Latest News UNSW3+ Academic Calendar

It's a Date! – UNSW3+ new academic calendar

At the end of 2016 Vice Chancellor, Ian Jacobs announced UNSW would be moving to a new academic calendar.

As a key component of the UNSW 2025 strategic plan, the new calendar known as UNSW3+ will be introduced in February 2019. It consists of three ten-week teaching terms and an optional Summer term and enables a distinctive new model of education.

As part of the implementation process, careful consideration has been given to uplifting the entire curriculum as academics across the university reallocate the content of their courses into the new ten-week terms, retire older courses, and create new courses, including a number of innovative online courses that are being developed through the Inspired Learning Initiative.

While the new calendar sets UNSW apart in the Australian Higher Education market, UNSW3+ is based on the US quarter system used by leading institutions like Stanford, University of Chicago, Northwestern and UCLA.

There will be benefits for students and for staff, and UNSW3+ will bring about greater utilisation of the world-class facilities on the Kensington campus, allowing the university to grow within its existing footprint in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs. The new calendar also aligns with northern hemisphere university calendars facilitating new connections that are expected from Australia’s Global University.

Interestingly, this is not the first time in our history that UNSW has adapted its academic calendar (the most recent being in 2008) and many in our alumni community who studied in 1950-1970 will be familiar with the three-term model, that was in place at the time.

Students will benefit from the flexibility, opportunities and from the focus the UNSW3+ calendar will bring. Students will take a maximum of three, rather than the current four courses per term, allowing deeper learning of each subject. Study load can be spread across the year freeing up time for new experiences such as internships or study abroad. Employers are particularly enthusiastic about the change as it will allow them access to UNSW students all year round.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic, Professor Merlin Crossley, said his discussions with a broad cross section of the community in the lead up to UNSW3+ indicate people understand and accordingly are supportive of the initiative.

“This is one of the biggest changes I’ve seen at UNSW and one of the most significance transformations in the sector. Our engagement with students, staff, alumni, industry partners and other organisations fills us with great confidence about the benefits. Put simply - using the campus more allows us to offer more opportunities, and having students focus on three rather than four subjects is better for everyone”.

The new calendar timetable starts with O-week 11 – 15 February 2019. Term 1 starts on 18 February 2019.

Latest Communications to Students - July 2018

Emails from Professor Merlin Crossley, DVC Academic:

Communications to Students - March 2018

Emails from Professor Merlin Crossley, DVC Academic:

Student Services & Amenities Fee (SSAF)

From 2019, payment for the Student Services & Amenities Fee (SSAF) will be split across three terms per year to reflect the new academic calendar. The Government sets the SSAF fee and that will continue in 2019 when the new calendar, UNSW3+, is implemented.

Annual Enrolment

In 2019, we will be moving to annual enrolment, which will allow you to better plan your studies. Enrolments will still open in October for the following academic year, and you will be able to enrol in all your courses for the following year. There will still be an option to enrol on a term-by-term basis.You will have the option to change your enrolment up until the enrolment deadline for each term. Registration for classes will open approximately 10 weeks before the start of each term, and you will register for classes on a term-by-term basis. Census dates will be the end of week 4.


Graduation ceremonies will be held three times a year after each main teaching term. This in line to the current model (currently graduation ceremonies are held twice a year after each semester) and will allow students to wait less time to participate in their ceremony after passing their last exam:

    • Term 1: 13 weeks from last exam to graduation ceremony
    • Term 2: 13 weeks from last exam to graduation ceremony
    • Term 3: 20 weeks from last exam to graduation ceremony

Start-up Loan

The Start-up Loan is a voluntary $1,035 loan that eligible students may apply for twice each year, from the 1st of January and 1st of July. Under the UNSW3+ calendar, students will not receive their second Start-up Loan before the start of Term 2. UNSW will offer students a UNSW Bookshop bridging loan available from the beginning of June until they receive their second payment in July to cover Term 2 textbooks and resources. Students will need to repay the loan before enrolling in Term 3.

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