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Core courses of study are the types of courses usually undertaken by young people during the senior phase of secondary education.

At least 12 credits are needed. At least one credit must come from Core studies while enrolled at a school. The following table summarises Core course options.

CourseSet standardCredits1

At least 12 credits are needed, with at least 1 credit earned while enrolled at a school

Authority subjects or Authority-registered subjects At least a Sound level of achievement at exit 4 per subject
Subjects assessed by a Senior External Examination At least a Sound level of achievement 4 per subject
VET qualifications — Certificate II, III or IV (including school-based traineeships)
  • Certificate II completed
  • 4
  • Certificate III or IV completed
  • 5, 6, 7, or 8
    School-based apprenticeships
    (Students cannot complete the associated Certificate while at school, but may continue after exit and earn remaining credits)
  • Certificate competencies completed
  • up to 2
  • Satisfactory participation in on-the-job component
    (50 days in a calendar year)
  • 4
    Recognised studies categorised as Core learning, which may include:Agreed standardas recognised by QCAA
  • International learning program, including International Baccalaureate studies
  • At least a Pass grade for each subject4 for each completed course
  • Non-Queensland studies
  • At least a Pass grade for each subjectup to 6 per semester
    (max. 3 semesters count)
  • TAFE Queensland Brisbane / TAFE Open Learning — Unilearn
  • At least a Pass grade for each subject4 for each completed course

    1Credits allocated for partially completed studies are detailed in section 4.1 of the QCE handbook.

    Authority subjects/Authority-registered subjects

    These are the subjects undertaken by most students in Years 11 and 12. (See a list of Authority and Authority-registered courses.)

    Each subject exited after 4 semesters at a Sound level of achievement or higher contributes 4 credits towards a QCE.

    When a student exits a subject with a Sound level of achievement or higher after completing only 1, 2, or 3 semesters, credit earned corresponds to the number of semesters completed.

    Senior External Examinations

    The QCAA offers Senior External Examinations for people who are unable to access particular subjects at a school.

    Each subject completed at a Sound level of achievement or higher contributes 4 credits towards a QCE.

    VET Certificates II, III and IV

    Awarded Vocational Education and Training (VET) Certificate II qualifications contribute 4 credits towards a QCE. Awarded Certificate III and IV qualifications generally contribute 8 credits, although some contribute less.

    Credits assigned to VET Certificates III and IV can be checked through the Student Connect website.

    Partly completed VET qualifications (Certificate II and above) may contribute credits towards the QCE. The number of credits depends on the proportion of competencies completed and is awarded to partial completion in increments of 25%.

    If a student enrols in an authority subject with an embedded VET Certificate, the maximum number of credits that can contribute towards the awarding of a QCE is 4.

    For partially completed Authority subjects with embedded VET, the credits associated with each of the Authority subjects and the VET components are calculated and displayed on the Senior Statement. The higher credit value will contribute towards QCE eligibility. For further information see the Student Connect website.

    School-based traineeships and apprenticeships

    These programs allow students to work and train towards a recognised qualification while completing their school studies.

    School-based traineeships are VET Certificate II or III qualifications that include on-the-job training. Completed traineeships contribute 4 credits for Certificate II and up to 8 credits for Certificate III qualifications.

    Partly completed VET Certificates undertaken as part of a traineeship may contribute credits to the QCE. The same provisions apply as for VET Certificates (see above).

    School-based apprenticeships include a VET Certificate III qualification. It is anticipated that students will complete 30% of competencies while enrolled at school. These competencies can contribute up to 2 credits towards the QCE, but do not count towards completed core requirements. In addition, an on-the-job component of 100 days over a 2-year period may contribute 4 credits towards core requirements for a QCE. An incomplete on-the-job component of a school-based apprenticeship contributes 1 credit per 25 days of participation.

    For more information, visit the Department of Education and Training website or contact your school.

    Recognised international learning programs

    These programs have been developed or are owned by overseas organisations, such as the International Baccalaureate Organisation. Courses of study must be recognised by the QCAA. For information on course recognition and a list of recognised programs see Recognised studies.

    A Pass in a component of a recognised international learning program contributes 4 credits towards a QCE.

    Relaxation of the completed Core requirement

    Relaxation of completed Core requirements may apply to students changing subjects within Mathematics and English upon realising that they have chosen a subject in which they are not achieving as well as hoped. See the QCE Handbook (Section 4.2) for more information.

    Last updated: 6 March 2018

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