Current Undergraduates: Enrolment FAQ

  1. What is a "major"?
  2. How many credit points should I take per semester?
  3. Do I need to be FULL-TIME?
  4. Can I take units of study from other faculties?
  5. Can I get credit for previous tertiary study?
  6. Who can enrol in Advanced Units of Study?
  7. What is the Talented Student Program?
  8. Are there any bridging courses available?

What is a "major"?

Some degrees in the Faculty of Science require you to complete a major. A major is a specialisation in the SENIOR year of your degree. It is useful to have an idea of what major, or group of majors, interest you NOW, so that you can plan your Junior and Intermediate years properly. The Bachelor of Science majors Neuroscience and Nanoscience and Technology require earlier planning than most others. If you are interested in these then read Table I of the Science Handbook carefully and/or seek advice.

A major is usually defined as 24 credit points of study at the Senior level in a single Science area. Psychology has additional requirements. Depending on the majors chosen, it is possible to complete more than one major in your degree.

How many credit points should I take per semester?

You should take 24 credit points each semester if you are a full-time student. If you take less than 18 credit points in each semester you will automatically become part-time.

To finish your degree in the recommended minimum time you will have to take 48 credit points per year, or 24 per semester. If you enrol part-time you can take as few credit points as you like. You must keep in mind however that you have a 10 year limit to finish your degree. The degree summaries and sample programs in the Science Handbook assume you will enrol full-time.

Do I need to be FULL-TIME?

If you receive any financial support, whether from a University scholarship or from the government, you may well need to enrol as a full-time student. You should check carefully the terms and conditions of that support before going part-time. Australian citizens and permanent residents who wish to receive a transport concession must be full-time students. International students are required to study full-time.

Can I take units of study from other faculties?

Yes - generally you can take any unit of study offered by the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Economics and Business. Lists of available units of study will be available on enrolment day, or in each faculty's handbook. Also available are undergraduate units from any other faculty at the university, however the onus is on you to get written permission from the relevant department and bring it to the Faculty of Science.

But - there are limits, and exclusions. You should refer to the degree summary sections of the Science Handbook for specific information about your particular degree.

The Bachelor of Science allows for up to 48 credit points of non-science units of study to be included in the 3 year program. Junior Econometrics (ECMT units) and General Statistics Methods (STAT 1XXX units) are specifically excluded from the BSc. Students in specialist programs and combined degrees may have less flexibility.

Can I get credit for prior tertiary study?

Yes. The amount of credit you can receive depends on your individual circumstances, but in general is capped at 48 credit points for a degree already completed or 96 credit points for an incomplete degree. If you receive a letter specifying the credit awarded to you prior to enrolment you can make your unit of study choices with this information in mind on enrolment itself. You should bring this letter with you. If you do not receive credit before enrolment day you will have to make unit of study choices as if you have had no previous university study. You should then apply that day for your credit request to be processed. Because of the large number of applications received at enrolment there can be a considerable delay in processing your application.

The Faculty must sight originals of your academic transcripts, as well as unit of study descriptions clearly indicating credit point value or hours per week, and length of units you want credited. You may only apply for credit ONCE in your degree.

More information about credit for prior tertiary study.

Who can enrol in Advanced Units of Study?

Advanced units of study are available to those students enrolled in any program in the Faculty of Science who have performed at a high level in science subjects in the HSC or who perform well in their studies at University. Consult a departmental adviser about your eligibility to enrol in Advanced level subjects in the first year of study. You must obtain special permission to enrol in any Advanced unit of study except Software. For Software Advanced units of study, you must meet the criteria listed on the permission form for Advanced units of study. The departmental advisers have copies of the permission form for Advanced units of study.

Students should also consult the Unit of Study Tables in the Science Handbook for assumed and prerequisite marks in the HSC required to enrol in Advanced units of study. For students in an Advanced degree it is recommended that you enrol in no more than 24 credit points of Advanced units of study in a year. Advanced units of study are very demanding and students are required to perform at a higher standard than in the normal units of study.

What is the Talented Student Program?

The Talented Student Program (TSP) is unique to Sydney University. It is tailored to meet the students' individual needs and is restricted to the very top students. Students may be able to bypass some first year study and enrol directly in a second year course. If you have outstanding results in any of your HSC science subjects you may wish to negotiate a special program of study with one of the departments in the Faculty of Science. The Talented Student Program is available in most areas of Science. Students receive special supervision by academic staff and often engage in studies on an individual basis with small numbers of fellow students, all of whom have a special interest in the same subject.

Visit the TSP webpage for more information and eligibility requirements.

Are there any bridging courses available?

There are bridging courses in Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics and Physics, designed to cover the assumed knowledge that students would normally cover in the HSC. They run in February each year after enrolment and are recommended for students who either didn't take a subject at the HSC or feel they need some revision.

Information on Bridging Courses