Bachelor Program Rules (pre-2015 programs)

NOTE: These rules apply to students in programs commenced prior to 2015. These do not apply to the BE (Hons) program 3707 or the associated dual programs (including 3761-3776). For new program rules click here.

Program Objectives and Learning Outcomes

The broad objective of the Faculty of Engineering's undergraduate programs is to develop well-educated graduates, that is, graduates with the strong technical knowledge and the basic skills and attributes required to practise as professional engineers. The desired skills are those that enable graduates to be independent investigators; self-motivated; critical thinkers; problem solvers; life-long learners; good communicators; team players; effective managers; as well as economically, environmentally and socially aware.

Bachelor of Engineering Program Rules

  1. The Bachelor of Engineering is awarded following completion of all requirements for the relevant engineering program including the completion of all specified courses in the program totalling a minimum of 192 UOC. No more than 60 UOC (excluding the 12 UOC of general education courses) of Year 1 courses can be counted toward the degree.
  2. The specific requirements for the Bachelor of Engineering in the various disciplines are set out in the relevant sections in the Online Handbook.
  3. The degree may be awarded with Honours, based upon the overall performance in the program and in accordance with the Faculty Honours Policy. Honours are awarded in the following classes: Class 1, Class 2 Division 1, and Class 2 Division 2.
  4. The standard duration of the program is four years, or eight semesters, of full-time study, each comprising 24 UOC. Students may undertake the program over a longer period on the basis of part load.
  5. Each student is required to complete the specified industrial experience in industry prior to graduation.
  6. General Education electives may only be attempted after the student has attempted at least 48 UOC.

General Rules of Progression

Progression in all undergraduate programs in the Faculty of Engineering is permitted by course. However:

  1. Programs will continue to be stated and timetabled by year or stage. A non-standard program is one which involves enrolment in courses from more than one year or stage, or comprises courses which are not normally included in that program for a particular year. It can not be guaranteed that non-standard programs can be completed in the minimum number of years. Students are not permitted to enrol in courses with clashing timetables.
  2. Students must satisfy the rules governing re-enrolment. These are set out in detail in the UNSW Calendar Summary Volume. At any time, a student's academic standing is deemed to be one of: Good Standing, Referral, Probation, Suspension or Exclusion. Any student not in Good Standing is required to discuss the situation with the Academic Adviser in the relevant school, and may be required to talk to a counsellor in the Careers and Counselling Unit.
  3. Students must satisfy the relevant prerequisite and corequisite requirements. This will usually necessitate students completing or attempting all courses of a particular year or stage before proceeding to a course in the next part of a program.
    A prerequisite course is one which must be completed successfully prior to enrolment in the course for which it is prescribed.
    A corequisite course is one which must either be completed successfully prior to enrolment in, or be studied concurrently with, the course for which it is prescribed.
  4. Only in exceptional circumstances will students be allowed to enrol in a program containing courses from more than two consecutive years of the program or totalling more than 27 units of credit. Students repeating courses will be expected to choose a program that includes previously failed courses and limits their Units of Credit. Details of these limits are available from School Offices and may only be exceeded with the express permission of the Head of School. A failed elective may be replaced by another elective.
  5. Students are only permitted to enrol in courses that satisfy the program requirements as specified in the Online Handbook for the program enrolled. Enrolment in any other course is permitted only on a non-award basis, that is, on a full tuition fee basis.
  6. Notwithstanding the above, before a student can enrol in any non-standard program, such a program must meet with the approval of the Head of School.

General Education Requirements

Students in each program must satisfy the General Education course requirements of that program. No General Education courses may be taken until at least 48UOC have been attempted. The General Education course requirement is normally 12 UOC, and is usually taken in the second and third years of study. To meet the 12 UOC General Education requirement, students may take up to 12 UOC of General Education courses, or courses substituted for General Education courses, from any faculty or faculties, other than the faculty that is the authority for the program in which the student is enrolled. Students with an identified need may substitute approved academic English courses for up to 6 UOC of General Education. As a general rule, students may not enrol in General Education courses which are similar in content to courses offered in their respective programs. Each faculty has responsibility for deciding what courses may be counted towards the General Education requirement for the students in their programs. The Faculty of Engineering is committed to providing the widest range of choice of general education electives for its students and strongly encourages students to make the best use of this flexibility. For a comprehensive list of available courses, refer to the UNSW Online Handbook.


In the Bachelor of Engineering degree programs, honours are awarded for meritorious performance over the degree program with special attention paid to a candidate's performance in the final year courses and thesis project.

The award of Honours is based on a weighted average mark (WAM) calculated for each student and on the mark awarded in the thesis.

Honours Class 1: If WAM greater than or equal to 75.0 and thesis mark greater than or equal to 65
Honours Class 2 Division 1: else WAM greater than or equal to 70.0 and thesis mark greater than or equal to 60
Honours Class 2 Division 2: else WAM greater than or equal to 65.0 and thesis mark greater than or equal to 60

The award of Honours is based on a weighted average mark (WAM) calculated for each student. Each program has its own rules for calculating this WAM but, in general, each course in the program is allocated a weight, usually according to the year in which the course appears in the nominated program and the number of units of credit attached to that course. The calculated WAM is not the same as the WAM which myUNSW provides. The rules for calculating the WAM for each program are available from the corresponding School Office. Each School Assessment Committee is responsible for making recommendations on borderline cases, and for monitoring and reporting on the award of Honours in the School. For all schools, the following rules apply:

  • First attempt counts
  • Honours WAM to be calculated to one decimal place
  • Academic Withdrawal (AW) grades will count as fails in Honours WAM calculations.

In the cases of combined degrees, such as the BE BA, the BE BSc or the BE BCom, the award of the BA, BSc or BCom degree at Honours level requires two additional sessions of study. Students wishing to gain a degree at Honours level in Arts, in Science or in Commerce as part of their combined degree program must meet all the relevant requirements of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, the Faculty of Science or the Australian School of Business and of the appropriate School concerned. Students may enrol for the Honours year only on the recommendation of the Head of their School in the Faculty of Engineering and with the approval of the Head of the appropriate Arts, Science or Business School. For Honours in Science, approval must also be sought from the Science Student Centre.

Transfer Between Programs

Transfer from programs in the Faculty of Engineering into single degree programs in the Faculty of Engineering is generally permitted. Transfer must be applied for and is subject to places being available, the student being of Good Standing, and, in some cases, a minimum WAM.

Industrial Experience Requirements

Each student is personally responsible for ensuring the completion of the full 60 days (80 days for Mining Engineering students) approved industrial training (or professional practice in the case of Surveying and Spatial Information Systems students) prescribed as part of the requirements for the award of the degree.

Industrial Training should be concurrent with enrolment and is best accumulated in the summer recesses at the end of Years 2 and 3, but should preferably be completed by the end of Year 4. It may be taken within Australia or overseas. The award of the degree is dependent on the completion of the requisite period of industrial employment at a standard approved by the University.

Students should, in general, work with professional engineers and take an active part in the design of simple equipment, solving of engineering problems, or any other work which is relevant to the profession of Engineering.

On completion of the requisite number of days of industrial experience (professional practice) employment, every student must submit a report, typically 2000-3000 words, summarising the work done and the training received and including a description of the organisation of the company. Industrial Training may be assessed as a compulsory part of a nominated course in each program. Students must complete the industrial training requirement in order to receive a completed assessment for that course. Further detailed information for each program is available from the corresponding School Office.

Field Excursions or Site Visits

Field projects, site visits and industry seminar lectures are a requirement of some courses and may involve additional expense.

Part-time Study

Formal part-time programs, which provide courses at times suited to part-time students, are not offered at undergraduate level. However, it is possible for students to progress with a program which has a part-time load (less than 18 units of credit in any session). Very few undergraduate courses are offered in the evenings and students need to be able to attend classes as the timetable demands.

Professional Recognition

All BE programs (except Civil Engineering with Architecture, Food Processing Engineering, Geoinformation Systems and Surveying) offered by the Faculty of Engineering are fully accredited by Engineers Australia, meeting the examination requirements for admission to graduate and corporate membership. Civil Engineering with Architecture has provisional accreditation and will seek full accreditation in the next accreditation round in May 2011. Food Processing Engineering, Geoinformation Systems and Surveying will seek provisional accreditation in May 2011. Provisional accreditation will also be sought for an ME and a BE ME, both in Electrical Engineering. Substantial or complete recognition is accorded to EA fully-accredited BE programs by overseas engineering institutions.

For a definitive list of UNSW Engineering programs accredited by Engineers Australia, please refer to Engineering Australia’s List of Accredited Programs at the level of Professional Engineer.

Engineers Australia (EA) has as its first objective the promotion of the science and practice of engineering in all its branches. EA has its national headquarters in Canberra and functions through a series of divisions, the local one being the Sydney Division. Within each division are branches representing the main interests within the profession, e.g. civil, mechanical, electrical, engineering management and environmental engineering. Students of an approved school of engineering may join the Engineers Australia as a student member (StudEA). Student members receive the monthly publication Engineers Australia and for a small fee they also receive The Transactions which contains articles on a particular branch of engineering. Student members are invited to participate in the Excellence Award for Work Experience, the National Young Engineer of the Year Award and to avail themselves of other EA services including the Mentor Scheme and industrial experience guidance. Information about membership of EA is available from School Offices.

The award of the BE degree in Chemical Engineering is sufficient academic qualification for corporate membership of the Institution of Chemical Engineers. The award of the BE in Industrial Chemistry is sufficient academic qualification for corporate membership of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute. Both degrees are recognised by Engineers Australia.

The degree of BE in Surveying and Spatial Information Systems is recognised by the Board of Surveying and Spatial Information of New South Wales as meeting the requirements for entry as a candidate to become a Registered Surveyor in New South Wales. The degree is also recognised by the Institution of Surveyors, New South Wales, and the Spatial Sciences Institute for admission as corporate members. Students wishing to become Registered Surveyors after graduation are advised to gain practical experience under a Registered Surveyor during their program. Details are obtainable from the Registrar, Board of Surveying and Spatial Information of NSW, P.O. Box 143, Bathurst NSW 2795.

The award of the BE degree in Aerospace Engineering is recognised by the Royal Aeronautical Society as giving exemption from the formal examination requirements for corporate membership. Advancement from graduate membership to associate membership grade is awarded on a case by case basis after a further period of some years of professional experience.

The award of the BE degree in Naval Architecture is recognised by the Royal Institution of Naval Architects (RINA), London, as the academic qualification for corporate membership. On completion of the degree, a Naval Architect may apply for Associate Membership of the RINA. Following four years of relevant experience, associate members may then apply for corporate Membership of the Institution.

The award of the BE degree in Mining Engineering from UNSW is a recognised tertiary qualification required for corporate membership of the Australasian Institution of Mining and Metallurgy (AusIMM). On completion of the degree, a Mining Engineer may apply for Graduate Membership of the AusIMM. Following three years relevant experience after graduation, graduates may apply for Corporate Membership of the Institute. The BE degree in Mining Engineering is also required in some jurisdictions to obtain the statutory qualification of Mine Manager.

Computing Requirements

All software required for coursework is provided on the computers in the School computer laboratories. Some students find it convenient to buy their own computer and software so that they can also work at home.


Information regarding fees for UNSW programs can be found on the myUNSW site under Commonwealth Support and Fees