University cuts a quarter of its courses

Major changes are happening at UON

Eight undergraduate degrees, 14 postgraduate degrees and 530 individual courses are set to be consolidated or discontinued at the University of Newcastle (UON) in 2021.

The course culling announcement is a result of the University’s comprehensive review of course structures announced earlier this year in response to the forecast $58M in revenue that the institution lost as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, and UON’s consequent need to find $35M in savings in the new year.

The announcement included details about the newly unveiled ‘Course Optimisation Project’ that will create space in degree programs to ensure that all students are able to undertake work placements and projects known as ‘Work-Integrated Learning’, before they complete their studies.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Professor Mark Hoffman, said the changes were aimed at reducing duplication amongst UON’s 2,200 course subjects, creating more collaboration across disciplines, and better preparing students for life after university.

“This project lays the foundations for the implementation of our Looking Ahead strategy, specifically, preparing Life Ready Graduates,” Prof Hoffman said.

“The changes will transform the way we educate, breaking down discipline silos by bringing students together in new ways, and allowing us to embed Work Integrated Learning into every student’s program.”

“In June, we signalled the need to consolidate the courses that we offer if we’re to enhance the way we educate.

“The financial impact of COVID-19 accelerated the need for these planned changes,” he said.

So, what does this mean for students at UON’s Central Coast Campus?

Prof Hoffman confirmed that UON will ‘teach out’ discontinuing programs across all of its campuses, meaning that any student who has already commenced a degree will be able to complete that program, with new students who applied to study at the Central Coast Campus in 2021 to be contacted if their particular degree has been consolidated or discontinued.

Students in this situation will also receive information about options available to them.

Despite the uncertainty facing UON this year, Prof Hoffman added that incoming student numbers remained extremely positive.

“We’re thrilled that the interest in our degrees for next year is at an all-time high.

“Some course structures will look different and we know we’ll be offering a high quality education experience that will set our students up for future success,” Prof Hoffman said.

The following undergraduate programs have been discontinued: Bachelor of Creative Industries; Bachelor of Creative Industries/Bachelor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship; Bachelor of Technology (Renewable Energy Systems); Bachelor of Mechatronics Engineering (Honours)/Bachelor of Business; Bachelor of Mechatronics Engineering (Honours)/Bachelor of Science; Bachelor of Fine Art (Honours); Bachelor of Information Technology (Honours); Bachelor of Computer Science (Honours).

The following postgraduate programs have been discontinued: Master of Workplace Health and Safety; Master of Health Science; Master of Applied Management (Nursing); Master of Family Studies; Graduate Certificate in Family Studies; Master of Professional Engineering (Chemical); Master of Professional Engineering (Environmental); Master of Professional Engineering (Mechatronics); Master of Professional Engineering (Computer Systems Engineering); Master of Professional Engineering (Software Engineering); Master of Studies; Graduate Certificate of Studies; Master of Environment and Business Management; and, Master of Environmental Management and Sustainability.

The following postgraduate programs have been suspended for 2021 due to low student numbers: Graduate Certificate in Creative Industries; Master of Creative Industries; Graduate Certificate in Digital Media; and, Master of Digital Media.

Dilon Luke