An update from the Provost on the academic calendar review

20 Mar 2024
Students on University Mall

Work on alleviating key pressure points in the three-term academic calendar model has been going well following significant investment of funds in additional staff across all faculties. 

Progress has also been made on the campus development program to enable UNSW the freedom to make the most appropriate strategic decision regarding term structure in the future. 

These FAQs follow an academic calendar update discussion at the most recent Academic Board meeting.


Q: Is the University moving away from a trimester calendar?  

A: UNSW is undertaking a review of its academic calendar. The trimester calendar was introduced in 2019 with a plan to review within five years. A bespoke calendar, suitable for the future, is being designed over the next two years.  

The review is considering the benefits and challenges of the calendar to ensure optimum teaching arrangements and scheduling for students and staff. 

Q: If the academic calendar is to change, when would this happen? 

A: Any changes to the academic calendar will likely take effect from the 2027 academic year. 

This timing will allow for consultation with the UNSW community on options to optimise the calendar, and any required updates to systems and resources.  

Q: How would changes to the academic calendar impact enrolment, program progression or graduation?  

A: Students who graduate before the 2027 academic year are unlikely to be impacted by any updates to the academic calendar. 

Q: What is UNSW doing to address concerns about the pace of study/workload at UNSW and the impact it has on students and staff? 

A: UNSW’s review of the current trimester calendar has identified some specific pain points for both students and staff. While further work and consultation are undertaken to optimise our academic calendar, a range of initiatives is being introduced, piloted or explored to help alleviate some pressure in the immediate and short term.  

Initiatives include: extension of teaching hours, consolidation of the Special Consideration process, reduction in end of T3 exams, pilots for new assessment approaches, additional teaching resources, review of teaching staff workloads and simplification of programs where appropriate.    

Q: Why will it take so long to implement changes to the academic calendar? 

A: The proposed 2027 implementation timetable will allow for new calendar options to be designed, comprehensive consultation with stakeholders to take place, and for any system and resource updates to be made.