How to transfer to a different degree

29 Aug 2023

Uni student wearing backpack at bus stop

Many students enrol in a course with a plan to transfer into another course after completing a year’s study. A typical example is completing one year of a general degree (such as Arts) and then transferring to a more specialised degree (such as Arts/Law).

Other students start a degree only to find it’s not quite right for them. They’d like to move to a completely different degree.

Whatever your reason for wanting to transfer to another course, how do you do it?

Transferring to a different degree at the same university

Internal transfer

Each university has different processes for transferring students to follow. However, the first thing to do is talk to the admissions office about the possibility of an internal transfer. With an internal transfer, everything is organised by you and the institution: UAC is not involved. It’s probably more likely that you’ll be able to do this if the degree you are transferring to is in the same faculty or school as your current degree.

It’s important to be aware that even if you are able to apply for an internal transfer, you will still be competing for a place in your new degree, and you will usually need to have achieved excellent results in your first year.

UAC application

Sometimes you will not be able to apply for an internal transfer and the institution will ask you to submit a new undergraduate application via UAC. When you submit a UAC application you are not transferring; you're applying for entry to a course, and you will compete for a place against all the other UAC applicants applying for that course.

If you applied via UAC for your current degree, and you now want to apply for another course in the same admissions period (ie from April to February the following year), you don't need to reapply because your application is still active – you just need to change your course preferences and add the details of your current degree to your qualifications.

If you are applying in a different admissions year, you need to start a new UAC application. You'll be given a new UAC application number and PIN.

UAC will assess the results of your current degree as well as your Year 12 results. Sometimes the institution will only consider your tertiary results if you have completed a full year of study.

If you get an offer to your new degree you can accept it and formally withdraw from your current course. The university will give you instructions for both these actions. It’s important to withdraw from your current course in order to avoid additional HECS fees or absent fail results on your academic record.

Starting a different degree at a new university

Again, talk to the admissions office at the university you want to move to and ask about the process you need to follow.

You will often be required to apply through UAC and compete for a place.

Credit for completed subjects

Depending on the extent to which your current course and the course you are transferring to overlap, you might be entitled to have some subjects credited to your new course.

If you are able to apply for an internal transfer, the university may automatically advise you of your subject credits as part of that process, or you will be able to apply for credit as part of your transfer application. Otherwise, you can apply for credit once you’ve accepted your offer to the new course.

Get advice early

As the process of transferring varies according to the particular university and course, talk to the relevant university admissions office as soon as you start to consider transferring to a different degree. Get a clear idea of the steps you need to take and the deadlines you need to meet. That way you’ll be more likely to receive the outcome you’re looking for and avoid any unnecessary administration or course fees.

Institution profiles (including contact details)

How your tertiary qualifications are assessed