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Applications for accreditation of Undergraduate and Graduate Certificate courses (short courses)

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The Australian Government’s COVID-19 pandemic higher education relief package included TEQSA application fee waivers and the introduction of short courses. As a result, TEQSA has received an unprecedented number of applications in both registration and course accreditation and renewals. TEQSA advises that this is likely to lead to extended application processing times, including well into 2022.

On 30 November 2021, the Australian Government announced that the Undergraduate Certificate will remain part of the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) until 30 June 2025. This followed a decision of the Education and Skills Ministers Meeting of the National Federation Reform Council.

The existing Graduate Certificate continues unchanged and can be awarded for a course at the postgraduate level. 

Application for accreditation

Providers without the relevant self-accrediting authority need to apply to TEQSA to have their new courses accredited.

TEQSA will continue to expedite the short course assessment where:

  • a new Undergraduate Certificate is created by drawing together four units from an existing accredited undergraduate course
  • a new Graduate Certificate is created by drawing together four units from an existing accredited postgraduate course.

Important: Where a new short course is not drawn from an existing accredited course, the standard application and assessment process and associated application fees apply. These fees are being waived until 31 December 2022. 

Consistent with the updated AQF requirements following the decision to retain the Undergraduate Certificate, these courses may be accredited until 30 June 2025. Under TEQSA’s expedited short course application and assessment process, TEQSA will generally align the accreditation period of new short course Graduate Certificates to that of their respective source course. This is to reduce regulatory burden and facilitate a streamlined and efficient renewal of accreditation process.

Further information

Preparing your application

The scope of the expedited assessment will focus on a set of key elements relating to the following standards under the Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2021:

  • Standard 1.1.1 in relation to admission
  • Standard 3.1.1 in relation to course design and learning outcomes
  • Standard 3.2.3 in relation to staffing
  • Standards 5.1.2 and 5.1.3 in relation to course approval
  • Section 5.4 (if applicable) in relation to delivery with other parties
  • Standard 7.1.5 in relation to the representation of graduate outcomes.

Your application must contain the information and documentary evidence set out in this evidence table.

An optional template is available to assist with preparing the application.

It is anticipated that most courses will be drawn from a single accredited course. If the proposed course is drawn from multiple courses or from courses at different AQF levels, this will require a more comprehensive assessment from TEQSA. In this case, there will be an enhanced onus on the provider in preparing the application to explain the learning outcomes and pathways to further learning and graduate outcomes.

Note: Where the units for the proposed Undergraduate or Graduate Certificate are not drawn from an existing accredited course, please contact your TEQSA Case Manager to request evidence requirements for your accreditation application in accordance with TEQSA’s standard course accreditation process (refer to TEQSA’s course accreditation and renewal of accreditation application guide for more information). 

Submitting your application

You must submit an application to TEQSA via the Provider Portal using the existing form for ‘Course Accreditation (HESF 2021) existing provider’. Some fields in the existing form are not applicable.

Follow these instructions which explain how to complete the application form specific to these short course applications.

Application fee waived

TEQSA is waiving fees for registered higher education providers to 30 December 2022 (and refunding charges that have been invoiced since 1 January 2020) under measures to lift financial pressure on higher education providers. There will be no fee charged for assessment of applications for accreditation of Undergraduate and Graduate Certificates.

What happens next?

Once we receive your application, we will review it to ensure it is complete and contains the required information. If we need further information, we will contact you. If the application is complete, we will conduct the assessment and notify you once it has been completed.

We publish information on our decisions in accordance with TEQSA’s policy on public reporting of regulatory decisions

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)