BlogUniversityEssential Vocab to Help You Navigate Your Uni Open Day

Essential Vocab to Help You Navigate Your Uni Open Day

Your Uni Open Day can seem almost impossible to understand if you have no idea what all these new terms mean.

That was exactly what I thought when I started university. It’s overwhelming – there are new people, new concepts, new ways of doing things and a thousand different ways to get you confused.

If you’re heading to a Uni Open Day this weekend, one thing that is bound to confuse you when you’re there is the vocab and language that universities and tertiary institutions use when pitching things to you.

‘What’s a unit?’, ‘What’s the difference between a term and a semester?’, ‘What’s an Undergraduate degree’, and ‘What’s a tutorial?’

Here, you’ll get a full list of terms that you’ll need to tackle your Uni Open Day head on!

Frequently Used ‘Uni Lingo’ at a Uni Open Day

Alternative pathwaysAlternative pathways offer another avenue for entry intoMacquarie for students who do not meet the standard entry requirements.
Articulated awardsAn approved set of postgraduate awards which are 'nested' and permit full credit transfer from one complete award in the set to one other award in the set. The set of awards are approved by Academic Senate and recorded in the Schedule of Postgraduate Articulated Award Sets.
Assumed knowledgeSome 100-level units, while not having prerequisites, assume that students have certain knowledge and skills from previous study (such as the HSC). This information is listed in the UAC Guide each year.
Attendance modeRefers to whether a program of study offers units internally (on campus) or externally (by distance).
AwardThe qualification resulting from the satisfactory completion of a specific program of study. Also known as: award course, qualification or degree
Bachelor degreeThe term commonly used to describe the award issued by all higher education institutions on completion of a set program of undergraduate units that confirms successful completion.
Census dateThis is the date by which a student must discontinue their enrolment if they do not wish to be liable for HECS charges or tuition fees for a unit. If a student remains enrolled after the census date, they will be liable for all associated HECS charges or tuition fees
Combined degreeA recognised combination of two programs which are studied at the same time. At least one of the programs must be a bachelor degree. Units from one may be recognised as electives towards the other and students may elect to qualify and graduate with the bachelor degree component first (if they meet requirements) and then continue studying the remaining component of their program.
CorequisiteA corequisite is a unit of study which has to be completed prior to or concurrently with another. Prerequisites and corequisites are listed in the schedule of undergraduate units and the schedule of postgraduate units in the handbook.
CourseAn unofficial term for program of study.
Credit pointEach unit is worth a specified number of credit points. The credit point value of a unit reflects the amount of work required in the unit. Each credit point in a session-long unit would indicate that you should expect to spend about three hours each week on that unit (including class contact hours).
DegreeA degree is the major qualification awarded by a university. It is awarded either for successful work at undergraduate (bachelor degree) or postgraduate (higher degree) level, or as an honorary recognition (honorary degree) of achievement.
DisciplineA discipline is a subject area eg English, ancient history, biology.
Double degreeA recognised combination of two programs which allow students to qualify for two degrees with fewer credit points and in less time than it would take to complete each separately.
Double majorIn addition to completing the required qualifying major for a degree, it may be possible for students to complete the requirements of a second major. A second major may be taken from the approved majors offered by any of the faculties.
ElectivesUnits that students can decide to enrol in if they have the appropriate prerequisite.
EnrolmentThis is where a student informs the University which units they want to study in a particular study period (eg Session 1, Session 2).
ExternalA mode of offering which indicates that classes and learning activities are undertaken off campus. Supplementary on-campus sessions may be required.
FEE-HELPFEE-HELP is a loan scheme that assists eligible students to pay their tuition fees. FEE-HELP can cover all or part of a student's tuition fees.
Foundation unitA 100-level unit designed to introduce students to the fundamental knowledge of a discipline. These units are specified in programs of study where relevant.
Full-time studentA student who is enrolled in units in an academic year which comprise at least 0.75 of an Equivalent Full-Time Study Load for the course for which they are admitted
GradeThis is the statement of a student's overall performance in meeting the learning outcomes of a unit of study. Examples include High Distinction (HD); Distinction (D); Credit (Cr); Pass (P); Fail (F).
HonoursAn honours year is completed at the conclusion of a bachelor degree program. From 2013, the Master of Research will replace most honours degrees as the pathway to higher degree research. A high level of achievement is necessary before completing an honours year or the Master of Research.
InternalA mode of offering which indicates that classes (eg lectures, tutorials) are conducted on campus. A unit may be offered as a day offering (classes between 8am and 6pm) or an evening offering (classes between 6pm and 10pm).
LectureA session where an academic presents to students enrolled in a unit of study, generally in a lecture theatre.
MajorA structured sequence of undergraduate units which is approved by the University which becomes the main focus of your course.
Mature ageA student who is 21 years old or over on 1 March of the academic year they commence their study.
MinorA structured group of units, which is approved by the University. All minors must contain at least six credit points of study at 200 level or above, and is less than a major.
Mode of offeringThe mode of offering for a unit indicates whether it is a day, evening, or distance education (external) unit.
Non-awardEnrolment in a unit of study without being currently enrolled for an award.
On-campus sessionAn on-campus session is a lecture, tutorial or block practical session held on the University campus for students who are studying in distance education (external) mode.
Part-time studentA student who is enrolled in units in an academic year which comprise less than 0.75 of an Equivalent Full-Time Student Load for the course for which they are admitted.
Pass degreeA pass degree is a bachelor degree or a master degree, when an honours program has not been undertaken.
PostgraduateA category of coursework programs offered by the University. This category comprises programs at AQF Level 8 and above, including Graduate Certificates, Graduate Diplomas, Masters degrees (coursework) and Masters degrees (extended).
PracticalPractical work or practical sessions are a component of some units (and programs) that require laboratory, in the field or hands-on techniques.
PrerequisiteA prerequisite is a statement of the required knowledge or conditions that must be satisfied before enrolment in a particular unit of study is permitted.
Program of studyThe minimum sequence of required study which would enable a student to qualify for an award, including both the general requirements of a specific award and the specific requirements of a qualifying major or specialisation where applicable.
Session or SemesterA division of the academic year. Session 1 is the first division of the academic year, generally occurring between February and June. Session 2 is the second division of the academic year, generally occurring between August and November. Session 3 is the third division of the academic year, generally occurring between December and February.
Study modeRefers to how a program of study may be studied ie full-time and/or part-time.
TranscriptAn abbreviation of academic transcript.
TutorialA session with a small group of students who meet with an academic to discuss topics within a unit of study.
UndergraduateA category of coursework programs offered by the University. This category comprises programs at AQF Levels 5, 6 and 7, including Diplomas, Associate Degrees and Bachelor degrees.
Unit codeAn individual code that has been allotted to each unit of study.
UnitsThe units of study (also known as subjects) comprising a program of study, each worth a fixed number of credit points. They are also known as 'Subjects' or 'Units of study'.

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Elizabeth Goh isn’t a fan of writing about herself in third-person, even if she loves writing. Elizabeth decided she didn’t get enough English, History or Legal Studies at Abbotsleigh School for her own HSC in 2010 so she came back to help others survive it with Art of Smart Education. She’s since done a mish-mash of things with her life which includes studying a Bachelor of Arts (Politics and International Relations) with a Bachelor of Laws at Macquarie University, working for NSW Parliament, and refurbishing 80-year-old typewriters.


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