The University of Wollongong Council has used executive powers to give the final tick of approval for its Ramsay Centre-funded Western Civilisation degree.
UOW in the process has ignored legal action from the academics' union to ensure the controversial degree starts next year.
The National Tertiary Education Union expressed dismay at the move which "completely blindsided and shocked" UOW branch president Georgine Clarsen.
"As far as I'm aware this is entirely unprecedented in the university sector in Australia," Ms Clarsen said.
NTEU national president Dr Alison Barnes said this decision was another example of the university not following its normal procedures in approving new courses.
"It's the reason that NTEU initiated court action against the university in the first place," Dr Barnes said.
"We will consider the impact on the NTEU's legal case and decide our next steps as soon as we are in a position to do so."
NTEU had launched a legal challenge to the so-called fast track process used by the university's vice chancellor to set up the degree, which has been opposed by many of the institution's academics.
An act of Parliament gives the University Council power to supersede those processes, and it used that authority late last week to "remove any uncertainty" about the degree's commencement next year.
The move rendered any legal action against the vice chancellor's actions redundant.
UOW chancellor Jillian Broadbent said the council respected the university's processes but "particular prevailing circumstances" prompted it to use its legislative powers to approve the degree.
Those circumstances included the need to set up the degree - including hiring teaching staff - within the next six months.
"By approving the degree the council has acted in the best interests of the university," the chancellor said in a statement.
"It will enable progress to continue despite any continuing legal challenge to the Vice-Chancellor's earlier approval decision.
"The council remains prepared to continue with its legal defence of the vice-chancellor's exercise of his delegated authority if required, but we hope that will not be necessary given the changed circumstances."
UOW is marketing the course as a "degree for the intellectually fearless", with scholarships of $30,000 and an international airfare to study abroad during the three-year undergraduate degree.