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Programs : Brochure

  • Locations: Sydney, Australia
  • Program Terms: Fall, Spring, Year
  • Budget Sheets: Fall, Spring
Fact Sheet:
Language of Instruction: English Language Prerequisite: No previous study
Minimum Cumulative GPA: 3.0 Credit Available For: College, SEAS, Wharton
Other Eligibility Requirements: Prior Coursework as Required by Subject Type of Program: Semester/Year Study Abroad
Housing Options: University Residence Hall/Apartment Application Deadline: Fall/Year: March 1, Spring: October 15
Program Description:

Program Snapshot

BNS LogoUniversity of New South Wales

Since its establishment in 1949 to teach and conduct research in scientific and technological disciplines (the only Australian university founded with this unique focus), the University of New South Wales (UNSW) has developed a strong reputation for high quality, student-focused education. Renowned for the quality of its graduates and its world class research, UNSW is ranked among the top 50 universities in the world. It is also a founding member of the Group of Eight, a coalition of Australia’s leading research-intensive universities, and one of the prestigious Universitas 21, an international network of leading research-intensive universities in 15 countries. Australia's first international university, UNSW has been enrolling international students since 1951 and enjoys the reputation of being Australia's leading international university with the largest on-campus enrollment of international students. UNSW's student population of almost 53,000 students includes over 14,000 international students from 130 different countries.

For additional information, visit the University of New South Wales website, and take a virtual tour.
The City of Sydney
With a population of 4.4 million (nearly 40% of whom were born overseas), Sydney is quite an international city blending European, Asian, Middle Eastern, and African influences. Sydney’s climate, multicultural population and attractive natural environment make it an ideal place to experience diverse culturally and culinary delights, and to get involved in a huge range of outdoor and indoor activities.
Did you know…?

The Sydney Harbour Bridge is the widest long-span bridge and tallest steel arch bridge in the world, and the 5th longest spanning-arch bridge according to Guinness World Records.

The Sydney Tower was the tallest structure when it opened in 1981, and still is the second tallest freestanding structure in all of Australia at 1,001 feet over the Sydney CBD.



The program at the University of New South Wales is for Engineering and Wharton students, and for College credit only.

Minimum GPA Requirement: 3.0

Other Requirements: Enrollment in this program can be limited and applications can be competitive for the fall semester. If more students apply than Penn will nominate, students will be selected based on their study abroad application, including their academic rationale for selecting UNSW, academic record, and faculty recommendations. Applicants are encouraged to identify an alternative study abroad program prior to the application deadline, in the event that they are not nominated by Penn.


Language of Instruction



A full course load at UNSW consists of four courses per semester. In rare cases Penn students may be approved to take five courses. Penn students must maintain a full course load while abroad and may only enroll in courses at the undergraduate level. Penn students have the freedom to select any course which is offered during their exchange semester as long as they meet the prerequisite requirements and if there are vacancies available.

Beginning Spring 2019, UNSW's calendar will change to reflect semester dates similar to that of Penn's semester dates. Students will participate in the Study Abroad Tailored Terms which have similar dates to Penn's Fall and Spring semesters. Students are required to take 4 courses (24 credits) during their semester abroad at UNSW. For the Spring semester (Tailored Term 1 - January to May), students will take an intensive course in January followed by a full course load of three courses in Term 1. For the Fall semester (Tailored Term 3 - August to December), students will take an intensive course in August followed by a full course load of 3 courses in Term 3. 

UNSW Academic Calendar
UNSW Course Catalog for Incoming Exchange Students
Grading Scale

As on all Penn Abroad programs, grades are recorded on the Penn transcript and are calculated in the cumulative grade point average.  The pass/fail option can be exercised according to the Penn on-campus policy of your home school. For more information on Penn Abroad’s academic policies, click here.

Grades are reported to Penn on the UNSW Scale and then converted to Penn grades according to the following grade equivalencies:
UNSW Grade Penn Grade
  >=85 A
82-84 A-
78-81 B+
74-77 B
69-73 B-
65-68 C+
61-64 C
57-60 C-
53-56 D+
50-52 D
<49 F

Special Features

BNS Special FeaturesOrientation Activities

All Penn students are required to attend the orientation activities organized by UNSW prior to the start of each semester. More information on UNSW’s orientation activities can be found on the Orientation Week website.

Internship Opportunities

For Wharton students, UNSW provides an internship course that has been approved for Wharton credit in the past. Students must understand that internships are not guaranteed and it is up to the individual company to decide whether they will accept a student as an intern; neither Penn nor UNSW are responsible for accepting students into internships. Notification of acceptance to an internship is usually made shortly before or after arrival at UNSW. The internship typically has students placed in a workplace for two full days each week, and also have additional academic contact hours with their supervisors. Students are assessed on workplace performance, a journal, a final research project, and an exit report. Students receive 6 UNSW credits for the internship, which is equal to 1 CU, and need to also be enrolled in a further 18 UNSW credits of coursework (3 CU equivalent) to make up the required full-time study load. Internships may only be awarded credit at Penn if an appropriate academic department at Penn approves it. Students interested in the internship program at UNSW will need to complete an additional application, which requires further material submissions.

BNS Special FeaturesVolunteering Opportunities

UNSW provides a number of opportunities for visiting students to participate in community volunteering. Further details can be found on the Community and Overseas Volunteering website.

Student Associations

Penn students studying at UNSW have access to a wide range of student activities and associations. Most activities on campus are run by two organizations: Arc@UnSW and UNSW Sport and Recreation.


Participants must be willing to live under local conditions for students.

Penn students have the option to live on campus at the University of New South Wales or find their own accommodation. It is strongly encouraged that students live on campus. If a student chooses to live off campus, please note that finding accommodation, payment, and any other costs or issues associated with the off campus housing will be the student's complete responsibility.  

BNS CampusStudents may apply for a place in one of the eight University-affiliated Colleges. These are not owned by the university but associated with it. University Colleges welcome students into a unique community and foster participation in college life. Since each College has its own unique culture and identity, students are encouraged to research the options before submitting an application. The Colleges provide both academic and spiritual support for resident students, as well as opportunities for extracurricular activities and for developing friendships with other students from all faculties. Educational programs of small-group tutorials are supported by facilities such as libraries, computer rooms, and music practice rooms. All Colleges provide three meals a day, seven days a week as well as a regular cleaning service. The charges for Colleges include utilities and the use of many facilities, as well as academic and personal support, opportunities for extracurricular involvement, and the chance to belong to a friendly community. Students interested in meeting Australians should give this option serious consideration as the colleges consist of a large Australian student population. Due to the limited number of spots available in the Colleges, admission is not guaranteed.

Additionally, the UNSW Study Abroad Office organizes on-campus housing in self-catered apartment-style accommodation. These apartments are in the brand-new University Terraces located on lower campus adjacent to the Fitness and Aquatic Center. At ground floor level, generous colonnades to the east and west and a spacious internal mall provide enhanced pedestrian connection to the campus and retail and service outlets, creating a vibrant entrance to the University. The options organized through Study Abroad in University Terraces include single studio rooms, single rooms in two-bedroom apartments, and shared rooms in large studios. There may also be other options if you apply directly.

Information regarding accommodation can be found here.

Cost and Finance

Penn Abroad Financial Policies

Students are charged Penn tuition and academic fees for all Penn Abroad programs.  Additional expenses will typically include items such as housing, visas, and airfare.  Please see the program budget sheets below for more information.  For more on Penn Abroad’s financial policies, click here.

Financial Aid and Study Abroad

In most cases, financial aid applies to Penn-approved programs.  Student Financial Services reviews program budget sheets each semester to determine how to appropriately adjust your aid package. For more information on how Financial Aid will work during your semester abroad, click here.

Budget Sheets


Scholarship Opportunities

Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program: Competition for awards for study abroad, for US citizen students who are receiving federal Pell Grant funding at a 2-year or 4-year college or university. 

Next Steps

For information on the Penn Abroad application process, click here.

To open an application or learn more about the program, please click here to schedule an appointment with a Penn Abroad Global Programs Manager.

For a student perspective on life and academics in Sydney, contact a Penn Abroad Past-Participant or Exchange Student.