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Courses Lifecycle - Award Course Nomenclature and Coding Procedure

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Section 1 - Summary

(1) This Procedure provides the standards used at Victoria University (VU) to:

  1. Name Higher Education (HE) Award Courses, Units, Majors and Minors.
  2. Apply codes to HE Award Courses, Units, Majors and Minors.
  3. Ensure Vocational Education and Training (VET) Award Courses and Units are titled and coded exactly as per external endorsement/accreditation.
  4. Apply abbreviations to all HE and VET Awards.

(2) This Procedure complies with the:

  1. Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) specifically: the AQF Qualifications Issuance Policy.
  2. Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2015 specifically:
    1. Standard 1.5 Graduations and Attainment.
    2. Standard 3.1 Course Design.
    3. Standard 5.1 Course Approval and Accreditation.
  3. Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015 specifically:
    1. Standard 5a: Each learner is properly informed and protected 
  4. VU Governance, Academic and Student Affairs Statute 2013 specifically:
    1. Part 6: Degrees, Diplomas, Certificates and Other Awards – Division 1 Awards of the University (No 26).
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Section 2 - Accountability

Accountable/Responsible Officer

Role

Accountable Officer Vice-President, Learning & Teaching
Responsible Officer Director, Academic Quality and Standards
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Section 3 - Scope

(3) This Procedure applies to:

  1. All HE Award Courses, Units, Majors and Minors, including Higher Degrees by Research (HDR).
  2. All VET Award Courses.

(4) This Procedure does not apply to VU Non-Award Courses.

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Section 4 - Definitions

(5) Accredited Unit

(6) Award

(7) Award Abbreviation

(8) Award Course

(9) Award Credit Points – The numeric definition of a HE award.

(10) AQF Qualification

(11) Course

(12) Discipline

(13) Double Degree

(14) Double Qualification

(15) Dual Award

(16) Elective

(17) Exit Award

(18) Joint Award

(19) Major

(20) Minor

(21) Nested Award

(22) Nomenclature – The agreed HE Award naming standards.

(23) Specialisations

(24) Unit

(25) Unit of Competency

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Section 5 - Policy/Regulation

(26) See Courses Lifecycle Policy.

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Section 6 - Procedures

Part A - Summary of Roles and Responsibilities

Roles

Responsibilities

Director, Academic Quality and Standards Endorses HE Award, Course, Unit, Major and Minor nomenclature.

Endorses HE Award, Course, Unit, Major and Minor coding.

Endorses Award Abbreviations for both HE and VET Awards.
Director, Quality, Learning and Support, Victoria University Polytechnic Ensures all VET Award Courses, Units of Competency and Specialisations are named exactly as per external endorsement/accreditation.

Ensures all VET Award Courses, Units of Competence and Specialisations are coded exactly as per external endorsement/accreditation.

Proposes Award Abbreviations for VET Awards.
Vice-Chancellor Approves all VU Award Courses, Units, Majors, Minors, Specialisations and Abbreviations.

Declares all VU academic Awards.

Part B - Naming of HE Award Courses, Units, Majors and Minors

(27) As a self-accrediting University, VU is approved to accredit HE Awards using the following standard Award titles for AQF qualifications:

  1. Doctor of.
  2. Master of.
  3. Graduate Diploma in.
  4. Graduate Certificate in.
  5. Bachelor (Honours) of.
  6. Bachelor of.
  7. Associate Degree in.
  8. Diploma of.
  9. There may be rare occasions when a reverse order may be approved eg. Juris Doctor.

(28) As a self-accrediting University, VU develops and approves its own Award, Course, Unit, Major and Minor titles. In all cases the titles of an Award, Course, Unit, Major or Minor must be:

  1. Concise and meaningful.
  2. An accurate representation of the discipline and content of the HE Award, Course, Unit, Major or Minor.
  3. Readily recognisable by students, employers and other stakeholders.
  4. Consistent with national and international standards and usage.
  5. Sustainable in the long term.
  6. Consistent in the spelling of common words. If a proposed title includes a variant spelling, even if technically correct, it will be altered to fit the consistent usage.
  7. Socially acceptable and free from possible negative connotations.

(29) A HE Award, Course, Unit, Major or Minor should be developed according to the following standards: 

  1. Punctuation marks including full stops, commas, slashes, dashes between words and letters should not be used.
  2. Combined titles should be linked by 'and' and not an ampersand (&). The only time an ampersand is used in the nomenclature context is an award abbreviation (refer below).
  3. Colons and semi-colons are not to be used in any title.
  4. Quotation marks are not to be used in any title.
  5. Acronyms can be used in Course, Unit, Major and Minor titles but only when they are readily recognised and in common language. The acronym must be accurate and displayed in capitals with no punctuation or spaces.

(30) HE Award titles are developed according to the following:

  1. Standard AQF qualification titles are expanded by the addition of the major discipline (content) of the course. They must reflect the learning outcomes of the course.
  2. A generic Award title can be expanded to describe compulsory specialist studies in the same discipline. This can be described by the addition of brackets but only one bracket should be included in the title.
  3. The curriculum structure of an Associate Degree, Diploma or Graduate Certificate does not lend itself to the inclusion of a major or specialisation. Brackets should not be included in these Award titles unless there are compelling reasons to do so.
  4. Where there are specific professional accreditation requirements, the Award title should reflect required or common usage.
  5. The inclusion of ‘Studies’ in a title is encouraged when it is a nested/exit course in a professionally accredited Award. This title will clearly indicate that this Award will not lead to professional accreditation and registration.
  6. The term ‘professional’ should be used only when there is not a professional accreditation outcome. Where possible the term should be included in the title, and not the brackets, as it is not a discipline.
  7. Adjectives such as 'Applied' and 'Studies' should only be used when it is warranted or a recognised pattern of usage can be demonstrated.
  8. The Award title should be benchmarked both nationally and internationally.
  9. An acronym must never be used in an Award title.

(31) Double degree titles are developed according to the following:

  1. Generally the College that seeks approval for the double degree will list their Award first.
  2. In cases where the College ‘owns’ both Awards, they would generally be listed in alphabetical order unless there are other factors that recommend reversing the order.
  3. Both degrees must be accurately named using their full Award title.
  4. The use of a forward slash (/) between the two Awards indicates that this is a double degree course.

(32) Double Major: The use of a forward slash (/) between two majors indicates that this is a double major within an Award Course.

(33) Double qualifications: The lower AQF Award will be named before the higher AQF Award.

(34) Dual Award: The Award titles are developed as for Clause 30 with the VU Award always listed first.

(35) Exit Award: The exit Award should have the same or similar Award title.

(36) Joint Award: The Award is generally a combined title and should be linked by 'and' and not an ampersand (&).

(37) Nested Award: All Award Courses approved under a nested arrangement should have the same or similar Award title. 

Part C - Coding HE Award Courses, Units, Majors and Minors

(38) HE Award Courses are represented by a four character (4 alpha) code approved according to the following protocols:

Character 1 Sponsoring College
Character 2 HE Award code
Charaters 3 & 4 Major study

(39) College Codes in use are:

A Arts (part of the College of Arts and Education)
B College of Business
E Education (part of the College of Arts and Education)
N College of Engineering and Science
H College of Health and Biomedicine
L College of Law and Justice
S College of Sport and Exercise Science
U VU Research
V Victoria University College

(40) HE Award Codes in use are:

P Doctoral (Research)
Z Doctoral (Coursework)
R Masters (Research)
M Masters (Coursework)
C Double Qualifications
G Graduate Diploma
T Graduate Certificate
J Dual/Joint Awards
H Bachelor (Honours)
B Bachelor
A Associate Degree
D Diploma

(41) HE Award Units are represented by a seven character (3 alpha and 4 numeric) code approved according to the following protocols:

Character 1 Sponsoring College
Character 2 Major study
Character 3 AQF qualification level (as per Clause 43)
Characters 4, 5 & 6 Next number in line for specific alpha characters

(42) In addition to the above coding protocols:

  1. New unit codes and/or titles are only allowed for brand new units.
  2. Re-coding of units to reflect changing organisational structure and new Award Course codes is discouraged.
  3. There is to be no designation of semesters in the unit code.
  4. It is recommended that the 5th character (numeric) is detailed as a nine (9) if the unit is a research based unit.
  5. All codes must be socially acceptable and free from possible negative connotations.

(43) AQF qualification level conventions in use are:

1 Diploma/Year 1 Bachelor
2 Associate Degree/Year 2 Bachelor
3 Year 3 Bachelor
4 Year 4 Bachelor
5 Bachelor (Honours)
6 Graduate Certificate and Graduate Diploma
7 Master
8 Doctoral

(44) Majors are represented by a six character (6 alpha) code approved according to the following protocols:

Character 1 Sponsoring College
Characters 2 & 3 MA (mandatory)
Characters 4, 5 & 6 First 3 letters of the Major title

(45) Minors are represented by a six character (6 alpha) code approved according to the following protocols:

Character 1 Sponsoring College
Characters 2 & 3 MI (mandatory)
Characters 4, 5 & 6 First 3 letters of the Minor title

Part D - Part D - Naming and Coding VET Award Courses, Units of Competency and Specialisations

(46) As a Registered Training Organisation (RTO), VU is able to approve VET Award Courses using the following standard Award titles for AQF qualifications:

  1. Graduate Diploma in.
  2. Graduate Certificate in.
  3. Advanced Diploma of.
  4. Diploma of.
  5. Certificate IV in.
  6. Certificate III in.
  7. Certificate II in.
  8. Certificate I in.

(47) Award Course and Units of Competency titles and codes are:

  1. Endorsed by the Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISA); or
  2. Accredited by National or State based regulators.

(48) As part of these processes VET Award Course and Unit titles and codes have been externally endorsed/accredited. As a RTO, VU must use this information unchanged. 

(49) A VET Award may include an endorsed specialisation which VU must include in the Award title on the testamur. This information is included in the packaging rules of the qualification and must be strictly adhered to.

Part E - Creating Award Abbreviations

(50) As part of the Award accreditation/approval process, both HE and VET Awards must include an Award Abbreviation.

(51) The Award Abbreviation will be included on the Register of Awards.

(52) An Award Abbreviation commences with the standard abbreviation for each AQF qualification (as noted below). Standard Award Abbreviations in use are:

Doctoral D
Master M
Graduate Diploma GradDip
Graduate Certificate GradCert
Bachelor Honours B(Hons)
Bachelor B
Associate Degree AssocDeg
Advanced Diploma AdvDip
Diploma Dip
Certificate IV CertIV
Certificate III CertIII
Certificate II CertII
Certificate I CertI

(53) The standard AQF qualification abbreviation is extended to include a precis of the discipline/major study.

(54) Award abbreviations should be developed according to the following protocols: 

  1. Abbreviations must be meaningful, easily recognised and as short as possible.
  2. The same abbreviation should not be used for unrelated disciplines.
  3. The same abbreviation is used for singular, plural and extended forms of the same word.
  4. Common professional/industry practices should be adopted where applicable.
  5. Community practices and norms should be adopted where applicable.
  6. Words, phrases or acronyms that may offend must not be used.

(55) Award abbreviations should be developed according to the following standards:

  1. They must not exceed five (5) characters long.
  2. Words of five (5) letters or less do not need to be abbreviated.
  3. The first letter of each abbreviated word must be capitalised. 
  4. There should be no spaces between each different word.
  5. An ampersand (&) should be used instead of the word ‘and’. 
  6. Punctuation marks including full stops, slashes, and dashes should not be used.
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Section 7 - Guidelines

(56) AQF Qualifications Issuance Policy