Attending lectures at La Trobe University Bendigo


Our U3A has an agreement with La Trobe University at Bendigo which permits us to attend lecture series on a wide range of subjects without any fees. It is an opportunity to hear from some of their excellent staff, and perhaps to see things through the eyes of the younger students. Most subjects have one or two hours of lectures each week.

There is a great variety of stimulating subjects – literature, history, anthropology, planning, environmental studies, legal studies – the list goes on. Many courses make no assumptions about previous knowledge, and generally our life experiences are preparation enough. If you went to university in the past, this is a great way to pick up something new, or to see what’s changed.

Interested? The La Trobe website is not easy to navigate. Sign up for the course ‘La Trobe University Lectures’ through MyU3A and we will help you identify suitable subjects.

Semester one 2022 starts in the week beginning on 28 February, and finishes at the end of May. We enrol later for semester two subjects, which start in the week beginning 18 July.

With most lectures online we are permitted to sign up to subjects from any of the campuses, and will be given a login to the LMS system which enables us to follow the lectures and access readings, videos and other material specific to the subject.

There is a searchable database:

You then need to choose Subjects (not Courses) and the teaching period (choose semester 1).

If you make no other selection, you will be presented with an enormous list. Filter it by choosing the School, a discipline or a keyword.

Another helpful filter would be the level (choose Year level 1 – UG or Year level 2 – UG) as most postgraduate courses, and some level 3 undergraduate courses, are taught without standalone lectures.

You can click through for more details, and sometimes the suggested reading. You will also have a subject code that looks like this: ENG2NAA (an English course at second-year level, History of the Novel). You also need to ensure that ‘Lectures’ appears in the Learning Activities, as subjects taught only through tutorials, labs, practicals, etc. are not open to our participation.

Most lectures will be delivered ‘live’ at specific times and are then online. There will be a timetable online but its format is likely to be new for 2022, reflecting the increased online content of most subjects.

The deadline for choosing a subject is Wednesday 9 February to give the University time to check our choices and provide login information. Please do not contact anyone at the University; our choices will be sent to La Trobe by our link coordinator, Basil Theophilos, and all communication should go through him at the email address below, or through the U3A office.


The History of our arrangement with La Trobe

We are lucky to have an outstanding university at Bendigo, La Trobe, and luckier still as U3A Castlemaine members to be permitted to sit in on lectures at no charge. This great arrangement was set up around 2008 when two of our former presidents, Tom Comerford and Sally Kaptein, approached La Trobe. 

Under the agreement, our attendance should not generate extra work or costs for the university, so we are only entitled to attend lectures, but not tutorials, field visits or practicals, though some lecturers (and students) have welcomed us to those as well. Of course we don’t do any assessed work. This means we can just listen and do as much, or as little, of the recommended reading as we feel like.

The University has the right to exclude us from particular subjects where the class is already full, or for other reasons – though generally we have been able to attend subjects we’ve chosen.