Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for current students
- What are the 2013 semester dates?
- When are the main assessment items due?
- What is the difference between 'withdrawing from a course' and taking a 'leave of absence'?
- What do I do if I want to drop one unit (or more) but remain enrolled in my other unit(s)?
- How do I withdraw from my program or take a leave of absence?
- If I withdraw from one or more units, take a LOA, or withdraw from the program, am I entitled to a refund?
- What is the census date?
- When is the census date?
- What happens if I withdraw after the census date?
- What do I do if I find a blooper in the SAO course material or on one of the website?
- Are you planning on offering any more SAO units?
- Are there any SAO Units I must enroll in?
Semester 1, 2013, will run from 25 February to 18 May.
(Week 0 begins 18 February.)
Semester 2, 2013, will run from 26 August to 16 November.
(Week 0 begins 19 August.)
For full details of due dates, see the "Study Guide" on your Blackboard unit site. In general, assessment items are due on the same day for all (non-Major Project) units. Essays are due at the end of Week 9, Projects are due at the end of Week 10, CMT1* is due at the end of Week 6, CMT2* and Newsgroup submissions are due at the end of Week 12. Due to the international nature of SAO, all assessment items are due on a Saturday.
* CMT = Computer Managed Test
Students who withdraw from a course do not intent to return to the program at a later date, whilst a leave of absence allows students who intend to continue studying to have a break from their studies for a semester or two. Withdraw from a course is for students who want to withdraw from the entire program (and hence study no further units) and do not intend to continue with the program in the near future. Leave of absence (LOA) is a period of approved absence from the course in which a student is enrolled. Student must normally have been studying for at least one academic year before they are eligible to take an LOA. Note that LOA is not an automatic entitlement; each applicant will be treated on their merits and approval will depends on the student's academic history and reason for the application. LOA can be for one or two semesters in duration. A student may take a maximum of two semesters LOA per degree program.
If you wish to withdraw from one unit and remain enrolled in your other unit(s), please complete an application to amend enrolment form and submit to the Course Administrator for processing.
You need to complete either a withdraw from course form or a leave of absence form and submit to the Course Administrator for processing.
If you withdraw before the census date you will obtain a refund (and not incur a FEE-HELP debt).
The census date is the date on which your enrolment requirements must be finalised. Swinburne University is required to report student liability information to the Department of Education, Science and Training (DEST) by the specific census date. The census date is the last day with withdraw from a unit or course without financial penalty.
The semester 1, 2013, census date is 18 March 2013.
The semester 2, 2013, census date is 16 September 2013.
(Note that these are the Open Universities Australia census dates and apply to all SAO students, including those who are not enrolled via OUA.)
You can withdraw after the census date, but you will not get a refund on your fees. If you withdraw before the start of the 9th week of the semester, you will not obtain an academic fail on your results certificate (but the unit will still be listed as an enrolled unit). You will receive an academic penalty if you withdraw after the start of the 9th week of semester. Students cannot withdraw once the teaching semester has completed, i.e. the last day to withdraw is the final Friday of the semester.
Please report all bloopers on our Comments and Corrections form.
We do not have any current plans for creating new Units. In 2009 we accredited two new SAO units: HET619 Major Project - Astronomy & Astrophysics, which was first offered in S1-2010, and HET620 Planetary Science, which was first offered in S2-2011. For details of all our units and their schedule, see this link.
In the 2009 re-accreditation to all our degree programs, there were changes to the program rules which effect students who commence a degree program from 2010 onwards. These changes include:
- Graduate Diploma of Science (Astronomy) students must complete three core units, plus any 5 elective units (subject to prerequisites). The three core units are HET602, HET603, HET624.
- Master of Science (Astronomy) students must complete three core units plus one Major Project unit, plus any 8 elective units (subject to prerequisites). The three core units are HET602, HET603, HET624, and the choice of Major Project units include HET612, HET615, HET617 and HET619.
If you enrolled prior to S1-2010, no, you do not have to do a Major Project unit (though SAO encourages you to at least consider it!). If you enrolled in the Masters any time from S1-2010 onwards, you must complete at least one Major Project unit.
During our program re-accrediation in 2009, we reviewed the content of all units. The course content of our old units HET604 Exploring Galaxies & the Cosmos and HET605 Theories of Space & Time were revised and the unit names were changed to more closely match the content. The Swinburne student adminstative system cannot accept a change of unit name without a change of unit code, and so these two units are now called HET624 Galaxies and their place in the Universe and HET625 Cosmology and the Large-scale Structure of the Universe. It should be noted that students who have already completed HET604 and HET605 cannot do HET624 and HET625 (since the course material is very similar).