Rules for program design and delivery.
To ensure program design and delivery at RMIT provides students with a challenging and supportive learning experience and environment, global opportunities to extend their education and breadth of knowledge, and preparation for life and professional work.
The policy provides the rules for design, approval, delivery, review and improvement of programs and courses.
All programs and courses offered by RMIT Group institutions except secondary education programs, which are designed and delivered in accordance with the requirements of the relevant secondary education authority (in Victoria, the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority).
1.1. Staff responsible for program and course design consult students, staff, industry, professional and accrediting bodies and use outcomes from ongoing reviews, external referencing and benchmarking.
1.2. Foundation Studies programs are designed in accordance with the National Standards for Foundation Programs.
1.3. Vocational education program design is consistent with training package or accredited course design rules.
1.4. Staff designing coursework programs follow the design rules set out in Table 1 – coursework program design elements.
1.5. RMIT programs are delivered and assessed in English unless otherwise approved by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education and Vice-President. (See also the Minimum English Language Entry Requirements.)
1.6. Award programs comply with the volume of learning in the relevant Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) specification.
1.6.1. Programs may, however, have a reduced volume of learning where the entry requirement is a qualification for which students would otherwise receive a standard amount of credit.
1.6.2. The maximum time periods for completion of programs by students is specified in the Assessment processes (PDF 199 KB).
3.1. The curriculum of higher education programs specifies learning outcomes at program level and for courses.
3.1.1. On successful completion of a program, students have:
a) attained the learning outcomes at the relevant AQF level, and
b) had the opportunity to develop the RMIT graduate attributes.
3.2. Program structures may comprise the following elements:
3.2.1. core courses
3.2.2. option courses
3.2.3. University elective courses
3.3. The program curriculum also specifies:
3.3.1. AQF award level, duration, delivery mode/s, credit points, and load or scheduled contact hours.
3.3.2. entry requirements and admission pathways
3.3.3. exit awards and pathways to higher qualifications
3.3.4. work integrated learning (WIL) – which may be distributed through several courses
3.3.5. research components and research pathways
3.3.6. any capstone experience.
3.4. Table 1: Coursework program design elements indicates requirements for:
3.4.1. how program elements apply to each award level
3.4.2. the AQF volume of learning, years of full-time study (at two semesters a year) and RMIT credit points normally required to qualify for the respective awards.
3.5. Credit points and volume of learning for double degrees are determined when the learning outcomes and courses of the two programs are mapped into a single structure for delivery (see provision 10 below).
3.6. The same or equivalent core courses are required for a program in any location where the program is offered except where additional core courses are necessary to satisfy a national registration requirement or local external professional or discipline accreditation requirement.
4.1. Table 2: Program approval and discontinuation outlines approval requirements for new, amended and discontinued programs.
4.2. Table 3: Course approval outlines approval requirements for new and amended courses.
4.3. For further detail on the processes for the approvals described in Tables 2 and 3, see the Program and course approval processes (PDF 4.3 MB).
5.1. All programs undergo regular ongoing review.
5.2. All higher education programs undergo comprehensive review every five to seven years.
5.3. Ongoing and comprehensive reviews include external referencing and benchmarking.
5.4. Each training and assessment strategy for delivery of a vocational education program is reviewed annually.
5.5. Vocational education programs are subject to validation on a regular schedule.
5.6. The Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education and Vice-President may require comprehensive review of other award and non-award programs.
5.7. See the Program and course review processes (PDF 941 KB) for requirements in relation to program review.
8.1. The dean/head of school or, at a campus outside Australia, head of centre is responsible for approval of the list of students who have qualified for a coursework award and the level of the award.
8.2. The Associate Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research Training and Development approves the list of students who have qualified for a research award and the level of the award.
8.3. The following types of award are awarded unclassified (pass only):
8.3.1. an award for a nationally recognised training package qualification or accredited vocational education course
8.3.2. doctor of philosophy.
8.4. The following types of award are awarded as a pass with distinction where the student has achieved a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or above for all courses in the program, or as a pass where the student has achieved a cumulative GPA of less than 3.0:
8.4.1. associate degree*
8.4.2. AQF level 7 bachelor degree (see, however, the rules for double degree award level calculation in provision 10 below)
8.4.3. graduate certificate
8.4.4. graduate diploma
8.4.5. masters by coursework.
* The rule that associate degrees are awarded with distinction applies to students who commenced their enrolment in an associate degree from 1 January 2016 onwards. For students who commenced their associate degree enrolment before 1 January 2016, the degree is awarded unclassified (pass only).
8.5. Bachelor honours degrees are awarded with the following levels of honours, or as a pass only, where the weighted average mark (WAM) of candidates’ courses is within the ranges stated. (See, however, the rules for double degree award level calculation in provision 10 below). In four year bachelor honours degrees, the WAM calculation includes only the courses identified as to be used in the calculation. For further detail see the WAM guidance materials.
8.5.1. WAM of 80 or more, Honours First Class (H1)
8.5.2. WAM of 70–79, Honours Class 2A (H2A)
8.5.3. WAM of 60–69, Honours Class 2B (H2B)
8.5.4. WAM of 50–59, pass.
* This section applies only to students who commenced their enrolment in a bachelor honours program from 1 January 2016 onwards. For students who commenced their bachelor honours enrolment before 1 January 2016, the process stated in the previous Awarding degrees with honours or pass with distinction policy applies.
8.6. Masters by research degrees are awarded with the following award levels where candidates’ mark in the research project is within the ranges stated below.*
8.6.1. 80-100%, High Distinction (HD)
8.6.2. 70-79%, Distinction (D)
8.6.3. 60-69%, Credit (C)
8.6.4. 50-59%, pass (P).
* This section applies only to students who commenced their enrolment in a masters by research program from 1 January 2016 onwards. For students who commenced their masters by research enrolment before 1 January 2016, the degree is awarded unclassified (pass only).
9.1. The Admission and credit policy provides details for reductions in the volume of learning based on prior completion of AQF awards at level 7 or above.
9.2. Masters by coursework programs include a minimum of 96 credit points of courses deemed to have AQF level 9 learning outcomes.
9.3. Masters by coursework programs include components of research principles and methods and a component of independent research, project work, practice-related learning or an equivalent piece of scholarship. These components of the program total a minimum of 12 credit points.
9.3.1. To constitute a research pathway under provision 14 below, however, a masters by coursework must provide students with the option of completing a research component comprising at least 24 credit points of courses deemed to be at AQF level 9.
10.1. A double degree combines two existing bachelor programs. A separate curriculum and program structure is approved for each double degree offering.
10.2. The curriculum design of a double degree states the learning outcomes of both component single degrees.
10.3. The program structure includes all core program requirements of both component single degrees.
10.4. The program structure does not require full-time students to overload by more than one course in any teaching period, and preferably not to overload in consecutive teaching periods.
10.5. The work integrated learning (WIL) courses provide the learning outcomes of the core WIL courses of both component single degrees.
10.6. The program meets requirements for external accreditation of the component single degrees where relevant.
10.7. When students complete double degree programs, the award level for each component single degree is determined separately.
10.8. On successful completion of double degree requirements, students have attained the learning outcomes of each of the two bachelor awards.
11.1. Associate degrees lead to vocational and/or paraprofessional outcomes and are closely aligned with industry needs through industry participation in design and delivery. Wherever possible, they include workplace learning.
11.2. Associate degrees normally provide a pathway into one or more related bachelor degrees (vertical articulation) and are also designed to be attractive to students, and valued by employers, as a stand-alone award.
11.3. Associate degrees use relevant national industry and professional standards as reference points for the specification of vocational outcomes and may be mapped to nationally recognised vocational qualifications at AQF levels 5 and 6 to facilitate transfer between qualifications and flexible exit points.
11.4. For the availability of credit from associate degrees towards bachelor degrees, and from diplomas and advanced diplomas towards associate degrees, see the Admission and credit policy.
12.1. RMIT may enter into an agreement with an approved partner institution to deliver an award jointly.
12.2. The joint award agreement with the partner defines responsibilities for delivery and issuance of the joint award.
13.1. Where a lower level award fulfils a subset of the requirements for a higher award, the lower award is nested within the higher award and students may opt to exit the program with the lower award.
13.1.1. The Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education and Vice-President may approve sequenced awards as an exception.
13.1.2. Nationally recognised training package qualifications are nested or sequenced in accordance with the requirements of the training package, accredited course and/or funding contract.
15.1. The Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education and Vice-President may exempt a program from the University electives requirement in Table 1 where they are satisfied that:
15.1.1. professional accreditation requirements prevent electives being offered within the normal program duration; or
15.1.2. in a double degree program, requirements for meeting prescribed learning outcomes within a reduced volume of learning prevent electives being offered.
17.1. The Academic Registrar maintains the program and course processes and guidance materials for coursework programs and courses, including research components in coursework programs.
17.2. The Associate Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research Training and Development maintains the program and course processes and guidance materials for research programs and courses.
17.3. The Assistant Director Careers and Employability maintains the work integrated learning processes and guidance materials.
17.4. The Executive Director, Vocational Education maintains the vocational education compliance processes.
18.1. The following types of program include WIL experiences comprising at least the minimums of units or courses and credit points stated:
18.1.1. Certificate III, certificate IV, diploma or advanced diploma programs other than apprenticeships or traineeships: one unit of competency or cluster of units
18.1.2. Undergraduate diploma, associate degree, graduate diploma, masters by coursework: 12 credit points.
18.1.3. Bachelor degree, bachelor honours degree other than one year bachelor honours degree: 24 credit points.
18.1.4. Double degree comprising bachelor degrees and/or bachelor honours degrees: 24 credit points. The WIL courses in double degrees must, however, provide the learning outcomes of the core WIL courses of both component single degrees.
18.1.5. For higher education programs, where WIL activities are spread across more than the minimum courses and credit points required, WIL activity comprises 50% or more of their assessment.
18.1.6. For vocational education programs where WIL activities are spread across more than the minimum of units of competency or cluster of units, WIL activity comprises 50% or more of their assessment.
18.2. WIL agreements must be used for all WIL placements and industry engaged project activities with a partner organisation must have the appropriate RMIT sign-off as set out in the RMIT Delegations policy and be stored in the InPlace WIL management system.
18.3. The Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education and Vice-President can approve exemptions from the above requirements of WIL components in programs where:
18.3.1. professional accreditation requirements prevent WIL being offered within the normal program duration or
18.3.2. the program is primarily intended as a credit pathway to a higher program that meets the WIL requirements in the previous section or
18.3.3. the program is designed to provide a specific skill such as a language rather than an employability outcome or
18.3.4. progressive learning of professional skills requires that WIL placements be distributed as an assessment component weighted at less than 50% in numerous courses or
18.3.5. in a dual or double degree, requirements for meeting prescribed learning outcomes within a reduced volume of learning prevent WIL experiences being offered.
19.1. All students enrolled in a program have an opportunity to provide feedback on their experience of the program.
19.2. Student feedback is gathered on each offering of each course, including courses delivered with partners in accordance with the partnership agreement.
19.3. Deans/heads of school are responsible for:
19.3.1. nominating a student feedback coordinator for the school and
19.3.2. informing students of improvements in response to their feedback.
19.4. See the Program and course review processes (PDF 941 KB) for further detail regarding student feedback.
21.1. Deans/heads of school or, for programs managed by a campus outside Australia, heads of centre, are responsible for ensuring that student-staff consultative committees (SSCCs) are convened for all coursework programs.
21.2. Program managers keep a record of feedback from the SSCC and report in each semester or trimester on how the feedback has been acted on to SSCC members and the dean/head of school or, for programs managed by a campus outside Australia, the head of centre. (See the terms of reference for SSCCs in the Program and course review processes (PDF 941 KB)).
22.1. Coursework courses may involve travel away from students’ primary location of study in their program, in order to complete assessment tasks. This travel may be a requirement of the course or course offering, or it may be an option available to some students in the course or course offering.
22.2. For further detail including curriculum requirements and information to be provided to students in such courses, see the Courses involving travel guidance materials.
24.1. RMIT award programs offered via partner institutions will normally also be offered at an RMIT campus. Where it is necessary to deliver a program solely via a partner that is not also offered on a campus, the program proposal will provide a rationale for this.
24.2. RMIT programs delivered via partners must provide a student experience consistent with that of other RMIT students.
24.3. RMIT programs delivered via partners should be consistent with one of the approved teaching models described in the Partnered delivery guidance materials.
24.4. The dean/head of the school that manages the program approves the selection of partner teaching staff in accordance with the partnership agreement.
25.1. A service teaching agreement must be in place before service teaching commences; negotiations for this should start well in advance. The agreement, between the discipline or academic unit managing the program or course and the discipline or academic unit providing service teaching in the program or course, includes:
25.1.1. arrangements for sharing of revenue with the service teaching discipline
25.1.2. the process for collaboration in development/review of the curriculum.
26.1. In designing a program, the designers must define the academic and other inherent requirements so that:
26.1.1. prospective and current students can make an informed decision as to whether they are capable of completing the program and
26.1.2. discussions with students about reasonable adjustments to accommodate disability or long-term physical or mental health conditions are based on a clear definition of the program’s inherent requirements.
26.2. Award programs are structured to:
26.2.1. deepen students’ learning and skills as they progress through the program
26.2.2. ensure a positive student learning experience
26.2.3. achieve program learning outcomes
26.2.4. ensure efficiency of delivery and administration and
26.2.5. enable students to enrol online independently.
26.3. To enable students to enrol online independently, minimise timetable clashes and avoid the need for specialised program advice to students, programs are structured as simply as possible. For more detail, see the Program and course approval processes for the relevant RMIT Group institution.
26.4. Programs are designed to meet entrants’ need for discipline and employment-related literacies, numeracy and information literacy.
26.4.1. Associate degree and bachelor degree programs include at least one course in each year of the program structure in which at least 20% of the assessment assesses students’ discipline/employment-related communication skills.
26.4.2. Where one program is a pathway to another, both programs are designed so that students acquire the skills they need to succeed in the second program.
26.5. Career Development Learning (CDL) provides students with the knowledge, skills and attributes to manage their career and development throughout their life. CDL is a developmental process and therefore must be scaffolded across the early, mid and late stages of every program:
26.5.1. Early program: Explore possible career options in relation to personal motivations, skills and interests.
26.5.2. Mid-program onwards: Apply knowledge and skills in a real world context and reflect on experiences and understandings to help formulate career goals.
26.5.3. Late program: Integrate program learning, graduate attributes and professional experience to construct a professional identity and prepare evidence to secure and create employment opportunities.
26.6. Vocational education programs include these same reflective career planning elements as a specific objective in the training and assessment strategy.
26.7. Award programs at AQF level 6 and above, other than advanced diplomas, graduate diplomas and graduate certificates, have courses that include a capstone experience.
26.7.1. Courses with capstone experiences include summative assessment tasks that evidence program level learning outcomes and graduate attributes, including relevant communication skills.
26.7.2. Capstone experiences may include work integrated learning.
26.7.3. More than one course may contribute to the capstone experience.
- Appendix 1: Progam and course tables
- Courses involving travel guideline
- Partnered delivery of coursework awards guideline
- Program and course approval processes (PDF 4.3 MB)
- Program and course configuration requirements (PDF 169 KB)
- Program and course forms
- Program and course review processes (PDF 941 KB)
- Weighted average mark (WAM) guideline
- Work integrated learning (WIL) guideline
Accredited VET course
A structured sequence of training developed to meet training needs that are not addressed by existing training packages that is accredited by the national VET regulator or by a delegated body of the national VET regulator.
The qualification that is conferred on a student when they have completed a program.
A program that leads to the award of a qualification.
The title of an award as recorded in the curriculum database and stated in full on the testamur.
A culminating course or several related courses that integrate learning outcomes of a program in a coherent experience.
A course that a student must pass to complete the program.
A unit of study defined by level, volume, type of learning and course learning outcomes, which can be offered in terms, locations and programs; a component of a program.
A type of program that is not a Higher Degree by Research (HDR) program focused on a single research project but rather comprises a variety of courses each with several assessment tasks; also any course in a coursework program or that is not a research component of an HDR program.
An instance of a course at a specific location.
The mode by which a program, course or learning activity within a course is delivered to students: delivery modes include intensive, on campus, online, workplace.
A double degree combines two existing bachelor programs taken concurrently, usually with a reduced volume of learning because some courses fulfil requirements of both single degrees.
An award for which the requirements are a subset of the requirements for a higher, parent award; students enrol in the parent award but may choose to exit with the lower award; exit awards are said to be “nested” within the higher program.
The contract with the Victorian State Government for funding of vocational education delivery.
Global mobility experience
An opportunity for students to undertake study outside the country in which their program is mainly delivered.
Academic and any other requirements of a program or course that a student must meet if they are to achieve the program or course learning outcomes.
The InPlace WIL system is an integrated management system that supports the administration of WIL processes.
Where an award is delivered jointly with another university under a formal agreement.
The set of knowledge, skills and the application of the knowledge and skills a student is expected to have achieved in courses and in their program on successful completion.
An optional specialisation within a program comprising at least 96 credit points of listed courses.
An optional specialisation within a program comprising at least 48 credit points of listed courses.
A program that enables students to enrol in courses but which does not lead to a qualification.
A course in which a student enrols within a non-award program.
A course that appears on a list in the program structure, from which the student must pass a specified number of courses to complete the program.
The curriculum of study in which a student is enrolled, defined by level of study, volume, type of learning and program learning outcomes. Most, but not all, programs are linked to one or more qualifications.
An instance of a program at a specific location or via a specific delivery mode; referred to in the student management system as a program plan.
The set of course requirements (core courses, options, majors, minors, electives) a student must fulfil in order to complete a program successfully and gain the award.
Research components of honours and masters by coursework programs include the use of structured research methodology, of relevant literature or sources of information, and the construction or creation of an artefact that can be assessed. Research activities may be undertaken as part of work integrated learning or in the form of a studio.
An award that meets part of the requirements for a higher award, and which students complete before they enrol in the higher award.
Where a discipline area teaches a course or part of a course, or provides learning materials and assistance in adapting them for use in a course, within a program managed by another discipline area.
A course that does not contribute credit points or scheduled contact hours towards a program.
A certificate issued to a graduate confirming that an award has been conferred on them.
A curriculum document for VET training in relation to an industry, endorsed by an Industry or Skills Council, which defines qualifications, units of competency, assessment requirements for each unit of competency, and credit arrangements.
The formal university record of a student’s results in their courses and completion of qualification requirements.
University elective course
A course that a student may choose from a wide range of courses across the University, which contributes to the credit points total required for completion of a program, but is not specifically listed in the program structure.
Weighted average mark (WAM)
In bachelor honours degrees, an average of a student’s numerical mark for a set of courses, weighted by the credit point value of the course (so that, for example, a 24 credit point course has double the weighting of a 12 credit point course in calculating the average).
Work integrated learning (WIL)
An assessed learning activity that integrates discipline theory, knowledge and skills with the practice of work, and which involves an industry or community partner. It may take place online or in a simulated workplace environment. Examples of WIL activities are practical or clinical placements, practicums, co-operative education, fieldwork, industry or community projects service learning and work-based learning.
Status & details
Custodian: Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education
Operational responsibility: Academic Registrar's Group
Effective from: 23 April 2018
Last approved: 4 June 2018 (minor amendment)
Document reference: POL/2018/00006[V2]
- Awarding degrees with honours or pass with distinction policy [for students who commenced their bachelor honours enrolment before 1 January 2016]
- Admission and credit policy
- Assessment and Assessment Flexibility Policy
- Higher degrees by research program and course processes
- Vocational education compliance processes
- Work integrated learning processes
Please refer to the list of rescinded policy documents.