No. Changes imposed through the new regulations will not be made retrospectively.

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15. Have any other groups of programs been impacted by the AQF changes?

The other main group of programs that have been affected by the Australian Qualifications Framework is the coursework Masters programs. All masters programs from 2015 are required to have a research component. In addition, the entry requirements of some programs have been adjusted to ensure all applicants meet standards that have been applied across all Australian institutions.

The result has been that some programs will no longer be offered, and others will be offered with new durations to cater to the differing background of students gaining entry.

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16. I'm currently enrolled in a Masters coursework program. How am I impacted by the new AQF levels?

Students currently enrolled in Masters coursework programs are not impacted by the AQF changes.

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17. I'm completing a Graduate Certificate. Can I still get credit towards the Masters program in the suite?

If you have received a formal articulation offer to a program in a suite of postgraduate coursework programs, you will be able to enter the Masters program and receive credit for your completed Graduate Certificate. All other students will be assessed on the basis of the requirements in place at the time of their application. If you are eligible to enter the Masters on the basis of work completed prior to the Graduate Certificate, you will continue to be eligible to receive credit from your completed Graduate Certificate.

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18. Where should I go if I want to discuss this further?

  • Visit the student enquiry counter in your Faculty
  • Visit the student enquiry counter in your School
  • Email your Faculty or School student enquiry address

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Do you have a question on the implementation of the AQF at UQ that is not covered on this page? 
Please send your question to us by clicking here.