How to: Use the Handbook

What is the Handbook?

The online Handbook provides information about the courses, specialisations and units on offer at Western Sydney University. You might also see it referred to as the course and unit search.

You can use the Handbook if:

  • You're thinking about applying for a course at Western Sydney University
  • You're enrolling or reenrolling and need to choose your units
  • You want to know who to contact about a course or unit
  • You want to find out what the specialisations are for your course

The information below will give you some basic instructions on how to search the Handbook, as well as an explanation of the content you will find on course, specialisation and unit pages.

How to search the Handbook

The first page of the Handbook shows three ways to search:

  • Course Search
  • Specialisation (Key Program, Major, Sub-major, Postgraduate specialisation) Search
  • Unit Search

Click on the search type you want and a new page will open. You will see that each page has a number of search options, some of which are the same across the three pages.

Below is an explanation of each search option and an example of how you could use it. Note: you only need to use one search option, but the more you use, the more specific and accurate your search results will be.

Course/Unit/Specialisation Name

You can type the specific name of a course or a key word/phrase.

  • If you only use this option, the search results will show all options for the specific course/unit/specialisation or all options related to the key word/phrase, including every campus option and mode of teaching

Example: If you wanted to look at a social science course, you could either search for 'Bachelor of Social Science' or just 'social science'.

Course/Unit/Specialisation Code

You can type the specific name of a course or a key word/phrase.

  • If you only use this option, the search results will show the specific course/unit/specialisation only, and include every campus option and mode of teaching

Example: If you wanted to look at a social science course, you would enter the specific course code (in this case, 1667).

Commencing vs Continuing students (Course and specialisation search only)

This search option will ensure that you are looking at the correct version and code for the course or specialisation.

Over time, we change and amend our courses and specialisations. For some course changes we make a new version, but for all specialisation changes we use a new code.

The general rule is:

  • If you're a new student, select 'Commencing students'
  • If you're a continuing student, select 'Continuing students'

Specialisation versions

Some specialisations are only available to either new or continuing students.

  • If you're a new student, select 'Commencing students'
  • If you're a continuing student, select 'Continuing students'

Note: at the top of the specialisation page it will say which type of student (commencing or continuing) can enrol in the specialisation

Course versions

The second column in your search results, immediately following the course code, is the version number. You may also see the version displayed as a decimal point at the end of the course code, e.g. course 1667.3 is version three of course 1667.

Note: you must follow the course structure of the course version you are enrolled in or you may not be eligible to graduate. To check which version you need to follow, go to the course page (of any version) and you should see a message near the top of the page that explains which version applies to which commencement year, as shown below:

Students should follow the course structure for the course version relevant to the year they commenced. This version applies to students whose commencement year for this course is 2010.

Commencement Year 2009 (Spring) - 2739.3 Bachelor of Business and Commerce
Commencement Year 2009 (Autumn) - 2739.2 Bachelor of Business and Commerce
Commencement Year 2008 - 2739.1 Bachelor of Business and Commerce

School

  • If you only use this option, you will see every course/unit/specialisation on offer from the chosen School
  • You can use this option with any other option to help narrow the search results to a specific School

Example: If you wanted to look at a social science course, you could just select 'School of Social Sciences and Psychology'

Course Type (Course search only)

  • If you only use this option, you will see every postgraduate or undergraduate course on offer
  • You can use this option with any other option to help narrow the search results to a specific type of course

Example: If you wanted to look at all undergraduate degrees offered in the School of Social Sciences and Psychology, you would select:

  • School: School of Social Sciences and Psychology
  • Course Type: Undergraduate

Unit Level (Unit search only)

The level applied to a unit is an indication of the level of learning required and generally corresponds to the year of study. For example, units at Level 1 are equivalent to 1st year learning expectations and requirements. Each course has specific requirements about how many units must be taken at each level.

  • If you only use this option, you will see every unit on offer at the chosen level
  • You can use this option with any other option to help narrow the search results to units

Example: If you wanted to look at all level 3 units available in the School of Social Sciences and Psychology, you would select:

  • School: School of Social Sciences and Psychology
  • Unit level: 3

Specialisation Type (Specialisation search only)

  • If you only use this option, you will see every specialisation available in the chosen category (e.g. if you select 'major' then you will only see the majors that are available)
  • You can use this option with any other option to help narrow the search results to the particular type of specialisation

Example: If you wanted to look at all majors available in the School of Social Sciences and Psychology on the Penrith campus, you would select:

  • School: School of Social Sciences and Psychology
  • Specialisation Type: Major
  • Campus: Penrith

Campus

  • If you only use this option, you will see every course/unit/specialisation available on the chosen campus
  • You can use this option with any other option to help narrow the search results to courses/units/specialisations available on a specific campus

Example: If you wanted to look at all undergraduate degrees offered in the School of Social Sciences and Psychology on the Penrith campus, you would select:

  • School: School of Social Sciences and Psychology
  • Course Type: Undergraduate
  • Campus: Penrith

Teaching Mode

The Teaching Mode refers to whether it's an on campus (face to face) course/unit/specialisation or an off campus (distance/online) one.

  • If you only use this option, you will see every course/unit/specialisation on offer in your chosen Teaching Mode
  • You can use this option with any other option to help narrow the search results to a specific mode

Example: If you wanted to look at all on campus (face to face) undergraduate degrees offered in the School of Social Sciences and Psychology on the Penrith campus, you would select:

  • School: School of Social Sciences and Psychology
  • Course Type: Undergraduate
  • Campus: Penrith
  • Teaching Mode: Internal

Session (teaching period) (Unit search only)

  • If you only use this option, you will see every unit on offer in the chosen teaching session
  • You can use this option with any other option to help narrow the search results to a specific teaching session

Example: If you wanted to look at which units were on offer in the School of Social Sciences and Psychology on the Penrith campus during Autumn Session, you would select:

  • School: School of Social Sciences and Psychology
  • Campus: Penrith
  • Session: Autumn

Understanding the Handbook

The information below will help you understand the information on the Handbook pages, including a definition of the key terms you will find there.

Course pages

Course pages describe each course and its structure. It also gives you the information you need to search for the units and specialisations you may need to undertake.

Every course is made up of units and each unit has a specific number of credit points (cp). Most courses are made up of:

  • core units that all students must complete
  • units grouped into specialisations (key programs, majors, sub-majors and postgraduate specialisations)
  • electives (free-choice units)

At Western Sydney University units are usually (but not always) worth 10cp. For example, your course might require you to complete 240cp to complete the course. In this case, your course could be made up of 24 units worth 10cp each.

These 24 units may consist of 8 core units (80cp) plus a key program or major (Specialisation) of 8 units (80cp) plus 8 electives (80cp) making a total of 240cp. Sometimes the core units are incorporated into the key program (total 160cp). Full time students normally study 80cp per year, so a 240cp course would take three years to complete.

Common terminology used on course pages

Term

Information
Study Mode:
Full time/Part time
Full time study means that you normally enrol in 40cp each teaching session. You must enrol in a minimum of 30cp each teaching session to maintain a full time status. Part time study means that you enrol in less than 30cp each teaching session.
Director of Academic Program/Academic Course Advisor The Director of Academic Program provides academic leadership and direction for a course and can help with academic enquiries. Academic Course Advisors assist the Director of Academic Program including providing academic advice to students.
Mode: Internal/External/Online Internal mode usually requires face to face attendance on campus or occasionally at an off campus location. External mode means the course is offered by distance education, either online or by correspondence. Periodical attendance on campus may be required for some courses. Online mode means there is no on-campus attendance required, apart from end-of-session exams for some units, with all learning materials, activities and support available via web-based technologies.
Award The qualification you receive after you have completed all the requirements of your course.

Exit Awards

The award you receive if you exit a course at an approved early exit point. For example, if you enrol in a Graduate Diploma, you could leave the course after completing the requirements for a Graduate Certificate. In this case, you would be awarded a Graduate Certificate as an Exit Award from a Graduate Diploma.
Recommended Sequence The recommended units to enrol in for each teaching session. You are strongly urged to follow it. As not every unit is offered in every teaching session, enrolling out of sequence may extend the time it takes to complete your course.
Electives Non-compulsory units that you may choose to study as part of your course.
Specialisation A group of units that make up a key program, major, sub-major or specialisation (Postgraduate only) in your course.
Key programs The area of concentration within your undergraduate course.
Majors Defines an area of focus in your undergraduate course. A major comprises 80cp.
Sub-majors Defines an area of focus in your undergraduate course. A sub-major consists of 40cp.
Postgraduate specialisations The area of concentration within your postgraduate course.

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Specialisation pages

Units are normally grouped into specialisations. Specialisations is a term applied to:

  • key programs
  • majors
  • sub-majors
  • specialisations (for postgraduate courses)

On Specialisation pages you will find a brief description of the specialisation, the required unit list and the following information:

Common terminology used on specialisation pages
Term Information
Related courses Any course that includes the specialisation as a core or elective. This section also tells you if the specialisation is available to students in other courses.
Location: campus Unless your course requires you to study across more than one campus, you must enrol in specialisations that are offered on your home campus.
Mode:
Internal/External/Online
Internal mode usually requires face to face attendance on campus or occasionally at an off campus location. External mode means the course is offered by distance education, either on-line or by correspondence. Periodical attendance on campus may be required for some courses. Online mode means there is no on-campus attendance required, apart from end-of-session exams for some units, with all learning materials, activities and support available via web-based technologies.
Advisor An advisor who can help with academic enquiries about the specialisation.

More information about enrolling in specialisations is on the specialisations page.

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Unit pages

Unit pages provide a brief description about each unit, a link to the timetable for the unit and the following information:

Common terminology used on unit pages

Term

Information
Credit points Each unit is worth a specific number of credit points. Units are usually worth 10cp, but this is not always the case.
Coordinator The Unit Coordinator can provide academic advice about the unit. Please note that unit outlines are available for current students on the Library website.
Student Contribution Band The portion of study costs that Commonwealth Supported students must pay. For more information see the bands and amounts page.
Level An indication of the level of learning required. For example, a level 1 unit is an introductory unit for a Bachelors degree (undergraduate), while a level 3 unit is an advanced undergraduate unit. In undergraduate courses students must complete 60cp at level 3 or above.

Equivalent units

Units deemed to be equivalent to another particular unit. If you have successfully completed one of the equivalent units listed, you will need to choose a different unit. You may be eligible for Advanced Standing for the unit you have completed.
Incompatible units A unit which cannot be studied with another unit in the same course. If you have successfully completed an incompatible unit, you will need to choose another unit. An incompatible unit will not count towards your required credit points.
Corequisite A unit which must be undertaken at the same time or before another unit.
Prerequisite A unit that you must satisfactorily complete before you may enrol in a particular unit.
Special Requirements
Prerequisites
Some courses have special requirements you must meet before you can enrol in a unit (e.g. a First Aid Certificate). More information is available on the special requirements page.
Teaching Mode: Day/Evening/Weekend/
External/Online/Composite

Day classes are normally on campus, starting before 6.00pm.

Evening classes are normally on campus, starting after 6.00pm.

Weekend classes are normally held on campus on Saturdays and Sundays.

External mode is a form of study which takes place off campus but periodical attendance on campus may be required.

Online mode means there is no on campus attendance required, apart from end-of-session exams for some units, with all learning materials, activities and support available via web-based technologies.

Composite mode is a form of study which takes place off campus but periodical attendance on campus may be required.

Teaching periods: 1H/2H/
Autumn/Quarter 1/Quarter 2/Quarter 3/Quarter4/Spring/Summer A/Summer B/Term 1/Term 2/Term 3

The teaching session, location and teaching mode for the unit. There are a number of teaching sessions during the calendar year, such as Autumn Session, Spring Session, 1H and 2H.

Most undergraduate courses are offered in Spring and Autumn sessions.

Courses Courses which include the unit.
Specialisations Specialisations which include the unit.

More details are provided in the unit outlines which are available to current students on the Library website.

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