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USYD to lower standard for engineering honours

A proposed change to the Bachelor of Engineering degree at the University of Sydney could mean that students who receive pass marks will be admitted to the honours program.

Currently, the Bachelor of Engineering is a four-year program, with the final year being a built-in honours degree. However, acceptance into the honours program is conditional; students must receive a final mark of at least 65 (a credit). Those students who receive a pass (a mark of 50-64) must still complete four years of study, but will graduate only with the Bachelor of Engineering degree.

According to the new Australian Qualifications Framework (introduced in 2015), students who have not completed the honours program are not eligible for accreditation. The move by USYD to lower the entrance standard for honours (proposed at a recent meeting of the Academic Standards and Policy Committee) is in line with this framework. The university was one of the last to adapt its engineering degree to the framework, according to Lincoln Wood from Engineers Australia.

“The University’s priority in this matter is to ensure that all students who pass their exams and units of study, and demonstrate the required competencies demanded by the profession, will go into the workforce with the skills required for a successful career in engineering,” a University spokesperson said in a comment to Honi Soit.

Comments were made at the ASPC meeting that the change would cheapen the value of the degree.

This change has been proposed despite USYD’s current efforts to be more competitive with other universities and produce graduates that will fare batter in the workforce.

Students entering programs from 2017 will be affected, as confirmed by USYD.

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