Admission criteria and entry schemes

You will be considered for admission to undergraduate courses at UNSW on the basis of your performance in one or more of the following:

  • Australian Year 12 studies
  • tertiary or post-secondary qualifications
  • overseas qualifications considered equivalent to Australian studies
  • one of the pathway schemes listed below. 

Some courses also have additional selection criteria such as an audition, interview or portfolio. When assessing your application, UNSW may take any or all of your qualifications or attempts at study into account.

To be offered a place in a course you must meet the course entrance requirements and be selected in competition with other eligible applicants. When assessing your application, UNSW may take any or all of your qualifications or attempts at study into account.

Undergraduate applicants

Applicants with recent secondary education (within the past two years)

AUSTRALIAN YEAR 12 STUDENTS

Admission to all undergraduate courses at the University is subject to selection on the basis of ATAR or equivalent. For some degree courses and first-year subjects, it is assumed that through your senior secondary or other equivalent studies you will have achieved a level of knowledge of the subject area that is considered desirable for successful university-level study. 

GUARANTEED ENTRY

At UNSW Sydney, we have a proud tradition of being open and transparent with future students about our admission criteria. Offers to UNSW are made based on your selection rank, which is your ATAR plus any adjustment factors for which you’re eligible. With Guaranteed Entry, UNSW provides clarity by publishing the Guaranteed Selection Rank that assures your entry to UNSW in a particular degree.  

Guaranteed Selection Ranks are specified in the course descriptions.

There is no application for Guaranteed Entry – all you need to do is apply via UAC for a degree at UNSW. To receive Guaranteed Entry to UNSW, you must:

  • have a selection rank (ATAR + adjustment factors) at or above the Guaranteed Selection Rank
  • have the degree listed as your highest eligible preference for December Round 2.

If you are unsure about how to order your preferences, contact the UNSW Future Students Office for advice.

If your selection rank (ATAR + adjustment factors) is below the Guaranteed Selection Rank, you may still receive an offer to study at UNSW - it’s just that we won’t be able to confirm this until January Round 1. If this situation applies to you, refer to the course description in this Guide for the 2019 lowest selection rank (LSR) to which an offer was made as a guide to how competitive you may be. If you are near the 2019 lowest selection rank, you may be competitive for an offer in January Round 1.

SELECTION RANK ADJUSTMENTS

EQUITY ADJUSTMENTS

The ACCESS Scheme is an Educational Access Scheme (EAS) that aims to assist students who have not undertaken university or other study at diploma level or above and who have experienced long-term educational disadvantage, with their educational performance affected by circumstances beyond their control during Year 11 and/or Year 12 or equivalent.

The scheme is available for entry to all undergraduate courses. Eligibility for the scheme does not guarantee admission but does allow successful applicants with an ATAR or equivalent below the course lowest selection rank to compete for a place.

UNSW EAS applications are processed centrally through UAC. 

The UNSW Gateway scheme recognises that schools have different levels of educational advantage and therefore some students experience more disadvantage than others. This means that your ATAR may not accurately reflect your ability to achieve at university.

This scheme is available for students who attend an eligible high school and apply for undergraduate degrees that have a Guaranteed Selection Rank of 90.00 or below. If you achieve an ATAR within 10 points of the Guaranteed Selection Rank, you’ll receive an offer to study at UNSW in December Round 2 (as long as you’ve ordered your preferences in a way that allows us to make you this offer).

ELITE ATHLETE AND PERFORMER ADJUSTMENTS

The Elite Athletes, Performers and Leaders (EAPL) Adjustment Factors Program recognises excellence in sport, academic pursuits, music and leadership achievements by awarding up to five adjustment factors to eligible applicants. Student may be eligible for up to five points.

EAPL adjustment factors are not available for admission to the 428000 B Medical Studies/Doctor of Medicine, 426000 Double Law, and Co-op scholarship degrees.

UNSW also offers an EAPL Support Program, which offers students flexible study arrangements and support, enabling them to continue their elite sporting commitments while studying at UNSW. 

SUBJECT ADJUSTMENTS

HSC Plus is designed to reward strong performance in Australian Senior Secondary Certificate (Year 12) subjects relevant to UNSW undergraduate degrees. Domestic students who complete an Australian Senior Secondary Certificate and perform well in subjects that are relevant to their preferred UNSW degree may have their selection rank for that degree increased by up to five points. 

The Academic Achievement Awards are provided to encourage academically gifted Year 12 students from eligible NSW and ACT high schools to undertake undergraduate study at UNSW. As well as a $5,000 (tax exempt) award, your selection rank will be increased by three points for all UNSW preferences, except 428000 B Medical Studies/Doctor of Medicine and Co-op scholarship degrees. 

CRITERIA THAT MAY APPLY IN ADDITION TO THE ATAR

Some courses have additional selection criteria such as an audition, interview or portfolio. Additional selection criteria are specified in the course descriptions.

ASSUMED KNOWLEDGE

For some degree courses and first-year subjects, it is assumed that through your senior secondary or other equivalent studies you will have achieved a level of knowledge of the subject area that is considered desirable for successful university-level study. Assumed knowledge is specified in the individual course descriptions. 

If you do not have the level of assumed knowledge, you are not prevented from enrolling but you may be at a considerable disadvantage. If you have not achieved the recommended level of assumed knowledge, you are strongly advised to undertake a bridging course or other appropriate preparation.

Where a specific degree lists a Year 12 subject as assumed knowledge, the requirements are expressed as the minimum if there is more than one level for that subject. 

For example, to satisfy the mathematics requirement, a NSW student would have to complete at least Mathematics, while a Queensland student would have to complete at least Mathematics B. While the assumed knowledge is the minimum requirement, Year 12 students are recommended to undertake higher levels of these subjects.

To determine the equivalent Year 12 subjects in your state or territory that currently satisfy the UNSW Canberra at ADFA assumed knowledge requirements, refer to the table on the UNSW Canberra website.

OTHER ADMISSION OPTIONS

FACULTY SCHEMES

UNSW has pathways for admission, which may allow applicants to receive an offer to a course even though they have an ATAR or equivalent below the published lowest selection rank. They are:

LIMITED ATAR

The Limited ATAR is not accepted for admission to 428000 B Medical Studies/Doctor of Medicine or 429750 B Vision Science/M Clinical Optometry.

Applicants with higher education study

If you hold a completed AQF advanced diploma, diploma, associate diploma or in some cases Certificate IV, you can be considered for admission to UNSW. If you have undertaken at least three-quarters of a standard full-time study load (0.75 full-time equivalent) of degree-level studies in one degree at a  recognised university, your tertiary studies will be taken into account.

Transferring from another course or university.

SPECIAL CONSIDERATION FOR APPLICANTS WITH TERTIARY STUDIES (SCATS)

If you have been excluded or suspended from UNSW or another tertiary institution, UNSW will not consider you for admission unless you provide evidence of academic rehabilitation (eg by subsequently successfully completing one semester or term of university study or one year of study at AQF diploma level or above). You must also submit a SCATS application to explain the circumstances surrounding your suspension/exclusion and outline why you consider you will now succeed in your course.

If you are applying to the University with tertiary qualifications (either from UNSW or another institution) and have experienced long-term educational disadvantage that has affected your tertiary and/or secondary academic performance, you may have your circumstances taken into account. Circumstances that may be considered include severe personal or family illness/disability and other circumstances beyond your control. You must submit a SCATS application along with a written statement describing these circumstances and documentation to support your claims.

Applicants with vocational education and training (VET) study

If you hold a completed AQF advanced diploma, diploma, associate diploma or in some cases Certificate IV, you can be considered for admission to UNSW. 

Applicants with work and life experience

If you do not hold qualifications that allow you to compete for university entrance, you may seek admission to the University on the basis of your performance in one of the following programs:

ENABLING COURSE OPTIONS

UNIVERSITY PREPARATION PROGRAM

If you are 21 years of age or over on 1 March 2020, you may qualify for admission to UNSW on the basis of your performance in the University Preparation Program (UPP). The UPP provides an avenue of entry to many degrees at UNSW for people who do not hold qualifications that would allow them to compete for university entrance. It is specifically designed for older students who are seeking admission to an undergraduate degree after a period away from formal study. 

For further details visit the UNSW Sydney website.

TERTIARY PREPARATION CERTIFICATE

If you are 21 years of age or over on 1 March 2020 and have completed the TAFE Tertiary Preparation Certificate (TPC), you will be considered for admission. The TPC is not accepted for admission to 428000 B Medical Studies/Doctor of Medicine or 429750 B Vision Science/M Clinical Optometry. If you hold a TPC and seek admission to a course with assumed knowledge in Mathematics, you should have completed Apply Mathematical Skills for Further Study and Calculus.

SPECIAL TERTIARY ADMISSIONS TEST (STAT) 

If you will be at least 21 years of age on Sunday 1 March 2020, you may qualify for admission to UNSW by undertaking the STAT – Multiple Choice and Written English. Your STAT results may be accepted for admission to 422000 B Arts, 428200 B International Public Health and 429000 B Science. 

Applicants with overseas qualifications

Australian citizens or permanent residents of Australia with overseas qualifications must meet UNSW’s English language proficiency standards. If you hold overseas secondary or tertiary qualifications from countries where English is not the sole language of instruction and assessment, you must provide evidence of English language proficiency.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander applicants

UNSW provides two entry schemes and pathways for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. You can apply even if you have not completed your HSC or if you aren’t sure whether you will achieve the required ATAR for entry into your preferred course of study.

UNSW INDIGENOUS PREPARTORY PROGRAMS (PRE-PROGRAMS)

The Pre-Program in business, education, law, medicine and social work programs is a three-week residential program that involves participation in lectures, tutorials, group work, social activities, exams and assessments. Throughout the program you will be assessed on your commitment, attitude and aptitude towards your studies and your ability to participate academically in your selected discipline.

UNSW INDIGENOUS ADMISSION SCHEME (IAS)

IAS is a one-day entry program that involves submission of an application to Nura Gili. As part of the application you will be invited to visit Nura Gili, where you will speak with faculty and Nura Gili staff about your aspirations for university studies and complete a written and/or numeracy task. Consideration is given to an applicant’s relevant life, work, educational and training experience as preparation for study.

For further information, contact Nura Gili, UNSW’s Indigenous Programs Unit: visit nuragili.unsw.edu.au, call Nura Gili on (02) 9385 3805 or email asknuragili@unsw.edu.au.

International Year 12 applicants

General requirements

Admission criteria are the minimum qualifications you need before you can be selected for admission to a course of study. 

As an international student completing one of the following qualifications in 2019, you will apply for admission through UAC and will generally be selected on the basis of your performance in these studies (ie your ATAR or equivalent):

  • an Australian Year 12 qualification (either outside or in Australia)
  • an International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma
  • a New Zealand National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) level 3.

When assessing your application, UNSW may take any or all of your qualifications or attempts at study into account.

FACULTY SCHEMES

UNSW has pathways for admission, which may allow applicants to receive an offer to a course even though they have an ATAR or equivalent below the published lowest selection rank. They are:

LIMITED ATAR

UNSW accepts the Limited ATAR for admission to all programs, except for 428000 B Medical Studies/Doctor of Medicine and 429750 B Vision Science/M Clinical Optometry.

Additional selection criteria

In addition to achieving the standard of performance required for admission, for certain courses you must also satisfy any additional selection criteria, such as a personal statement, questionnaire, portfolio of work, audition, interview or test. These criteria are taken into account in conjunction with your ATAR or equivalent.

If you are undertaking your Year 12 studies offshore and are applying to a course that has additional selection criteria that you will find difficult to meet, contact the relevant faculty.

International applicants applying for admission on the basis of qualifications other than those listed above must apply directly to UNSW Sydney, not through UAC.

Details of additional selection criteria and how applicants can meet these requirements are outlined in the course descriptions in UAC’s course search.

Postgraduate applicants

General requirements

The general requirement for admission to postgraduate coursework programs is completion of a recognised bachelor degree. Admission requirements vary depending on the course you wish to enter. 

To see whether additional requirements specific to individual courses apply, check the course descriptions on UAC’s course search.

OVERSEAS QUALIFICATIONS AND ENGLISH LANGUAGE PROFICIENCY

If you hold overseas qualifications from countries where English is not the standard language of instruction you must provide evidence of English language proficiency.

Additional selection criteria

You may have to submit additional material as part of your application depending on which course/s you apply for. To see whether special requirements apply, check the course descriptions on UAC’s course search.