Agent update 5 – Admissions-Southern Cross University

20 things to know about the Southern Cross Model for International Students

You might have heard about the new Southern Cross Teaching Model that will come into effect in 2022. We’re sure you have questions about how it’s going to work, so we’re happy to provide the answers to the top 20 questions below.

There are some significant advantages to this new model. The first is that the student teaching load will be lighter as students will only study 2 units per term – but they will still complete 8 units in a year, so it won’t affect the duration of their course. It also means that they get time off at the end of the year to work or travel – which benefits most students.

1. What is the Southern Cross Model?
The Southern Cross Model is a new academic model and a better way to learn. Units have a shorter and more focused structure and employ contemporary teaching methods that centre around interactive learning and real-world applications.

2. How does it work?
The academic year is broken up into six-week terms. There is a 2-3 week break between terms.

3. Does the Model apply to both undergraduate and postgraduate coursework degrees?

4. How many units will a student study in a year as a full-time student?
An international student must study eight units a year. Students can study one or two units per term.

5. Will it take longer to finish a degree?
No. A full-time load will still be eight units per year so students should finish their degree in the same time.

6. Are the fees different in the Southern Cross Model?
No, there is no change to the fee structure. However if a student wishes to do four units over term 1 and 2, they will pay for four units up front.

7. Will all courses be taught in the Southern Cross Model?
All undergraduate degrees, except health courses, will be taught in the Southern Cross Model from 2022. From 2023, all courses at the University will be taught in the Southern Cross Model.

8. When are the study breaks?
Students will get a two or three week break between each term. It is also possible to take up to two terms off each year, depending on course progression and timetable.

9. What’s an example of a typical yearly enrolment for an international student?
Most full-time international students will study two units in term 1, 2, 3 and 4. But if unit availability allows it, they can study one unit in two terms and two units in three terms and so on.

10. How many terms can a student have off but still keep their scholarship?

11. How many assessments is a student expected to do in each unit?
Most units will have two or three assessment tasks (this could be an applied project, a collaboration, case study or presentation etc). Don’t forget students are only studying a maximum of two units at a time, so they will only ever have two assessments due at the one time. The workload is more manageable.

12. Will the more advanced/complex units be manageable in the Southern Cross Model?
Yes. The content in each unit is carefully sequenced. This means students are learning the right things at the right time. This actually makes complex topics easier to learn. Units are designed specifically for this model. They are not compressed or ‘intensive’ versions of a 12-week unit.

13. How many hours of face-to-face teaching in each unit?
Each unit includes 3 hours of classes (such as workshops, tutorials, lab work) per week and up to 20 hours of guided, self-access learning per week (including assessment preparation).

14. What is guided self-access learning?
Self-access learning is a contemporary approach to the acquisition of knowledge and expertise. Students actively seek information and experience in a supported environment. Activities are on-campus and online and include joint problem-solving, discussions and questioning.

15. Why was the Southern Cross Model introduced?
To increase student success and give our students the best possible university experience. We want more people to finish their degrees and achieve more satisfying academic results while they’re at university.

16. Do any other universities use this approach?
No. While some other unis use similar models, sometimes called ‘block models’, the Southern Cross Model is unique.

17. What’s an example of teaching in the Southern Cross Model?
Instead of attending a lecture and reading 200 pages to write an essay, students might be asked to investigate a case study, problem-solve in a group and develop a solution that has a real-world application.

18. How can a student plan their casual work if my timetable is changing every 6 weeks?
Unit timetables will be released well in advance for each term so students can plan their other commitments.

19. How will residentials/practicum work?
Practicums, field trips and residentials will still be part of a student’s course. The face-to-face component of practical units may be higher than other units.

20. How will students interact with their peers?
Each unit has at least three hours of class learning per week with your peers. Many of the other activities require you to work together so you have plenty of opportunity to get to know each other and to work together

For more information, see