University of Sydney Handbooks - 2012 Archive

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Student information

Requirements, progression and assessment

Requirements for all degrees

Students need to satisfy requirements as determined by academic staff, including attendance, communicated to you through the Sydney College of the Arts Handbook, unit of study outlines, other written notifications and/or verbally through tutorials or seminars. All requirements must be met in order to be eligible for an assessment.

Assessment criteria for all degrees

The following criteria will be assessable from a student's attendance, participation and responsiveness to the unit of study and to tutorial direction, their essays, studio work and other unit of study work, and from tutorial and seminar team discussion. They are applicable to studio-based learning and to theory units of study.

1. Competence
This refers to the development and application of practical and intellectual competency and skills appropriate to the unit of study.

2. Development
Students are expected to develop the ability to initiate and realise their own objectives for studio practice and theory work within the requirements of the unit of study and their developing knowledge of its historical and theoretical context. Students are expected to improve their abilities, competency and understanding through a semester, and in successive semesters.

3. Critical awareness
Students are expected to develop a critical awareness and knowledge of the unit of study and the ability to objectively evaluate their own work, select appropriate methods and materials and to formulate and evaluate ideas/methods.

4. Commitment
Commitment and self-motivation are important to a student's successful study in the unit of study. The level of commitment to study in the academic program is reflected in:

  • the development of self motivation applied to individual, group or assignment-based work
  • the degree of participation in all units of study including group work, project submissions, essays and discussions
  • the development of a consistent work pattern
  • the regularity and punctuality of attendance and submissions.

5. Innovation
Innovative and imaginative thinking, appropriate to the unit of study, is a measure of the quality of ideas underlying a student's work and of development in their studies.


Attendance at programmed sessions is a requirement for assessment. It is also an indicator of commitment.

The expectation for attendance within the University is at least 90 percent of programmed sessions in a unit of study unless notified absent with reasonable cause – that is, 90 percent of nominated lectures, tutorials or seminars in a theory unit; 90 percent of programmed studio days in a studio unit.

Attendance records

Records are kept of student attendance by maintaining a roll for each assessed component of the course. Attendance in the studio is also monitored. A summary of attendance will be recorded for each assessment period.

A student who has been absent without approval from 10 percent or more of classes in any unit of study in any semester, or have a continuing record of poor punctuality in attendance at lectures, tutorials, seminars or studio-related activities prescribed for a unit, may be called upon to show good cause why he or she should not be deemed to have failed that unit of study. If the student does not show good cause, the Dean may deem the student to have failed in that unit of study.

Short absences

It is recognised that students may miss classes for short periods because of relatively minor illness or misadventure. As short absences would not normally be regarded as the reason for overall poor performance, students are discouraged from submitting applications for special consideration for absences totalling less than a week, unless the absence has affected specific attendance or assessment requirements.

If the illness or misadventure has affected a student's assessment, the student should follow the procedures set out in the University's policy relating to Special Consideration.

Recurrent absences and absences of more than a week

A student who, because of serious illness or misadventure, is prevented from attending classes for prolonged periods and/or completing prescribed work, should seek an interview with their Unit of Study or Course Coordinator.

In some cases, the student might be advised to submit an application for Special Consideration. In other cases, the student might be advised to apply for course leave, which may be granted for no more than four weeks.

In some instances, the student might be advised to consider whether their best academic interests are served by applying for a suspension of candidature from the course until able to resume studies effectively. (International students may also need to seek advice from the International Student Office.)

It is the responsibility of the student to ascertain what is required to make up any work missed during a period of absence.

Academic dishonesty and plagiarism

You need to familiarise yourself with the University Academic Board Policy: Academic Dishonesty and Plagiarism available at

Students who plagiarise might receive substantial penalties and be referred to the Registrar.

At SCA, if a student is found guilty of plagiarism and is allowed to resubmit the work for assessment, according to the above policy, he or she will be required to submit the work within two weeks from the meeting with an academic adviser or Associate Dean. The work will be assessed on a pass/fail basis only.

Special Consideration procedure

Applications for Special Consideration due to serious illness, injury or misadventure, and any associated records, will be retained by the faculty. The records will only be available to those staff who need access to them in order to carry out their duties. All records will be destroyed in a secure manner at the appropriate time. Any request to access and/or correct the information should be addressed to Student Administration in the first instance.

To apply for special consideration:

  • obtain a special consideration form from Student Administration, the SCA website or the Student Centre
  • complete the form
  • for consideration due to serious illness, have a registered medical practitioner or counsellor complete the Professional Practitioner's Certificate
  • for consideration due to misadventure, attach the appropriate documentation
  • lodge this form with the SCA Student Administration office, and
  • make sure you submit the form as soon as practicable and certainly within one week from the end of the period (ie the assignment due date) for which consideration is sought.

When you lodge the form with the Student Administration office, you will be given a receipt. Retain this for your own records.

You will be notified of the academic judgment concerning your special consideration application via your university email address, within 10 working days.

For more information see:

Academic progression and staying on track

We recognise the value of reliably and efficiently monitoring the progress of students in their studies, and of having systems in place to promote the early detection of students who are making poor or unsatisfactory progress and are therefore at risk of exclusion from their award course.

You can find information about Academic Progression and the Staying on Track program at

In addition, if your lecturer or coordinator identifies your poor attendance or performance during a semester, we will send you a warning letter. If you receive one, please do not ignore it, and act on it immediately.

Variation of enrolment

You are required to re-enrol in each semester of candidature unless granted a leave of absence (suspension of candidature).

Please carefully check the statements of enrolment, which are posted to your correspondence address registered with the University. All variations of enrolments must be made through the Student Administration office.

Advising your lecturer is not sufficient. Students have sometimes found themselves with an unwelcome result of Absent Fail or with an unnecessary financial liability because they either did not check their enrolment carefully or did not record their new correspondence address through MyUni. You are encouraged to check without delay if you believe your formal enrolment may not be correct.

If you wish to vary your enrolment, you must do so at the Student Administration office by:

  • the end of the second week of Semester One (for first semester units of study), and/or
  • the end of the second week of Semester Two (for second semester units of study).
Bachelor of Visual Arts part-time study

The Bachelor of Visual Arts is offered in full-time mode only. Students undertake all units of study to the value of 24 credit points per semester as prescribed for the course.

Permission to study part time may be granted at the discretion of the Dean and only in exceptional circumstances, which include major personal hardship; major health reasons; maternity leave and major study progression issues.

Bachelor of Visual Arts variation of major study

You may vary your major study in the Bachelor of Visual Arts provided that:

  • you have successfully completed first semester of the first year studies and have credit average in all units of study
  • there are space and facilities available in the discipline you wish to study
  • the discipline to which you wish to change is satisfied that you have appropriate skills for study in the particular discipline. This may be determined at an interview to discuss your work.

Please note that limited approval is granted for variation of major study in the final year of the degree.

You will need to submit to Student Administration a request to change your major study that must be approved prior to the commencement of the semester for which the variation is to be effective.

External coursework and cross-credit study

You may request to undertake units other than those specifically prescribed for the course.

These units may be offered by the University of Sydney or another institution. If credit is required, then approval must be obtained beforehand for the substitution or addition. You are advised to consider carefully the timetable implications and work requirements of study undertaken in other faculties or institutions. You will need to complete an appropriate form and submit it to Student Administration along with a unit of study outline and a permission to enrol in that unit from the host faculty or institution, in the semester prior to intended study. It is your responsibility to ensure you comply with any requirements of the other faculty or institution.

Cross-institutional study is not available in postgraduate coursework degrees.

Leave during semester

If you, for good reasons such as family difficulties, financial difficulties or misadventure, are unable to attend the Sydney College of the Arts during a particular period within a semester, you may be granted Special Leave for up to four weeks. A Special Leave of more than four weeks duration may be granted at the discretion of the Dean and only in exceptional circumstances.

You will be required to complete an application for Special Leave and submit it with supporting documentation to SCA Student Administration.

If you are granted Special Leave, you will need to meet all requirements for assignments, studio activities and assessments for the units of study in which you are enrolled. If you are unable to fulfil these requirements, you may submit an application to Discontinue without Fail accompanied by appropriate documentation, eg Special Consideration, for consideration by the Dean.

Leave for a semester or longer

Leave of Absence (also referred to as Suspension of Candidature) may be granted at the conclusion of a semester for a maximum of two semesters, provided a student successfully completed at least one semester of study. Applications for leave of absence may be lodged up to the first two weeks of the semester and no later than the relevant census date.

You must make your request for suspension in advance and not retrospectively.

If you have not re-enrolled and not obtained approval from the Dean for suspension, your candidature will be deemed to have lapsed.

Withdrawal and discontinuation – census dates

There are two census dates set by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations in each year. These are 31 March and 31 August.

You may withdraw from full-year and first semester units before 31 March and from second semester units before 31 August and not incur a financial liability or academic penalty. After these dates, discontinuing your study in a unit will not cancel the financial liability and may incur academic penalty.

if you wish to withdraw from a course or a unit of study after a relevant census date for health reasons, major family difficulties, major financial difficulties or misadventure, you may submit an application to Discontinue without Fail accompanied by appropriate evidence from a counsellor, registered medical practitioner or a statutory declaration as to those reasons, for consideration by the Dean.

See the table 'Last Dates for Withdrawal or Discontinuation' at the beginning of this handbook for information on 2012 withdrawal and discontinuation deadlines.

If you withdraw from the degree during first semester you are required to re-apply for the degree, unless the Dean has agreed that you may re-enrol without applying for re-admission.

All withdrawal/discontinuation requests must be submitted to Student Administration in writing.

Enrolment and pre-enrolment

Commencing students enrol in January/February as detailed in the offer of admission. Continuing students are required to pre-enrol in October for the following year. The University will confirm enrolment each semester.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you are enrolled correctly to complete all requirements of the course. You will not be credited for units in which you are not enrolled and will incur a liability for all units in which you are enrolled after the applicable census date. You should contact Student Administration if unclear about your enrolment status.


Common result grades
Grade Description Mark range Comments

Permanent results

HD High Distinction 85–100

An outstanding level of achievement. Displays innovative and imaginative thinking. Artwork demonstrates initiative and ingenuity in research and production, confident and proficient application of materials and critical skills throughout, makes an insightful contribution to contemporary art. High level of ability to set demanding and achievable objectives, meets those objectives in challenging and exciting ways with a high degree of success. Demonstrates a broad and in-depth knowledge of current issues and practices as well as the ability to apply theoretical understandings and relate ideas and art work to a broader context. Exhibits independence in thinking and motivation as well as a high degree of sophistication in critical analysis and self-evaluation.

D Distinction 75–84

An excellent level of achievement. Artwork demonstrates initiative and resourcefulness in research and production, competent application of materials and critical skills throughout, receptive to critical feedback and a willingness to explore new ideas. Displays a high level of commitment to work, ability to set demanding and achievable objectives and meet those objectives with a high degree of success and originality. Demonstrates a broad awareness of current issues and practices and the ability to adapt and apply ideas to new situations. Independently motivated, resolves problems with informed critical judgment.

CR Credit 70–74
(High Credit)

Highly competent work, demonstrates clear capacity to complete honours work. Artwork displays evidence of initiative in research and production, competent application of materials and critical skills in most areas, receptive to critical feedback and a willingness to explore new ideas. Exhibits a commitment to work, the ability to set clear and achievable objectives, and meets those objectives with some degree of success and originality. Demonstrates awareness and understanding of key concepts and practices and the ability to relate and contextualise ideas. Approaches problems with innovation and insight.

(Low Credit)

Competent work, demonstrating potential to complete honours work, though further development needed to do so successfully. Artwork displays some evidence of initiative in research and production, a general competency in the fundamental application of materials and skills in most areas, receptive to critical feedback and a willingness to go beyond mere replication of content knowledge to show extended understanding of key ideas. Exhibits a commitment to work, the ability to set reasonably clear and achievable objectives with a moderate degree of success and originality. Demonstrates an awareness and understanding of certain key concepts and practices and a genuine attempt to engage critically and creatively with the project. Some evidence of independent self-assessment.

P Pass 60-64
(High Pass)

Work has considerable merit. Artwork contains evidence of a broad and reasonably accurate command of material and technical proficiency, responds to critical feedback in fairly direct translation. Exhibits a satisfactory level of commitment, the ability to set reasonable objectives and meet more than basic course requirements with acceptable achievement. Demonstrates an understanding of relevant concepts and practices within a fairly defined context and displays a genuine effort to engage critically and creatively with the project. Some evidence of independent self-assessment.

(Medium Pass)

A satisfactory level of achievement. Artwork contains evidence of a reasonably accurate command of material and technical proficiency in some areas, responds to critical feedback inconsistently and in fairly direct translation. Exhibits an adequate level of commitment, the ability to set reasonable objectives and meet more than basic course requirements with limited achievement. Demonstrates an understanding of relevant concepts and practices within a defined context, attempts to present some conceptual relevance to the project brief. Some evidence of independent self-assessment.

(Low Pass)

An acceptable standard. Artwork contains evidence of adequate but inconsistent command of material and technical skills, occasionally responds to critical feedback and in fairly direct translation. Exhibits a passable level of commitment, the ability to work out objectives and meet the basic requirements of the course. Demonstrates some understanding of relevant concepts with little ability to contextualise ideas and form relevant arguments. Little evidence of independent self-assessment.

R Satisfied Requirements  

This is used in Pass/Fail only outcomes.

UCN Unit of study continuing  

Used at the end of a semester for units of study that has been approved to extend into a following semester. This will automatically flag that no final result is required until the end of the last semester of the unit of study.

F Fail 0–49

Work not of an acceptable standard. Artwork displays clear deficiencies in technical skills, little or no response to critical feedback, a lack of engagement with the course, fails to demonstrate any understanding of conceptual ideas and practices, does not satisfy most or all of the basic course requirements. Deficiencies clearly outweigh accomplishments.

AF Absent Fail  

Includes non-submission of compulsory work (or non-attendance at compulsory labs, etc) as well as failure to attend an examination.

W Withdraw  

Not recorded on external transcript. This is the result that obtains where a student applies to discontinue a Unit of Study by the HECS Census Date (ie, within the first four weeks of enrolment).

DNF Discontinued -
Not to count as failure

Recorded on external transcript. This result applies automatically where a student discontinues after the HECS Census Date but before the end of the seventh week of the Semester (or before half of the unit of study has run in the case of units of study which are not semester-length). A faculty may determine that the result of DNF is warranted after this date if the student has made out a special case based on illness or misadventure.

DF Discontinued - Fail  

Recorded on transcript. This applies from the time DNF ceases to be automatically available up to the cessation of classes for the unit of study.

Temporary results

MINC Incomplete with
a mark of at least 50

This result may be used when examiners have grounds (such as illness or misadventure) for seeking further information or for considering additional work from the student before confirming the final mark and passing grade.

Except in special cases approved by the Academic Board [1], this result will be converted to a normal passing mark and grade, either:

(a) by the Dean following a review of examination results pursuant to Part 4(3)(5) of these Resolutions; or

(b) automatically to the indicated mark and grade by the third week of the immediately subsequent academic session.

INC Incomplete  

This result is used when examiners have grounds (such as illness or misadventure) for seeking further information or for considering additional work from the students before confirming the final result.

Except in special cases approved by the Academic Board [1], this result will be converted to a normal permanent passing or failing grade, either:

(a) by the Dean at the review of examination results pursuant to Part 4(3)(5) of these Resolutions; or

(b) automatically to an AF grade by the third week of the immediately subsequently academic session.

SCA exchange programs

An exchange student is one who exchanges place with a student from an overseas institution (host institution), to work under supervision for a stated period of time (normally one semester) without payment of fees. All exchanges require the agreement of both the home and the host institutions. Students remain enrolled at their home institution.

Exchanges are reciprocal and, if possible, simultaneous (ie one incoming student replaces one outgoing student). Where no reciprocal arrangement exists between institutions, students are not exchange students, but visiting students who are liable to pay tuition fees, ie, Study Abroad students.

Sydney College of the Arts has a number of faculty-specific exchange programs available to currently enrolled students after successful completion of one year of study. It should be noted, however, that preference will be given to students who will have completed two years of study at SCA at time of exchange.

The University of Sydney also offers an extensive range of student exchange programs.

Please refer to the faculty resolutions at the beginning of this chapter for conditions and limitations on student exchanges.

SCA exchange applications and the list of participating institutions are available on the faculty website:

SCA scholarships and grants

The faculty offers a number of scholarships to visual arts students each year. The number of scholarships awarded will be at the discretion of the faculty, taking into account funds provided and the standard of work and academic merit of applicants.

The scholarships are intended to assist students in their studies in the visual arts degree.

Information about SCA scholarships and application forms are available at:

Occupational Health and Safety

The University of Sydney has a commitment to ensuring the safety, health and wellbeing of all University employees, students and visitors.

All staff and students at the University have occupational health and safety (OH&S) responsibilities. You have a duty of care for yourself and others who may be affected by your actions.

You can find an outline of the University OH&S management practices and guidelines to help ensure that you and others around you are safe in the different working environments at

SCA local safety and security conditions apply to all workshops and spaces on campus and are posted in the area.

Personal protective equipment

You may be required to wear appropriate personal protective equipment when working in some areas. Basic and specific requirements for each area and process will be advised by staff members.

You are also required to wear appropriate clothing in workshops. Footwear must be worn at all times while on campus. Protective footwear must be worn in all workshop areas.

Procedure for dealing with OH&S issues

You should raise any OH&S issues with your studio supervisor of lecturer of the studio area first. If the matter cannot be resolved at this level then you should contact the Department Safety Officer or Health and Safety Representative. You can also refer OH&S issues to your representative association for assistance.

Emergency and First Aid

In the event of an emergency in the studio, immediately advise the Studio Supervisor or an academic staff member. There are also security staff on campus. They can be contacted on 9351 1111 or by using one of the 'help phones' located in each building and courtyards.

The names of first aid officers and wardens, plus emergency evacuation procedures, are listed in all buildings. Emergency evacuation drills are carried out on a regular basis, and it is a requirement for all staff and students to take part.

Children on University premises

The University of Sydney Policy on Children on University Premises is intended to ensure equal opportunity for scholarship and employment to those who are responsible for the care of children.

The University also has responsibility to provide premises that are free from risk to the health and safety of non-employees, which includes children.

Children are not permitted in laboratories, workshops or storerooms, except for those occasions when public displays are mounted and supervised or other supervised children's activities take place. Other areas not listed above may also pose risks to children and access to them is restricted.

A parent or guardian must supervise any child brought onto the University's premises at all times. SCA recognises the need for dependent children of students to occasionally attend classes.

You should seek permission from your lecturer or tutor for a child or children to attend a class with you and, when making such requests, bear in mind the size of the tutorial rooms. Your lecturer or tutor must comply with the University legal obligations not to put at risk the health and safety of both you and your children. You must supervise your children at all times and they must not disrupt the class. If you are taking children into the library occasionally, or other non-teaching areas, you must ensure that other users are not inconvenienced.


Pets (excluding guide dogs) are not permitted on campus.

Policy on smoking

Smoking is only permitted in the designated smoking area in the courtyard at the rear of Building 3 or off campus.