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Undergraduate Certificates - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Updated on 4 June 2020

Can an Undergraduate Certificate be awarded as an exit qualification?

An exit qualification provides an early exit pathway for students who are enrolled in a course of study and have completed the requirements for a qualification nested within the course. 

There may be circumstances where an Undergraduate Certificate can be awarded as an exit qualification. In awarding an Undergraduate Certificate, providers must ensure that: 

  • the Undergraduate Certificate is awarded during the Undergraduate Certificate course accreditation period
  • the conferral of the award is consistent with the provider’s current policy framework
  • the conferral of the award is consistent with the requirements of the accredited Undergraduate Certificate course, i.e. the provider must be satisfied that the student has met the course requirements and learning outcomes.

What are the requirements for the duration and structure of the course?

The Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) specifies that the Undergraduate Certificate:

  1. has a duration of six months. This means that the design of the course must ensure that students are capable of completing the course in six months
  2. certifies completion of 0.5 Equivalent Full Time Study Load (EFTSL) toward an existing qualification at AQF levels 5, 6 or 7.

Can I submit an application to TEQSA before the internal approval process for the course and qualification has been completed?

It is a requirement under Standard 5.1 of the HES Framework that course approval is overseen by peak institutional academic governance processes and they are applied consistently to all courses of study, before the courses are first offered.

TEQSA has developed a streamlined approach for the assessment of these courses to help providers make these courses available as soon as possible to support the government’s COVID-19 response.

The evidence required for these applications is set out in the evidence table. This includes the requirement to provide an assurance to TEQSA that the proposed course will be subject to institutional course approval and quality assurance processes.

While we do not require you to submit evidence of internal course approval with the application, in accordance with Standard 5.1, you must complete this approval before offering the course.

What is TEQSA considering in relation to course learning outcomes?

Under the AQF qualification type descriptor, graduates of an Undergraduate Certificate will:

  • have foundational knowledge sufficient to undertake qualifications at the 5, 6 or 7 AQF level
  • have foundational skills sufficient to undertake qualifications at the 5, 6 or 7 AQF level
  • demonstrate a foundation of application of knowledge and skills sufficient to undertake qualifications at the 5, 6 or 7 AQF level.

Refer to the AQF qualification type descriptor for the full description.

It is expected that course learning outcomes are demonstrably foundational in nature and differentiated from the course from which the units are drawn.

What are the requirements for the naming convention of the course?

The title used for the Undergraduate Certificate should be ‘Undergraduate Certificate (Field of study/discipline)’. Broader nomenclature issues concerning the Undergraduate Certificate should be consistent with the AQF Qualifications Issuance Policy.

Can an undergraduate certificate be a ‘nested’ course?

As outlined in the AQF, the Undergraduate Certificate articulates with an existing qualification at AQF levels 5, 6 or 7 and qualifies individuals with knowledge and skills for further study, professional upskilling, employment and participation in lifelong learning. It is open to providers to design the course as a ‘nested’ course but this is not a requirement.

Can I market a course before it has been accredited by TEQSA?

Providers without the relevant self-accrediting authority should not advertise a course of study until TEQSA has accredited the course.

The streamlined approach for the assessment of these courses means that providers will receive a timely decision to help make these courses available during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Can an Undergraduate Certificate be awarded after 31 December 2021?

TEQSA will accredit the Undergraduate Certificate courses in line with the AQF. This means that the Undergraduate Certificate courses will be accredited until 31 December 2021. An Undergraduate Certificate cannot be awarded once accreditation expires.

The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Education and Skills Councils will review this qualification to decide whether the qualification should continue to be made available after that date. TEQSA may extend the period of accreditation for these courses in line with this review and any decision to extend this qualification type within the AQF.