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University Developed Board Endorsed Courses - course proposal guidelines

These guidelines are for courses commencing in 2018. The deadline for applications is 19 May 2017. The guidelines were revised in January 2017.

The guidelines cover:

2017 Timeline for endorsement

Late January: UDBEC Guidelines and Application Form available to universities on the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) website

Early February: Electronic reminder notice sent to universities with expiring endorsements

19 May: Closing date for submission of UDBEC proposals

14 June: Board Endorsement Panel considers proposals

11 August: Final date for decision notification to be sent to universities

1 September: Final date for resubmission of deferred proposals

15 September: Final date for decision notification to be sent to universities that have resubmitted an amended proposal

9 October: Courses not endorsed by this date lapse


Universities will be informed in writing of the Panel decision:

  • Endorsed proposals – decision letters will include the period of endorsement and any conditions that may apply to the endorsement
  • Deferred proposals – decision letters will detail the specific criteria upon which the proposal was deferred and invite further information to be forwarded to NESA within a given time frame to address the issues
  • Declined proposals – decision letters will detail the specific criteria upon which the proposal was declined and the applicant will be invited to apply the following year.

Criteria for endorsement of University Developed Courses

A University Developed Course is one proposed by a university to extend the HSC curriculum for high-achieving students to meet the local needs of a group of students. It must not duplicate or significantly overlap existing Board Developed or other types of Board Endorsed Courses.

Endorsement of a University Developed Course involves consideration and approval by the Board Endorsement Panel, which consists of NESA Inspectors, NESA Curriculum Officers and a representative from the university sector and is chaired by the Director, Curriculum and Assessment Directorate of NESA. Recommendations made by the Panel are presented to NESA for the final decision.

Course proposals are endorsed if they meet the criteria for endorsement. All courses that are developed or endorsed by NESA must meet the Board’s requirements. These are based on recommendations in the NSW Government’s White Paper Securing Their Future (PDF 687kB).

Requirements for approval of University Developed Courses

Requirements for approval

Criteria for endorsement

1 A clear rationale and statement of purpose for the course

1.1 the proposal must clearly establish the benefits for HSC students who undertake the course

1.2 the relationship of the course to existing Board Developed Stage 6 courses with which it might be thought to overlap

1.3 evidence of demand for the course.

2 Prior knowledge assumed in students enrolling in the course and the manner in which that prior knowledge will be built upon

2.1 description of the learning continuum from Stage 6 HSC level through to post-course outcomes.

3 Identification of the subsequent uses the student might make of the learning from the course

3.1 explanation of the post-course opportunities for students

3.2 details of any credit granted towards subsequent first year university courses.

4 Identification of the learning outcomes students are expected to achieve

4.1 appropriate course objectives and outcomes must be provided

4.2 the outcomes should describe what students should be able to know, understand and do as a result of the effective teaching and learning of the course.

5 A well-organised course structure appropriate to the units of study and hours being sought

5.1 number and length of modules/units

5.2 hours for each module/unit

5.3 clear overview of how delivery will take place in terms of weeks and hours per week.

6 A detailed explanation of the nature of the course content

6.1 sufficient detail included to confirm content is linked to the outcomes

6.2 sufficient detail included to confirm content is at an appropriate level

6.3 sufficient detail included to confirm that no duplication or significant overlap with existing Board Developed Courses exists.

7 Assessment procedures to be used

7.1 a range of assessment items used to gather evidence of achievement of outcomes

7.2 an appropriate number of assessment tasks included.

Please note that Courses with a history of consistent low or no enrolments may not be endorsed.

Responsibilities of universities with endorsed courses

Once a course had been endorsed, the university has the following responsibilities each year during the period of endorsement:

  • to negotiate a method of selection of eligible students for the course at the local level with the participating school(s)
  • to forward a list of schools with participating students to NESA as soon as enrolments for each intake have been confirmed:
    • endorsed course name and the NESA course number along with a list of schools that have students enrolled should be emailed to
    • if this is not done, then school principals will be unable to enter their students in Schools Online for HSC credentialling of the UDBEC
    • if no schools have students enrolled in a particular intake, then a nil return should still be emailed to the above address
  • to inform the relevant school principal in writing if at any time it appears that a student is at risk of receiving an ‘N’ (Non-completion) Determination for the course. Satisfactory completion of the course (in the context of the Higher School Certificate) is where there is sufficient evidence that the student has:
    • followed the course developed or endorsed by the Board
    • applied themselves with diligence and sustained effort to the set tasks and experiences provided in the course
    • achieved some or all of the course outcomes
  • to report the final assessment of student performance in the course directly to students in accordance with normal university practice
  • to advise the relevant school principal(s) in writing when students have satisfactorily completed the course to enable online records to be updated by NESA.


  • If a student satisfactorily completes the course, the unit value and name of the course will appear on the student’s Record of Achievement followed by the words ‘Refer to university documentation’. No marks will be shown on the Record of Achievement.
  • If a student does not complete the course satisfactorily, no reference will be made to the course on the student’s Record of Achievement.

Guidelines for completing a University Developed Course application

The application form is a Word document with form elements embedded. It is designed to be downloaded to your computer and completed using a word processor. Any other documentation to support your application can be attached with your submission.

Advice on completing each section is included within the application form, and relates directly to the criteria for endorsement as listed above.

The completed application form, along with any electronic attachments, should be emailed to

Download the application form

Endorsement Panel determinations feedback

The following information is provided to help applicants with the completion of course proposals:

Reasons for course proposals being DEFERRED

Deferred course proposals require only minor amendment to meet endorsement requirements.

  • Content not targeting an appropriate level of student ability
  • Course organisation and structure not clearly defined
  • Assessment procedures not clearly defining the number and type of tasks.

Reasons for course proposals being DECLINED

Course proposals are declined when substantial amendment is required to meet the endorsement criteria:

  • Appropriate course objectives and outcomes were not provided
  • The course objectives, outcomes and/or content substantially duplicated those of an existing NESA course
  • Course content did not provide students with the knowledge, understanding and skills relevant and meaningful for students in Years 11–12.

More information and contact details

Read more about University Developed Board Endorsed Courses or contact us.

NESA contacts - Curriculum and Assessment Standards Directorate

Subject area specific contacts

For Aboriginal Education contact the Chief Education Officer on 9367 8198.

For Creative Arts contact the Inspector, Creative Arts on 9367 8161.

For English contact the Inspector, English on 9367 8276.

For HSIE contact the Inspector, HSIE on 9367 8151.

For Languages contact the Inspector, Languages on 9367 8152.

For Mathematics contact the Inspector, Mathematics on 9367 8103.

For PDHPE contact the Inspector, PDHPE on 9367 8150.

For Science contact the Inspector, Science on 9367 8144.

For Technology contact the Inspector, Techology on 9367 8454.

For VET contact the Inspector, VET on 9367 8310.

General application contacts

For Board Endorsed Programs contact the Senior Project Officer, Special Education on 9367 8036.

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