Peter Scott, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Education and Students) and Strategic Initiative Co-Ordinator for ‘Learning for a lifetime’ sheds some light on the newest offerings at UTS.

Stackable Degrees

Whereas in a standard UTS degree* an academic defines the curriculum (I.e. subjects) a stackable degree turns the degree choice on its head and puts it in the hands of the student. For these degrees the student comes to UTS with problem in mind – be it a challenge in their professional practice, how to address a technological disruption in their workplace or a global problem they wish to address – and picks (or ‘stacks’) the curriculum that will best help them solve that problem with us.

A critical component is that the student and UTS will work together on addressing the problem through studios. Unique to UTS’ new flexible degrees, this problem-focused and practice-based approach provide a highly distinctive ‘place’ to make learning work.

In short

  • Students select and ‘stack’ the subjects that best help them solve a problem.
  • Students work in collaboration with UTS to solve their problem.
  • In Autumn 2020 UTS launched its first three stackable degrees: Master of Creative Intelligence and Strategic Innovation; Master of Technology; and Master of Professional Practice.


Microcredentials (sometimes called ‘nano’ or ‘mini’ courses) have gained in popularity over the past years for their ability to give learners access to ‘bite-sized’ chunks of learning.

They give learners the benefit of studying with us without the larger commitment of say a traditional master or certificate. But because they offer some credit, learners will have the potential to later enrol in a certificate, diploma or masters should they want to continue learning; and where that credential fits to the larger degree.

Highly flexible, we are initially planning for some credentials to run multiple times throughout the year in mixed study mode – meaning a mix of online and face-to-face learning. In the future, we’ll increasingly move toward hybrid study – meaning the same learning will be offered in a variety of modes to suit the learner needs, be it fully online, face-to-face and a mix between.

In short

  • Learners upskill with ‘bite-sized’ learning.
  • Learners earn credit should they want to continue learning with us (and should we agree to enrol them).
  • Microcredentials will be the smallest form of awarded study at UTS.
  • Run multiple times per year.
  • In 2020 we launched our first batch of microcredentials

Short courses

Short courses take the same shape as microcredentials, however, a key difference is that they’re not governed by the AQF (that’s Australian Qualifications Framework) so don’t require the same rigorous assessment. Although short courses give learners the ability to upskill in an area of choice, they can’t use short courses to earn credit toward future formal award qualifications. In short, you get the knowledge without the university credential.

In short, you get the knowledge without the university credential.”

For academics creating short courses, this means that any assessed knowledge doesn’t need to connect to UTS curriculum and it’s, therefore, a quick way to share rapidly changing knowledge (think ‘Cyber Security for Practitioners’) with learners who need not be interested in additional study (yet). And for the learner, it’s a quick (typically from half-a-day to one week) and lighter interaction with the university and gives them a highly accessible knowledge or skills ‘boost’.

Although short courses are in no way ‘new’ and have been at UTS for many years, they’re now available to learners through a new-look digital store, UTS Open). This means potential learners can browse all UTS short courses in a single digital space.

In short

  • Learners upskill with ‘bite-sized’ learning.
  • No credit points available for short course study.
  • Short duration; from half-day to one week.
  • UTS is home to a range of existing short courses, with many more in the pipeline. All short courses are accessible through the relaunched UTS Open site.


Tasters have been around at UTS for just over a year as part of our digital learning platform, UTS Open. As the name suggests, they give learners a ‘taste’ of what’s on offer at UTS. Learners self-study online at their own pace, with a taster usually requiring 3 – 5 hours of their time.

“They’re a quick free online learning experience where learners can experiment with UTS subject matter.”

For academics it’s a great way to offer free authentic learning in emerging areas – think data, decisions in uncertainty, etc – and showcase some of the best of UTS learning. For our learners, they’re a quick free online learning experience where they can experiment with UTS subject matter.

In short

  • Free online ‘tasters’ open to the public via UTS Open.
  • Take 3-5 hours to complete.
  • Learners self-study at their own pace.

Got an idea?

Have an idea for a new UTS taster or a microcredential? Get in touch with the PG Learning Design team on or speak with your faculty PG Coordinator or AD Teaching and Learning.

*DegreeSomething you will all know well, a UTS degree is a program of study which we have created within the bounds of the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF). So, a Master-by-coursework is a credential at AQF Level 9 and a Graduate Certificate / Diploma are at Level 8. Each level carries a defined volume of learning and a regulated approach to knowledge, skills and the application of these. In disciplinary degrees, UTS academics carefully curate curriculum which defines the degree: so, one collection of subjects makes up the credential we call a Graduate Certificate in Finance, whilst a quite different set makes up the Graduate Diploma in Public Health. 

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