Academic FAQ

If you have questions about how studying through OUA works, or how it differs from on-campus study, you'll find answers in our Academic FAQ.
When we talk about study terms at OUA, we mean the fixed period of time that subjects are offered in.

Our study terms are broken down into sessions, study periods and semesters. You’ll take sessions if you’re studying a postgraduate degree, while study periods and semesters can be for either undergraduate or postgraduate students.
Subjects are single units of study and our partner universities offer them at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Postgraduate subjects can be taken during sessions, study periods and semesters, while undergraduate subjects are offered in study periods and semesters.
 
If you study a Bachelor degree, you’ll usually end up completing 24 subjects.

If you aren’t sure which degree you want to do, OUA Pathways suggests the best subjects to kick off your studies. Each Pathway has four subjects based on your area of interest.

After you’ve finished the four Pathway subjects you get to choose from a range of related degrees. Plus, every subject you complete through OUA Pathways can be credited towards your university study.

OUA Pathways subjects are open for enrolment 24/7, 365 days a year so you can get started when it’s easiest for you.

Our student advisors are more than happy to help you plan your online study. You even have the option of enrolling ahead, to save you the stress of multiple enrolments.

If you’re not sure which study plan is right for you, contact a student advisor. They’ll know the subjects you need to study and the order you’ll need to study them. Plus, they’ll be able to suggest ways to organise your study load around your day-to-day life commitments.

Unfortunately, it’s not possible to take on a double degree through OUA. This is because our enrolment procedures and criteria aren’t like those at a traditional university. But don’t worry, you can still speak to a student advisor if you want to pursue two separate qualifications.

Yes! It could be that your previous study was with the university you want to study with now, or with another tertiary education provider. But, you’ll need to ask for written approval from the uni that offers your degree to make sure that it can be credited towards your degree.

So, for example, if you’re studying Griffith University's Bachelor of Arts you’d get in contact with Griffith.

If you’re studying on-campus and you want to credit an Open Universities Australia subject towards your qualification, you should seek written approval from your university. Just remember that we can’t give refunds beyond standard policy if you find out you can’t get credit for a subject you’ve already enrolled in.

You’ll have most of your classes online. But, every now and then you’ll find a subject that has practical elements, so you might need to visit a campus or somewhere else. Don’t worry, we always make it clear on a subject page if on-campus attendance is needed.

Whenever you need help you can use Smarthinking, our online tutoring support service. Smarthinking expert tutors give feedback on your draft essays, and detailed responses to your specific questions. They're also available for online chat—just book a session in advance.

Yes! You’ll find that all the undergraduate and postgraduate degrees available through us are AQF qualifications.

In case you haven’t heard of it, the AQF stands for Australian Qualifications Framework. It’s a national policy that brings together quality-assured qualifications from right across the Australian education and training sector and puts them under one broad framework. Everything from Bachelor degrees to Masters fall under the AQF.

The AQF Council provides guidelines for training and education—including things like the volume of learning and the outcomes and the characteristics of each AQF level.

In the last few years there’ve been some changes to some of the higher education qualifications that the AQF oversees. This was done to make sure that qualifications stay relevant and flexible. We’ve listed any changes that could affect you on degree pages.

We've selected Postgraduate Single Subjects from our catalogue, giving you the flexibility to further your study towards a qualification in future. Postgraduate Single Subjects are true stand-alone subjects but, they’re not completely self-contained. If you successfully complete one of these subjects you may be able to use it as credit towards a different level of qualification in the future.

Our close of enrolment times vary. You can check the cut-off dates for upcoming study terms by visiting Key dates.

Our student advisors can help you withdraw from your subject and find another subject to enrol in so long as it’s before the close of enrolment. Best of all, there’s no additional cost for swapping subjects before close of enrolment. See Key dates to look up close of enrolment dates.

On your enrolment statement, you’ll find a list of your paid enrolments plus any subjects you've withdrawn from. There’s information about your enrolled subjects and your study load. It doesn’t list your results or payment methods. Your enrolment statement is a great way to show proof of your study load when you need to, such as, when claiming Centrelink benefits.
Your payment statement is a list of all the payments you’ve made to us. You’ll find subject payments listed whether they’re made by FEE-HELP, credit card, cheque or money order, plus any other miscellaneous payments you’ve made, such as payments for hard copies of your Record of Results. To make things simple, each annual payment statement covers one financial year. 

You might find your payment statement useful when claiming your enrolment cost for tax purposes, or if you’re getting reimbursed for your studies by your employer.

You’re able to download your enrolment and payment details from your Student Hub—select Reports & statements from the menu.

If you need to, you can get up-to-date enrolment statements going as far back to January 2008. For payment statements, you can view and download documents from July 2008 onwards.

And if you’re looking for enrolment or payment statements from before 2008, just enquire online from your Student Hub. We’ll send the statements to any email address you like, or we can post hard copies out to you.

Your university will usually email you instructions to sign in to your online study materials the week before the study term starts, although sometimes it’s during the first week. They’ll send any print study materials around the same time. You may not actually get online access until the study term is up and running.

It's not unusual to still be waiting for your sign in instructions or print materials before your first day. But, if you're still waiting a few days into Week 1, we suggest you contact your uni to notify them.

Your results are usually up online six to eight weeks after your study term ends. Just sign into your Student Hub and go to Reports & statements to find them. Sometimes your results may also be available directly from your university, but remember there’s no hard and fast times that they release them. 

Inside your record of results, you’ll find a list of all the subjects you’ve enrolled in as well as your corresponding final results. These include successful and unsuccessful completions, plus withdrawals. 

This is the main official record of your results, so it’s the document that’ll be requested by anyone checking in on your academic progress.

We've made that easy! You can download a PDF of your record of results from your Student Hub. From your dashboard menu, click Reports & statements.

You’ll find information about how to request a hard copy of your results there too, plus you can also ask us to directly email a copy to a third party. This could be helpful if you need to show proof of your academic results because you’re going for a job or seeking credit for some of your tertiary education.

Some institutions will only accept original, hard copy versions of your record of results. That’s okay, you can request a paper copy to be mailed to you for $15.00 (AUD) per copy. If you’re keen to order a hard copy statement, chat with one of our student advisors over the phone and have your credit card details handy.

You’ve put a lot of work into your online learning, so you might want to query a mark you receive or even some other academic decision. Start off by speaking to the representative of the university that provides the subject. It could be your subject tutor or coordinator. Most situations should be resolved through discussion between you and your uni.

If you can’t reach an outcome that way, don’t stress. Your next step is to follow the uni’s academic complaints process. You’ll find all the info about this process in your study material or on your uni's website.

Your statement of attainment is a list of all subjects you’ve successfully completed, plus your final subject results. It doesn’t list any unsuccessfully completed subjects or subjects you've withdrawn from. You can download a copy of your statement of attainment from your Student Hub.

If you're thinking about withdrawing from a subject, have a chat with a student advisor, and have a read of Withdrawing from subjects.

If you’re studying through a leading university you’re absolutely able to attend graduation ceremony!  

To graduate with other students at your awarding uni, start by making sure the uni knows that you’re intending to complete a degree online. Each uni has different graduation procedures so you’re best off contacting the course coordinator listed on your degree outline to find out the rest of the process.

We use the term ‘graduate attributes’ to talk about the qualities that undergraduate degree graduates are supposed to develop through their study. They’re the responsibility of the academic providers and award-granting institutions. If you’re keen to know more about the graduate attribute goals of your university, take a look on their website.

If your studies are affected by events or circumstances beyond your control, we might be able to refund your subject fees and change your fail grade. We call this process Special Circumstances. You need to apply for Special Circumstances and provide evidence to support your application.
If your circumstances affect your studies and relate to medical, family, personal, employment or financial hardship you may be eligible for Special Circumstances.

You can apply for Special Circumstances online from your Student Hub.

That depends on where you are in the study term. You need to have withdrawn from or failed your subject to be eligible to apply for Special Circumstances. If you’re unable to withdraw from your subject by census date or the last date to withdraw without academic penalty, you’ll need to wait for your final grade. Your final grade usually comes through approximately 7 weeks after the study term. Once you’ve received the withdrawal or fail grade for your subject, you can apply for Special Circumstances.

Census date is the last date to withdraw from your subject without incurring the full cost of your fees. If you withdraw by the census date, you won’t need to apply for Special Circumstances.

You must have withdrawn from your subject, or received a fail grade for the subject to show on the online form.

Also, if you’re enrolled in a degree, you must contact your university about Special Circumstances. We only process special circumstances applications for students studying single subjects.

 

We’ll ask you to provide documentation, or evidence, that shows details such as when your circumstances began or worsened, how they affected your ability to study, and when it became apparent you could no longer study. This documentation must be legally verifiable and independent—in other words it needs to be provided by a professional such as a doctor, counsellor, employer or a financial advisor. We can not accept evidence from a family member or other student.

If we’ve received your application, we’ll send an automated email to the email address we have on file for you. If you don’t receive the confirmation email, we may not have received your application. Check your junk mail folder first, but if you’re worried that we haven’t received your application, contact specialcircumstances@open.edu.au.
We’re committed to our official response time of 40 business days, but we’ll always try to provide you with a resolution sooner.
We’ll send you an email about the outcome of your Special Circumstances application. The email will include our decision, the reason for the decision and any further steps that are available to you. If you need further clarification, email specialcircumstances@open.edu.au.
We make the decision regarding your refund or FEE-HELP re-credit—but your university makes the decision about your grade. Your uni will advise you of their decision about your grade in writing. If you haven’t heard from your uni, and it’s been more than 7 days since our decision on your refund or re-credit, email specialcircumstances@open.edu.au. We’ll send a reminder email to your uni on your behalf.
You need to have failed or withdrawn from your subject, because of events or circumstances beyond your control, to be eligible to apply for Special Circumstances. If you passed your subject but you’re not happy with your final grade, there’s a different process you’ll need to follow—contact your university about their special consideration process.