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Glossary of Student and Course Terms

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Section 1 - Preamble

(1) The following definitions provide the meaning of terms used in the student and academic course related policies of the University. 

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Section 2 - Scope

(2) This Glossary of Student and Course Terms apply principally to any:

  1. student in a coursework program; and to
  2. coursework programs and units in coursework programs

(3) If any policy 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 or regulation.

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Section 3 - Definitions

Term Definition
Academic staff A 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. The course development / review process will ensure that the course will meet such registration / accreditation requirements. 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.
Admission Application to study any undergraduate or postgraduate coursework program, or non-award study at ACU through the relevant Tertiary Admissions Centre or directly to Australian Catholic University. An applicant must meet the published entry requirement(s) and admission is subject to the availability of places.
Non University staff or students that include:
  • religious members
  • members of affiliates institutions performing work for ACU
  • volunteers
  • contractors and consultants performing work for ACU
  • a contractor engaged by the University or an individual employed by a contractor engaged by the University
  • agency staff, e.g. temporary staff
  • committee members who are not ACU employees
  • honorary members
  • visiting members
  • guests of University Members
Applicant A person who has applied for admission to a program at ACU.
Assessment The process whereby student learning outcomes are measured and developed, feedback is given to students on their progress and final results are awarded.
Australian Catholic University, University (ACU) Australian Catholic University Limited, ABN 15050192660.
Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) The Australian Government's AQF is the framework for regulated qualifications in the Australian education and training system. It comprises policies and standards for educational institutions to accredit and/or issue AQF qualifications.
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 To determine the level of student financial contribution required, the Commonwealth government assigns disciplines to various bands. Each unit of study is classified into a student contribution band, depending on the study area of the unit. Current rates are listed at Fees.
Campus Dean A person who represents the Vice-Chancellor and President on a local (campus) level who is formally appointed or assigned to that role by the University.
Campus Locations at which award courses, non-award, foundation and University preparation programs are offered. The current campuses of ACU are Ballarat, Blacktown, Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, North Sydney, Strathfield and Rome.
Cancellation of enrolment An action taken by the University where a student has failed to re-enrol, for non-payment of fees, or as a result of a penalty under the Student Conduct Policy, the Fitness to Study Policy or the Dealing with Instances of Fraudulent Information Policy
Census date 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. The official enrolment status at the census date determines the student's financial liability.
Chief Operating Officer The Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (COO) is responsible for the Office of the Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Vice-Chancellor Portfolio of the University. The COO is appointed by Senate under clause 23 of the ACU Constitution.
Class 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, attendance, online.
Commonwealth-supported place A higher education place for which the Australian Government makes a contribution towards the cost of an eligible student’s education through the Commonwealth Grant Scheme.
Community engagement A program or unit requirement involving a community engagement or similar experience.
Computing and network facilities Include, but is 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 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.
Course An approved program of study leading to an accredited higher education award.
Course Completion The verification that a student's units and results meet the requirements to complete a program by an authorised officer of the University.
Course Coordinator The person in charge of a course or courses who is assigned to that role by the Head of School.
Course Rules Academic Board approved rules which specify the requirements for admission to a course and those to be satisfied to qualify for the relevant award.
Credit points (cp) The numerical value attached to each course unit which represents the student workload. The standard unit value is 10 cp. The standard full-time annual credit point load is 80 cp.
Cross-institutional 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 A person appointed as Deputy Vice-Chancellor under clause 23 of the Constitution.
Designated suite of courses A course or courses with a designated pathway into another qualification in the same or a related discipline. The designated pathway and the credit arrangement must be specified in the course rules.
Discipline A defined branch of study or learning.
Domestic student A student who is an Australian citizen; or a New Zealand citizen or holder of a permanent visa assessed as eligible by the Australian Government. 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 outside the specified (compulsory) units which may be met by selection from defined options in the course rules.
Enrolment The process whereby a student selects one or more units in a study period, including the payment of appropriate fees and makes a declaration to comply with the Statutes, Regulations and Policies of the University.
Enrolment on a non-award basis A 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 which is 80 credit points at ACU.
Examination 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 in the unit outline.
Exclusion A temporary cancellation of a student’s enrolment at the University for a period of up to two standard study periods; “exclude” has a corresponding meaning.
Executive Dean A person who is an academic leader overseeing the management of a Faculty and its constituent Schools who is 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 Any tuition fee, late fee or other charge or fine for which the student is liable.
Fee-paying place 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 normally only be offered to domestic students on a Commonwealth-supported basis. Current tuition fees are available at Fees.
Field of Study A classification system used by Australian institutions to group courses, specialisations and units of study by disciplines.
Full-time A student with an enrolment 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 cluster For funding purposes, the Australian Government allocates units of study to funding clusters which determine the Commonwealth contribution amounts and maximum student contribution amounts by discipline. 
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.
Graduate entry An undergraduate course for which prior completion of another undergraduate degree is the normal admission prerequisite.
Head of School, or equivalent A person formally appointed or assigned to that role by the University.
Higher degree by research A course in which the thesis component constitutes no less than two-thirds of the degree requirements. See also Higher Degree Research Regulations.
Higher education provider (HEP) The generic term used to describe universities and other institutions approved as HEPs under the Higher Education Support Act 2003 (Cth) (HESA). Australian Catholic University is a Table A provider under HESA.
Honours An AQF Level 8 undergraduate program which can either be end-on fourth year programs undertaken after completion of an appropriate undergraduate Bachelor’s degree or embedded Honours programs equivalent to at least a fourth year of study at Bachelor level. The additional honours work typically includes advanced coursework, research methodology and a thesis.
International student A student with a visa to undertake study in Australia. The visa is subject to conditions prescribed by government, including a requirement to enroll full time and complete the course in the minimum duration as provided on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS).
Introductory units Units coded at 100-level.
Joint award A formalised partnership between ACU and another institution to jointly develop and present a course as equal partners and confer the award jointly as a single qualification.
Lecturer in Charge The person in charge of a unit who is assigned to that role by the Head of School.
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 Ballarat, Blacktown, Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, North Sydney or Strathfield.
  • Off-campus: Delivered at another location, described by the site name, for example, Adelaide Leadership Centre, 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.
Major A discipline or field of study which amounts to a minimum of 80 credit points in an undergraduate course.
Member of the University Any student or member of staff of the University or member of the Senate or any of its committees.
Member of University staff or staff Any person employed or engaged by or assigned to the University.
Microcredentials A discrete learning package with appropriately articulated learning outcomes and constructively aligned learning and teaching, and assessment strategies.
Minor A discipline or field of study which amounts to 40 credit points in an undergraduate course.
Mission The Mission as set out in the Mission Statement of Australian Catholic University as endorsed by the Senate.
Non-award program Study leading to an award of this University, other than an accredited higher education award, for example, a Certificate.
Non-standard study period A period of study outside the Semester 1 and Semester 2 study periods; it includes the Summer and Winter Terms, Professional Terms 1 to 8, Research Terms A to D, Foundation Terms 1 to 4 and ACU Online Terms 1 to 4.
Part-time A student with an enrolment 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 admission requirement. Postgraduate courses may be offered either by coursework or by research. 
Prerequisite A requirement that must be met by a student before enrolment in the stipulated unit.
Professional experience coordinator An umbrella term for a member of academic staff who is responsible for the oversight of a student’s progress in practical, professional, clinical or community placements in a professional experience unit.
Professional experience or professional experience placement An umbrella term for any assessable practical, professional, clinical or community placement.
Professional experience unit An umbrella term for any unit which contains an assessable practical, professional, clinical or community placement.
Professional staff A person or persons appointed or assigned to professional staff roles in the University.
Program An umbrella term that includes any accredited higher education course and/or any non-award course of this University.
Program maps A map of the structure of a 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 The Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) is responsible for the Academic Portfolio of the University. The Provost is appointed by Senate under clause 23 of the ACU Constitution.
Readmission Application by a student to return to the University following a period of inactivity, termination or exclusion from the University. An applicant may be required to demonstrate a capacity to resume study and any request for admission to a new course is subject to the availability of places.
Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) The 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 The governing authority of Australian Catholic University.
Sexual Misconduct Any unwelcomed sexual act or behaviour that a person does not consent to or that makes a person feel uncomfortable, humiliated, threatened or frightened. It can take many forms, including sexual assault and sexual harassment.
Short courses Programs other than accredited higher education awards or microcredentials that are undertaken by an individual to improve or support progress towards work, career and/or personal goals.
Any place at which University activities are conducted away from University premises. University activities include:
  • practical, professional, clinical or community placements or other activities forming part of a course or unit 
  • research related activity controlled or supervised by the University
  • legitimate activities organised by the University’s Student Associations
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.
Specified units Units which are compulsory for course completion.
Staff See ‘Member of University staff’.
Standard study period Semester 1 and Semester 2.
With the exception of a specific definition within the relevant policy, rule or regulation, a student is 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:
  • has qualified for the award or completed the unit, as the case may be;
  • has been excluded from the University or had his or her enrolment terminated pursuant to the statutes, regulations, rules or policies of the University;
  • 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;
  • does not have a final grade, excluding withdrawals, awarded in at least one credit bearing unit in the academic year of commencement; or
  • has given written notice of withdrawal from the program or unit.
Student contribution The Australian Government classifies each unit of study into a student contribution band, depending on the study area of the unit. For Commonwealth-supported places, the Australian Government pays some of a student’s fees and universities then determine the amount of the student contribution for units in each band. Current student contribution levels are available at Fees.
Student file The compilation of records of all interactions between the University and individual students. Records are retained by the University in accordance with the Records Retention and Disposal Schedule.
Study/Delivery mode
The manner in which a course or unit is taught. The following study modes are used at ACU:
  • Campus attendance: Learning activities or classes are primarily face-to-face at an ACU campus or approved ACU delivery site.
  • Multi-mode: Learning activities are online with a compulsory attendance component (including examinations, practicums, residentials etc).
  • Online scheduled: Fully online with learning activities held at scheduled times (including assessments).
  • Online unscheduled: Fully online with learning activities accessible at any time (including assessments).
Study period 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 Prohibition from participating in any University activity and/or the temporary denial of access to all or specified University campuses or sites 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 Prohibition, on the basis of academic progression, from participating in any unit or program; "terminate" has a corresponding meaning.
Undergraduate A post-secondary course leading to an award of bachelor degree (including a graduate entry bachelor degree), bachelor degree with honours, associate degree, advanced diploma, diploma or associate diploma.
Unit Each course is composed of course units, which may be specified (compulsory) or elective. Each unit is discrete in its aim and learning outcomes, content, methods and assessment, is identified by a unique unit code and has a specified credit point value. See also the Coding and Naming of Units Guideline.
University premises
Locations under the direct control of the University which include:
  • Campuses
  • Leadership Centres
  • Student accommodation
  • Any other locations owned or operated by the University
Vice-Chancellor and President The Vice-Chancellor and President is the Chief Executive Officer of the University appointed by the Senate under clause 21 of the ACU Constitution.