When you first start at Victoria University (VU), it might take time to understand how university study works.

To help you on your student journey, we’ve pulled together some useful information about courses, how subjects are taught, assessment and more.

Choosing your course

We can help you choose a course that matches your skills, interests and career goals.

Our courses offer flexibility, so you can vary the amount of time you spend studying each year, or even take a break for a while.

Units, subjects and electives

A course is a sequence of units (or subjects) that you need to complete to receive your qualification.

Most courses have a mix of compulsory core units, and optional elective units that you can choose to complete based on your area of interest, expertise or experience.

Prerequisites and co-requisites

Prerequisites are units that you must complete before you can enrol into a specific unit.

Co-requisites are units that you must complete at the same time as another unit.

Find a course


How much you pay for your course depends on a number of factors.

If you're thinking of studying a vocational education/TAFE course at VU Polytechnic, there are some FEE-HELP options available for some courses, and Government subsidies for others. Find out more about VE/TAFE course fee information.

Higher Education (undergraduate) courses usually offer Commonwealth supported places. Postgraduate courses are often full-fee paying.

Check our higher education fee information.

Course delivery

Start dates for courses

VU’s academic year is divided into two main semesters. Some undergraduate courses also offer summer and winter options that run during the semester breaks.

  • Undergraduate courses (including diploma and advanced diploma) run from late February to mid-November.
  • Postgraduate students completing a doctoral degree or other research-based award may be able to negotiate an alternative start date with their project supervisor.
  • TAFE courses and English language programs run from January to December, with varying intakes and start dates depending on the course.

Course duration

The length of your course varies depending on the level of course you study and whether you study full time or part time. Part time study generally doubles course duration.

It's up to you to develop a timetable that balances your requirements. We are always available to help you tailor your study journey.

You may also be eligible for recognition of prior learning/advanced standing for previous study or skills recognition, which can shorten the duration of your course.

Study mode & delivery mode

Study mode refers to whether you study full time or part time.

Delivery mode is the way your course is delivered. It includes:

  • on campus
  • off campus
  • on block release (where you can study in the work place and attend specified periods of class i.e. 1 week per month)
  • online or through distance education.

You will learn in a number of ways at university.


Most units have a fixed weekly timetable and include lectures and tutorials.

Your course may include:

  • lectures
  • tutorials and/or labs
  • classes
  • seminars
  • workshops and group assignments.


Lectures are large, formal classes taught by a lecturer or professional and are usually one to two hours long.

Key course material is presented to all students enrolled in the unit, so the class size can be very large. Lectures usually take place in lecture theatres that can hold up to 200 students.

Your lecturer may publish lecture notes and recordings online.


Tutorials are much smaller than lectures, with approximately 20 to 30 students in attendance. Tutorials usually take place in a classroom setting.

You will discuss material from lectures and readings in more detail and get help if you need it. Your tutor can provide advice if you don’t understand something in the material or if you have a question about assessment.


During labs you put your knowledge into practice with hands-on work. Not all courses have a practical component.

Work-integrated learning/industry placements

Most courses also include a placement component. In your placement you’ll gain practical work experience in a trade, industry or profession while you study.

TAFE courses also have work-based elements and practical workshops where you work on individual or group projects, using tools you would encounter on the job.

Thought-provoking placements

Malthouse Theatre ‘Provocateur’ Chloe Watson’s studies have taken her into a variety of workplaces, before even graduating.

"My course has allowed me to try out other areas within Communications (aside from writing) and discover what else I enjoy and am capable of.

I have taken on two internships; the first at Maribyrnong City Council for International Women's Day, the second at the Women's Circus."

Read Chloe's story.

How your work is assessed

Your work will be assessed on performance in a number of activities, including:

  • class participation
  • written assignments
  • exams
  • practical assignments
  • group exercises.

See the unit pages for your course to find out more about assessment in each unit.

Postgraduate students undertaking research projects are assessed by a committee that evaluates the quality of your thesis.

Contact us