Choose courses

The process of choosing courses can be slightly different for everyone. The amount of flexibility you have depends on your program's rules.

 Academic resources to get you started

Log in to see your program rules, course list and other helpful information just for you.

Course list explained

When you look at your course list for the first time, there's a few things you need to know. The following advice can guide you:

Course codes

Every course is given a code, made up of four letters and four numbers.

The four letters are an abbreviation of the academic discipline, while the four numbers are used to uniquely identify the course.

First-year undergraduate students normally only enrol in courses that begin with a '1' – these are at the right level for new students.

Postgraduate courses usually begin with a '6', '7' or '8' and programs might offer a mix of different course levels.

Course levels

The first number in a course code indicates the level of the course and how difficult it might be:

  • 1 ... first-level undergraduate
  • 2 ... second-level undergraduate
  • 3 ... third-level undergraduate
  • 4 ... fourth-level undergraduate
  • 5 ... fifth-level undergraduate
  • 6 ... honours, graduate certificate or graduate diploma
  • 7 ... master’s by coursework
  • 8 ... professional doctorate
  • 9 ... MPhil, PhD or higher doctorate.

Compulsory and elective courses

Most programs will have compulsory courses and elective (free choice) courses. The amount of flexibility you have when choosing courses depends on:

  • your program rules, and
  • the number of compulsory courses you have to complete.

Check your course list and program rules for more information.

Prerequisite and incompatible courses

You can’t enrol in a course if you haven’t passed its prerequisites, or if you've studied an incompatible course:

  • Prerequisites are the assumed knowledge requirements for a course. They have to be completed before you enrol.
  • Two or more courses are incompatible if their content is very similar, or if it substantially overlaps.
  • Companions are a pair of courses (or a group of courses) that should be studied together. Companion courses can either be studied all together in the same semester, or in separate semesters (i.e. one companion can be studied before another).
  • See an example from the catalogue

Consult your course list to see if a course has any prerequisites, companions or incompatibles.

Full time or part time

The number of units you enrol in each semester determines whether you are full time or part time. Here's what you need to know:

  • Most courses are 2 units each
  • 6 units or more per semester is full time
  • 8 units per semester is a normal full-time study load
  • Fewer than 6 units per semester is part time

Have a look at your course list to see the unit value of each course.

How long do I have to complete my program?

  • International students with a Student visa have to complete their program by the end date on their Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE). Most students with a Student visa enrol in 8 units per semester. This is very important and you will have to plan carefully.
  • Domestic students should read their program rules to see if there is a "credit cancellation period". Otherwise, you have up to 10 years to complete a bachelor's degree; seven years to complete a master's by coursework; five years to complete a graduate diploma; and three years to complete a graduate certificate.

How can we help?

Need a hand choosing courses? No worries:

Contact a Student CentreRead more on my.UQ

Report any problems you experience with the Starting at UQ website.