Get familiar with common terms used at the University.
Your annual average mark (AAM) is the average mark you have achieved across all units of study attempted in an academic year.
An official record of your study at the University. This includes your academic transcript and testamur.
Advanced coursework is undertaken in the fourth year of a combined Bachelor of Advanced Studies. It provides you with further experience and knowledge of your field to better prepare you for your career.
Once you graduate with a degree from the University you become a member of our alumni community. ‘Alumni’ is the plural form, referring to more than one former student.
You may lodge an appeal against an academic or disciplinary decision made by the University. An academic decision is one that affects your academic assessment or progression within your award course. Disciplinary decisions are non-academic decisions, including the result of a misconduct investigation.
You are an applicant when you are in the process of applying to an award course at the University of Sydney, or have received an offer but haven't yet accepted (this includes deferred offers).
The process of measuring your performance in a unit of study. Assessment tasks can include written or practical examinations, assignments, performances, portfolios, designs or constructions.
For some courses or units of study, we assume you have reached a certain level of knowledge or have passed a relevant subject – this is called assumed knowledge. It often refers to a NSW Higher School Certificate (HSC) subject, but equivalent subjects in other recognised secondary education (Year 12) qualifications will be accepted (see also ‘prerequisite’). For a guide to the standard required in other Year 12 qualifications, refer to the syllabus of HSC subjects.
You must meet a unit of study’s attendance requirements to continue taking the unit. Attendance requirements vary by unit of study and are outlined in your handbook or the unit of study outline.
The ATAR is a ranking between 0 and 99.95 that is allocated to all students who complete an Australian Year 12 (secondary school) qualification. It is a measure of the student’s overall academic achievement relative to other students who have undertaken an Australian Year 12 qualification. If you have completed another recognised secondary qualification your results will be translated to an ATAR equivalent to determine whether you have met the standard required for admission.
A course approved by the University’s governing bodies that leads to a qualification such as a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree, or the award of a diploma or certificate.
Courses run over several days, usually in February, to help undergraduate students prepare for university-level science or mathematics.
A type of scholarship awarded on the basis of financial need, designed to help cover essential living and study expenses.
The period during which you are eligible to be enrolled at the University. It commences when you accept your offer.
A substantial, compulsory project that consolidates your learning and demonstrates that you have acquired the necessary skills and knowledge during your studies. You usually complete it during the final year of your course.
The date when your enrolment in a unit of study becomes final. This means the unit of study will appear on your transcript and you are liable to pay fees. Census dates are listed on our website.
A document that demonstrates your current enrolment at the University.
When you complete degrees from two different faculties or schools side by side. For example, if you complete a combined Arts/Law course, you will be awarded a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Laws. You can complete two degrees in less time than if you studied them separately.
When you are starting a new award course at the University.
A document provided to you after census date which outlines important information about your enrolment, including any HELP debt incurred and student contributions paid.
The Australian Government subsidises your course fees and you pay the remainder as a student contribution.
A document that proves completion of your qualification. It is available once your eligibility to graduate has been confirmed.
When you are awarded your award course at the University. Award courses are conferred either at a graduation ceremony or in absentia.
When are currently enrolled and will be re-enrolling in your studies in the next study session.
A compulsory unit of study that you need to complete to be awarded a particular degree.
A unit of study that you must complete before, or at the same time as another unit of study.
A planned and structured sequence of learning and teaching that allows you to gain knowledge, skills and understanding.
When you change from one course to another, either within the University of Sydney or between institutions. See Transfer (internal)/Transfer (external).
When you are enrolled in an undergraduate or postgraduate coursework award course at the University (includes the honours year of a bachelor's degree).
The recognition of previous studies, either at the University of Sydney or another institution, that can be granted as specific or non-specific credit towards your current course. Credit for previous study is also called 'advanced standing' or 'transfer credit'. Also, see 'recognition of prior learning'.
A credit point is the value that each unit of study (single subject) contributes towards the completion requirements for your course.
The education providers and the courses they offer on a full-time basis to international students need to be registered with the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS). For more information, visit the Australian Government's CRICOS website.
The Dalyell Scholars program is for high-achieving students.
When you receive an offer of admission to an award course at the University of Sydney, you may be able to postpone your offer for up to one year.
A bachelor's, honours, master's or PhD qualification (does not include graduate diploma or graduate certificate).
The academic unit responsible for teaching and examining your unit of study. It may also be called a school, centre or unit within the University.
Some units of study require departmental permission to enrol. There are several reasons for this, for example it might be an internship where a limited number of places are available. You will be prompted to apply for permission when you enrol.
An intellectual community based on an internationally recognised field of inquiry. For example, the discipline of Business Law within the University of Sydney Business School.
When you withdraw from your award course. Discontinuation means you are no longer admitted to candidature and cease to be a student at the University.
When you withdraw from an individual unit of study. Any unit of study discontinued before the census date will not appear on your transcript.
You are a domestic student if you are an Australian or New Zealand citizen (including dual citizens), a permanent resident of Australia or hold a permanent Australian humanitarian visa.
When you complete two separate qualifications in succession. In these programs, you commence in one degree then transfer to the second degree to complete the remainder of your studies (if you meet certain criteria). For example, you can undertake an undergraduate degree followed by a specific postgraduate program, such as the Bachelor of Science and Master of Nutrition and Dietetics.
When you exit your course early and graduate with a lower-level award.
An elective unit of study is one that can be taken outside of a major or minor. Electives allow you to explore interests outside of your primary field(s) of study.
A document issued to international students by the University and used in the application for a student visa. If you need to extend your student visa, you should request an extension eCoE.
A sequence of linked courses in very similar academic or professional areas that allows you to:
For instance, the Graduate Certificate in Commerce is embedded in the Master of Commerce.
The process that secures your place in a course at the University. It includes accepting the University's conditions of being a student and selecting units of study for the coming semester or year. For research students, the process involves selecting your program of research to be undertaken and start date.
A measure representing the annual study load that you would undertake in a course on a full-time basis.
A form of assessment, an examination is a formal test that assesses your knowledge and ability in a particular area.
Through the international exchange program, students can study at a partner universities overseas. As an outbound exchange student, you remain enrolled at the University of Sydney and continue to pay your usual tuition fees and other student fees while studying part of your degree overseas. As an inbound exchange student, you will come to the University of Sydney and remain enrolled at your home institution.
You may be excluded from a unit of study, award course or faculty or school for unsatisfactory academic progress. You will first be asked to 'show good cause' for why you should be allowed to re-enrol. If you do not provide an explanation, or your explanation is unsatisfactory, you will be excluded. If you are excluded from your award course, this means you are no longer admitted to candidature and cease being a student. You may apply to the faculty or school for permission to re-enrol after a specified time period (usually four semesters).
Your candidature may be terminated as the result of serious disciplinary action or misconduct at the University. Expulsion means that you will not receive results, be allowed to graduate or re-enrol in any course at the University.
The primary academic grouping within the University, made up of broad complementary disciplinary groups, in which teaching and research are delivered. Faculties are further organised into narrower groups (ie, schools and departments or disciplines) to support collaboration in research and teaching.
An amount of money that you are required to pay for tuition and/or student services and amenities. Tuition fees are calculated based on your residency status, your year of study and the course or units of study you are enrolled in.
Your financial responsibility for tuition fees or student contributions. This includes when you defer payment using a HELP loan.
This involves completing between 18 and 24 credit points per semester. To complete your degree according to the standard timetable, you need to complete 24 credit points per semester. Holders of an Australian student visa are required to enrol in a full-time study load of 24 credit points, with at least 18 credit points being completed during the standard semester. Find out more about full-time study load requirements.
The outcome you receive for a unit of study based on the assessments completed. Your grades are displayed on your academic transcript as a result code.
A person who has completed the requirements for their award course but the award has not yet been conferred at a graduation ceremony.
A person who has completed the requirements for their award course and had the award conferred on them at a graduation ceremony.
A bachelor’s (undergraduate) or master’s (postgraduate) course that requires you to have completed a particular undergraduate course first, as a prerequisite for entry.
You are considered a HDR or ‘research’ student when enrolled in a postgraduate research course. This means at least two thirds of the overall course requirements involve undertaking supervised research over a set time period and lead to the production of a thesis or other piece of written or creative work.
Some degrees may be completed 'with honours'. Honours differs depending on the degree, and usually involves the completion of additional independent learning, including a large project and advanced-level coursework, or high-level achievement over all years of the course.
You are an international student if you are not an Australian or New Zealand citizen (or dual citizen of Australia or New Zealand), a permanent resident of Australia or a holder of a permanent Australian humanitarian visa. To enrol at university, international students need to hold an appropriate visa that allows them to study in Australia.
Conducts research on specific topics. The University decided that agriculture discipline teaching occurs through the School of Life and Environmental Sciences in the Faculty of Science, and that the multidisciplinary agriculture research endeavour is best delivered through a focused institute.
This occurs when you do not enrol by the last census date for enrolment and have not formally discontinued or received approval to suspend your enrolment. As a result you are no longer considered a student. To enrol again you need to be re-admitted by the faculty or school, or submit a new application for admission.
As a research student, you may request a leave of absence from your course for less than one research period.
A formal presentation to a large group of students by a lecturer.
A defined sequence of units of study that deepens your experience in a field of study. Majors are recorded on your academic transcript. Requirements for majors are outlined in your handbook.
There are three Universities Australia common vacation weeks each year, in which classes are not taught. These occur in the middle of Semester 1 and 2, and between those semesters.
A defined sequence of units of study that develops your expertise in a field of study. All liberal studies degrees (Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Commerce) and the specialist degree Bachelor of Economics now require you to complete a minor or a second major.
Studies undertaken that do not lead to an award from the University. Non-award courses include professional development programs.
You may be granted credit for a certain number of credit points at a particular level. These credit points may be allocated to a particular subject area but not to a specific unit of study.
The Open Learning Environment (OLE) is a collection of units of study that let you extend your knowledge by exploring other fields of study. You can take as many zero credit point OLE units as you like for free, and complete them at your own pace. Depending on your degree, you may be required to take credit point OLE units.
Domestic students may be allowed to complete some courses on a part-time basis – completing less than the minimum full-time study load of 18 credit points per semester.
A weekly schedule of classes for your enrolled units of study. It lists the location, time and duration of your classes.
A course leading to the award of a graduate certificate, graduate diploma, master's degree or doctorate. A postgraduate award usually requires previous completion of a relevant undergraduate (bachelor's) degree or diploma. It can also refer to a student studying a postgraduate course.
A course prerequisite is a subject you need to have completed at the required standard to be eligible for admission to a course at the University.
A unit of study prerequisite is a unit of study that you need to successfully complete before you can enrol in another unit of study.
A combination of units of study that develops expertise across several disciplines or a professional or specialist field. It includes at least one recognised major in a field of study. Programs are larger volumes of study – in a specified area – than a 48 credit point major. They are also designed to ensure that industry or employment needs are met and are recorded on your student transcript.
If you are enrolled in an award course, you need to meet the progression requirements for that course. This means you need to satisfy all course requirements and faculty rules within the maximum completion time allowed. Ongoing unsatisfactory progression may lead to exclusion by the faculty or school.
Prohibition or prohibited combinations of units of study occur when two or more units contain a significant overlap of content. Enrolment in any one such unit prohibits your enrolment in the other units identified as prohibited.
The units of study you select need to be allocated to a specific unit collection. If you want to change a unit of study to a different unit collection or change your major/specialisation, you must reallocate your units.
When you have been on a break from your studies (such as suspension) and are returning in the next study session.
The process that current students undertake at the end of each year to maintain their place in their course. This includes accepting the University's conditions of studying and enrolling in units of study for the following academic year.
If you have completed previous studies in a related area or have relevant work experience, you can apply to have this credited towards your studies at the University. This may reduce your study load or the time it takes to complete your course.
Reduced Volume of Learning provides recognition for previous study and/or relevant work experience. The number of credit points you need to complete for your award course is reduced.
If you are a research student, the duration of your candidature is measured in research periods. There are four research periods per year - approximately two per semester.
An Australian Government scheme offers eligible research students an exemption from paying a student fee contribution towards their research-based course.
Once results have been released, you can view your results notice online through Sydney Student. This unofficial document shows the results for each of your units of study.
Your semester average mark (SAM) is the average mark you have achieved across all units of study attempted in a semester.
A restriction or penalty that may be applied, if, for example, you do not pay your fees on time. The sanction will limit your access to University resources and processes (such as accessing results or graduating).
A form of support, usually financial, provided to assist in your continued education. Scholarships are usually granted on the basis of academic achievement and/or financial need.
An academic unit where staff have a common disciplinary and/or inter-disciplinary research and teaching responsibility. Some faculties have become schools within a faculty to increase the potential for those schools to work together in teaching and research (see University school below).
The main teaching block or session; about 16 weeks in duration, during a teaching period. There are two semesters each year: Semester 1 (S1C) usually runs from late February to June, and Semester 2 (S2C) from late July to November.
Units of study are run during a set period of time known as a session. Sessions often relate to semesters, but can vary in length. Intensive sessions, for example, are when units are delivered in intensive mode over a shorter timeframe.
If you have not met the progression requirements of your course, your faculty or school may request that you 'show good cause' for why you should be allowed to re-enrol. If you can successfully show good cause, you will be allowed to remain in your award course. If you cannot, you may be excluded for a defined period of time. You have the right to appeal this decision.
An informal arrangement made with your unit of study coordinator to permit late submission of work.
An arrangement that is made if an essential commitment affects your ability to complete an assessment.
You may apply for special consideration if you suffer from an illness, injury or misadventure that significantly affects your performance in an assessment item (or multiple assessment items). This will be taken into account when assessing your performance. If consideration is not granted, you have the right to appeal this decision.
If you do not have the required prerequisite or corequisite to enrol in a unit of study, you may apply to your faculty or school for special permission to enrol.
The disciplinary or professional expertise developed for a profession or career in a professional or specialist bachelor's degree or postgraduate degree.
When you have previously studied a unit of study - at another institution - that is an exact equivalent to a unit of study at the University of Sydney, you will be granted specific credit for that unit. This means you will not need to complete the unit here.
A statutory declaration is a signed, written statement that allows a person to declare something to be true in the presence of an authorised witness – usually a Justice of the Peace, a lawyer or a notary public.
A version of a course that you apply for separately, but it is linked to a common or parent course by components and rules. You need to complete a core program of study in addition to a set of units of study for that particular stream, which appears on your testamur with the award course name. For example, Bachelor of Arts (International and Global Studies).
You are a student if you are currently admitted to candidature (your offer has been accepted) at the University. This includes if you are enrolled in non-award units of study or are on exchange or study abroad.
Your student card is issued once you enrol and identifies you as a student of the University. It can be used for printing (using SydPay), borrowing from the Library, accessing certain buildings, claiming student discounts, and to identify you for administrative purposes, such as during exams.
The central face-to-face enquiry centre for students, located on the Camperdown/Darlington campus. Here you can get assistance with matters related to your candidature and administration.
Once you have enrolled you will be issued with a Student Financial Statement through Sydney Student. This outlines your fees for your enrolled units of study.
A unique nine-digit number that identifies you as a student at the University. Your SID remains the same throughout your studies at the University.
As an international student, you must hold a valid visa that allows you to study in Australia. Information on student visas can be found on the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs website.
The study abroad program (outbound) allows a University of Sydney student to undertake part of their degree at a recognised institution overseas and requires payment of tuition fees to the host institution.
The study abroad program (inbound) allows students from overseas to enrol in units of study at the University of Sydney and involves payment of tuition fees based on the number of subject credit points enrolled in.
The number of credit points you are enrolled in during a semester.
The week before the official exam period at the end of Semesters 1 and 2. For most students, no classes are held during this week.
A generic area of study (for example, science, medicine or linguistics).
An alternative assessment that may be offered if you have failed an assessment item and would otherwise be limited in your ability to progress in your course. A supplementary examination will usually only be awarded if you have scored within a set mark range on the original assessment.
An official period of leave from your studies. You can suspend your studies for a semester, research period or full academic year. A maximum suspension of two years may be allowed with approval.
A campus payment account included with your UniKey and student card. You can load money onto your account to pay for SydPay-enabled services on campus.
There are two teaching periods each year. Each is six months in duration and includes a semester. Teaching period 1 runs from 1 January to 30 June (including Semester 1), and Teaching period 2 runs from 1 July to 31 December (including Semester 2).
This refer to the numbered weeks of actual teaching time within our two main semesters. They do not include mid-semester breaks, study vacation (STUVAC) or examination periods. There are usually 13 teaching weeks within each semester, with Week 1 being the first week of classes and Week 13 the last one before STUVAC. Our wall calendar shows the numbered teaching weeks each year.
The hard copy of the certificate or award that you are given when you complete your award course and graduate. A testamur lists your name, course and the date it was conferred.
The whole assessable work submitted for examination after a period of supervised independent research. A thesis is usually required for a master's by research degree or a PhD.
A complete record of your studies at the University. It includes all units of study (attempted and completed) and your grade for each.
An external transfer is when you apply for admission to an award course at the University of Sydney on the basis of studies you have partially completed at another university. You apply either through UAC or directly to the University of Sydney and can then apply for credit for units studied at your previous institution.
You may be able to arrange a course transfer (known as an Allowable course transfer) from one course to another within the University of Sydney.
A tutorial or ‘tute’ is a smaller and less formal learning setting. Students are guided by a tutor, and can ask questions and have group discussions.
A course leading to a diploma or a bachelor's degree, or a student studying at this level.
A unique electronic ID provided to you after you enrol. Your UniKey gives you access to a range of University resources and systems such as your University student email account, online learning systems, library borrowing, printing and more.
An individual subject that you study as part of your degree. It is the smallest stand-alone component of a course that can be recorded on your academic transcript, and has a credit point value (usually 6, except where approved by the Academic Board). Units of study can be core (mandatory) or elective (optional), and there are three different types:
UAC receives and processes applications for admission to undergraduate courses at recognised universities in New South Wales (NSW) and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT).
Similar to a school within a faculty, but does not share the broad disciplinary connections with the larger faculty groupings. Examples include the University of Sydney Law School and University of Sydney Business School.
When you progress from a postgraduate course to an eligible higher-level course, for example a graduate diploma to a master's degree, in an embedded sequence.
When you are exempted from taking a specific unit of study that is a core requirement of your course. Waivers are usually granted on the basis of previous learning or experience. Credit is not available for a waived unit.
Your weighted average mark (WAM) is the University's way of measuring your academic performance. It is the average mark you’ve achieved across all completed units in your award course, weighted according to the credit point value and academic level of each unit of study.
Welcome week sessions held before the start of each semester give you:
These units of study offer an introduction to a subject area and are designed for students in the first year of study. Assumed knowledge is sometimes recommended.
These units of study build on previous units and are normally taken in the second year or later after 1000-level courses in the area. They may also be available to students with advanced prior knowledge.
These units of study are usually taken in third year or later, after 2000-level study in the area. They include the final units for the completion of a major, including project units and units that put the subject in an interdisciplinary context. Some may also be available to students with advanced prior knowledge.
These units of study are advanced courses and are normally taken in the fourth year or later as the final elements of a four-year degree or combined degree. In combined degrees with the Bachelor of Advanced Studies, they are taken after completion of a major in the subject area. They include industry, community, entrepreneurial and research projects, and honours units.