Flexible learning options

Our range of flexible learning options help you study in a way that suits your needs and circumstances.

Course structure

Depending on your course, you may have the option to tailor it to what you want it to be – highly specialised, generalist or both.

Our courses provide opportunities for cross-disciplinary study and engagement. You might add units from a different area of study to your degree or work with students from across the university on projects for clients in industry.

Our three-year bachelor degrees generally comprise 24 units of study that include core units, units that form a major and units from course options.


Your major is your primary area of study in your degree. The units in your major allow you to deepen your knowledge in a particular area and sharpen your career focus.

Course options

The remaining units that make up your bachelor degree are selected from course options, which you can use to gain more depth in your primary area(s) of study or explore related or non-related areas of interest. These options include co-majors, minors, advanced minors and elective units.

Depending on your course structure and timetable availability, you may be able to study a second major from a different discipline. This will allow you to specialise in two areas of study.

Course delivery

No matter what type of course you study at Swinburne, there is built-in flexibility and choice in the way you study. 

We offer a range of study modes that can be tailored to suit your individual needs. Choose the length of time you want to take to complete your course and whether you want to study on or off campus.

Full-time or part-time study

Full-time study means studying a maximum number of units per year within your particular course.

Many courses are available part time. This allows you to gain a work/life/study balance that suits you. Part-time study means studying less than the required full-time workload, i.e. fewer subjects per semester.

Online learning

Online study allows you to complete the same qualification as an on-campus student, but without having to attend physical classes. Instead of learning in a traditional classroom environment, you access lectures and learning materials via the internet, and you can discuss coursework with your teachers and other students in online forums. Online study allows you to choose where and when you study, at a pace that suits you. It gives you flexibility to work around your other commitments such as work or family. Many of our courses and individual units are available online, and some courses combine both online and on-campus delivery.

Our online course and unit offerings are delivered directly by Swinburne (referred to as ‘Hawthorn Online’) or through partners such as Swinburne Online or Open Universities Australia.

Block mode delivery

Some postgraduate and vocational education courses are taught over a few weekends and evenings per month. This ensures it fits in with your work commitments and allows for faster completion.


Some vocational education courses can be fast-tracked via a part-time program of workshops delivered at Swinburne's city campus.

Workplace delivery

Some vocational education courses are conducted in a workplace training environment, or a combination of on-campus learning and workplace training. This may involve structured and contextualised learning, workshops and mentoring, as well as Recognition of Prior Learning.

Summer and Winter terms

Summer and Winter terms (outside of the normal semesters) give you flexibility. Spread out your study load to fit around your other commitments or finish your course sooner. 


We understand that not everyone comes to study with us from the same starting point. Some people bring with them relevant work experience or previous study. We think that should be recognised and rewarded.

  • A range of pathways to a degree, such as associate degrees and UniLink diplomas, are ideal for those with an ATAR that’s just below what’s required for direct entry.
  • Credit transfer allows you to receive credit for units of study completed at Swinburne or elsewhere as part of another course.
  • Recognition of Prior Learning acknowledges existing knowledge and experience and measures it against the qualification in which you are enrolled, meaning you may not need to complete all the units of your course.
  • Transition from the workforce into tertiary study, via a range of pathways into vocational education courses.