Glossary: D - O

This glossary provides a general definition of terms commonly used at UNSW and is intended as a guide only.

An official agreement which allows successful applicants to delay commencement of a tertiary program, usually for the period of one semester up to one year (depending on the program availability).

A formal award or qualification awarded on completion of a Bachelor, Masters or Doctoral program of study (eg Bachelor of Engineering, Master of Arts, or PhD).
See Award.

The fundamental component of an undergraduate academic program. Discipline-specific learning, or depth, requirements are generally embedded in core courses, majors, associated disciplinary or contextual studies, and other essential learning experiences such as industrial training. These requirements are complemented by breadth and maturity learning requirements.
See also Breadth, Disciplinary Core.

Specified courses in a specialised area of study that must be satisfactorily completed to meet the depth requirements of the program.
See also Breadth.

Discipline refers to a defined branch of study or learning. Schools or Departments offer related courses which form part of the same study area. Many programs require students to specialise in a particular study area, for example, Accounting, Civil Engineering or English.
Also see specialisation.

A postgraduate research program where students independently research a specific topic under the guidance of a supervisor to produce a thesis. For a doctorate, considerably more original work is required than for a Masters by Research program. Students should note that in some Faculties, coursework may also be prescribed.

A student who is (i) an Australian citizen (including Australian citizens with dual citizenship), or (ii) a New Zealand citizen, or (iii) a permanent resident of Australia (including a holder of a permanent humanitarian visa).

Double counting primarily occurs in dual award programs where a course that forms part of the academic requirements for two separate programs can be counted towards both sets of rules and contribute fully to the overall UOC requirements of both programs. There is a limit on the number of UOC that can be double-counted.
See also Course Sharing.

A major studied in conjunction with another major in a Program. The two majors can be from two Faculties, provided they are approved for the program. In dual award programs students typically undertake a major in each program.

The concurrent or sequential study of two (or more) awards under one integrated and coherent program leading to two (or more) awards and two (or more) testamurs (one for each award). Dual Award programs can be within a career or cross-career. Examples include BA LLB, BSc Dip Languages; BE ME; BE MBiomedE, MPH/MHM. Dual Awards were formerly referred to as Combined Degrees.

A measure of study load for one year on a normal full-time basis. At UNSW 1 EFTSL is defined as 48 units of credit (UOC). A standard 6 unit of credit course would equate to 0.125 EFTSL. The amount of the student contribution is dependent on the EFTSL value of the course.
See Student Contribution Bands, Student Contributions.

Coursework degree programs have three main categories of elective: General Education Elective Courses that are taken to satisfy the University’s General Education requirement for Bachelor degree programs; Free Electives are courses that can be selected from a large range of offerings but sometimes with restrictions such as courses offered by specified faculties, or in specified subject areas and; Prescribed Elective Courses where the program specifies that a student must select electives from a specified list of courses.
General Education and Free electives in part satisfy the breadth requirement of programs. Prescribed electives typically form part of, or complement the depth requirement.
Prescribed electives are typically specified as lists of courses that students select from to complete the requirement. All categories of elective may be specified in terms of general rules (eg 24UoC; 12UoC at Level 2) rather than individual courses.
Note that any individual course may be specified as a core course in one program and as an elective in another.
See Core Course, Course, Program, General Education.

An Embedded Honours program is a program where the Honours components are studied as part of an integrated program along with the pass degree requirements. These Honours programs require completion of at least 192 UoC of study (when taken in stand-alone mode), typically undertaken over four years of full-time study (or part-time equivalent).
See Honours, Separate Year Honours Programs.

A specific time to enrol, within the enrolment period, allocated to undergraduate and postgraduate students. Enrolment Appointments are sometimes used to give prioritised enrolment access to particular groups, usually later year students.

The person responsible to the Course Authority for determining a provisional mark for students enrolled in a course or courses. A Course Convenor is always an Examiner.

A UNSW student who is attending an approved international student exchange partner university for a period of time (usually one or 2 semesters) to undertake study for credit towards their UNSW award. Or a student of an overseas exchange partner university who is attending UNSW for a specified period of time (usually one or two semesters) to undertake study for credit towards their home institution award.

A faculty may ask a student whose academic progress is considered to be unsatisfactory to 'show good cause' why the student should be allowed to re-enrol. If the faculty deems the student's explanation unsatisfactory, or if the student does not provide an explanation, the student may be excluded from studying at the University. An excluded student must re-apply for admission and domestic undergraduate students must submit a SCATS (special consideration for applicants with tertiary studies) application. Normally, at least two years must have elapsed before such an application would be considered. UNSW policy relating to exclusion can be obtained from
See Academic Standing.

Exclusions are courses students are excluded from taking, generally because they have content in common with courses for which the student has previously been granted credit.
See Pre-requisite, Co-requisite.

Where students are exempted from a specified course in the program’s academic rules, but they are not granted a reduction in the amount of learning required to achieve a qualification. See Substitution, Recognition of Prior Learning.

Faculties are the large academic organisational units of the University, generally comprised of several Schools. UNSW has nine Faculties; Art and Design, Arts and Social Sciences, Built Environment, Engineering, Law, Medicine, Science, UNSW Business School and UNSW Canberra at ADFA.

A core course, usually taken in Stage 1 that must be satisfactorily completed in order to complete the requirements of the program. It lays the foundations for higher level courses.
See Core Course.

See Elective.

Enrolled for 75% or more (or 0.375 EFTSL [equivalent full-time student load]) of a standard full-time workload for that semester of the program. A standard full-time workload is 0.5 EFTSL for a semester.

A Gateway Course is the entry-level course for a major or program. It is a foundation course that introduces students to the scholarly conventions, concepts and skills/techniques of the discipline community/field of study that are necessary to complete the major or program.

Undergraduate students in single degree programs are required to complete some courses outside their study area from any Faculty other than the one in which their program is based. This contributes to the breadth of learning requirement in programs. The Handbook indicates which courses are available as General Education. In some cases, availability of some courses outside of the home Faculty is restricted by the Program Authority, usually because they are closely related to the study area of the student’s program.
See Elective.

Students receive a final assessment grade for each course in their program. Examples include; High Distinction (HD), Pass (PS), Fail (FL) and result not finalised (WD). Some courses are graded on a satisfactory/ unsatisfactory basis only.
See Mark.

A student who has completed all the requirements for his/her program, but has not yet had the degree formally conferred.

A student who has completed all the requirements for his/her program, and has had the degree formally conferred.
See Award/Qualification.

Graduate capabilities (attributes) are the qualities, skills and understandings a university community agrees its students should develop during their time with the institution. These capabilities include, but go beyond, the disciplinary expertise or technical knowledge that has traditionally formed the core of most university courses.
See Learning Outcomes.

The Faculty in which a student’s program is based. The Home Faculty is the Program Authority. In the case of inter Faculty dual award programs, one of the Faculties will be nominated as the Program Authority.
See Program Authority.

The highest level of learning in an undergraduate program within the Australian tertiary education system. Honours at UNSW is awarded in recognition of academic excellence in undergraduate programs. It requires students to engage in independent critical thinking related to their discipline demonstrated through advanced disciplinary knowledge and independent or self-directed learning. Honours is available in two modes:
• Separate Year Honours - separate year of study in an Honours program, subsequent to completing a pass level undergraduate program; and
• Embedded Honours - Honours requirements are integrated in the same program as the Undergraduate Bachelor Degree pass level study.
Honours is awarded at: Class 1, Division 2 Class 1, Division 2 Class 2, and in some programs at Class 3.
See Separate Year Honours Programs, Embedded Honours Programs.

The University where students are enrolled - UNSW.

See Cross-Faculty.

The process by which current UNSW students can transfer from one award program to another via an internal transfer process.

A student who does not have Australian or New Zealand citizenship or full permanent resident status in Australia. It includes those who have student visas, provisional residency, temporary residency, bridging visas etc.

Learning outcomes are statements of the capabilities that students must demonstrate in order to pass a course or graduate from a program of study. The learning outcomes are what must be assessed.
See also Graduate Capabilities.

Undergraduate courses are usually classified by Level e.g. Level 1 courses are usually undertaken in the first stage of a program, Level 2 in the second stage etc. In many cases the first digit of the four-digit numeric suffix of the course code indicates the level of the course e.g. ECON1101 is a Level 1 course whereas MARK3054 is a Level 3 course, usually undertaken in stage 3.

See Domestic Student.

See Campus.

A specified stream or sequence of study in a discipline or sub-discipline area within a program. Majors require students to take an approved set of courses at different levels and units of credit. The term is generally synonymous with “plan” or “specialisation”. More than one major may be completed in a program.
See Program, Minor, Specialisation, Plan, Stream, Core, Elective.

Each course undertaken by a student at UNSW is assessed using a variety of methods, usually culminating in the award of a single final mark, or score, out of 100. The mark determines the associated final grade. However, some courses at UNSW are graded on an satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis only (which means no mark or score is allocated).
See Grade.

A postgraduate program that provides an advanced level of knowledge or mastery over an area of study or professional practice. UNSW offers Masters programs by coursework that may also include a research component and also Masters by Research

Masters (Extended) is an AQF qualification type. Currently there are only two Masters (Extended) programs at UNSW – the Juris Doctor (UNSW JD) and the Doctor of Medicine (MD) programs. Refer to the Australian Qualifications Framework ( for a description of the Masters (Extended) qualification type. (Note that these programs are not the same as the UNSW Masters (Extension) programs. The term Masters (Extension) has been used at UNSW to describe programs of a longer duration that allow students to attain more disciplinary breadth, (explore a discipline in more depth or meet professional accreditation requirements).

A specified sequence of study within a discipline or sub-discipline, smaller in size and scope than a major. (In practice the requirements for a Minor are typically a sub-set of the requirements for a Major in the same academic area.)
See Major, Plan, Stream.

All enrolments in courses or a sequence of courses which are not being studied as part of enrolment in a formal award program. The student completes all formal assessments related to the course/s and the assessment results are recorded on the UNSW Student System.

A particular course that will be available for enrolment in a particular teaching period.

See International Student.

Study Levels

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