University terms you need to know now

Year 12 Crash Course: University Glossary Terms

We’ll help you differentiate between your ATAR and your AHEGS in no-time!

So you’ve registered your University preferences, but what does all that terminology actually mean for you and your degree? We take you through some of the most commonly used words when it comes to University, and how you can update your glossary from now for next year.

Academic Standing

An indication of student progress towards the completion of a program.

Academic Record

An official record detailing your study at University. It will include your academic transcript amongst other details.


Entry into a particular program or course following an assessment of the application.


Evaluative judgements made in relation to the quality of a students’ learning achievements against their expected standards.

Assumed Knowledge

The level of knowledge to understand the material, but isn’t a requirement for entry.

ATAR Cut-Off

The minimum rank required for selection into a program for Year 12 applicants.

Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR)

A ranking between 0 and 99.95 that is given to all students to complete their secondary school education in Australia (Year 12). It is a measure of an individuals overall academic achievement relative to other students.


The value of that each single unit of study contributes to the overall course program.


Postponing your offer at University. Depending on the program you have applied for, the time-frame for this may vary.

Domestic Student 

An Australian or New Zealand citizen or permanent resident who is studying at an Australian University.

Equivalent Full-Time Study Load

One year on a normal full time basis is defined as 48 units of credit (UOC).


A unit of study that can be taken outside of a major or minor.

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Schools or units of related disciplines.

Foundation Course

A core course that must be completed to a particular standard in order to move onto the next requirements of the program.

Gateway Course

An entry-level course for a program. Otherwise known has a foundation course.

General Education

Undergraduate students must choose a few courses outside of their faculty in order to be eligible for their degree. Depending on your faculty, the general education courses will change.


The highest level of learning in an undergraduate program, including one year of a research component.


An academic form of discipline which an undergraduate undertakes by completing the number of set units.


A postgraduate program providing an advanced level of knowledge or mastery for a specific area of study. You can only begin a Masters program by having an undergraduate degree.


An academic form of discipline which an undergraduate undertakes by completing the number of set units – less than a major.


A subject you need to complete at the required standard before you can be accepted into admission for a University course.


An academic teaching period – the length can vary for each University.


For full-time students stages correspond with their years of enrolment. Stage 1 would formally be known as first year.

Unit of Credit

The weight that each course has, and will contribute to your 48 units of credit.

Keep in mind that these terms are fairly generic and depending on the University you choose to attend, these terms can also change.

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