How To Enroll at UPNG Open College


UPNG NCD Open Campus is one of the Regional Open Campus of the University of Papua New Guinea that serves students that are enrolled in the Open and Distance Learning (ODL) within NCD and the parts of central province. As such this article will discuss the NCD Open Campus and the overall ODL structure of the University of Papua New Guinea.

UPNG Open College Concept.

Prior to 2004, University of Papua New Guinea, used to run a program called the Adult Matriculation Studies. Students who finished Grade 10 or Grade 12 level of education in Papua New Guinea and were unable to secure a place in the higher institutions  to further their studies for various reasons, were accepted in the program and if completed successfully, they were than selected into the University programs. The Adult Matriculation program also catered for people who were already employed in the either public or private sector without a Diploma or Degree to complete the units in the program and if successful, they were eligible to apply for undergraduate courses at the University of Papua New Guinea.  As a result, the program was so popular with so many people able to get into tertiary institutions after completing the Matriculation Studies Program.

Then in 2004, UPNG Administration restructured the Adult Matriculation Studies Program and replaced it with UPNG Open College concept, thus UPNG became a dual mode university in Papua New Guinea. Dual mode means, UPNG was to offer normal face to face programs as well as programs through Open and Distance Learning (ODL). UPNG then developed programs and offered through Open and Distance Learning Mode, where students can enroll from anywhere in the country and study at their own pace and place without having to come to the UPNG main campus in Port Moresby.

UPNG Open College Programs

Under the UPNG Open College, arrangement, UPNG established a student and study center administrative support unit and that unit is what is called UPNG Open College. Under Open College, two categories of programs are offered through Open and Distance Learning. First is the Undergraduate programs  and second is the certificate programs. Currently, Open College manages a total of 21 university study centers around the country. Most of these study centers are located right within the provincial towns, making them easier for students to access them. Five are regarded as regional or Open Campuses, while rest are provincial study centers and others are known as franchise study centers.

UPNG Open College Study Centres.

Regional Campuses

  • Buka Open Campus-(Close to ABG Parliament House ground)
  • Kokopo Open Campus- (Right next to Kokopo Main Market)
  • Madang Open Campus-(Opposite Modilon Hospital )
  • Hagen Open Campus-(Infront of Hagen Park Secondary School main school enterance)
  • NCD Open Campus-(Opposite Main UPNG Waigani campus, formally known as Melaneisan Arts Faculty, near National Research Institute).

Provincial University Study Centres.

  • Enga-Back of Wabag Primary School-Wabag town.
  • SHP-Mendi town
  • Simbu-Kundiawa town
  • Kainantu-Kainantu town
  • Morobe-Next to PNG Power Office, top town Lae
  • Goroka Agricultural Training Institute (GATI)-(Franchise Center)
  • Kavieng-Kavieng town
  • Kimbe-Opposite the main shopping centre, towards the sea side
  • Kiunga
  • East Sepik

UPNG Open College Certificate Programs

UPNG Open College is permitted to run only certificate programs. As such, it offers the program called Certificate in Tertiary Community and Tertiary Studies (CTCS). It’s entry requirements are Grade 10 and Grade 12 certificate holders. It’s main purpose is to provide a pathway for students to complete the 11 units courses and apply for admission to any tertiary institutions including UPNG undergraduate programs. This program is being phased out from 2017 to 2020. The final students to complete the program will be in 2020. It is now being replaced with a more modular, study pathway orientated program called the Certificate in Tertiary Studies (CTS). Entry requirements is for Grade 12 students as well as those who have formal employment or self-employed and wanted to get into the main stream education.

Certificate 3 in Tertiary Studies (CTS):Course Structure.

There are seven (7)  Compulsory courses required in other to be awarded this certificate. These courses are as follows

  1. Basic English
  2. Advanced English
  3. Basic Mathematics
  4. Advanced Mathematics
  5. Basic Computer Skills
  6. Life Skills
  7. Governance and Sustainable Development

Entry requirement is Grade 12  Certificate holders with C Grades and above in core Grade 12 subjects as per their certificate. This certificate can be completed in 1 year.

Certificate 4 Programs: More Academic Streams Focus.

Currently, Open College is offers Certificate Level 4 Programs which are more focus towards a students future study or career pathways.

  • Certificate 4 In Science Studies (CSS)
  • Certificate 4 In Social Science Studies (CSSS)
  • Certificate 4 In Business Management (CBMS)

Entry requirements are Grade 12 Certificate or completion of the Certificate 3.

UPNG Open College Diploma/Degree Programs

UPNG Open College also administers the undergraduate programs offered through Open and Distance Learning (ODL) mode by the UPNG Academic Schools. UPNG currently has the following academic schools:

  1. School of Natural and Physical Sciences (SNPS)
  2. School of Humanities & Social Sciences (SHSS)
  3. School Business and Public Policy (SBPP)
  4. School of Medical Health Sciences (SMHS)
  5. School of Law (SOL)

The schools are responsible for accepting student applications, do the screening and come up with the acceptance list. Then the acceptance list given to Open College to register the students and provide administrative support which includes the following;

  • Registration
  • Distribution of learning materials
  • Collection of assignments sending them the school for marking
  • Supervision of mentoring sessions
  • Administration of Final Examination on behalf of the schools
  • Submission of completed Examination to schools for marking
  • Dissemination of final examination results/grades to students in the form of transcripts.

It is important to note that Open College, does not do selection and admission of new students into any Undergraduate Programs and does not assess the student’s formative and summative assessment tasks and award the grading. These activities exclusive belong to the school under which the particular undergraduate program is offered. Open college’s role and activities is restrictive to the support activities as listed above.

Current Undergraduate Programs Offered Under ODL Mode.

  1. Science Foundation Year ( 1st Year only)-SNPS
  2. Business Management Foundation Year (1st Year only)-SBPP
  3. Diploma in Accounting -SBPP
  4. Diploma in Business Management-SBPP
  5. Bachelors in Accounting-SBPP
  6. Bachelor of Arts-Foundation Year (1st Year)-SHSS
  7. Bachelor of Arts-Professional Studies In Education.

School of Law and Medical Sciences doesn’t have any of their programs offered via Open College under ODL mode as yet at the time of this post.

UPNG Open College Degree/Diploma Academic Calendar

Prior to 2017, all undergraduate programs offered through Open and Distance Learning (ODL) mode through UPNG Open College follow the internal (on campus) academic calendar. This meant that Admission and Registration and Final Examination are done same time as the on- campus students. This arrangement wasn’t in favor of the ODL students scattered all over the country and also had clashes in the administrative tasks, particularly with NCD Open Campus students as they share the same Examination Venues and etc.

Therefore, from 2017 and upwards, Open College admission and registration starts in March and second semester Final Examinations are done in November. Thus, the academic calendar activities for ODL mode of study through Open College is different from the internal or on campus activities. Particularly Registration and Final Examinations.

Admission into Undergraduate Program under ODL Mode of Study at UPNG.

From 2004 up to 2017, Admission to the Undergraduate students were done together with the National Grade 12 School Leavers selection. Each of schools go through students’ choices on SLF and selection both for Internal/On Campus students and ODL mode as well. This was possible because the selection and admission was done by the respective Higher Learning institutions (HEIs) which includes the Universities and Colleges. So, in the case of UPNG, the schools do two selection list, one for Internal or On Campus and another for Open and Distance Learning (ODL).

From 2018 and upwards, this arrangement has changed. This is due to the Department of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology (DHERST) introducing the National Online Selection (NAOS), whereby, all the Grade 12 SLFs selection is done electronically and not by the HEIs. This means that UPNG will have to accept separate applications for students who wish to study through Open and Distance Learning (ODL) if they missed out on the DHERST online selection system.

Therefore, Application for ODL mode is open until the 2nd Week of February each year. This gives ample time for Grade 12 students to apply because by February they should have their Grade 12 Certificate as well as confirmation of their selection by DHERST online selection system.

The University of Papua New Guinea also accepts applications from its Online Application From which it calls for Non-School Leavers Application. The Online-Application Form normally closes in July of each year for the following year. A lot of Grade  12 that are still in school when the Online Application closes, have to use the January to February gap to apply.

How to Apply for ODL Programs at UPNG Open College

For those Grade 12 Certificate holders who have completed Grade 12 some years ago can apply through the UPNG Online Application which is normally opens around June to July of each year for the following year. The link is available during the application period on the UPNG website

For those students who have just completed Year 12 in previous year, they can apply through the respective Study Centers from January to first week of February in the beginning of the year.