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Admissions Policy

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Section 1 - Purpose

(1) This policy is designed to ensure that admission of students at Charles Sturt University (the University) and its partner providers is conducted in a manner that:

  1. is fair, consistent, equitable, and transparent, 
  2. ensures admitted students have the necessary academic preparation and proficiency in English required to successfully participate in, progress through, and complete their intended studies, and
  3. is compliant with all legislative standards and regulatory frameworks, including the Higher Education Support Act (HESA), the Higher Education Standards Framework (HESF), the Education Services for Overseas Students Act (ESOS Act) and the National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students.


(2) This policy applies to the admission of all students to programs, courses, and non-award study offered by the University and its partner institutions. Its requirements apply to all staff across the University as well as external staff who represent the University through partnerships and third party arrangements including educational agents and partner education providers.

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Section 2 - Policy

Admissions responsibilities

Authority to admit

(3) The authority to admit applicants to study at Charles Sturt University in accordance with approved entry requirements is specified in Delegation Schedule E - Academic and Research, under the Delegations and Authorisations Policy

Conflicts of interest

(4) Staff involved in the administration and assessment of admissions applications must declare any potential conflict of interest by notifying their immediate supervisor and taking action in accordance with the Conflict of Interest Procedure.

(5) This includes situations where a staff member’s partner, family member or close friend is applying for admission to the University whether directly, through a tertiary admissions centre, or through a partner organisation, and the staff member may be involved in processing the admission or have access to the person’s application.

Admission restrictions for academic staff

(6) A member of the University’s academic staff will be declined admission to a course, or declined enrolment in a subject, where this is a conflict of interest.

(7) The Admissions Procedure lists situations where admission or enrolment of academic staff would be a conflict of interest and states the process to ensure these admissions/enrolments do not occur. 

Admissions information for applicants

(8) The University will ensure that:

  1. prospective students are informed of the minimum University academic and English proficiency requirements for admission, as well as any additional course-specific requirements that may apply for entry to certain courses, so they can understand their likelihood of being admitted,
  2. prospective students are informed of course inherent requirements, methods of assessment, and any work-based training a student is required to undertake as part of a course, including any compulsory intensive schools for online students,
  3. prospective students have access to the Credit Policy and procedures, and are informed of any available credit arrangements and potential eligibility for credit and recognition of prior learning that apply to their course,
  4. prospective students are informed of indicative tuition and non-tuition fees, including advice on the potential for changes to fees over the duration of their study, and have access to the online schedule of fees and charges and the University’s enrolment cancellation and fee refund policies,
  5. domestic students applying for admission into a Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP) and/or deferral of their fees via a Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) loan (either HECS-HELP or FEE-HELP) are informed of the requirements for maintaining eligibility throughout their studies as required under the Higher Education Support Act (HESA) and related legislation,  
  6. international students applying for study in Australia on a student visa are informed of all matters they need to be aware of regarding meeting their course and enrolment requirements to fulfil their visa obligations, and the student support and success services available to help make a successful transition to study in Australia,
  7. all publicly available written and online materials provided by the University for overseas students includes the registered CRICOS institution name and registration number, and
  8. prospective students are informed of their rights and obligations in writing, including details about internal and external complaints and appeals processes, policies on changes to or withdrawal of offers, as well as all acceptance of admission requirements and conditions of enrolment.

(9) The requirements for course information are stated in the Course and Subject Policy and its relevant procedures.

Admissions entry requirements

(10) Admissions entry requirements are approved by the relevant authority as defined in Delegation Schedule E - Academic and Research under the Delegations and Authorisations Policy. These entry requirements are established and approved as part of the development, review, and accreditation process for each course and subject offered by the University. This ongoing course design, review, and approval process is outlined in the Course and Subject Policy and procedures.

(11) These admissions entry requirements are designed to ensure that admitted students are academically suitable and have the necessary preparation, proficiency in English, and educational skills required to successfully participate in and progress through their intended studies at this University. 

(12) To be eligible for admission to all programs, courses, and subjects offered by the University (either directly or through one of its delivery partner providers), all applicants must meet the following minimum University entry requirements for each level of study:

  1. minimum age requirements,
  2. minimum academic and/or professional experience requirements, and
  3. minimum English proficiency requirements, plus
  4. any additional professional or higher course-specific admission requirements that may apply to the relevant course, where these are published within the online course brochure for the relevant intake.

(13) Further admission requirements and eligibility criteria apply to international/overseas applicants for study within Australia on a student visa under the ESOS Act and the National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students.

Minimum age requirements

(14) International applicants intending to study in Australia on a student visa must be at least 18 years old at the time of accepting their offer of admission.

(15) Any other applicants who will be under 18 years of age at the time of accepting their offer will be considered for admission subject to meeting the conditions outlined in the Admissions Procedure

(16) Faculties may specify a higher minimum age requirement for courses to meet a legislative requirement of training for or admission to a profession.  

Minimum academic requirements for each level of study 

(17) All applicants seeking admission to courses or subjects offered by the University must meet at least the following minimum academic and/or professional experience requirements for the relevant level of study:

Level of study  Minimum entry requirement
Charles Sturt Pathway [non-award course] New South Wales Year 10 Record of School Achievement, or equivalent
Diploma New South Wales Year 10 Record of School Achievement, or equivalent
Bachelor degree and four-year integrated bachelor (honours) degree  New South Wales Higher School Certificate (HSC) with an ATAR, or equivalent
One-year bachelor (honours) degree A bachelor degree completed in the same discipline or a closely related discipline, or equivalent
Graduate certificate and graduate diploma A bachelor degree, or a diploma and work experience relevant to the course to which admission is sought, or equivalent
Master by coursework A bachelor degree or equivalent
Master by research A bachelor degree of at least four years full-time duration, completed in the same discipline or a closely related discipline, or equivalent
Doctor of philosophy or professional doctorate A bachelor degree of at least four years full-time duration, completed in the same discipline or a closely related discipline, with at least class 2(1) honours; or equivalent
Higher doctorate A bachelor degree and at least ten years continuous work in the relevant field since graduation, at a standard surpassing the standard required for a doctor of philosophy award

(18) Details about these academic and professional requirements, including qualifications and experience that may be assessed or considered as equivalent to the minimum entry requirements listed above, are published in the following documents: 

  1. Admissions - Entry Requirements (Coursework) Procedure
  2. Admissions - Entry Requirements (Higher Degrees by Research) Procedure

Minimum English proficiency requirements

(19) Applicants must meet the following minimum English proficiency requirements for entry to each level of study.

Level of study Minimum entry requirement
Coursework courses (including undergraduate and postgraduate study) Applicants must have:
  1. been born in an English-speaking country, have completed at least one qualification in an English-speaking country, and English must have been the language in which they undertook the qualification,
  2. completed the equivalent of the New South Wales Higher School Certificate or a tertiary course of at least one year’s duration, in English, or
  3. gained a recent score of 6.0 in the International English Language Test System (IELTS) academic test, with no less than 5.5 in any band, or equivalent.
Higher degree by research courses Applicants must have:
  1. completed their prerequisite academic qualification in English, or
  2. gained a recent score at least 6.5 in the IELTS academic test, with no less than 6.0 in any band, or equivalent.

(20) The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) approves the English proficiency equivalents, which are published in the Admissions - Entry Requirements (Coursework) Procedure.

(21) The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) approves the English proficiency equivalents, which are published in the Admissions - Entry Requirements (Higher Degrees by Research) Procedure.

Additional course-specific entry requirements

(22) Through course approval and accreditation processes outlined in the Course and Subject Policy and procedures, additional or higher entry requirements may be approved for admission to specific courses to:

  1. ensure that admitted students are academically suitable and will have a reasonable prospect of success, and
  2. meet professional accreditation or professional registration requirements.

(23) To be eligible for admission to such courses, applicants must meet the specific entry requirements which are published for each course in the online course brochure in addition to the minimum University requirements listed above. These may include:

  1. citizenship/visa requirements,
  2. higher age, academic, professional, and/or English proficiency requirements,
  3. specific professional training and/or industry experience requirements,
  4. requirements for security, health, police, or working with children checks, and/or
  5. additional/supplementary information, which may be required in the form of selection interviews, references, creative portfolios, thesis proposals, essays, or other entry tasks or submissions.

(24) Some courses such as professional doctorates may state additional entry requirements of a specified period of relevant professional experience and/or current professional employment.  This will be identified in the online course brochure for each relevant course.

Intake quotas and course viability

(25) The University may:

  1. set a quota for each course intake,
  2. decline to admit applicants where there are too few applications for a course to be viable, and/or
  3. cancel an intake to a course and any offers of admission made if too few applicants accept an offer of a place in the course for it to be viable.

(26) An Executive Dean may approve the suspension of a course from a particular intake under Delegation Schedule E - Academic and Research and must ensure that any withdrawal of offers that result from this suspension are managed in accordance with the University’s obligations under ESOS Act and the Higher Education Standards Framework.

(27) Where a course has an intake quota and more applicants apply, offers will be made to eligible applicants whose applications the University received earliest. Once the quota has been filled, other eligible applicants may be declined admission. The University may, however, choose to pool and rank applications for an eventual decision.

International/overseas applicants

(28) International applicants for study within Australia on a student visa must meet the following additional requirements:

  1. Genuine temporary entrant (GTE) requirements and satisfy the University that they have taken adequate steps to prepare themselves for study in Australia. Further information about the GTE assessment process is stated in the Admissions Procedure.
  2. Applicants who are already studying in Australia on a student visa with another education provider and who are in the first six months of study in their principal course will only be considered for admission if they provide the University with a letter of release from the other provider. See the International Students Provider Transfer Procedure for details.

Australian Government sanctions

(29) The University will consider Australian Government sanctions when assessing admission applications from citizens of sanctioned countries and will refer applications to the relevant delegated authority to decide whether to approve that an offer be made to such applicants.

Single subjects

(30) An applicant may be eligible to apply for admission to a single subject where they meet:

  1. the minimum age requirements,
  2. the minimum academic, professional, and English language proficiency requirements for the relevant level of study, as stated above,
  3. any specific prerequisites of the subject(s), and
  4. there are no indications they are unlikely to succeed, such as failures in similar recent study, or insufficient evidence of relevant knowledge and skills.

(31) Applicants cannot defer offers for single subject study, they must submit a new application instead.

(32) The Admissions Procedure states the application and decision process for single subject enrolments.

Cross-institutional study

(33) A student of another tertiary institution can apply to enrol in subjects at Charles Sturt University and may be able to have the subjects recognised as part of their course at that institution. Further information and instructions are published on the cross-institutional learning website.

(34) Students who are currently enrolled at another institution may apply for cross-institutional study in one or more subjects at this University, where:

  1. a place is available in the subject(s),
  2. the student’s home institution confirms that the subject(s) can be credited towards their current course, and
  3. the student meets the relevant subject prerequisites and minimum entry requirements.

(35) The relevant Admissions Office is responsible for managing incoming cross-institutional enrolment, and the process and conditions for incoming cross-institutional study are outlined in the Admissions Procedure.

Study Link subjects

(36) Study Link subjects are available to all current and prospective students and can be studied concurrently with any enrolment without seeking concurrent study approval as these are preparatory subjects that cannot be used as credit towards the completion of an award course.

Admission to concurrent study

(37) If a current student wishes to study concurrently (at the same time) in a second course or single subject whilst continuing study in their current course, they may submit an application for admission which will be assessed by the relevant faculty for concurrent study approval before any offer will be made.

(38) The Admissions Procedure states the eligibility requirements and the application and assessment process for concurrent enrolments.

Applications for admission

(39) Applicants apply for admission through one of the methods below, as specified in the online course brochure application instructions for their particular course: 

  1. the University Admission Centre (UAC),
  2. the Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre (VTAC), or
  3. directly to the relevant University Admissions Office, as described in the Admissions Procedure.

Privacy and use of information

(40) Admission applications and the personal information they contain will be handled in accordance with the University’s Privacy Management Plan.

(41) In submitting their application, applicants must consent to the following uses of their personal information provided in their application:

  1. to assess their eligibility for admission to the University,
  2. if they are admitted, to create their student record in university systems that will support their enrolment and study, and
  3. in the University’s reporting to government departments in order to meet legislative requirements. 

Assessment of applications

(42) The relevant University admissions office assesses all admission applications, under the delegated authority as specified in Delegation Schedule E - Academic and Research under the Delegations and Authorisations Policy, except:

  1. applications submitted to authorised partner institutions, which are assessed by relevant partner’s admissions team, and
  2. applications submitted to the University Admissions Centre (UAC), which UAC assesses on behalf of the University.

(43) To ensure the quality of admissions assessment by authorised partners, the Office of Global Engagement will ensure that:

  1. authorised partner providers are provided with detailed assessment instructions to ensure consistency, and
  2. regular audits are undertaken of partner assessment of samples of applications, to check that these are compliant with the University’s instructions, standards, and requirements.

Application outcomes

(44) Applicants will be notified of their application outcome in writing, and where they have been declined admission they will be: 

  1. informed of the reason(s), and
  2. where eligible, provided with the opportunity to receive an alternative offer to a related course for which they meet entry requirements.

(45) Where successful, all applicants will receive written offers of admission that serve as the written agreement between the student and the University and will include all information that:

  1. the applicant needs to understand the offer, any conditions they must meet, course requirements, and the costs of study, and
  2. is required by the relevant legislation, including the Higher Education Standards Framework, the ESOS Act, the National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students, and the Higher Education Support Act.

Conditional offers

(46) An offer of admission may be made with a condition that the applicant must meet one or more entry requirements (for example where the applicant is currently undertaking a pathway course), and may be withdrawn if the applicant does not meet the condition(s) by the deadline stated in the offer. 

Withdrawing offers

(47) The University may withdraw an offer of admission at any time if the applicant fails to:

  1. meet any conditions of the offer before census date,
  2. accept the offer in the manner specified in the offer letter,
  3. pay their fees for the first teaching period by the date specified in the offer letter or fees invoice/statement, or
  4. where the course quota was filled before the offer was accepted.

Applications with false, misleading, or withheld information

(48) Allegations of misconduct involving information provided by students in their admissions applications will be investigated in line with the Student Misconduct Rule.

(49) The Executive Director, Students may cancel an application for admission, or withdraw an offer of admission, where the applicant is found to have:

  1. provided false or misleading information in their application, or
  2. withheld information relevant to their application.

(50) Where an applicant to study in Australia on a student visa is found to have provided false or misleading information in their application, the University may report this to the Commonwealth Department of Home Affairs.

(51) Where misconduct is found to have occurred in these cases, the recommended penalty is exclusion from the University.

Deferred admission

(52) International applicants to study in Australia on a student visa cannot defer their offer, but may reapply for a new offer of admission with a later date.

(53) The Admissions Procedure states the process for applications for deferment and their approval.

Payment of fees

(54) All students must pay or arrange deferment of their tuition fees by the deadline provided on their offer letter or invoice/fee statement for their first teaching period.

(55) All students, including international applicants for study in Australia on a student visa, must not pay their tuition fees before they accept their offer, but must pay their fees by the specified due date stated on the offer letter as a condition of accepting their offer.

(56) See the Enrolment and Fees Policy and Enrolment and Fees Procedure for details about payment (or deferment via a HELP loan, including HECS-HELP or FEE-HELP) of the tuition fees required for enrolment in each teaching period, and the penalties/ramifications of non-payment of these fees by the specified due date for each teaching period. 

(57) The Enrolment and Fees Policy and Procedure also provide detailed information for domestic students about Commonwealth support and HELP loans in relation to fees, including definitions of CSP, HELP, HECS-HELP, FEE-HELP, CAF, and SA-HELP.   

Refund of fees

(58) Prospective applicants, commencing students and continuing students can find detailed information about refunds, including application processes, conditions, and requirements in the Enrolment and Fees Policy and Enrolment and Fees Procedure, as well as in the International Student Fee Refund Procedure.

Tuition Protection Service

(59) The Tuition Protection Service provides assistance to students who have paid their tuition fees upfront or via a HELP loan where the University is unable to fully deliver their course of study. This ensures that students are able to either:

  1. complete their studies in another course or with another education provider, or
  2. receive a refund of their unused tuition fees and/or a re-credit of the unused remainder of their HELP loan (including HECS-HELP and FEE-HELP).

Course transfers

(60) Current students who wish to apply for transfer into another course must meet the same admissions entry requirements for that course as any other applicant, and will only be admitted where a place is available.

(61) The Admissions Procedure states the process, eligibility requirements, and conditions under which a currently enrolled student may apply for admission into a new course via course transfer.

(62) Where a course does not permit admission via transfer, or where the specific eligibility requirements for a course transfer are not met, current students may apply for admission into a course by submitting a standard new application for admission, which will be assessed against the same entry requirements as a course transfer.

Admissions equity and access schemes

(63) The University has a number of admission pathways, entry programs, and access schemes available for domestic undergraduate applicants from under-represented groups and individuals who have experienced disadvantage in their preparation for university study. These include:

  1. selection rank adjustments on the basis of location, subjects, and equity to offset factors that have impacted high school education for those applying on the basis of ATAR, and
  2. alternative pathways to study that can result in guaranteed entry to a range of undergraduate courses for those who may not yet meet the minimum entry requirements based on their current ATAR or equivalent score or adjusted selection rank.

(64) These programs are designed to accommodate student diversity and provide opportunities for equal access to participate and succeed in University study regardless of disadvantage or background.  

(65) Specific consideration is given to the recruitment, admission, participation, and successful completion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, as well as for applicants of non-English speaking backgrounds, applicants with disabilities, and applicants from geographically isolated areas or economically or socially disadvantaged backgrounds.

(66) Specific provisions also exist for current and former defence force personnel and elite athletes and performers who have been disadvantaged in their educational preparation through their commitments.

(67) The Admissions Procedure outlines the eligibility requirements and application process for the various access schemes and entry programs offered by the University.  

(68) Where a prospective student applies for admission via one of these equity entry programs and access schemes, the University will ensure that each applicant is academically suitable for their chosen study. 

(69) The University also provides a number of guaranteed offer schemes that enable domestic applicants to receive an early offer of admission into undergraduate study before their final ATAR result is known. These offers are conditional on meeting the minimum entry requirements for their course through the successful completion of year 12 study, or equivalent, and are outlined in the Admissions Procedure.

Appeals and complaints 

(70) Where a student wishes to appeal an original decision made under this procedure, or has a complaint about their treatment, quality of service or the conduct of staff, the following policies apply:

  1. University Student Appeals Policy and University Student Appeals Procedure 
  2. Complaints Management Policy and Complaints Management Procedure
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Section 3 - Procedure

(71) The following procedures support this policy and should be read alongside it:

  1. Admissions Procedure
  2. Admissions - Entry Requirements (Coursework) Procedure
  3. Admissions - Entry Requirements (Higher Degrees by Research) Procedure
  4. International Student Fee Refund Procedure
  5. International Students Provider Transfer Procedure.
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Section 4 - Guidelines

(72) Nil.

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Section 5 - Glossary

(73) For the purposes of this policy the following terms have the definitions stated:

  1. Admission – the process by which applicants are assessed against specified criteria to determine whether or not they meet the entry requirements set for a specific program, course, or subject at this University. 
  2. ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank) – this is a number up to 99.95 that is calculated by each Australian state or territory in which a student completes their final year of high school or eligible equivalent study. This number does not indicate the actual result achieved by each student, but how they compare to others in their age group for that year. The ATAR is different to the admissions selection rank that is assessed by the University, as the selection rank is made up of each student’s ATAR score plus any allocated adjustment factors that have been applied as part of the University’s admissions equity and access schemes.
  3. Coursework course – as defined in the policy library glossary.
  4. Cross-institutional study (incoming) - where a student of another tertiary institution enrols in subjects at
    the University under an agreement with the other institution, for credit towards the student’s course at their home institution.
  5. Domestic student – a student who is an Australian citizen or permanent resident, New Zealand citizen, or holds an Australian permanent humanitarian visa.
  6. Higher degree by research (HDR) course - as defined in the policy library glossary.
  7. Inherent requirements – the academic and other requirements of a course that all students must meet to achieve the course learning outcomes, and the knowledge, abilities, skills and qualities students will need to have in order to achieve them.  More information about inherent requirements is available online.
  8. International/overseas student – a student who is not a domestic student at the time of the relevant study, who will be studying in Australia on a temporary student visa.
  9. Non-award study – a short course or single subject in which a student is enrolled without having been admitted to a course that leads to an award of the University.
  10. Non-resident – all applicants/students who are not classified as ‘domestic’ or ‘international/overseas’ as defined in this policy in relation to their visa/citizenship and location status. Non-residents include: any student enrolled in a non-domestic course (including Australian domestic students studying overseas in a course delivered by an offshore partner institution); non-domestic students studying on campus within Australia while on any temporary visa other than the student visa; and non-domestic students who are studying in a domestic course that is delivered entirely online, where they do not need a student visa for their enrolment.
  11. Partner provider – an education institution with an agreement with Charles Sturt to deliver programs and courses in collaboration with, or on behalf of the University, where the University remains responsible for quality assurance monitoring to ensure a high standard of academic and student outcomes.
  12. Quota – a limit on the number of student places a course can offer in an admission intake.
  13. Regional Australia - areas that are classified by the Commonwealth Government as regional or rural.
  14. Research component – one or more subjects for a higher degree by research course, a master by coursework and dissertation, or a bachelor (honours) course, in which students undertake a substantial piece of research involving a thesis, dissertation, portfolio or project.
  15. Selection rank – each applicant’s ATAR or equivalent score plus any allocated adjustment factors that have been applied by the University on the basis of location, subjects, or equity. Other factors may be considered for entry in some courses, such as relevant professional experience, prior qualifications, and performance in a selection interview, entrance exam, written submission, assessment task, or creative folio, which may be assessed alongside of each applicant’s allocated selection rank.
  16. Single subject - as defined in the policy library glossary.
  17. Study Link subject - a non–credit-bearing subject to enable students to bridge gaps in knowledge needed for their studies, typically completed as a single subject alongside the student’s enrolment in their course.
  18. Teaching period – as defined in the policy library glossary.