Glossary - Definitions


Academic program rules
The formally approved degree requirements that students must follow in order to successfully progress through and graduate from a degree.

Academic transcript
An academic transcript is a complete record of all your academic study undertaken at the University of Adelaide.

Academic year
The standard academic year is divided into two 12-13 week semesters, each followed by an examination period. Semester 1 runs from late February to mid June, and semester 2 from late July to early November. There is a two week mid-semester break in each semester.

The academic year may also be divided into trimesters (three study periods) or terms (four study periods). Trimesters are compressed study periods which usually run from late January to May, May to August and September to November with a short break in between trimesters. Terms usually run from February to April, April to July, July to October and October to December. Please refer to Critical Dates website for scheduling information.

Access Adelaide
Access Adelaide is a student administrative portal, being progressively replaced by MyAdelaide in 2021. Access Adelaide will remain active until the transition is complete. It enables students to access information such as assessment submissions, course outlines and discussion boards as well as using the system to customise some of their personal information.

Adelaide Abroad program
Program for domestic students to undertake study outside Australia with an overseas higher education institution that counts as credit towards a program that they are enrolled in with an Australian higher education provider. These students are not covered by an agreement between institutions and will typically pay fees set by the overseas institution while studying overseas.

Adjustment factors
Adjustment factors are not simply added to your ATAR, they are calculated using an aggregate system. Your adjustment factors will be added automatically to your ATAR resulting in your selection, which is then used to gain entry into university.

Advanced Standing
Similar to recognition of prior study or recognition of prior learning that may lead to a student being granted admission to a degree at an advanced level.

The process of applying to study at the University that incorporates having your application considered.

Agent or recruiter
A person or organisation within or outside Australia that represents or acts on behalf of the University and student in order to facilitate the student’s admission to the University.

Additional Entry Requirements
Acceptance into University degrees is based on academic merit, but some degrees require additional selection criteria. For example, Music degrees require applicants to undertake an audition. Medicine and Dental Surgery applicants are required to undertake the University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT) and, for applicants who perform well in the UCAT, an oral interview undertaken by the faculty. Oral Health applicants are required to undertake an oral interview undertaken by the faculty, and Veterinary Bioscience applicants are required to submit a questionnaire and, for eligible applicants who perform well, a Multi Mini Interview (MMI) undertaken by the faculty.

Applicant Portal
Online system used by international applicants, not using an agent or representative to support their application, to apply and manage their application.

Articulation Agreement
A formal agreement between the University and a third party that enables students to progress from a completed qualification to another with credit in a defined pathway.

Ask Adelaide
Ask Adelaide provides a point of contact for academic and student administrative information and supports students' academic progression from admission through to graduation.

The way in which a student's knowledge of course content and objectives is tested, usually through essays, examinations, projects, presentations or reports being submitted to your tutor or lecturer for marking.

Assumed knowledge
Knowledge that it is assumed a student will have before commencing a Course. Teaching in the Course will proceed on the assumption that students enrolled in the Course have such knowledge. SACE subjects are listed as 'assumed knowledge' for a number of undergraduate awards in Programs and Courses, the Program Information Leaflets and the SATAC Uni Guide. These subjects indicate the academic background that it is assumed students entering the program will have.
See also Prerequisite.

Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank (ATAR)
Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank (ATAR) is used to determine the eligibility of students who have completed an Australian year 12 qualification for an admission offer and to rank them for merit-based selection.

Academic Award
A certificate, diploma, degree, graduate certificate, or graduate diploma, including an honorary award and a double-badged award, conferred by the University at a graduation ceremony.


Bridging programs
Bridging programs are designed to prepare students for university study or for entry into a particular course/degree.

Bachelor degree
The Bachelor degree is an undergraduate award requiring successful completion of 72-144 units of study (depending upon the award requirements). A Bachelor degree gives graduates broadly applicable generic skills or specialist professional knowledge which provides initial preparation for careers or postgraduate study.


The handbook of University award degrees detailing the academic program rules.

Cambridge C1 Advanced
C1 Advanced (formerly known as Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE)) is an internationally recognised test of English language skills which measures reading and use of English, writing, listening and speaking.

The university grounds, including laboratories, lecture theatres, administration buildings and recreational areas etc.

Census Date
Refers to the last day a student can withdraw from a course(s) without incurring liability for student contributions or tuition fees.

Within each course there are classes that students enrol into. These are identified by the class number. Examples include: lectures, tutorials or practicals. See also Class number.

Class number
Unique identifying number for individual classes used when enrolling in a class for a specific day, time and location. See also Class

CoE – Confirmation of Enrolment
A formal notice issued to international students to confirm their student status and enable them to apply for a student visa. It is issued after the student has accepted their offer and paid their tuition fee deposit to the University.

Combined degree
A combined degree is an undergraduate or postgraduate academic degree, that leads to the award of one University of Adelaide award that includes components from two degrees and satisfies the minimum requirements of one but not both individual degrees. A single parchment that names both of the component degrees linked by ‘and’ in the award title is awarded for completion of a combined degree. See also Double Degree.

Commencing student
A student who has accepted an offer to a degree at the University of Adelaide and is enrolling in that degree for the first time.

Commonwealth-supported place (Domestic Students only)
The Commonwealth government provides the University of Adelaide with a specified number of student places, providing the University with a financial contribution towards the costs of study. The University will then distribute these places to students on the basis of academic merit – this may take into consideration university entrance scores, work experience, etc. Each student holding a Commonwealth-supported place must then pay the remainder of their study costs as part of their student contribution. See also Fee-paying place.

Concurrent degree
Students can choose to study two degrees at the same time that have not been packaged as an approved double or combined degree. Studying concurrent degrees can take less time than it would take to complete both awards individually, due to the possibility of credit being granted. When students graduate they will receive two parchments, one for each of the completed awards.

Contact hours
Hours a student is expected to attend classes (e.g. tutorials, practicals, lectures) at university.

Continuing student
A student who enrols in a subsequent year of study in order to complete their degree.

Core course
Courses that are required for the completion of a program and/or a major.

Courses that must be undertaken before or at the same time as another specified Course.

A component of study of an academic program assigned a unit value. Courses are identified by a subject area and catalogue number, for example, CHEM 1101 is a Level I Chemistry course.

Course Coordinator
Member of academic staff who has administrative responsibility for a course.

Credit for previous study
The value assigned for the recognition of equivalence in content and learning outcomes between different types of learning and/or qualifications. Credit reduces the amount of learning required to achieve a qualification and may be through credit transfer, articulation or recognition of prior learning.

CRICOS – Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students
Educational institutions must be registered with the Commonwealth Government before they are permitted to enrolinternational students in Australia. To become registered, institutions must demonstrate that their qualifications meet Australian Standards in terms of the curriculum, qualifications of teaching staff and teaching facilities etc. The CRICOS lists all providers registered to offer programs to people studying in Australia on student visas and the codes of programs they offer in the state where they are registered. The University of Adelaide's CRICOS provider number is 00123M.

Cross-institutional study
Where a student who is enrolled in a program of study at one university, enrols in courses offered at one (or more) other institutions to count towards their program at their home university.


An applicant who receives an offer of admission to a program may apply to delay enrolment for one semester or one academic cycle.

A degree is any of a wide range of university programs, including Bachelor, Honours, Masters and PhD awards.

Diplomas are typically of a lower academic status than an undergraduate award such as a Bachelor's degree. However, most diploma awards offered at the University of Adelaide are higher diplomas and require an undergraduate qualification as a prerequisite for admission.

Discipline is a term used interchangeably with area of study.

A substantive description of the research undertaken within the program for a program. A dissertation is usually shorter than a thesis.

Doctor of Philosophy
See PhD.

Doctoral degrees governed by a Cotutelle de These agreement
Where a PhD student divides their candidature between the University of Adelaide and a partner institution in France and, following the successful completion of an agreed examination process, is awarded a degree that is recognised in both countries.

Domestic student
Domestic applicants include Australian citizens, dual Australian citizens, permanent residents of Australia and New Zealand citizens studying in Australia.

Though New Zealand citizens studying in Australia are not classified as international students, under the Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) they cannot defer financial liability for the cost of their studies.

Double degree
A double degree is an undergraduate or postgraduate coursework academic program leading to the award of two University of Adelaide awards. The academic program rules for a double degree specify a program of study in which the requirements of each degree are able to be satisfied in less time than is required to complete each degree separately, or in which the requirements for one or both degrees are modified so that the changed requirements of both programs are able to be satisfied in less time than is required to complete each program separately. A parchment is awarded for each of the two degrees completed in the Double Degree Program. See also Combined Degree.

Double-Badged PhD Degrees
A PhD student undertakes their program jointly at the University of Adelaide and another institution with which the University of Adelaide holds a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). Upon successful completion of the degree the names and badges of both the University of Adelaide and the partner institution will appear on the parchment.


An optional course which you can do within a program. Electives allow more detailed study of a particular subject.

The process of registering to study a degree.

Enrolment class
This is the first class you must enrol in and it could be any type of class – e.g. a lecture, tutorial, prac etc.

Enrolment open time
The day and time from which you can begin enrolling into your courses. These times are staggered depending on what degree you are enrolling into. You will not be able to enrol into classes until this time. Once your enrolment open time has commenced you can enrol from that point forward.

External Study
External degrees do not require a student to physically attend classes on a regular basis. Referred to as 'online learning', students study off-campus at another location or online.

Program eligibility is determined by prerequisites, assumed knowledge, selection criteria, and in some cases, additional entry requirements. See also Selection Criteria.


The University is sectioned into principal academic divisions in which teaching and research are conducted and are called 'faculties'. There are five academic faculties that make up the University of Adelaide.

Fees (domestic students)
All tuition fees provided are indicative only. Tuition costs are calculated based on the actual courses the student takes to complete the award. All fees are provided in Australian dollars (AUD).
Where the standard duration of the program is less than one year, the full cost of the program is displayed. Where the standard duration of the program is greater than one year, the annual fee is displayed.
A Commonwealth supported place is a place for which the Australian government makes a contribution towards the cost of the program. Each year the Australian government will allocate a number of Commonwealth supported places to the University of Adelaide. The University will then distribute these places to students on the basis of academic merit. The criteria may include university entrance scores, work experience, etc.
For Postgraduate programs, the quoted fee is a base fee that is subject to an annual increase for each year of the standard duration of a program.

Fees (international students)
The indicative annual tuition fee quoted is based on the typical standard full-time enrolment load of 24 units per calendar year.

These fees cover the cost of teaching and the cost of student support services. The quoted fee is reviewed on a yearly basis. Prospective students should be aware that their fees may increase each year and that they are liable for these fees upon acceptance of their offer.

Each student will be advised of their fee schedule in their offer of admission to the University. Fees may vary depending on enrolment load, e.g. if students ‘overload’ or ‘underload’, fees may be increased or decreased accordingly.

All fees listed are in Australian dollars (AUD$).

Fee paying place (domestic students only)
A domestic student who is not offered a Commonwealth-supported place may be offered a fee-paying place in a program of study. Students who are not in Commonwealth-supported places pay full tuition fees, which vary between the facultiesand are adjusted annually. Fee-paying students pay their fees twice a year, at the beginning of each semester. The University lists all of the tuition fees for each course that makes up your program on Course Planner. Fee-paying students may be eligible for other financial support, such as FEE-HELP, scholarships, loans and Centrelink benefits such as Austudy and Abstudy. See also Commonwealth-supported place.

A Higher Education Loan Programme (HELP) that is available to eligible fee-paying students to cover all or part of their tuition fees.


Grade Point Average (GPA)
The GPA is the average of the grades obtained in all courses, weighted by the unit value of each course. If enrolled in more than one program, there will be a Program GPA for each, calculated using the final grades for the courses associated with each program.

Graduate Certificate
A graduate certificate is a program studied at postgraduate coursework level, requiring completion of at least 12 units of study. Students must apply for admission and will normally hold a Bachelor degree or equivalent qualification, or have completed another equivalent program of study or professional training.

Graduate Diploma
A graduate diploma is a program studied at postgraduate coursework level, requiring completion of at least 24 units of study. Students must apply for admission and will normally hold a Bachelor degree or equivalent qualification, or have completed another equivalent program of study or professional training.

Upon successful completion of an award, students may apply to graduate. In most cases graduation involves attendance at a graduation ceremony where students receive an official parchment containing details of their graduate status and qualification earned. After graduating you are part of the University's Alumni.


Higher Education Contribution Scheme-Higher Education Loan Programme (HECS-HELP) loans are available to eligible domestic undergraduate students enrolled in Commonwealth-supported places. A HECS-HELP loan will cover all or part of the student contribution amount. Note: in 2005 HECS-HELP replaced HECS./p>

Higher Degree by Coursework
A higher degree by coursework (such as a masters degree, graduate diploma or certificate) is defined as a postgraduate program of study that mostly comprises of coursework, rather than research. A masters by coursework may consist of a coursework program of two thirds or more, and a research component ('project' or 'dissertation'), which forms less than one third of the whole program.

Higher Degree by Research
A higher degree by research refers to any masters or doctoral degree (PhD/Professional Doctorate) that comprises a minimum of two thirds of its assessable content by research.

Higher Doctorate
A higher doctorate is awarded for a body of original work which, in the opinion of the examiners, has been recognised by scholars in the field as being a substantial and distinguished contribution to knowledge or creative achievement. This work is not the result of supervised candidature within the university, but an applicant would normally have had some association with the university, either by being a graduate or having been a member of the academic staff.

Honours degree
Obtaining an honours award involves an additional full-time year of study (or equivalent) following completion of a bachelor program, or additional study with a research element included in the final year (or years) of a bachelor program.


International Application System
The system used by International Admissions to receive online applications and manage International student admissions.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
An internationally recognised United Kingdom-based test of a person's English abilities. The IELTS assesses a person's listening, reading, speaking and writing skills.

International Baccalaureate (IB)
The International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma program is a two-year, pre-university course designed to enhance the transition of students between different education systems and to promote international understanding.

International student
In Australia you are considered to be an overseas student if you’re not an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident, New Zealand citizen, or holder of an Australian permanent resident humanitarian visa.

International student applying with Australian year 12 results
An international applicant applying with Australian year 12 results must be eligible for an Australian student visa and may be liable for international tuition fees. Applications are made via SATAC for admission to the University of Adelaide using Australian year 12 studies results, instead of applying directly to the University of Adelaide.


A lecture is an oral and audio-visual presentation, usually given by a content expert, intended to convey critical information, history, background, theories and equations to students enrolled in a course of study. Lectures run from 50 minutes up to two hours and can contain anywhere from 2-200 people. Students are expected to listen carefully and take their own notes with little guidance from the lecturer in identifying what should be recorded.

Lecturers are instructors or presenters who deliver information to groups of students in a lecture or seminar setting. They are similar to tutors, as most lecturers also teach.


A major is a part of an academic program consisting of a set of defined courses, from a recognised discipline area and, if appropriate, supporting courses from other discipline areas, which form a significant part of an academic program. Students select and transfer between majors according to their selection of units of study. One or more majors may be prescribed in order to satisfy course requirements. See also Award; Course; Sub-major; Stream.

Masters degree
A masters is a postgraduate degree that may be undertaken by either research or coursework. A masters by research is where at least two-thirds of the content is required to be research. A masters by coursework is where more than one-third of the content is required to be coursework.

MyAdelaide is the new student administrative portal, and it will progressively replace Access Adelaide in 2021. MyAdelaide is a personalised online space for students, delivering information and services directly through a central location, while also allowing students to customise certain information. Students are able to access details such as examination information, results, timetables and research student candidature.

MyUni is a personalised online space for students. It delivers information and services directly through a central location, while also allowing users to customise certain information. Students are able to access details such as examination seat numbers, results, timetables and enrolment variations, assessment submissions, course outlines and discussion boards


Non-award study
A generic term for a program of study that does not lead t to an award; available to those wishing to update or expand their knowledge in a specific discipline without being committed to completing a program.


Off-shore student
An off-shore student is one who resides overseas for a University term/semester and undertakes a program of study conducted by an off-shore campus of an Australian higher education provider.

Orientation week (O'week)
University-wide orientation program for all students, involving lectures, tours and social activities and usually held in the week before semester commencement.

Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)
The minimum level of private health insurance international students are required to purchase as a condition of their student visa for study in Australia.


Packaged programs
Under the Australian Government’s Simplified Student Visa Framework (SSVF), where there is progression from one program to another, a packaged offer to international students may be made for these programs. Packaging programs provides flexibility for international students, allowing them to apply for only one student visa for several programs, minimising visa processing times and costs.

A parchment is the official certification of a student’s completion of an award. It contains the signatures of the Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor, and bears the official seal of the University.

Part-Time Study

Part-time study is when you enrol in fewer courses than a full-time study load in a given intake.

For the purposes of government assistance for domestic students, such as Austudy, full-time study is a minimum 75 per cent load, or 18 units or more in a calendar year. Studying less than 18 units in a calendar year means you are studying part-time. The University otherwise defines full-time study for all students as typically 24 units per calendar year, to ensure students are not required to overload by the Program rules.

Part-time study is not recommended for international students, as they are required to complete their degree within the standard duration for that degree (e.g. 3 years for a Bachelor degree).

Some degrees (such as Medicine) do not offer part-time study, or lectures and tutorials in the evenings, though many courses provide alternative options for class times.

Please speak with a program adviser about whether your degree can be studied part-time and the availability of alternative class times.

Partner Portal
Online system used by agents and their representatives to submit and manage applications for students using an agent.

Pearson PTE Academic
PTE Academic is a computer-based test of English for students who wish to study overseas. It measures listening, reading, speaking and writing in a three hour test session.

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)
An academic award granted for advanced study and original research in a specialist field, often the highest qualification in a given discipline.

Plan (or academic plan)
Each degree must have at least one defined plan. A plan defines each of the specialisations/majors which might be available in a degree (e.g. Bachelor of Science, specialising in Geophysics).

Postgraduate students have completed an undergraduate qualification such as a bachelor's degree and are continuing their studies by completing an award such as a graduate certificate, graduate diploma, masters degree, or PhD.

Practicals ('pracs')
Some academic programs have classes which consist of practical sessions (e.g. labs) of up to three hours duration. These are 'hands on' classes where students are expected to participate as part of their assessment.

To be eligible for some programs, particularly in the areas of Science, Engineering, Maths and Computer Science, applicants are required to have passed specific subjects called 'program prerequisites'. For SACE applicants, program prerequisites are the nominated subject(s) completed at SACE stage 2 level, with a minimum grade of C- or better. Other applicants, i.e. higher education, vocational education and training and other entry pathways, may be required to have successfully completed either these subjects or their equivalent. Program prerequisites apply to all applicants to the programs.

Professional doctorate
A professional doctorate is specific to a discipline and aimed at practitioners in the field. The program combines research project activity and advanced coursework.


Remote candidature
Remote candidature is an option for higher degree by research students who for sound academic reasons, need to pursue most or all of their research remote from the University campuses. Approval for remote research will only be granted where arrangements for external supervision and facilities and resources are adequate. Students are normally required to study on campus until after completion of the core program components and development of a satisfactory research proposal (this includes compulsory attendance at Adelaide Graduate Research School and local induction programs).

Restricted courses
Courses that are only available to students in particular degrees. For example, Dentistry courses are only available to students enrolled in the Bachelor of Dental Surgery or Bachelor of Oral Health.


South Australian Certificate of Education, the secondary qualification most South Australian school-leavers will use to qualify for a place at university.

Scholarships are awards carrying financial advantage in undertaking a specified program or course of study. The advantage is usually in the form of a full or partial remission of fees, or meeting of costs associated with the program or course of study such as living costs, purchases of books or accommodation. Such scholarships are normally awarded on the basis of past academic performance. Scholarships also include funding received through study grants, trusts and bursaries.

Faculties are divided into schools. For example, the Faculty of Engineering, Computer & Mathematical Sciences has eight schools.

Selection Criteria
Selection criteria are the specific academic qualifications, skills knowledge and other requirements that an applicant must satisfy in order to be eligible for admission into a particular program.

Selection Rank
Selection Rank is the rank used to determine an applicant’s competitiveness relative to other applicants, after all applicable adjustment factors have been added.

A semester is the academic teaching period between 12-13 weeks in duration. The academic year is divided into two main teaching periods referred as a semester and is separated by 4-5 non-teaching weeks.

South Australian Tertiary Admissions Centre (SATAC)
SATAC processes applications for tertiary programs delivered by TAFE and the four universities in South Australia and the Northern Territory. See for more information.

Special Tertiary Admissions Test (STAT)
Sitting the STAT (a series of written tests which assess a range of competencies considered important for successful tertiary study) is one method of special entry to tertiary study when undergraduate entry requirements (generally based on secondary education) have not been met.

Student contribution
The amount in fees that domestic Commonwealth-supported students pay towards the cost of their courses.

Student exchange
Exchange students are those who are from other overseas universities studying at the University of Adelaide for a period to supplement studies in their home university. University of Adelaide students may also travel overseas to study at other universities as part of the Study Overseas program.


The academic year may be divided into terms (four study periods). Terms usually run from February to April, April to July, July to October and October to December. Please refer to Critical Dates website for scheduling information.

Testamur (formerly known as parchment)
Testamur is a word the University uses for your certificate, a legal document that is made available when your degree has been conferred and you have attended a graduation presentation event. Your testamur is an official document which provides evidence that you have a University qualification.

Test Of English as a Foreign Language TOEFL
The Test Of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) measures a candidate's ability to read, listen, speak and write in English. Additionally the Internet-based test examines how candidates use these skills in a university classroom situation.

The academic year may be divided into trimesters (three study periods). Trimesters are compressed study periods which usually run from late January to May, May to August and September to November with a short break in between trimesters. Please refer to Critical Dates website for scheduling information.

Tuition Fees
A fee charged to cover the cost of teaching and related services, student administration and capital facilities relating to courses, paid to the institution the student is enrolled at. The fee may be paid by the student or by another person, agency or organisation on behalf of the student. Tuition fees do not include application or student services fees. See also Fees (domestic Students) or Fees (international students).

Where the standard duration of the program is less than one year, the full cost of the program is displayed. Where the full duration of the program is greater than one year the annual fee is displayed. Where a program is offered on a trimester basis the quoted fee is for 24 units only.

A tutor is an academic staff member who supervises practicals and tutorials for small groups of students.

Tutorials are small discussion groups lead by a tutor. Students are usually required to attend one tutorial per week for each course. Weekly assignments are often set and may involve a presentation to the group, a written exercise or participation in group discussion. Attendance at tutorials is usually recorded, especially where tutorial participation forms part of the course assessment.


Undergraduate program
An academic program leading to the conferral of a certificate (but not a graduate certificate), diploma (but not a graduate diploma), Bachelor degree or Honours Bachelor degree.

Undergraduate student
A student enrolled in an undergraduate program.

Numeric values assigned to an individual course, reflective of student workload.

University aggregate
SACE students have a university aggregate calculated from their Stage 2 (year 12) results. It is calculated from your best scaled scores from three 20-credit subjects plus the best outcome from the flexible fourth option, to produce a score out of 80. The university aggregates for all students in the state are then put in rank order, resulting in an Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank (ATAR) for all students between 0 - 99.95. Both your university aggregate and ATAR appear on your SACE results parchment.