Terminology

The terminology used by universities differs between institutions. This is a comprehensive guide to terminology used at ANU.

Term Definition
Academic advisor Member of administrative or academic staff responsible for providing academic advice to students concerning their programs and/or courses.
Academic program See program.
Academic progress Students enrolled in undergraduate and graduate coursework programs are expected to maintain a satisfactory level of academic progress eg pass a certain number of courses. Academic progress. See the Academic Progress Rules 2013 (PDF, 275KB)
Academic transcript See transcript of academic record.
Academic year

The academic year refers to the ANU teaching year. The academic year is divided into teaching periods usually of a fixed duration during which classes are conducted. Courses may be taken over one or more teaching periods. The course enrolment period is the period (or combination of periods) during which all activities of a course are taken (eg first semester, summer session, etc.).

Most undergraduate courses are taught in first or second semester. Intensive courses are offered in the non-standard sessions: summer, autumn, winter and spring.

The academic year for research students runs from 1 January to 31 December.

Address Most ANU correspondence is sent by email, however, at the time of enrolment all students are required to register a Mailing Address to which all hardcopy University correspondence is sent. It is the student's responsibility to amend their address and phone contact details on ISIS if they change.
Admission Applying for entry into an ANU program (except internal program transfers) or course/s.
Advanced standing See status.
Advisor For research students this is a member of the supervisory panel whose responsibilities include providing additional expertise on or related to the research topic, providing wider contact within and outside the University - advising, at the student's request, on any matters relating to the program, including difficulties in the relationship with other panel members.
ANIP   The Australian National Internships Program.
Annual plan Initially due three months after commencement of a research program, then annually with the annual report, it is an articulation of research goals for the coming year.
Annual report A report for research students of research completed in the past 12 months. Any impediments to completing on time should be noted in the annual report.
Associate Dean (HDR) The Associate Dean (HDR) is responsible for overseeing the education and training of HDR candidates in his/her ANU College.
Assessment The process by which a student's progress or achievement in a program/course is evaluated. The assessment of course performance is carried out in a variety of activities depending upon the course and may include tutorial participation, formal examinations, assignments, tests, essays, etc. It is University policy that lecturers will discuss and explain the assessment system to students in classes during the first two weeks of the semester/session.
ATO The Australian Taxation Office.
BPAY BPAY is a bill payment service operated over the phone or via the Internet by Australian financial institutions such as banks and credit unions. BPAY normally operates 24 hours a day thus enabling students to pay fees at a time that is convenient to them.
Candidate Student enrolled in a graduate research degree program.
Career Your academic career refers to the level of program you are participating in. At the ANU, this could be non-award, undergraduate, graduate or research.
Class number A class number is the unique 4-digit code that identifies a class running in a particular semester. A course will have multiple class numbers, each one locating that course to a different semester or session. For instance, ANTH2026 has the class number 2023 to signify the first semester offering, but might have a different code to signify a second semester offering. Your class number will be listed in the Terms section of your Course Outline.
Census date

The census date for a course is the date by which a student must:

  • submit a completed Request for Commonwealth Support and HECS-HELP form or the Request for FEE-HELP Assistance form
  • finalise the arrangements for payment of their student contribution amount if a Commonwealth supported student.

The census date impacts on your ability to make enrolment changes. If you are enrolled in a course once the course census date passes, you remain liable for the full tuition and associated fees for that course. Withdrawal from a course after its census date also means that it will appear on your academic transcript with a withdrawal (WD) or withdrawal with failure (WN) result depending on the timing of the withdrawal.

The following dates apply:

  • first semester census date: 31 March
  • second semester census date: 31 August

For course census dates in non-standard sessions see the Programs & Courses website.

Chair of panel The convener of the supervisory panel, with primary responsibility for the co-ordination of all aspects of a research student's program. May also be the primary supervisor.
Collaborative awards Joint degrees, dual awards/Co-tutelle or collaborative awards are awards co-delivered by ANU and another institution.
ANU College Student Office

ANU is divided into seven ANU Colleges and the National Security College - each overseeing a variety of schools, centres, research schools and institutes. The Colleges administer the programs offered at ANU, and are usually responsible for providing academic advice, approving graduation eligibility and approving all changes to enrolment requests.

Commonwealth Assistance Notice (CAN) A notice that contains information about a student’s enrolment and use of Commonwealth assistance. This notice will be provided to students electronically in ISIS.
Commonwealth Higher Education Student Support Number (CHESSN) A unique identifier for each student that will remain with you throughout your university studies. It allows you to access Commonwealth assistance for higher education. The number is not an ANU number and will stay with you if you study at other institutions.
Commonwealth supported place (CSP) A Commonwealth supported place is a higher education place for which the Australian Government makes a financial contribution. It is one of the ways in which the Australian Government contributes to the cost of students’ education. Commonwealth supported places were previously referred to as Higher Education Contribution Scheme (HECS) places.
Concurrent enrolment Enrolment by a student in a program concurrent with another program; only permitted with the approval of the relevant Delegated Authorities.
Conferring ceremony The public ceremony at which awards of the University are presented to and conferred upon those persons who are deemed to have completed all the requirements for the respective award of the University.
Co-requisite (course) Courses that must be taken in the same academic year or session as another specified course, unless exempted by the Course Authority. Students must enrol in and continue enrolment in the co-requisite/s before enrolment in the specified course is regarded as effective.
Course A discrete entity of study in a subject, normally of one semester or session in duration. A four character alphabetic subject area code and a four-digit numeric catalogue number identify each course (eg ENGN1000). The first digit denotes the stage/year of the program in which the course is normally taken. Each course is normally assigned a unit value that is a measure of the proportion of the academic progress that a course represents within the total credit for the program.
Course Authority Member of an ANU College with responsibilities in relation to a particular course.
Course code A course code is the 8-digit code that is used to identify an individual course at the University. This code will be the same regardless of the year or semester the course is scheduled. See course.
Coursework A group of courses constituting all or part of the requirements for an award (degree, diploma, certificate).
Credit or credit transfer See status.
Cross-institutional student  Where a student undertakes courses at one institution (the host provider) while formally enrolled for an award at another institution, or as part of a program of another institution (the home provider), where there is an arrangement for recognition of study by both institutions. Cross-institutional enrolments normally incur a debt or tuition fee charge at the institution where the course/s are undertaken.
Deadlines Final dates to apply or submit various forms/documents. Students submitting after a deadline will usually incur a late fee or submission refusal.
Dean, ANU College The Dean of an ANU College is responsible for the management of the College’s undergraduate and graduate educational programs.
Dean of Students

The Dean of Students offers confidential, impartial advice, and can help to resolve problems by acting as a neutral intermediary between students and the academic or administrative areas of the University. 

DEEWR The Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.
Deferment Deferment is the postponement of the commencement of a program of study, usually for no more than one year. Persons who have been offered a place in an award program may be eligible to defer initial enrolment for one year. Such persons must re-apply for their deferred place in the following year and must not undertake study in higher education during the deferment. Deferment must be applied for by the specified date.
Delegated Authority (DA) Staff member of an ANU College with specified responsibilities in relation to courses and programs or other administrative duties.
DIAC The Department of Immigration and Citizenship.
DIICCSRTE The Department of Innovation, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and Tertiary Education.
Double program A program taught at ANU that leads to more than one award. For example the The Flexible double degree Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science program leads to the separate awards of Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science after four years of full-time study. Undertaken individually, and not as part of a double program, a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science would each take three years full-time study.
Domestic student A student who is an Australian citizen, a New Zealand citizen or the holder of an Australian Permanent Resident visa.
Discipline A field of related studies.
Domestic tuition fee (DTF) Fee payable by Australian citizens or permanent residents enrolled in a course on a fee-paying basis.
Equivalent full-time student load (EFTSL) 'Equivalent full-time student load' is a measure of student load expressed as a proportion of the workload for a standard annual program, based on the accumulated course EFTSL for a program. For graduate research students, a weight of one if full-time; half if part-time; for undergraduates and non-research graduates determined on course enrolment.
Enrolment A student's enrolment refers to the formal registration of program structure such as selected courses, program leave and a student to a program (expressed as enrolment in a program, ANU College or course). All new and continuing students must formally enrol by registering courses on ISIS. Enrolment instructions for new students are provided at the time of offer of admission.
Enrolment change Within prescribed rules and deadlines, students may change their enrolment by adding or dropping courses.
Enrolment variation Within prescribed rules and deadlines, students may vary their enrolment by adding or dropping courses.
Educational Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) ESOS is the legislative framework that regulates the responsibilities of education institutions towards overseas students on student visas, and includes the National Code.
Exclusion Refusal of re-enrolment due to an unsatisfactory rate of progress in a program.
Exemption Students may be exempted from undertaking a compulsory course for the program on the basis of previous completion of the course, or an equivalent course. However, a course of equivalent unit value must be substituted. An exempted course counts towards program requirements and satisfies prerequisite requirements for other courses but the unit value of the exempted course does not count towards the units taken towards the program.
FEE-HELP A loan scheme to help eligible non-Commonwealth supported students pay their domestic tuition fees (DTF). Australian citizens and holders of a permanent humanitarian visa are eligible for FEE-HELP assistance.
FEE-HELP balance The amount of FEE-HELP that a student may access at a given point in time. The FEE-HELP balance is the FEE-HELP limit minus the amount of FEE-HELP that a student has used up to a certain point in time.
FEE-HELP limit The maximum amount of tuition fees that a student can receive a FEE-HELP loan for over their lifetime.
Full-time student ANU students studying 18 or more units in a half year (January - June or July - December) are considered to be full-time students. International students should note that they are normally required to be enrolled at 100% intensity which normally equates to 24 units in a half year.
Graduand A student who is deemed to have completed requirements for an award of the University but has not yet had the award conferred.
Graduate A student who has had an award conferred. A person who holds a degree or diploma from a tertiary institution.
Graduate coursework A graduate certificate, graduate diploma or masters by coursework program.
Graduate research A master of philosophy (MPhil) or doctor of philosophy (PhD) program.
Graduate research convener Has responsibility for the graduate research field. Previously known as graduate studies convener.
Graduation Refers to the process of granting and conferring (presenting) awards of the University. This can occur at a formal conferring ceremony, or in absentia.
GST Goods and services tax.
HDEO Higher Degrees Examinations Officer.
HDR Higher Degree Research, referring to research degrees.
HECS Students who prior to 2005 did not pay tuition fees were required to contribute towards the cost of their education under the Commonwealth Government's Higher Education Contribution Scheme (HECS). HECS liability was derived by calculating the proportion of a full-time load a student was undertaking and was assessed at the census date in each semester.
HECS-HELP A scheme that includes up-front payment discounts and loans to help eligible Commonwealth supported students pay their student contribution amounts.
HESA Higher Education Support Act 2003.
Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) A loan program to help eligible students pay student contribution amounts (HECS-HELP), tuition fees (FEE-HELP), service and amenities fees (SA-HELP) and overseas study expenses (OS-HELP).
Higher education provider  Universities and higher education institutions.
ILP Information Literacy Program offered through the University libraries
Intensity of study (study load) The distinction, in relation to a student's program load, between full-time and part-time. (See also full-time student and part-time student). Sometimes referred to as full-time intensity.
International student  A student who is not an Australian or New Zealand citizen or the holder of permanent resident status required to hold a visa to study in Australia and is liable for international student fees (ISF) payable to the University either by the student or a sponsor.
International student fee (ISF) International student fee (see also international student).
ISIS - Interactive Student Information Services ISIS is a web-based system that allows students to access and manage certain personal and academic information held on the University's student system, including examination results, enrolment and graduation details.
Local student See domestic student.
Major An approved sequence of courses from a subject area, approved by the responsible ANU College. Majors are recorded on the official transcript of academic record.
Mark A number indicating a student's performance in an assessment activity or a course. Raw marks, which may be scaled, become final marks after approval by the Delegated Authority.
Minor An approved sequence of courses (fewer than a major) from a subject area, approved by the responsible ANU College. Minors are recorded on the official transcript of academic record.
National Code, The The National Code of Practice for Registration Authorities and Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students. Part of the ESOS framework.
Non-award program/courses Courses not leading to an award. Students in such programs have permission to undertake certain courses normally taken in an award program and receive normal instruction, assessment and examination results in the courses.
Non-standard session Non-standard sessions (summer, autumn, winter and spring) are equal quarterly divisions of the academic year from January 1st to December 31st. Courses scheduled in non-standard sessions do not adhere to the session dates, and can be run at any time within that quarter. This means that some courses may be very short, intensive courses and other will span over the entire quarter. Each course in a non-standard session has a different Census Date. It is important to check non-standard session course dates in Programs & Courses.
OS-HELP A loan available to eligible undergraduate students who undertake some of their program overseas.
Part-time student ANU students studying 17 or fewer units in a half year (January - June or July - December) are considered to be part-time students. International students should note that they are normally required to be enrolled at 100% intensity which normally equates to 24 units in a half year.
Permanent resident The holder of an Australian permanent residency visa.
Permission code An ANU Academic College will sometimes place restrictions on a course, as only a select group of students meet the criteria to enrol. If a student tries to enrol in this course they will receive an error message in ISIS that prevents them from progressing. A permission code is issued by your College or School and overrides this restriction. If you are facing this issue, contact your College to check if you are eligible for the course.
Plan This indicates the major, minor, specialisation or stream within a program.
Potential graduand A student who can expect to complete program requirements at the end of the current semester/session on the successful completion of all courses for the semester/session.
Pre-1997 student A pre-2005 HECS student who commenced their program prior to 1997. The maximum student contribution amounts for a place for pre-1997 students are lower than those for other pre-2005 students.
Pre-2005 HECS student A student, who prior to 1 January 2005 was enrolled in a HECS-liable place, has not completed or discontinued their program and who incurred a HECS debt for the program prior to 31 December 2004.
Pre-2005 PELS student A continuing student who accessed PELS before 2005 and who may access FEE-HELP under PELS eligibility requirements.
Prerequisite (course) Usually refers to a course. Some courses have prerequisites based on year 12 studies. Within programs at ANU, prerequisites refer to courses that must be completed satisfactorily before enrolment will be permitted in a specified course.
Primary supervisor The chief person giving special advice on the particular nature of the topic. May also be the Chair of the Panel.
Program A structured sequence of study, undertaken in one or more ANU Colleges, normally leading to the award of a degree, diploma or certificate. The program is  controlled by one or two (in the case of combined programs) specified authorities. A program is identified by a four-digit code, eg 3100 Bachelor of Arts.
Program Authority   The person within an academic organisational unit (eg Dean or Director) responsible for the management of a program and ensuring the academic requirements of a program are met.
Program leave An approved period of leave from a program may be granted to a student on application. Such leave is normally restricted to a maximum period of two semesters in the first instance.
Program transfer Students may apply to transfer from one ANU program to another at the same level (eg from one undergraduate program to another undergraduate program).
Request for Commonwealth support and HECS-HELP form The electronic form that an eligible student must complete in order to receive a Commonwealth supported place and HECS-HELP.
Request for Commonwealth support form The electronic form that pre-2005 HECS students must complete in order to receive a Commonwealth supported place, HECS-HELP and FEE-HELP.
Research topic The working title of the research being undertaken by a research student. Approved changes to a research topic are recorded by student record administrators.
Research Training Scheme (RTS) The RTS provides block grants, on a calendar year basis, to eligible higher education providers to support research training for domestic students undertaking degrees by research.
SA-HELP A loan scheme to help eligible domestic students pay their Services and Amenities fees (SAF). Australian citizens and holders of a permanent humanitarian visa are eligible for SA-HELP assistance.
Semester In each academic year there are two semesters (first semester and second semester), normally of 13 weeks duration divided into two teaching periods, with a non-teaching  period of two weeks between each of the two teaching periods.
Semester course A course offered during first or second semester.
Session A session is a designated academic period of study. For most students this will be first semester and second semester. It could also be a non-standard session (summer, autumn, winter or spring session).
Specialisation An approved sequence of courses from a subject area, approved by the responsible ANU College. Specialisations at graduate level indicate the primary discipline of study in a graduate award. At undergraduate level it indicates additional study in a discipline above any normal major requirement.
Sponsor An organisation such as an employer or government agency that officially registers with the ANU to pay the tuition fees directly to the University for one or more students.
Status Students admitted to a program at the University, or transferring between programs in the University, on application, may begranted credit (status) in the new program on the basis of previous tertiary studies.
Student Administration The Division of Student Administration is located at the ANU Student Exchange, 121 Marcus Clarke Street and Melville Hall (12). Student Administration contains areas such as Student Information Services, Student Administration and Records, Examinations, Timetabling and Graduations.
Student Administration operates the Student Central enquiry counter. This is a good first point of contact for any administration questions. Student Central is also where student cards, tuition fee payments and academic transcripts are processed.
Student card All students enrolling at ANU are issued with a student ID card. Your ANU student card is your official form of identification on campus. This card must be carried at all times when you are on campus, and must be provided upon request to ANU staff and security officers.
Student contribution amount The amount that a Commonwealth supported student pays for a course of study. The amount will vary depending on the discipline area (bands) to which the courses belong and when a student commenced.
Student email address The University assigns students an email address to which University correspondence will be sent. You should check your student email frequently or set up email forwarding to another account that you check frequently.
Student ID number See University ID.
Student load The proportion of the standard full-time program taken by a student in a particular stage of a particular program calculated on the sum of the weight of all courses undertaken (see also EFTSL). The standard full-time annual student load for most programs is 48 units.
Study Assist website A government website that contains information on programs/courses and higher education providers (universities) for students and prospective students. Through this website, and using their CHESSN and other unique information, students can access information on their usage of Commonwealth support.
Supervisory panel Members appointed by the Delegated Authority to advise and assist a research student with a research program.
Supplementary examination Supplementary examinations are available to students who are subject to the provisions of the Assessment Rules 2013 (PDF 274KB) under certain conditions. If you are eligible to sit a supplementary examination in a course you will be notified on your results. A course grade of PX in the grade column indicates you are eligible to sit a supplementary examination. All students should familiarise themselves with the Assessment Rules.
Testamur The official document certifying that a student has been admitted to an award and had the award conferred in person or 'in absentia'. It may include details of award level (eg Honours) and specialisation.
Thesis proposal review A progress milestone due 9-12 months after commencement for PhD students and 6-9 months after commencement for MPhil students.
Thesis title The final title of your research thesis.
Transcript of academic record A transcript of academic record is a certified statement detailing a student's complete academic record at the University. It includes details of all programs/courses in which the student has had an effective enrolment and the marks/grades achieved in courses (marks are only included for courses taken since 1994). It also lists University prizes and graduation details where applicable. It is issued to students on request and the payment of a charge.
Transfer See program transfer
UAC NSW and ACT University Admissions Centre.
Undergraduate A student enrolled in and not yet completed or graduated from a bachelor degree, diploma or associate degree program (pass, honours or graduate entry).
Unit This is an indicator of the value of the course within the total program. Most courses are valued at 6 units.
University ID (student number)  A seven-digit number which uniquely identifies a student or staff member at the University.
Warning This is an official notification by the University (via email or mail) that a coursework student (undergraduate or graduate) has infringed the Academic Progress Rules 2013 (PDF, 275KB) for the first time in a program.
WATTLE - Web Access to Teaching and Learning Environments WATTLE is the University's online learning environment for coursework. This is where your lecturers will upload your lecture notes and course information. You will also be able to access learning modules published by ANU Student Services, see messages sent by your lecturers and access student resources.
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Updated:  20 February 2014/ Responsible Officer:  Registrar/ Page Contact:  DRSS Communications