We've changed the way we teach our courses, so that you experience a first year like no other - focused on you and your success.

Achieve the early wins and confidence that set you up for a successful university experience, with more one-on-one time with educators, and multiple levels of support.

 Students in an informal study environment.

Time for a change

For over 100 years, degrees have been taught more or less the same way around Australia and abroad.

However, times have changed, and so have industry and employer needs. Students are expected to graduate with practical, real-world applicable skills, able to handle the stresses that come with everyday working life.

That’s why we’ve developed the First Year Model – with your success in mind.

From 2018, the first year of all bachelor degrees taught at our Melbourne campuses will see units delivered in a more focused way, one at a time. You'll have more one-on-one time with your educators as you complete each unit, and a significantly more immersive, collaborative and enriching learning experience.

The model is designed to ease your transition into university life. It not only develops your skills as a confident and independent learner, but also sets you up for success for the rest of your degree and beyond.


“Being able to focus on one course at a time allows students to learn quickly and effectively. I am always surprised at how much it is possible to learn in such a brief period, but this is only possible because of the immersive learning environment. The professors are only teaching one class at a time, which means they are focused on providing a quality course. This means they have a lot of one on one time with students.”

Matilda Taylor, student, Quest University, Canada, where teaching for all courses is in the ‘block’ format.

Our First Year Model: How it works

The First Year Model is an Australian-first. It applies to students at our Melbourne campuses, either commencing the first year of a bachelor degree in 2018 or currently enrolled and with outstanding first-year units to complete.

You'll study in short bursts, called blocks.

Each block focuses on one unit (subject) and is only four weeks long, with up to four days between blocks to relax and prepare for the next.

We break the year up into ten 4-week blocks: two semesters of four blocks each, plus two optional blocks over winter and summer. If you miss a unit or need to repeat one, you can catch up over the winter and summer blocks!

The first unit you study is set. It's a great introduction to your course that helps build the academic skills you'll need to succeed. If you start your course a bit late, the unit is also offered in block two.

The other seven units you'll need to take in first year can then be studied in any order for most courses, to suit your work and life commitments.

Each unit will have around three 2-3 hour, face-to-face teaching sessions per week.

Teaching sessions will be scheduled over three days, in multiple combinations of days and times (morning, afternoon and evening), allowing you to choose the combination that best suits you.

Units with labs and professional experience (pracs) have additional teaching hours, and where relevant, will be scheduled on the same days as teaching sessions.

Teaching sessions will not run on more than two consecutive days, so you will have one gap day between teaching sessions and two gap days each week.

Part-time study

The First Year Model provides a more predictable and flexible timetable.

Depending on how you schedule your units, you may have multiple blocks free, giving you more time to devote to the other important commitments in your life.

With the additional winter and summer blocks, you may even find that you can increase your study load and complete your degree sooner!

We’ve changed the way we assess you so that you can achieve your best through early and ongoing feedback.

Assessments have been redesigned for quicker completion within each four-week block, with most of your work completed in class.

The type of assessment will depend on the unit you are taking, and may include:

  • hands-on activities or smaller assessment tasks (conducted in the classroom or online)
  • group presentations
  • a final product or assessment task at the end of your unit.

You’ll have a great sense of how you’re progressing in your course, with final grades for units available soon after a block finishes – much more satisfying than waiting all semester!

All students will have access to a range of integrated complementary activities that build on what you learn in face-to-face teaching sessions.

Designed to enrich your learning experience, our program of activities focuses on:

  • enhancing career outcomes
  • building leadership skills
  • exploring entrepreneurship opportunities
  • strengthening bonds with your community
  • getting to know more like-minded individuals.

Activities are run through the Learning Hub and are typically held face-to-face or online where possible.

When you successfully complete your first year, you'll move onto the second year of your course. Second year runs in the traditional university model, where full-time students take up to four units at the same time.

If you decide that your course no longer interests you, we'll give you the opportunity and support you need to move into a different course in your second year that more closely matches your goals.

“The block program allows students to delve into detail with each subject and to move from subject to subject with great efficiency. Due to the smaller classes students are simply more engaged and are able to ask question face to face, which increases understanding of the material being covered. This simply cannot be achieved within other universities with a traditional learning style.”

Farid Rajkotia Zaheer, student, Quest University, Canada, where teaching for all courses is in the ‘block’ format.

Benefits of the First Year Model

Our revolutionary First Year Model is designed with your needs in mind.

Flexibility around your life

Choose to attend morning, afternoon or evening classes three days a week, so you can plan your semester around work and other commitments. You can even take time off to travel and still finish your first year on schedule by making up missed units over winter or summer blocks.

More one-on-one time

Students learn best with more access to their teachers. Benefit from greater connections with fellow students and one-on-one support from lecturers who'll know your name.

Less stress, more success

Find your feet at uni and really get to know your stuff! You'll immerse yourself in one unit before moving on to the next. It's a more focused approach to learning and assessment.

Confidence through collaboration

Our First Year Model focuses on interactive learning and group work. You'll feel confident to share ideas, debate concepts and explore learning opportunities.

Valuable lifelong learning

Problem-based, hands-on learning gives you the opportunity to develop valuable communication and collaboration skills to succeed at VU and in the workplace.

More time to find your feet

For our international students, the First Year Model offers more time to become familiar with a new country, culture and university. Along with more opportunities to connect with teachers and to make new friends, you’ll have the best possible start at VU.

 Sophie Webb, studied on exchange in Sweden.

“The block mode of study allowed me to focus more effectively, eliminated some of the stresses that come with juggling multiple units [and] gave me a greater opportunity to really master each unit, and retain more of its content.”

Sophie Webb, Bachelor of Business, Exchange student at VU’s international partner Jönköping International Business School, Sweden.

Find out more

While the VU First Year Model is an Australian first, several universities in the UK, North America and Scandinavia already use this method, and it works extremely well.

Contact us to find out more about the model: firstyear.feedback@vu.edu.au

Phone: 1300 VIC UNI (or 1300 842 864)

Find a course and get started.