Glossary of Terms

The following list provides guidance on the meaning of terms used in the University. This list is provided for guidance only and applies principally to matters affecting students and courses. If any policy, rule or regulation includes a specific definition or interpretation for the relevant or equivalent term, that definition or interpretation will apply in respect of the matters dealt with under the relevant policy, rule or regulation.

Academic staff means person who is authorised to undertake an academic role within the University, including a person who holds an adjunct or other form of honorary appointment.

Accreditation: Courses which are designed to equip graduates for professional registration typically require accreditation by the relevant professional or registration authority. It is expected that consultation will occur throughout the course development/review process to ensure that the course will meet such registration/accreditation requirements. Following approval through Academic Board and, in the case of new courses, Senate, the Faculty makes formal application to the relevant professional or registration authority for accreditation of the course. Information regarding the accreditation status of courses is published on the University website and it is reflected in Australian Higher Education Graduation Statements which are provided to students on graduation.

Applicant: a person who has applied for admission to a program at ACU.

Associate Vice-Chancellor means a person formally appointed or assigned to that role by the University.

Assessment is the process whereby student learning outcomes are measured and developed, feedback is given to students on their progress and final result grades are awarded.

Australian Catholic University, University or ACU means Australian Catholic University Limited, ABN 15050192660.

Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF): The Australian Government has established the AQF as the framework for recognition and endorsement of qualifications and to give effect to agreed standards in relation to the provision of formal education in Australia. The AQF Council develops and promulgates a number of policies and standards with which educational institutions are required to comply, in order to maintain the standing of their courses.

Award: A degree, diploma or certificate, or other qualification, which is approved by the Academic Board of the University, and is conferred upon completion of the relevant course requirements.

Band: For the purpose of determining the level of student financial contribution required for a unit, the Australian Government assigns disciplines to various bands. Current rates are listed at Fees.

Census date means a date within each study period specified within the academic calendar, on which a student’s enrolment in a unit of study is deemed final for that study period. Note: The student’s official enrolment status at the census date determines issues such as financial liability and use of Student Learning Entitlement.

Campus, site or University premises includes:

  1. any land which for the time being is the property of the University or in its possession or under its control or on which it is conducting its lawful business, together with any structure whether permanent or temporary on that land;
  2. any place or premises at which research, workshops, camps, field excursions, examinations or any other study, research or community engagement-related activity controlled or supervised by the University, or at which legitimate activities organised by the University’s Student Associations, are conducted;
  3. any place or premises at which clinical, professional, practical, volunteer work, vocational placements or other activities forming part of a course or unit offered by the University take place; and
  4. any other place or premises deemed by the Senate to be a University campus or site.

Campus Dean means a person formally appointed or assigned to that role by the University.

Class includes any lecture, tutorial, seminar, laboratory, practical, field or other teaching, learning or assessment activity, regardless of the medium in which it is conducted, for example, face-to-face, online, distance.

Commonwealth-supported place means a higher education place for which the Australian Government makes a contribution towards the cost of the student’s education through the Commonwealth Grant Scheme.

Community engagement means any program or unit requirement involving a community engagement or similar experience.

Computing and network facilities include, but are not limited to, computers, computer systems, email and other communications networks, websites and information facilities, together with associated software, files and data storage and retrieval. They include online teaching resources.

Core in relation to units or other program requirements means requirements which are compulsory for course completion.

Core Curriculum: a series of academic units providing a common learning experience across ACU’s undergraduate programs which aims to teach students to think critically and ethically, and to be guided by social justice principles in their personal and professional lives.

Co-requisite means a requirement that must be met by having already passed or being concurrently enrolled in an associated unit in order to be able to enrol in the stipulated unit.

Course means an approved program of study leading to an accredited higher education award.

Course Completion: occurs once the requirements to complete a program have been verified by the authorised officer of the University.

Course rules means the Academic Board approved rules which specify the requirements for entry to a course and those to be satisfied to qualify for the relevant award.

Course specialisation: See ‘Specialisation’.

Course unit: See ‘Unit’.

Credit points (cp) means the numerical value attached to each course unit. Most units have a value of 10 cp, while a small number have a value which is a multiple of 10 cp. The standard full-time annual credit point load is 80 cp.

Cross-institutional relates to a student undertaking study at one institution as part of the program of study for an award of another institution, where both institutions formally recognise the study for the purpose of credit.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor means a person appointed as Deputy Vice-Chancellor under clause 23 of the Constitution.

Discipline refers to a defined branch of study or learning.

Domestic student means a student who is an Australian citizen, a New Zealand citizen or the holder of a permanent resident visa or a permanent humanitarian visa. Other students are regarded as international students.

Double degree: In a double degree, students are enrolled in two courses with cross-crediting which enables both degrees to be completed in a shorter time than if each was studied independently. Double degrees most commonly involve two courses offered by ACU, but on occasions they may be negotiated with other institutions and involve courses offered by both the participating institutions.

Elective: units or other requirements in a program which may be met by selection from defined options.

Enrolment: a student completes the process to be allocated a place in one or more units in a study period, including the payment of appropriate fees.

Enrolment on a non-award basis means that the student has approval to undertake an individual unit or units offered within a program, even though the student has not been admitted to that program.

Equivalent full-time student load (EFTSL) or load: A standard one-year full-time student load is described as one EFTSL.

Examination means a central or School examination, specified as such in the Unit Outline. A central examination will be conducted within the formal examination period; a School examination may be held during the designated central examination period or at any other time specified for an examination in the unit outline.

Exclusion means prohibition from participating in any unit or program or any University activity or entering any site at which the University conducts its activities; “exclude” has a corresponding meaning.

Executive Dean means a person formally appointed or assigned to that role by the University.

Exit point: Some courses are structured in such a way that a student can exit with a lesser qualification after completion of part of the total course requirements. Where an award is available only as an exit point, it is not established as a distinct course and students can only enrol for the approved course.

Fee means any tuition fee, late fee or other charge or fine for which the student is liable.

Fee-paying place means a place in a course that is available to a fee-paying student. All postgraduate courses can be offered on a fee-paying basis. Undergraduate award courses can only be offered to domestic students on a Commonwealth-supported basis. Current tuition fees are available at Fees.

Field of Study refers to the complete set of concepts, terms and activities that make up a learning program.

Full-time: To be regarded as full-time, a student must be undertaking a load of at least 0.75 EFTSL. For example, in a course with the standard annual credit point load of 80 credit points, to be enrolled full-time a student must undertake at least 30 credit points per semester.

Funding or discipline cluster: For funding purposes, the Australian Government assigns disciplines to funding clusters. Within ACU, units in the various clusters are assigned a weighting which is applied in funding allocations and business plans.

Graduand: A student who has met the requirements for course completion, but is yet to have the award conferred.

Graduate: A student who has successfully completed the requirements for a degree, and that degree has been conferred.

Graduate attributes: a set of attributes which ACU aspires to develop in all its graduates over their course of study.  This is achieved through explicitly teaching and assessing the University's graduate attributes within each course. The graduate attributes are adapted to the context of each course and field of study and embedded in unit outlines. See also

Graduate entry means an undergraduate course for which prior completion of another undergraduate degree is the normal entry requirement.

Head of School, or equivalent means a person formally appointed or assigned to that role by the University.

Higher degree by research means a course in which the thesis component constitutes no less than two-thirds of the degree requirements. See also Research and Professional Doctorate Degree Regulations.

Higher education provider (HEP) is the generic term used to describe universities and other institutions approved as HEPs under the Higher Education Support Act 2003 (HESA). Australian Catholic University is a Table A provider under HESA.

Honours: A bachelor degree course may be offered at pass and honours level, or only at pass level. Completion of honours normally requires further study typically 80 credit points after completion of a three year pass degree, although a lesser additional requirement may be approved where the pass degree is of longer duration. The additional honours work typically includes research methodology and a thesis. Honours study is regarded as being at undergraduate, not postgraduate, level.

International student means a person who has a student visa to undertake study in Australia. Maintenance of the visa is subject to numerous conditions prescribed by government, including a requirement to complete the course in the minimum duration as provided on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS). Students may take longer than the minimum duration where the University has instigated a documented intervention strategy.

Introductory in relation to units means units coded at 100-level.

Joint degree: ACU may co-operate with another educational institution to offer a degree jointly. Typically in such cases both, or all, participating institutions offer units which contribute to the degree, in accordance with an agreed course structure. The academic transcript and testamur would normally include recognition, via text and logos, of both, or all, institutions.

Least course costs: Government requires universities to publish the least cost for every course for both Commonwealth-supported and fee-paying students. This necessitates costing of all core units at the applicable rate, then costing electives on the assumption that the student chooses the lowest cost option.

Lecturer in Charge means the person assigned to that role by the Head of School.

Load: See ‘Equivalent full-time student load’.

Location: In the context of courses and units, means the place at which an ACU course or unit is delivered. The following location descriptors are applied at ACU:

  • Onshore: Delivered at an ACU campus, described by the campus name, ie Brisbane, North Sydney, Strathfield, Canberra, Melbourne, Ballarat, Adelaide or National.
  • Off-campus: Delivered at another location, described by the site name, for example, Broken Bay, Seymour etc, to describe other sites in Australia and New Zealand.
  • Offshore: Delivered at an overseas location, described by a site name, for example Hong Kong.
  • Online: Delivered online from an ACU campus.

Major means a discipline or field of study which amounts to a minimum of 80 credit points in an undergraduate course.

Member of University staff or staff means any person employed or engaged by or assigned to the University.

Member of the University means any student or member of staff of the University or member of the Senate or any of its committees.

Minor means a discipline or field of study which amounts to 40 credit points in an undergraduate course.

Mission means the Mission as set out in the Mission Statement of Australian Catholic University as endorsed by the Senate.

National Priority areas: The Australian Government from time to time determines National Priority areas for which it offers additional assistance, either through offering additional places, increasing Commonwealth contributions, and/or capping or reducing the maximum student contribution amounts for a Commonwealth-supported place.

Non-award course means study leading to an award of this University, other than an accredited higher education award, for example, a Certificate or Advanced Certificate.

Non-standard study period means a period of study outside the formal Semester 1 and Semester 2 study periods; it includes the Summer and Winter Terms, Professional Terms 1 to 8 and the Research Terms A to D.

Online: see ‘Study mode’.

Part-time: A part-time student is one who undertakes a load of less than 0.75 EFTSL. For example, in a course with the standard annual credit point load of 80 credit points, a part-time student would undertake less than 30 credit points per semester.

Postgraduate: A postgraduate course is one for which completion of an undergraduate degree is the normal entry requirement. Postgraduate courses may be offered either by coursework or by research. Approved levels of postgraduate courses are described in the Guidelines for the Nomenclature of ACU Awards.

Prerequisite means a requirement that must be met by a student before enrolment in the stipulated unit.

Professional experience or professional experience placement means any clinical, counselling, teaching or field practicum or other assessable professional or practical experience unit.

Professional experience unit: any unit which contains a clinical, counselling, teaching or field practicum component or other assessable professional placement.

Professional staff means a person or persons appointed or assigned to professional staff roles in the University.

Program is an umbrella term that includes any accredited higher education course and/or any non-award course of this University.

Program maps provide a mapping of the structure of the course, including the typical offering of units by study period and year of the course. Program maps facilitate School planning of unit offerings and provide guidance to students in selecting units in which to enrol.

Provost means a person appointed as Provost under clause 23 of the Constitution.

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is an assessment process for recognising relevant formal, non-formal and informal learning by collecting evidence and making judgments on the extent to which an individual has achieved the required learning outcomes, competency outcomes or standards for entry to and/or partial or total completion of a qualification.

Senate means the Senate of Australian Catholic University.

Specialisation: a specialist discipline or field of study, representing not less than one-half of the total credit points required for the award and may be used in the case of either undergraduate or postgraduate courses.

Staff: See ‘Member of University staff’.

Standard study period means Semester 1 and Semester 2.

Student means a person who is enrolled at the University in a program or to pursue any unit of study or research offered at or by the University. It includes a student of another university or other education provider who is granted temporary or ongoing rights of access to a campus or site of the University for study purposes. It does not normally include a person who:

  1. has qualified for the award or completed the unit, as the case may be;
  2. has been excluded from the University or had his or her enrolment terminated pursuant to the statutes, regulations, rules or policies of the University;
  3. has not for the period 1 January to 30 June or 1 July to 31 December enrolled or re-enrolled by the date for enrolment or re-enrolment specified by the University;
  4. does not have a final grade, excluding withdrawals, awarded in at least one credit bearing unit in the academic year of commencement; or
  5. has given written notice of withdrawal from the program or unit.

However, consideration should be given to any specific definition of student within the relevant policy, rule or regulation.

Student contribution: For funding and student contribution purposes, the Australian Government has prescribed bands of disciplinary areas into which individual units may fall. For Commonwealth-supported places, universities then determine the amount of student contribution applicable to units they offer in each band. Current student contribution levels are available at Fees.

The level of student contribution for a course of study in a given year is determined on the basis of the units selected and the bands to which those units belong.

Study mode means the manner in which a course or unit is taught and the following study modes are applied at ACU:

  • Attendance: Primarily attendance, either face-to-face or via videoconference, at an ACU campus or another location.
  • Multi-mode: Some online with a compulsory attendance component (including examinations, practicums, residentials etc).
  • Online: Fully online (including assessments)

Study period means the period over which an individual unit of study is offered. It is inclusive of approved study breaks and assessment/examination times and may take the form of a standard or non-standard study period.

Suspension means a temporary prohibition from participating in any unit or program or any University activity or entering any site at which the University conducts its activities; "suspend" has a corresponding meaning.

Teaching profile: The teaching profile comprises the total offerings of courses and course specialisations and the location(s) at which they are offered. A course or course specialisation may be approved for offering on all campuses or on nominated campuses, at specific locations on-site and/or off-shore only.

Termination means prohibition, on the basis of academic progression, from participating in any unit or program; "terminate" has a corresponding meaning.

Undergraduate means an accredited post-secondary course at the level of Bachelor degree, Associate Degree, Advanced Diploma or Diploma and includes Honours and a graduate entry Bachelor degree.

Unit: Each course is composed of course units, which may be core/compulsory or elective. Each unit is discrete in its objectives, content, methods and assessment, is identified by a suitable unit and code, and has a specified credit point value. See also the Guidelines for Coding and Naming of Units.

University premises: See ‘Campus’.

Weighted equivalent full-time student load (WEFTSL): For funding purposes, a weighting is applied to load, according to the band in which the discipline is located.