Skip to main content

Glossary

Get familiar with common terms used at the University.

Jump to  A  |  B  |  C  |  D  |  E  |  F  |  G  |  H  |  I  |  L  |  M  |  N  |  O  |  P  |  R  |  S  |  T  |  U  |  W  |  0-9

A

Academic record

An official record of your study at the University. This includes your academic transcript and testamur.

Advanced coursework

Advanced coursework is undertaken in the fourth year of a combined Bachelor of Advanced Studies. It provides you with further experience and knowledge of your field to better prepare you for your career.

Alumni

Once you graduate with a degree from the University you become a member of our alumni community. ‘Alumni’ is the plural form, referring to more than one former student.

Appeal

You may lodge an appeal against an academic or disciplinary decision made by the University. An academic decision is one that affects your academic assessment or progression within your award course. Disciplinary decisions are non-academic decisions, including the result of a misconduct investigation.

Applicant

You are an applicant when you are in the process of applying to an award course at the University of Sydney, or have received an offer but haven't yet accepted (this includes deferred offers).

Assessment

The process of measuring your performance in a unit of study. Assessment tasks can include written or practical examinations, assignments, performances, portfolios, designs or constructions.

Assumed knowledge

For some courses or units of study, we assume you have reached a certain level of knowledge or have passed a relevant subject – this is called assumed knowledge. It often refers to a Higher School Certificate (HSC) subject, but equivalent subjects in other recognised Year 12 qualifications will be accepted (see also ‘prerequisite’).

Attendance

You must meet a unit of study’s attendance requirements to continue taking the unit. Attendance requirements vary by unit of study and are outlined in your handbook or the unit of study outline.

Australia Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR)

The ATAR is a ranking between 0 and 99.95 that is allocated to all students who complete an Australian Year 12 (secondary school) qualification. It is a measure of the student’s overall academic achievement relative to other students who have undertaken an Australian Year 12 qualification. If you have completed another recognised secondary qualification your results will be translated to an ATAR equivalent to determine whether you have met the standard required for admission.

Award course

A course approved by the University’s governing bodies that leads to a qualification such as a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree, or the award of a diploma or certificate.

Back to top

B

Bridging course

Courses run over several days, usually in February, to help undergraduate students prepare for university-level science or mathematics.

Bursary

A type of scholarship awarded on the basis of financial need, designed to help cover essential living and study expenses.

Back to top

C

Candidature

The period during which you are eligible to be enrolled at the University. It commences when you accept your offer.

Capstone

A substantial, compulsory project that consolidates your learning and demonstrates that you have acquired the necessary skills and knowledge during your studies. You usually complete it during the final year of your course.

Census date

The date when your enrolment in a unit of study becomes final. This means the unit of study will appear on your transcript and you are liable to pay fees. Census dates are listed on the University website.

Certificate of current enrolment

A document that demonstrates your current enrolment at the University.

Combined degree

When you complete degrees from two different faculties or schools side by side. For example, if you complete a combined Arts/Law course, you will be awarded a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Laws. You can complete two degrees in less time than if you studied them separately.

Commonwealth assistance form

An Australian Government form that you need to complete before the relevant census date if you want to enrol in a Commonwealth supported place or apply for a HELP loan.

Commonwealth assistance notice (CAN)

A document provided to you after census date which outlines important information about your enrolment, including any HELP debt incurred and student contributions paid.

Commonwealth supported place

The Australian Government subsidises your course fees and you pay the remainder as a student contribution.

Completion letter

A document that proves completion of your qualification. It is available once your eligibility to graduate has been confirmed.

Conferral

When you are awarded your award course at the University. Award courses are conferred either at a graduation ceremony or in absentia.

Continuing enrolment

When you have been currently enrolled, or are returning to study after an approved suspension, and proceed to re-enrol in the next study session.

Core unit

A compulsory unit of study that you need to complete to be awarded a particular degree.

Corequisite

A unit of study that you must complete before, or at the same time as another unit of study.

Course

A planned and structured sequence of learning and teaching that allows you to gain knowledge, skills and understanding.

Course transfer

When you change from one course to another, either within the University of Sydney or between institutions. See Transfer (internal)/Transfer (external).

Coursework student

When you are enrolled in an undergraduate or postgraduate coursework award course at the University (includes the honours year of a bachelor's degree).

Credit for previous study

The recognition of previous studies, either at the University of Sydney or another institution, that can be granted as specific or non-specific credit towards your current course. Credit for previous study is also called 'advanced standing' or 'transfer credit'. Also, see 'recognition of prior learning'.

Credit point

A credit point is the value that each unit of study (single subject) contributes towards the completion requirements for your course.

CRICOS

The education providers and the courses they offer on a full-time basis to international students need to be registered with the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS). For more information, visit the Australian Government's CRICOS website.

Back to top

D

Dalyell Scholar

The Dalyell Scholars program is for high-achieving students.

Deferral (also called ‘deferment’)

When you receive an offer of admission to an award course at the University of Sydney, you may be able to postpone your offer for up to one year.

Department

The academic unit responsible for teaching and examining your unit of study. It may also be called a school, centre or unit within the University.

Degree

A bachelor's, honours, master's or PhD qualification (does not include graduate diploma or graduate certificate).

Department

The academic unit responsible for teaching and examining your unit of study. It may also be called a school, centre or unit within the University.

Departmental permission

Some units of study require departmental permission to enrol. There are several reasons for this, for example it might be an internship where a limited number of places are available. You will be prompted to apply for permission when you enrol.

Discipline

An intellectual community based on an internationally recognised field of inquiry. For example, the discipline of Business Law within the University of Sydney Business School.

Discontinuation (course)

When you withdraw from your award course. Discontinuation means you are no longer admitted to candidature and cease to be a student at the University.

Discontinuation (unit of study)

When you withdraw from an individual unit of study. Any unit of study discontinued before the census date will not appear on your transcript.

Domestic student

You are a domestic student if you are an Australian or New Zealand citizen (including dual citizens), a permanent resident of Australia or hold a permanent Australian humanitarian visa.

Double degree

When you complete two separate qualifications in succession. In these programs, you commence in one degree then transfer to the second degree to complete the remainder of your studies (if you meet certain criteria). For example, you can undertake an undergraduate degree followed by a specific postgraduate program, such as the Bachelor of Science and Master of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Downgrade

When you exit your course early and graduate with a lower-level award.

Back to top

E

Elective unit

An elective unit of study is one that can be taken outside of a major or minor. Electives allow you to explore interests outside of your primary field(s) of study.

Electronic Confirmation of Enrolment (eCoE)

A document issued to international students by the University and used in the application for a student visa. If you need to extend your student visa, you should request an extension eCoE.

Embedded program

A sequence of linked courses in very similar academic or professional areas that allows you to:

  • complete one course then progress to a higher-level course
  • earn credit points from units of study that can be counted towards another linked course.

For instance, the Graduate Certificate in Commerce is embedded in the Master of Commerce.

Enrolment

The process that secures your place in a course at the University. It includes accepting the University's conditions of being a student and selecting units of study for the coming semester or year. For research students, the process involves selecting your program of research to be undertaken and start date.

Equivalent full-time student load (EFTSL)

A measure representing the annual study load that you would undertake in a course on a full-time basis.

Examination

A form of assessment, an examination is a formal test that assesses your knowledge and ability in a particular area.

Exchange

Through the international exchange program, students can study at a partner universities overseas. As an outbound exchange student, you remain enrolled at the University of Sydney and continue to pay your usual tuition fees and other student fees while studying part of your degree overseas. As an inbound exchange student, you will come to the University of Sydney and remain enrolled at your home institution.

Exclusion

You may be excluded from a unit of study, award course or faculty or school for unsatisfactory academic progress. You will first be asked to 'show good cause' for why you should be allowed to re-enrol. If you do not provide an explanation, or your explanation is unsatisfactory, you will be excluded. If you are excluded from your award course, this means you are no longer admitted to candidature and cease being a student. You may apply to the faculty or school for permission to re-enrol after a specified time period (usually four semesters).

Expulsion

Your candidature may be terminated as the result of serious disciplinary action or misconduct at the University. Expulsion means that you will not receive results, be allowed to graduate or re-enrol in any course at the University.

Back to top

F

Faculty

The primary academic grouping within the University, made up of broad complementary disciplinary groups, in which teaching and research are delivered. Faculties are further organised into narrower groups (ie, schools and departments or disciplines) to support collaboration in research and teaching.

Fees

An amount of money that you are required to pay for tuition and/or student services and amenities. Tuition fees are calculated based on your residency status, your year of study and the course or units of study you are enrolled in.

Financial liability

Your financial responsibility for tuition fees or student contributions. This includes when you defer payment using a HELP loan.

Full-time study

This involves completing between 18 and 24 credit points per semester. To complete your degree according to the standard timetable, you need to complete 24 credit points per semester.

Back to top

G

Grade

The outcome you receive for a unit of study based on the assessments completed. Your grades are displayed on your academic transcript as a result code.

Graduand

A person who has completed the requirements for their award course but the award has not yet been conferred at a graduation ceremony.

Graduate

A person who has completed the requirements for their award course and had the award conferred on them at a graduation ceremony.

Graduate-entry course

A bachelor’s (undergraduate) or master’s (postgraduate) course that requires you to have completed a particular undergraduate course first, as a prerequisite for entry.

Graduation

The formal conferring of awards either at a ceremony or in absentia (if you cannot attend a ceremony).

Back to top

H

Higher degree by research (HDR) student

You are considered a HDR or ‘research’ student when enrolled in a postgraduate research course. This means at least two thirds of the overall course requirements involve undertaking supervised research over a set time period and lead to the production of a thesis or other piece of written or creative work.

Honours

Some degrees may be completed 'with honours'. Honours differs depending on the award course, and usually invloves the completion of a large project and some advanced-level coursework, additional work in the later years of the course, or high-level achievement over all years of the course.

Back to top

I

International student

You are an international student if you are not an Australian or New Zealand citizen (or dual citizen of Australia or New Zealand), a permanent resident of Australia or a holder of a permanent Australian humanitarian visa. To enrol at university, international students need to hold an appropriate visa that allows them to study in Australia.

Institute

Conducts research on specific topics. The University decided that agriculture discipline teaching occurs through the School of Life and Environmental Sciences in the Faculty of Science, and that the multidisciplinary agriculture research endeavour is best delivered through a focused institute.

Back to top

L

Lapse of Candidature

This occurs when you do not enrol by the last census date for enrolment and have not formally discontinued or received approval to suspend your enrolment. As a result you are no longer considered a student. To enrol again you need to be re-admitted by the faculty or school, or submit a new application for admission.

Leave of Absence

As a research student, you may request a leave of absence from your course for less than one research period.

Lecture

A formal presentation to a large group of students by a lecturer.

Back to top

M

Major

A defined sequence of units of study that deepens your experience in a field of study. Majors are recorded on your academic transcript. Requirements for majors are outlined in your handbook.

Mid-semester break

There are three Universities Australia common vacation weeks each year, in which classes are not taught. These occur in the middle of Semester 1 and 2, and between those semesters.

Minor

A defined sequence of units of study that develops your expertise in a field of study. All liberal studies degrees (Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Commerce) and the specialist degree Bachelor of Economics now require you to complete a minor or a second major.

Back to top

N

Non-award course

Studies undertaken that do not lead to an award from the University. Non-award courses include professional development programs.

Non-specific (unspecified) credit

You may be granted credit for a certain number of credit points at a particular level. These credit points may be allocated to a particular subject area but not to a specific unit of study.

Back to top

O

Open Learning Environment

The Open Learning Environment provides subjects – online modules and workshop-supported courses – that you can complete at your own convenience and supplement with workshops and master classes. Depending on your degree, you may be able to earn credit points for these subjects.

Orientation

Orientation sessions held before the start of each semester give you:

  • essential and valuable information about University services and resources
  • opportunities to meet students and staff, enjoy social activities and discover student organisations and sporting facilities.

Back to top

P

Part-time study

Domestic students may be allowed to complete some courses on a part-time basis – completing less than the minimum full-time study load of 18 credit points per semester.

Personal timetable

A weekly schedule of classes for your enrolled units of study. It lists the location, time and duration of your classes.

Postgraduate

A course leading to the award of a graduate certificate, graduate diploma, master's degree or doctorate. A postgraduate award usually requires previous completion of a relevant undergraduate (bachelor's) degree or diploma. It can also refer to a student studying a postgraduate course.

Prerequisite

A unit of study that you need to successfully complete before attempting another unit of study.

Program

A combination of units of study that develops expertise across several disciplines or a professional or specialist field. It includes at least one recognised major in a field of study. Programs are larger volumes of study – in a specified area – than a 48 credit point major. They are also designed to ensure that industry or employment needs are met and are recorded on your student transcript.

Progression

If you are enrolled in an award course, you need to meet the progression requirements for that course. This means you need to satisfy all course requirements and faculty rules within the maximum completion time allowed. Ongoing unsatisfactory progression may lead to exclusion by the faculty or school.

Prohibition

Prohibition or prohibited combinations of units of study occur when two or more units contain a significant overlap of content. Enrolment in any one such unit prohibits your enrolment in the other units identified as prohibited.

Back to top

R

Re-allocate units

The units of study you select need to be allocated to a specific unit collection. If you want to change a unit of study to a different unit collection or change your major/specialisation, you must reallocate your units.

Re-enrolment

The process that current students undertake at the end of each year to maintain their place in their course. This includes accepting the University's conditions of studying and enrolling in units of study for the following academic year.

Recognition of prior learning

If you have completed previous studies in a related area or have relevant work experience, you can apply to have this credited towards your studies at the University. This may reduce your study load or the time it takes to complete your course.

Reduced Volume of Learning (RVL)

Reduced Volume of Learning provides recognition for previous study and/or relevant work experience. The number of credit points you need to complete for your award course is reduced.

Research Period

If you are a research student, the duration of your candidature is measured in research periods. There are four research periods per year - approximately two per semester.

Research Training Program (RTP)

An Australian Government scheme offers eligible research students an exemption from paying a student fee contribution towards their research-based course.

Results notice

Once results have been released, you can view your results notice online through Sydney Student. This unofficial document shows the results for each of your units of study.

Back to top

S

Sanction

A restriction or penalty that may be applied, if, for example, you do not pay your fees on time. The sanction will limit your access to University resources and processes (such as accessing results or graduating).

Scholarship

A form of support, usually financial, provided to assist in your continued education. Scholarships are usually granted on the basis of academic achievement and/or financial need.

School (within a faculty)

An academic unit where staff have a common disciplinary and/or inter-disciplinary research and teaching responsibility. Some faculties have become schools within a faculty to increase the potential for those schools to work together in teaching and research (see University school below).

Semester

An academic teaching period; about 16 weeks in duration. There are two semesters each year and they usually run from late February to June, and July to November.

Session

A unit of study will run over a set period of time known as a session. A session often relates to semesters, however can vary in length depending on the teaching period of the unit (for example, Summer School).

Show good cause

If you have not met the progression requirements of your course, your faculty or school may request that you 'show good cause' for why you should be allowed to re-enrol. If you can successfully show good cause, you will be allowed to remain in your award course. If you cannot, you may be excluded for a defined period of time. You have the right to appeal this decision.

Simple extension

An informal arrangement made with your unit of study coordinator to permit late submission of work.

Special arrangement

An arrangement that is made if an essential commitment affects your ability to complete an assessment.

Special consideration

You may apply for special consideration if you suffer from an illness, injury or misadventure that significantly affects your performance in an assessment item (or multiple assessment items). This will be taken into account when assessing your performance. If consideration is not granted, you have the right to appeal this decision.

Special permission

If you do not have the required prerequisite or corequisite to enrol in a unit of study, you may apply to your faculty or school for special permission to enrol.

Specialisation

The disciplinary or professional expertise developed for a profession or career in a professional or specialist bachelor's degree or postgraduate degree.

Specific credit

When you have previously studied a unit of study - at another institution - that is an exact equivalent to a unit of study at the University of Sydney, you will be granted specific credit for that unit. This means you will not need to complete the unit here.

Statutory declaration

A statutory declaration is a signed, written statement that allows a person to declare something to be true in the presence of an authorised witness – usually a Justice of the Peace, a lawyer or a notary public. If you submit a statutory declaration it should include:

  • your full name
  • a statement about what you are declaring, and relevant details.

You can find more information about statutory declarations, or download a NSW statutory declaration form on the NSW Department of Justice website.

Stream

A version of a course that you apply for separately, but it is linked to a common or parent course by components and rules. You need to complete a core program of study in addition to a set of units of study for that particular stream, which appears on your testamur with the award course name. For example, Bachelor of Arts (International and Global Studies).

Student

You are a student if you are currently admitted to candidature (your offer has been accepted) at the University. This includes if you are enrolled in non-award units of study or are on exchange or study abroad.

Student card

Your student card is issued once you enrol and identifies you as a student of the University. It can be used for printing (using SydPay), borrowing from the Library, accessing certain buildings, claiming student discounts, and to identify your for administrative purposes, such as during exams.

Student Centre

The central face-to-face enquiry centre for students, located on the Camperdown/Darlington campus. Here you can get assistance with matters related to your candidature and administration.

Student Financial Statement (invoice)

Once you have enrolled you will be issued with a Student Financial Statement through Sydney Student. This outlines your fees for your enrolled units of study.

Student Identification Number (SID)

A unique nine-digit number that identifies you as a student at the University. Your SID remains the same throughout your studies at the University.

Student visa

As an international student, you must hold a valid visa that allows you to study in Australia. Information on student visas can be found on the Australian Government Department of Immigration and Border Protection website.

Study abroad

The study abroad program (outbound) allows a University of Sydney student to undertake part of their degree at a recognised institution overseas and requires payment of tuition fees to the host institution.

The study abroad program (inbound) allows students from overseas to enrol in units of study at the University of Sydney and involves payment of tuition fees based on the number of subject credit points enrolled in.

Study load

The number of credit points you are enrolled in during a semester.

StuVac (study vacation)

The week before the official exam period at the end of Semesters 1 and 2. For most students, no classes are held during this week.

Subject

A generic area of study (for example, science, medicine or linguistics).

Supplementary examination

An alternative assessment that may be offered if you have failed an assessment item and would otherwise be limited in your ability to progress in your course. A supplementary examination will usually only be awarded if you have scored within a set mark range on the original assessment.

Suspension

An official period of leave from your studies. You can suspend your studies for a semester, research period or full academic year. A maximum suspension of two years may be allowed with approval.

SydPay

A campus payment account included with your UniKey and student card. You can load money onto your account to pay for SydPay-enabled services on campus.

Back to top

T

Testamur

The hard copy of the certificate or award that you are given when you complete your award course and graduate. A testamur lists your name, course and the date it was conferred.

Thesis

The whole assessable work submitted for examination after a period of supervised independent research. A thesis is usually required for a master's by research degree or a PhD.

Transcript

A complete record of your studies at the University. It includes all units of study (attempted and completed) and your grade for each.

Transfer (external)

An external transfer is when you apply for admission to an award course at the University of Sydney on the basis of studies you have partially completed at another university. You apply either through UAC or directly to the University of Sydney and can then apply for credit for units studied at your previous institution.

Transfer (internal)

You may be able to arrange a course transfer (known as an Allowable course transfer) from one course to another within the University of Sydney.

Tutorial

A tutorial or ‘tute’ is a smaller and less formal learning setting. Students are guided by a tutor, and can ask questions and have group discussions.

Back to top

U

Undergraduate

A course leading to a diploma or a bachelor's degree, or a student studying at this level.

UniKey

A unique electronic ID provided to you after you enrol. Your UniKey gives you access to a range of University resources and systems such as your University student email account, online learning systems, library borrowing, printing and more.

Unit of study (UoS)

An individual subject that you study as part of your degree. It is the smallest stand-alone component of a course that can be recorded on your academic transcript, and has a credit point value (usually 6, except where approved by the Academic Board). Units of study can be core (mandatory) or elective (optional), and there are three different types:

  • Junior: a unit of study designed to introduce you to a particular subject area. It will usually have a 1000 level code. Junior units are often the prerequisites for enrolment in senior units of study.
  • Intermediate: a unit of study that is between the junior and senior level. It will usually have a 2000 level code.
  • Senior: a unit of study that is more specialised and provides a deeper understanding of a subject area than junior or intermediate units. It will usually have a 2000 or 3000 level code.

Universities Admissions Centre (UAC)

UAC receives and processes applications for admission to undergraduate courses at recognised universities in New South Wales (NSW) and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT).

University school

Similar to a school within a faculty, but does not share the broad disciplinary connections with the larger faculty groupings. Examples include the University of Sydney Law School and University of Sydney Business School.

Upgrade

When you progress from a postgraduate course to an eligible higher-level course, for example a graduate diploma to a master's degree, in an embedded sequence.

Back to top

W

Waiver

When you are exempted from taking a specific unit of study that is a core requirement of your course. Waivers are usually granted on the basis of previous learning or experience. Credit is not available for a waived unit.

Back to top

0-9

1000-level units

These units of study offer an introduction to a subject area and are designed for students in the first year of study. Assumed knowledge is sometimes recommended.

2000-level units

These units of study build on previous units and are normally taken in the second year or later after 1000-level courses in the area. They may also be available to students with advanced prior knowledge.

3000-level units

These units of study are usually taken in third year or later, after 2000-level study in the area. They include the final units for the completion of a major, including project units and units that put the subject in an interdisciplinary context. Some may also be available to students with advanced prior knowledge.

4000-level units

These units of study are advanced courses and are normally taken in the fourth year or later as the final elements of a four-year degree or combined degree. In combined degrees with the Bachelor of Advanced Studies, they are taken after completion of a major in the subject area. They include industry, community, entrepreneurial and research projects, and honours units.

Back to top

Last updated: 17 October 2017

Website feedback

Tell us if you’ve spotted a typo or something else wrong with this page.

Thank you

Your feedback has been sent.

Sorry there was a problem sending your feedback. Please try again

You should only use this form to send feedback about the content on this webpage– we will not respond to other enquiries made through this form. If you have an enquiry or need help with something else such as your enrolment, course etc you can contact the Student Centre.

Cancel