National Code Part C: Course duration

 

7.1  

The registration of a course on CRICOS must include the expected duration of the course. The registered duration cannot exceed the time required for completing the course on the basis of the normal amount of full-time study. Only courses which can be undertaken on a full-time basis can be registered on CRICOS. A course will not be registered on CRICOS unless it meets the relevant Australian Qualifications Framework requirements or those of any other appropriate quality or accreditation framework, if an appropriate framework exists.

7.2

For English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS), a course duration range may be specified on CRICOS as the study duration will vary according to each student’s learning goals which will be reflected in the expected duration of study specified on the student’s Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE). ELICOS courses remain subject to the requirement in paragraph 7.1 that only full-time courses can be registered on CRICOS.

7.3

The designated authority must take into account the proposed course structure when determining the appropriate duration for registration on CRICOS (that is, the number of compulsory terms or semesters each academic year). The registered duration of the course must include approved holiday periods and any approved periods of work-based training. When the course duration is not specified by the accrediting authority, the designated authority will determine the course duration based on a minimum of 20 scheduled course contact hours per week.

7.4

Proposed changes to the registered duration of a course must be approved by the designated authority prior to the changes being made.

 

Key issues

 

  • The expected duration of the course cannot exceed the time required for completing the course on the basis of the normal amount of full-time study. This should not differ between domestic and international students.
  • The registered duration of a course must include approved holiday periods where there are non-study periods in the course and any periods of approved work based training.
  • Where course duration is not set by the accrediting authority, the designated authority will determine course duration based on a minimum of 20 scheduled course contact hours a week.
  • The accrediting authority for the course may not always be the same organisation as the designated authority

 

What Part C Section 7 involves

 

Defining course duration

 

  • The 'Course duration' on CRICOS must accurately reflect the time taken by a student to complete the course including any reasonable compulsory periods of orientation.
  • The registered duration cannot exceed the time required for completing the course on the basis of the normal amount of full-time study, and must not include any period of work-based training unless this is necessary in order to obtain the course qualification.
  • In determining course duration, the course is completed on the date when all assessable and mandatory components of the course are required by the provider to be submitted/completed.  Such components may include class time, assessment tasks and practical components.
  • Pre-determined or approved holiday periods (for example, mid semester\term breaks) that occur between the start date and when the course is completed should be included in the course duration.
  • DIBP uses the start and end dates of the COE as a basis on which to determine the duration of a student visa. 

 

Calculating course duration

 

  • Within the Higher Education and Schools sectors, courses have traditionally been delivered over a number of years. For example, a Bachelors Degree takes three years, while Senior Secondary takes two years. In these sectors it is appropriate to calculate duration on the basis of a 52 week year.
  • In the VET sector courses are often measured in hours, however, for registration on CRICOS, the duration will need to be specified in weeks.

 

What course duration does not include

 

  • Course duration should not include the period between when assessments or examinations for the course have been completed, and the time when results become available.
  • Students who are no longer enrolled in their Postgraduate Research course but are required, by the education provider, to remain in Australia for the marking of their thesis, may apply onshore and be granted a visa, for this purpose, for a maximum of six months. The provider should specify the length of time the student is required to stay for the marking period.
  • Course duration should not be overestimated to include a prospective period for revision of theses post submission. When necessary a provider could extend a student’s enrolment in line with the provisions of Standard 9.

Terminology

Normal amount of full-time study is the enrolment load that a student would be required to undertake to complete the course in the advertised course duration. This is linked to the Australian Qualifications Framework and should not differ between domestic and international students.

Where course duration is established by the accrediting authority, the normal amount of full-time study will be the amount of study required to complete the course within the course duration.

In the higher education sector the normal amount of full-time study for the purposes of calculating course duration and expected duration in reference to Standard 9 is the enrolment load that equals 1 equivalent full-time student unit in a year. It is equivalent to the amount of study used in forecasting course duration for domestic students.

 

Questions and answers

 

Q  

 Is it permissible for a full time course to be registered on CRICOS where the internal mode of delivery uses block study or intensive study? For example, where units are taught on an intensive basis for four weeks and then the students may have a class free period before the next units begin?

A

Under Part C Section 7.1 of the National Code 2007, a course must be capable of being undertaken full-time to be registered on CRICOS. A course can be taught entirely through the use of accelerated or intensive delivery subjects if this complies with the accreditation of the course.

The provider then has an obligation to monitor the workload of an overseas student to ensure the student completes within the expected duration of the course.  It would also be necessary to make it clear in the promotional material provided to students how the course was going to be delivered to ensure that students are not misled.

Under Part C Section 9.1 of the National Code 2007, courses delivered entirely by online or distance learning cannot be registered on CRICOS. If there is any component of off-campus study, providers must ensure that other requirements under the National Code 2007, such as student support, can be met.