Study load – Students would typically enrol in three courses per term, rather than four per semester at present. This will reduce burdens associated with juggling multiple subjects and exams:
- Students would be expected to have 10% fewer contact hours per week for a load of three courses, compared with four courses today.
- Students should develop a greater understanding of their course content as they will have more time to devote to each course, and have fewer competing demands from other courses.
- Students would be able to decrease their study load during each term to balance their commitments outside of university.
Assessment – Students will have a maximum of three exams per term, lightening the overall revision load. Students will have a lower assignment load for three courses instead of four.
Part time – For students that are studying part time in the current calendar due to other commitments, it may be possible to meet the definition of a full-time student in the UNSW3+ model, with an enrolment pattern of two courses per term. This would be slightly (20%) more intense than today, but those students could then receive full-time student benefits. This could help students that work part-time, have dependents, those that find full-time study too stressful, etc.
Contact hours – Students will have the same number of contact hours per course per term as they do in the current academic calendar, so they will be studying each course more intensively:
- As students study three courses each term instead of four, they will have fewer contact hours per week, so more time to absorb materials for each course.
- More classes will be run for each course in each week, so the same number of contact hours are retained for each course. This will allow you to cover all the same content with your teachers.
- For example, a course with five contact hours per week now (60 hours total) would have six hours per week in UNSW3+ (60 hours total).
- Students will undertake the same number of courses per program as today.
- The graduate outcomes of each course and program will remain unchanged.
Less time for holidays
Timing – The length of the summer holiday break will reduce from 14 weeks to nine weeks. Mid-year breaks are still four weeks, but will be in two blocks of two weeks instead of a four-week block.
Opportunities – UNSW's goal is to provide a better educational experience to our students:
- The new calendar will provide students with more opportunities to enhance their graduate attributes, including more internships, exchange, and other extra-curricular experiences.
- Students would be expected to have 10% fewer contact hours per week for a load of three courses, compared with four courses today. The lower weekly study load will give students more time to work throughout the year, placing less pressure on part-time work in the holiday breaks.
- Students would also have the opportunity to lower their load in a term whilst still retaining full-time student status. This would allow them to take on more part-time work during times of the year that suits them.
Existing internships – UNSW3+ will not mean the end of current internship opportunities and will facilitate more students completing an internship as part of their degree. We are looking at current internship programs to ensure that students do not lose any of the opportunities that currently exist.
New internships – Students that choose to take up to nine courses per year will create space in their program to use a term for an internship without delaying graduation:
- Students would complete a preparatory course, short intensive course or online course during this term and hence be able to retain their student benefits. We think this will result in more students taking internships and being better prepared to enter the workforce upon graduating.
- Students taking an internship during Term 1, Term 2 or Term 3 would face less competition for internship places against other Australian university students who don’t have the flexibility to take an internship outside of summer.
- Many companies close or slow down over the summer break. Mid-year internships will give students more opportunities to complete more meaningful internships.
- Term 2 is aligned with Northern Hemisphere summer internships.
Global opportunities – Universities throughout the world use a large variety of calendars, so the impact would vary depending on each institution, but the majority of our university partners in the northern hemisphere have starting dates aligned to the UNSW3+ Model. The net impact should be a better alignment with our partners and greater flexibility for International Exchange:
- The UNSW3+ model is aligned with northern hemisphere university calendar start dates, so that students are more easily able to fit an exchange into their program.
- As students have the option to take up to nine courses per year, double degree students are able to fit an exchange into their program without delaying graduation. This is difficult for double degree students now because they cannot undertake general education courses
Course fees, student benefits and visas
Course fees – Course fees would not be affected by UNSW3+.
Full-time load – The normal full-time study load would continue to be eight courses per year and the minimum full-time study load would continue to be six courses per year.
Centrelink – To retain full-time student status under the UNSW3+ calendar model for the purposes of Centrelink, Austudy or other government support, students would need to be enrolled in at least six subjects per year, as is the case under the current semester calendar. Students would need to enrol in at least one subject in each of the three normal terms (Term 1, 2 and 3), and six over the course of the year (Terms 1 to 3) to retain full time status. For students enrolling in less than a full year, it is expected that students would need to enrol in a minimum of two courses per term in order to maintain full time student status.
Scholarships – Scholarship payments would be aligned with the new term dates, but the value of UNSW scholarships paid over a year would not change. Those on external scholarships (Commonwealth Government, external industry scholarships) should not be affected so long as students maintain their full-time status. The value and length of scholarships should not change under UNSW3+.
International Students – Visa requirements will not change, as all programs would be completed within the same time as current. However, some programs such as double majors may be able to finish slightly earlier. Students would still need to maintain full-time status as described above.
You are encouraged to send your feedback to StrategyOffice2025@unsw.edu.au.