The Academic Year
The academic year at the University, for the majority of undergraduate programs, is divided into two 14-week semesters with a 5-week break between each. For some postgraduate programs, the University operates a trimester system, details of which are listed below. An enrolment and orientation program for international students is held before the commencement of each semester or trimester.
Teaching methods and forms of assessment vary according to the course. Students are usually required to undertake a combination of lectures, tutorials and/or laboratory classes and, in some cases, substantial practicums or fieldwork placements. In order to meet assignment and examination requirements, students are expected to spend as much time in conducting library research and personal study as they do in class. Students register for courses online. Lecture classes are generally quite large and there is very little difficulty in getting a place. Lectures are generally accompanied by tutorials (smaller class groupings). You will find out how to register for tutorials when you arrive.
Assessment is usually in the form of written assignments, short tests, participation in tutorials and practical work, as well as examinations in semester (or trimester) time or in the formal examination periods.
Academic performance is usually graded according to a five-point scale (see table below). All international students are encouraged to discuss any questions or concerns about learning and assessment methods with their lecturers and tutors, who are always willing to help.
Credit Transfer Guide
|The University of Newcastle Grade||Percentage||Equivalent USA grade|
|High Distinction (HD)||85+||A+|
Studying in Australia
Students have shared the following information about studying in Australia. Their experiences may apply to you.
"Students need to be more self directed, in other words to take responsibility for their own learning. Academic staff are less likely to follow up on students who do not hand in assignments. They consider it is the responsibility of the student to manage their time and complete their work. It can seem as though studying here is very 'laid back' and at first it can feel this way, but expectations are high and pressure will build up towards the end of the semester. Try not to get behind! Also do not expect too much feedback from academic staff. Again self direction and responsibility apply. If you need help, make an appointment with the appropriate staff to discuss your problem."
"In addition to lectures, most undergraduate students will be expected to participate in tutorials. These are smaller, interactive classes. Students may be called upon to give papers on particular topics and certainly will be expected to attend regularly and to participate in discussions."
"Australian students dress casually for class, often in jeans and comfortable walking shoes - never in their pyjamas, as some have learned to their embarrassment!"