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 current student who is an Australian citizen, an Australian permanent resident or a New Zealand citizen.

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.

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.

A program where the honours components are studied as part of an integrated program along with the pass degree requirements.
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.

An international student on campus studying at UNSW as a non-award full time student for one or two semesters whereby their home institution has an agreement with UNSW to reciprocate an exchange of students back and forth in lieu of paying UNSW tuition fees. Students receive credit and graduate from their home university.

Cancellation (either permanently or for a specified period) of the enrolment of a student, typically due to unsatisfactory academic performance or as a penalty for misconduct, and termination of all rights and privileges as a student of the University, including the right to re-enrol as a student and the right to enter or to be on University grounds. At the end of the exclusion period the student must re-apply for re-admission to UNSW under the relevant admissions process. There is no automatic right of re-admission.
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.

The waiver of a requirement to complete a specified course. Students are not granted credit and are required to complete an alternative course of the same credit value.
See Substitution, Recognition of Prior Learning.

The process by which one higher education provider matches its courses or requirements to course work completed at another higher education provider for the purpose of granting students credit or exemptions.

A group of schools or units of related disciplines constituted as a faculty by the University Council in accordance with UNSW By-laws, or a body having similar status and equivalent responsibilities.

Learning that takes place through a structured program of study that is delivered by education or training providers, and which leads to the full or partial achievement of an officially accredited qualification.

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.

Students are considered to be full-time if their student load is equal to or greater than 0.75 EFTSL for an academic year or equal to or greater than 0.375 for a half year. The normal load for a full-time student is 1.0 EFTSL for a full academic year and 0.5 EFTSL for a half year.

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 Program Learning Outcomes, Course 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. It typically includes a research component. Honours is available in two modes: separate year honours; and embedded honours.
See Separate Year Honours Programs, Embedded Honours Programs.

Learning that takes place through life and work experience. Unlike formal or non-formal learning, it is not organised or externally structured in terms of objectives, time or learning support.

The University where students are enrolled - UNSW.

See Cross-Faculty.

The process by which a current UNSW student transfers 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.

See Program Learning Outcomes, Course Learning Outcomes, 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.

Enrolments in courses or a sequence of courses which do not lead to or count towards 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.

Learning that takes place through a structured program of learning but does not lead to an officially accredited qualification.

See International Student.

Study Levels

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