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Home Academic Curriculum Policy

Curriculum Design


Credit point means a measure of academic effort required to complete certain higher.
 means a group of units which a student must complete in order to fulfil part of the requirements of a course.
Course Credit Points Education coursework units or courses;
Unit means a unit of study or Unit of Competency;
Unit set

1.     A bachelor degree will be 360-480 credit points;

2.     The semester normal full time load will be 60 credit points;

3.     The annual normal full time load will be 120 credit points;

4.     Units will normally have integer values of credit points with preferred values of 5, 10, 12, 15, 20, 30, and 60;

5.     The most prevalent unit size at the undergraduate level will be 15 credit points;

6.     A unit will have a fixed credit point value;

7.     NU Units can only be considered equivalent if they have the same credit point value;

8.     The first digit of the four character numerical code reflects the nature of the unit, as follows:

1.     0 Remedial or bridging units, pre-tertiary units, or non-higher education award units.

2.     1 Units of an introductory nature in Bachelor degree and Associate Degree courses.

3.     2 Units of an intermediate nature in Bachelor degree and Associate Degree courses.

4.     3 Units of an advanced nature in Bachelor degree courses such as required units in the final 120 credit points of study of 360 Credit Point Bachelor degree courses.

5.     4 Units in Honours courses and units of an advanced nature such as required units in the final 120 credit points of study in 480 CP Bachelor degree courses. Optionally for units in Graduate Certificates or Graduate Diplomas for study in a field different from previous studies.

6.     5 Non-thesis units of Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma and Masters courses e.g. coursework or project units.

7.     6 Thesis Units of Master by Research courses.

8.     7 Units of PhD and professional doctorate courses


      The recommended course structure for each course level is below.



Total Credit Points

Normal Number of Years

Recommended Structures

Higher Diploma



8 units * 15 points

Associate Degree



16 units * 15 points

Bachelor Degree



24 Units * 15 Points

Bachelor Degree



32 Units * 15 Points

Bachelor Honours


3 yr degree plus 1 yr Hons

24 Units * 15 Points plus 6 Units * 20 points

Bachelor Honours


4 yr degree
with Hons
within same

32 Units * 15 Points

     Postgraduate Coursework Courses



Number of

Recommended Structures

Certificate /



4 units * 15 points

Graduate Diploma /
Executive Diploma



8 units * 15 points
4 units * 15 points
3 units * 20 points



1 to 1.5

e.g. For a 180 credit point course:
12 units * 15 points
4 units * 15 points
6 units * 20 points
8 units * 15 points
3 units * 20 points

Masters by


1 to 2

6 - 12 units * 20 points








There is no external or Nugaal legislation which impinges (have an effect) on the credit point policy of the University.


The Nugaal University policy was largely determined in September 2007. Amendments were subsequently approved in 2008. The policy provided that the credit point system will have the following attributes:

1.     A total of 120 credit points per year in single-degree programs (360 points to qualify for a three-year degree or 480 points for a four-year degree). Any departure from this requirement is specifically to be approved by Academic Committee. Requests to increase the total credit points for first-year level subjects will be supported only when the corresponding reduction in credit points is from second year subjects, not third-year subjects.

2.     A minimum number of credit points of 120 at final year level within the total number of points required to satisfy the course requirements (e.g. 360 for three-year degree) or as determined by the specific course regulation.

3.     Each subject is to have a fixed credit point value approved by Academic Committee.

4.     Subjects with integer values of credit points with allowable values of 5, 10, 15, 20, 30 and 60.

5.     A most prevalent subject size of 15 credit points at first year level, the numbers of which are to be increased over time. Subjects at second and higher level do not have to be predominantly of 15 credit points.

6.     Documentation of standard workloads for courses to ensure these is equitable.

7.     Double degrees usually having 135 credit points per year (540 points in a four-year accelerated program), and 75 percent of the number of credit points of the total of the two individual degrees at final-year level (usually 180 credit points).

8.     Academic Committee is responsible for monitoring the above guidelines and their implementation.

The advantages proposed for the credit point system are that it will facilitate cross-faculty enrolment, transfers between courses and credit transfer.



1.     In designing and amending courses, faculties should bear in mind that the 15 credit-point subject is intended to become the most prevalent size, but that other sizes will always be available.

2.     While normal undergraduate degrees are expected to contain 120 credit points per year to ensure workloads are equitable, it is conceivable that some degrees (especially those with non school-leaver entry or meeting the requirements of professional associations) might require more than 120 credit points and these should be submitted to Academic Committee for consideration. In addition, degrees containing less than 120 credit points per year, or less than 120 credit points of final year subjects, need also be submitted to the Committee.

3.     Where Academic Committee approves a year of a course to have more or less than 120 credit points per year, the student system must reflect this to ensure that students in those years pay fees.

4.     The number of credit points per year of a course is determined by the minimum number of points which satisfy the degree structure. For example in 1999 the first year of the Bachelor of Behavioural Science could be satisfied with eight 15 credit point science subjects (120). Most students however took two or four Arts subjects (130 or 140 credit points) and paid correspondingly higher fees as the degree can be satisfied by 120 credit points in first year.

5.     While the policy provides for double degrees involving two three-year degrees (e.g. BA/BSc) having 540 credit points and 135 credit points per year, this has been generalised in the University’s credit policy. Any double degree must contain at least 75 percent of the credit points of the total of the two constituent degrees. Thus a double degree based on a four year degree and a three-year degree must have at least 630 credit points, usually over five years (approximately 125 credit points per year).

6.     In general Academic Committee has indicated that a 15 credit point subject should have at least three hours of class contact if taught on-campus.

7.     Academic Committee has not accepted argument that some subjects (e.g. electives) could have different credit point values in different courses. Further it has cautioned against the creation of different subject names to allow different credit point values for a different single subject.


1.     Academic Committee has not been too concerned to ensure that postgraduate courses comply completely with the policy. While courses generally have been approved with 120 credit points per year, no pressure has been applied for a predominance of 15 credit point subjects.

2.     No student is to be disadvantaged in the introduction of the credit point system. All previous unit values will retain the proportion of the year involved when they were passed and faculties have given additional consideration to students who may have taken a 15 credit point subject from a limited choice at regional campuses and end up with 355 credit points after three years.

3.     All faculties have introduced some zero credit point subjects to track course requirements, e.g. work experience, English language testing, study skills.

4.     Academic Committee has agreed to allow departures from the 15 credit point norm for first-year subjects in very specialized courses (e.g. in Health Sciences).


1.     The policy was implemented in two phases largely between 2007 and 2009, although there has been no move to standardization on 15 credit point subjects after first-year. Phase 1 consisted of a simple translation of current courses and subjects to the credit point system for 2007. This resulted in a number of years of courses having more or less than 120 credit points. Further some subjects were approved with non-standard credit point values. In Phase 2 faculties have moved to conform to other principles in the system, with standardisation of first-year subjects at 15 credit points implemented in 2007.

2.     Semesterisation of subjects and standardisation of course offerings have supported the changes involved in the implementation of the credit point system.

3.     The credit point system was chosen with 120 credit points per year to avoid subjects with non-whole numbers of credit points (e.g. 12.5) and to provide the easiest accounting system.

4.     In developing the credit point system, one aim was to ensure workloads in the various courses were equitable. It was considered approximately 46 hours of formal classes and ancillary work an appropriate figure, although this may vary for different students and different times of the year. Further there should be a general relationship between credit points and workload.

5.     Academic Committee has noted some indicative workloads for arts and science subjects and suggests these provide guidance on suitable weekly workloads with respect to credit points.

Arts – 20 points

Minimum 3 hours contact plus 12 hours non-contact. Assessment: 5000 words or 3 hour examination plus 2000 words or equivalent combination.

Arts –15 points

Minimum 3 hours contact plus 8 hours non-contact. Assessment: 4000 words or 3 hours examination plus 1000 words or equivalent combination.

Science –15 points

Minimum equivalent to 3 hours lectures, 3 hours practical plus 5 hours non-contact. Assessment: 3 hours examination or equivalent plus practical work. 
These examples are not meant to preclude alternative means of subject delivery (e.g. block, external).

One of the main aims of the credit-point system is to standardize the University€™s subject offerings. This is of primary importance at first year level where students may have difficulty understanding course structures and not infrequently transfer between courses. It is somewhat less clear that the standardization of subjects at second and third-year level is as crucial. There is a wide range of subject sizes with 10, 15 and 20 credit point subjects being common in some areas. Small subjects are useful in that they allow more advanced students to specialize in areas.