Online education

Only international students who are studying by distance education from overseas or are studying in Australia on a visa other than a student visa are permitted to enrol at UNE by the online mode.

Off-campus education, also known as online education or external study, provides an opportunity for you to study if you are unable to attend university due to work, family commitments or other reasons. UNE offers the majority of its degrees via distance education. For students who are currently employed or cannot travel to Australia to study full-time, distance education may be the best choice.

Studying online allows you to arrange your study around your work and family commitments. Your understanding of the subjects you are studying will be enhanced by access to online units, CDROMs, DVDs, text books and other reference material. Support and communication between lecturers and students is available via email, online discussions and chat, telephone, and on campus intensive schools. UNE provides web-based facilities which allow you to send questions, submit assignments, order library books, check your grades and access other resources, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

UNE has a long history of teaching in this mode so our online education programs are successful because we understand the problems and needs of off-campus students and provide extensive support systems to overcome those challenges.

Each subject (unit) that you enrol in requires approximately 15 hours of study per week, with the usual load for distance students being two units per trimester. Before enrolling as a distance education student, carefully consider your time and your ability to balance family, work and social commitments with the demands of study. Successful study will require a high level of discipline and commitment.

The main benefit of studying online is that students are able to study at their own pace, from just one unit per trimester up to four units per trimester(which is equivalent to full-time study). UNE is a world-leader in distance education, and staff are highly experienced in helping students all over the world study this way. From printed materials, to online forums and flexible teaching, distance education is just as comprehensive as face-to-face study, and degrees offered by distance education are exactly the same as degrees offered on-campus.

Please note that international students who would like to study on campus in Australia cannot complete their program by distance or online.

Intensive schools

International students studying via distance education should note that some units within degrees have compulsory intensive schools as part of the units assessment. In order to pass and complete these units, students MUST attend the intensive school on-campus at UNE at the nominated date. If students cannot travel to Australia to attend these intensive schools, they are advised to choose an alternative unit within the degree offerings that does not have compulsory intensive schools.

Intensive schools are blocks of time when you are required to attend classes with other students doing your course. They may be a requirement of your distance education program. Intensive schools provide opportunities to:

  • Use specialised equipment and facilities
  • Meet and discuss issues with the academic staff
  • Meet and exchange ideas with fellow students
  • Visit the library

If you select a distance education course of study that requires compulsory attendance at an intensive school make sure that you can:

  • Take time away from your commitments, such as leave from work
  • Finance the travel, meals and accommodation costs that may be associated with your attendance

To see whether units have an intensive school, see the Course and Unit Catalogue (make sure you have the correct year of study selected in the top right hand corner).

Casual accommodation fees and bookings


Some units require students to sit a final exam as part of unit assessment. Examinations for international distance students are held at nominated overseas centres, and students are required to travel up to 300km to an exam centre and are also liable for a cost of AU$200 per examination. Further information about applying for an overseas exam can be found at the Examinations web page.

Information on which units have examination requirements can be found online at the Course and Unit Catalogue page.

Research degrees by distance education

International Students are able to complete both Masters research degrees and PhDs via distance education with UNE. The benefits of studying via distance education are that students can complete the degree at their own pace, and are able to continue working if they are studying part-time. This is also the best option for students who are researching topics related to their home country, and requires continual data collection or laboratory work on-site.

Studying research as a distance education student has its own challenges, not least of which is the distance between a student and their supervisors. Students need to keep in mind the pressures on time and inevitable pressures on family and relationships when studying from home. The University ensures that all information on its web pages is kept up to date and is readily accessible. In addition there is the telephone and email with which students can keep in contact with their supervisors.

Attendance at intensive schools varies from course to course and school to school. In the case of the Science Faculty, for example, any student who is going to use laboratories is required to attend a compulsory training course to obtain the appropriate accreditation before they are permitted to enter a laboratory.

On the other hand, most PhD students are free to negotiate appropriate periods of attendance with their supervisors. It is the responsibility of students to check if units have compulsory or mandatory requirements to attend an intensive school. During your candidature it is possible for you to change your mode / status of study. This relates to:
(a) Changing from internal to external candidature or vice versa or
(b) Changing from full-time candidature to part-time, or vice versa.

Please contact UNE International for more information on studying a research degree via distance education.