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Policy: Glossary - student policies and procedures


To define terms used in Student policies and procedures.


This policy provides definitions for frequently used terms in the policy bank.


This policy applies across student policies and procedures.

Policy statement



Academic Adviser

Member of ANU college staff responsible for providing guidance to students concerning their programs and/or courses.

Academic Area

A formally recognised element of the University’s academic structure such as an ANU college, school, centre, group, institute, or research school. Creation of an academic area is approved by the Vice-Chancellor or University Council.

Academic Benchmarking

The process of comparing standards between courses or programs:

against the same course or program in different years or sessions;

against different courses or programs at the same institution; or

against similar courses or programs from other institutions.

Academic Board

The Academic Board of the Australian National University is a Committee of Council under the University’s Academic Board Statute. Academic Board is tasked with ensuring the University maintains the highest standards in teaching, scholarship and research.

Academic Integrity

Definition effective until 30 November 2021:

The principle that students and staff of the University:

  1. engage in academic work honestly, responsibly and ethically; and
  2. produce original work that acknowledges the contributions of others.

The academic integrity principle applies to, and is binding on, every member of the University, regardless of:

  1. whether they are engaged in research or education; or
  2. their academic discipline.

See also: Academic Integrity Rule 2021

Definition effective from 1 December 2021:

The principle that every student of the University:

  1. is committed to engaging in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support, academic integrity; and
  2. upholds this commitment by behaving honestly, responsibly and ethically, and with respect and fairness, in scholarly practice.

The academic integrity principle applies to, and is binding on, every student of the University, regardless of:

  1. whether the student is engaged in research or education; or
  2. the student’s academic discipline.

See also: Academic Integrity Rule 2021

Academic Organisational Unit (AOU)

An academic area which the University uniquely identifies to the Commonwealth as providing one or more courses.

Academic penalty (course withdrawal)

A fail grade (WN - withdrawn with failure) that is awarded for a course from which an enrolled student has withdrawn. This grade appears on the academic transcript and is included in the calculation of a student’s Grade Point Average (GPA) as a zero (0).

Academic Progress

The measure of progress in an Award program. Thresholds for satisfactory and unsatisfactory academic progress are defined in the Academic Progress Rule for coursework and milestones as defined in the Higher degree research – candidature progression procedure for HDR.

See ‘Milestones’.

Academic Progress Committee

The Committee, established under the ANU Academic Progress Rules, that oversees decision making in cases of potential unsatisfactory academic progress.

Academic Scholarship

A scholarship where the primary eligibility criterion and/or primary selection basis is the academic ranking.

Academic Standard

A level of student learning that is assessed through specified learning outcomes and about which there is consensus within the relevant disciplinary community.

Academic Transcript

A certified statement detailing a student’s complete academic record at the University, the Academic Transcript:

Includes details of all programs and 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;

lists University prizes and graduation details where applicable;

lists sub-plans and class of honours, where applicable.

Academic Year

The ANU Academic Year runs from 1 January to 31 December. The academic year is divided into two Study Periods.

See ‘Study Period’.

Access Scholarship

A scholarship where the primary eligibility criterion and/or primary selection basis is one or more access or equity characteristics.

Additional benefits

Allowances and entitlements made in addition to a HDR stipend.


The process of application, assessment, offer, acceptance, and matriculation.

Admit Term

The first session for which a student is matriculated into their program.

See ‘Session’ and ‘Matriculate’.


The way in which certain curriculum elements, learning outcomes, teaching and learning activities and assessment, are interdependent. Implementation of a successfully aligned curriculum ensures that students are taught the material they need to know to complete the tasks set for (summative) assessment.

ANU College

The primary academic organisational units of the University established by Council:

ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences (CASS)

ANU College of Asia and the Pacific (CAP)

ANU College of Business and Economics (CBE)

ANU College of Engineering and Computer Science (CECS)

ANU College of Law (ANU CoL)

ANU College of Health and Medicine (CHM)

ANU College of Science (CoS)

ANU College Dean

The person responsible for leadership of an ANU College’s education and research programs and outreach activities.

ANU Council

A 15 member committee that governs the University under the Australian National University Act 1991.

ANU Tuition Scholarship

Tuition fees paid by College from internal funds. A scholarship for tuition fees may be available to HDR or coursework students.

Articulation Agreement

Articulation arrangements enable students to progress from a completed or partially completed qualification to another with admission and/or credit in a defined qualification pathway. (AQF Glossary 2013) See also ‘Credit Register’


A process to determine a student’s achievement of expected learning outcomes that may include a range of written and oral methods and practice and demonstration, including tutorial participation, formal examinations, assignments, tests and essays. The Assessment Rules govern assessment at the University.

See also ‘summative assessment’ and ‘formative assessment’

Assessment Criteria

Descriptions of the specific qualities, characteristics and aspects of an assessment task that will be considered by a marker in determining the standard at which a student has attained the learning outcomes identified for that task. Students must be informed about the assessment criteria before they commence an assessment task.

Assessment Task

A task undertaken by students which requires them to demonstrate one or more of the learning outcomes of a course.

Associate Dean

A member of a College Dean’s office tasked with supporting or advancing work in a particular area of responsibility, for example, Associate Dean (Education), Associate Dean (HDR), Associate Dean (Students). This position may carry academic delegations depending on the ANU College, and may also be referred to as Deputy Dean in some ANU Colleges.


A specific discipline or multi-disciplinary field attached to a Broad Field Award and included on the testamur. Masters Degrees and Graduate Diplomas require that a minimum of 36 units (0.75 EFTSL) of courses is in the specific discipline or multi-disciplinary field while Graduate Certificates require that 18 units (0.375 EFTSL) is in the specific discipline or multi-disciplinary field, and there should be a consistent structure across all augmented versions of the Broad Field Award. Examples include:

Master of Laws in International Law

Master of Engineering in Solar Energy Technologies

Master of Public Policy in Policy Analysis

Australian Higher Education Graduation Statement (AHEGS)

A Commonwealth required document in addition to the testamur. It is provided to students at graduation and includes information on a student’s higher education qualification; the institute at which the qualification was obtained; the Australian higher education system, and the Australian Qualifications Framework.

Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF)

The national schema for describing qualifications in Australian education and training.

Award (upper case)

A qualification conferred by the University and certified by a testamur.

  • Award names and relevant specialisations appear on a graduate’s testamur.
  • Different plans may lead to different Awards though some lead to the same Award.

award (lower case)

A payment or benefit made on the basis of criteria established by ANU. An award may include prizes, scholarships, bursaries, grants, and ANU awards.

Award Program

See program.

Bachelor Honours

An undergraduate research-focused program at AQF Level 8 that is either embedded (is included in a four-year Bachelor program) or a plus-one Honours program (is a stand-alone one-year degree additional to an AQF 7 Bachelor program).

See ‘Embedded Honours’.

Broad Field Award

A graduate coursework Award which is directly named after one or more disciplines featured in the name of an ANU College, or “Environmental Studies” or “Public Policy”, such as:

Master of Asia-Pacific Studies

Graduate Diploma of Environmental Studies

Graduate Certificate of Arts


An award made on the basis of economic, social or geographical disadvantage that is a payment to assist a current student to pursue their program of study at the ANU.


The level of a program. At the ANU, this is either non-award, undergraduate, postgraduate coursework or research.


One of the final courses in a sequence of courses that provides an opportunity for students to integrate the knowledge and skills they have acquired. The learning outcomes of the capstone will normally map into the learning outcomes for the major or program.

Census Date

The point at which a student’s enrolment in a course becomes effective and they become academically and financially liable for the course. This is the date by which a student should finalise their enrolment for the non-standard session or the semester.

A census date for a course must be a minimum of 20% into the duration of a course, including periods of time for assessment.

The following census dates apply at ANU:

First Semester Census Date is 31 March

Second Semester Census Date is 31 August

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

Class Summary

Provides an outline of a specific iteration of a course, including Convener details, learning outcomes, assessment tasks and important class dates.

See ‘Course Convener’, ‘Learning Outcome’ and ‘Assessment’.

Code of Practice

Codes of Practice express or examine issues in more detail than a standard policy or procedure.

College Student Office

A single point of contact within an ANU College comprising staff who provide students with academic advice amongst a number of other activities.

Commencing Student

A student who is enrolled in a program for the first time at ANU between 1 January and 31 December of any given year.

Commonwealth Assistance Notice (CAN)

A Notice that is provided electronically and contains information about a student’s enrolment and Commonwealth assistance liability.

Commonwealth Grants Scheme

The method through which funding is allocated to the University for students enrolled in a Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP).

Commonwealth Higher Education Student Support Number (CHESSN)

A unique identifier for each domestic student who accesses commonwealth assistance.

The CHESSN will be gradually phased out from January 2021 with new students coming under the USI system instead.

See ‘Unique Student Identifier (USI)’.

Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS)

The list of programs and education providers that are registered as available for international students to come to Australia and study under a student visa.

In this instance the term ‘courses’ is defined as programs in ANU context.

Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP)

A higher education place for which the Government makes a financial contribution.

Commonwealth Supported Student (CSS)

A student in receipt of a Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP).

Compulsory Courses

Courses required to be completed to satisfy some or all of the requirements of an award and cannot normally be replaced by alternative courses. Compulsory courses are offered every calendar year.

Concurrent Enrolment

Enrolment by a student in a program while enrolled in another program; it requires endorsement of the relevant Delegated Authority or Delegated Authorities.

Conditions of Award

The terms that outline the contract and conditions required of both the recipient and the University.

Conferring Ceremony

The public ceremony where Awards are presented and granted or bestowed upon persons who have completed all requirements for the respective Award. Also referred to as a graduation ceremony.

Constructive Alignment

A term used to describe the deliberate planning (by a teacher or Course Convener) of student learning outcomes, activities, and assessment in a coherent and related way.

Continuing Load

Continuing load is attributed to:

Students who are starting a specialised program of studies after completing a common initial year (or years) of a general program at ANU;

Students who have completed an initial year of study at ANU and select a standard option of continuing their studies at a lower level, ie their study will lead to an award at a lower level than that which pertains to the program of studies undertaken in the first year;

Students who move from plan to plan within a program; students who are admitted to, or transfer from, a Bachelor Hons program having previously been enrolled at ANU in the related Bachelor pass course of study;

Students who are enrolled in a program at ANU which is upgraded in level or renamed;

Students who are resuming the same ANU program after absence;

Students continuing from the first component of a combined program to the second or later components;

Students resuming a combined program which normally leads to a single award after having been conceded an award for another program;

Students who have completed part of the requirements of a combined program at ANU and then change their enrolment to one of the components of the combined program; or

Students who have completed part of the requirements of a single degree program at ANU and then change their enrolment to a related combined program which leads to an award or awards that subsume the award applicable to the single degree program.

Co-badged Course

Co-badged courses are identical courses offered under two different Alpha codes,

See ‘Co-taught Course’.


Co-requisites are when two or more courses or sub-plans must be undertaken simultaneously.

Co-taught Course

A course that shares teaching events, other than special events such as guest lectures by non-ANU staff or staff research seminars, with another course.


course means a subject of scholarly study, whether it is taught:

(a) in a connected series of classes or demonstrations; or

(b) by means of practical work, including, for example, the production by students of essays, theses or case studies or the attendance and participation by students in seminars or workshops; or

(c) by clinical or professional practice; or

(d) in another way or in a combination of ways.

(Coursework Award Rule 2020)

The following are not courses:

(a) a micro-credential (Policy: Micro-credentials);

(b) a professional 'course’ (as defined in the Professional and Short Courses Policy).

Each iteration of a course requires a Class Summary.

Each course has a unique course code.

Each course is 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.

In Commonwealth terminology a course is what ANU refers to as a program.

In Commonwealth terminology what ANU refers to as a course is known as a unit of study.

Course Code

A course code is the 8-character alpha-numeric code that is used to identify an individual course at the University: a four-character alphabetic subject area code and a four-digit numeric catalogue number. An additional letter may appear after the 8-character code (e.g. R for research or A/B for two-part EXTN-coded courses). The first digit denotes the level of the course as specified in the Programs and Courses Accreditation Policy. This code will be the same regardless of the year or semester the course is scheduled.

See course.

Course Convener

A course convener is responsible for the administration of the course, including the finalisation of marks and the submission of marks and grades to the Chair of Examiners; ensuring that the class summary and other course materials comply with University policy and college and school requirements; and student issues relating to the Discipline Rules and Academic Integrity Rule 2021

A course convener may or may not teach part or all of the course.

See ‘Class Summary’, ‘Grades’ and ‘Assessment’.

Course Duration

The length of a course usually measured in weeks, which include the final assessment task for the course. This is used to calculate the census date for a course.

Course of Study

A Commonwealth term that refers to what ANU defines as a program.


Coursework means the courses, and other written or oral work (if any), undertaken by a student for a program for a coursework award, but does not include any thesis component of the program of at least 24 units duration. (Coursework Awards Rule 2020)

Coursework Program

An academic program consisting either entirely of courses or of a combination of courses and research—the research component being less than two-thirds of the entire program.


Credit is the unit value that is assigned towards the completion of a program for learning prior to program commencement or for approved study outside the program, in recognition of the equivalence of that learning to the content and learning outcomes of the program. See also ‘Specified Credit’ and ‘Unspecified Credit’.

Credit Register

A credit register records the identified equivalence in content and learning outcomes between matched programs, courses or professional experience for the purposes of assessment and approval of credit.

Cross-institutional Student

A student who undertakes a course (or courses) at one institute (the host provider) while formally enrolled for an award at another institution as part of a program of that institution (the home provider) with 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.

Cth (or Cwlth)

Included when making a reference to Commonwealth legislation.


This term covers a wide range of aspects of the student learning experience, including learning outcomes, scope and sequence of knowledge (syllabus), details of content, skills, learning experience, resources, pedagogy, assessment, and evaluation and review. A description of the formative experiences available to a student enrolled in a particular course of study, of the academic achievements expected of a student who successfully completes the course, and of the ways in which the student’s achievements will be reported. (cf. Syllabus.)


The postponement of the commencement of an undergraduate program usually for no more than one year.

Deferment is only available to undergraduate domestic students who have not started their program.

A one-year honours applicant may only defer their offer with the agreement of the Delegate Authority and under special circumstances.

Deferred Examination

An examination a student is permitted to take, under approval by the delegated authority, where the student was eligible to take an examination in a course but unable to attend the examination.


One of the following qualifications:

Associate Degree

Bachelor Degree

Bachelor Honours Degree

Masters Degree

Doctoral Degree.

Degree Transfer

A transfer between eligible programs at the same career level, e.g. undergraduate to undergraduate. Applications are submitted using the online application form.


A formal authority assigned to an individual that allows them to undertake actions assigned under university legislation.

Diagnostic Assessment

A type of formative assessment used early on in a course or program, to evaluate student’s abilities to identify their own approaches to learning, to assist students to develop the skills to manage their own learning, and to provide the teacher (and students) with information that will allow the identification of deficits in knowledge and understanding. Diagnostic assessment helps both teacher and student to establish a baseline for learning.

Domestic Student

A student who is an Australian citizen, a New Zealand citizen, or the holder of an Australian Permanent Resident or Permanent Humanitarian Visa.

Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF)

The fee payable by domestic students enrolled in a course on a fee paying basis.


An individual or organisation that has made a gift or gifts to the University.

Double Degree

A program that leads to more than one degree. See also Flexible Double Degree and Vertical Double Degree.

Dual Degree

Study of two linked degrees at two institutions where two testamurs are received, one from each institution.

Education Materials

Means all materials produced by staff, students, emeritus and honorary appointees, visitors, and visiting fellows in the course of, or for use in, teaching at the University (for example, lecture notes and material, syllabi, handouts, study guides, course software and assessment materials) regardless of format (for example, printed, digital, electronic, multi-media presentations and web content), but excludes personal lecture notes that are not made available to students or personal notes taken by students to assist in study. To the extent a work may be both education materials and a Scholarly Work, it will be treated in this Policy as education materials.

Effective Enrolment

Enrolment in a course that remains effective after the Census Date for the course. Students with effective enrolment are financially and academically responsible for their enrolment in their course.

Electronic Commonwealth Assistance Form (eCAF)

A request for Commonwealth Assistance. It is completed online by all Commonwealth Supported Students, and students covered by FEE-HELP and SA HELP, who wish to defer their debt.

Embedded Honours

A program, typically four years, which combines AQF Level 7 and AQF Level 8 studies and a student graduates with a single Bachelor Honours Degree.


The process of selecting and registering to participate in courses.

Enrolment Change

The process of changing enrolment in one or more courses.

Equity award

Made on the basis of allowing fair and equal access to higher education. These awards are aimed at redressing factors of disadvantage that may affect access to higher education. (See Bursary and Scholarship)

Equity awards may be granted to students who come from one or more of the following defined equity or personal disadvantaged groups:

People of Australian Indigenous descent

People experiencing low socio-economic circumstances

People from rural and isolated areas

People with a disability or long-term medical condition

Women from non-traditional fields of education such as engineering

People experiencing long-term family difficulties.

Equivalent Full-Time Student Load (EFTSL)

A measure of student load expressed as a proportion of the workload for a standard full-time program over the course of a year. For graduate research students a weight of one if full-time; half if part-time.

A 6 unit course is equivalent to 0.125 EFTSL per student. 48 units is equivalent to one EFTSL.


A University initiated termination of a student’s program or career.


The waiving of a requirement to complete a compulsory course, based on recognition of prior or external learning. Exemption from a course does not change the units required for completion of a program.

External Learning

Formal learning undertaken concurrently with the program enrolment at ANU that occurs at a different institution through approved student exchange, study-abroad or cross-institutional study.

External Sponsorship

An arrangement between a student, an external sponsor and the University or College to cover some or all of the costs on behalf of the student. This may be subject to a formal agreement between the University and the sponsor, or the relationship may be primarily between the student and the sponsor.

Fee Reduction

An award benefit that provides a reduction in fees for a student, with the associated costs paid for by an internal University entity.

Feedback on Assessment

Written or spoken comments provided by lecturers, tutors, software, or other students about formative or summative assessment tasks that give students guidance about how to perform future tasks more successfully and/or explain marks and grades they have been given for tasks already completed.

See also ‘formative assessment’, ‘formative feedback’ and/or ‘summative assessment’.


A loan scheme to assist eligible students pay their domestic tuition fees (DTF).

Financial penalty (course withdrawal)

Where the tuition fee liability remains for a course from which an enrolled student has withdrawn. In the absence of an academic penalty, a grade of WD (withdrawn without failure) is awarded for the course. The WD grade appears on the academic transcript but is not included in the calculation of a student’s Grade Point Average (GPA).

Flexible Endowment

Donor donated amount which is drawn down over a period of time.

Flexible Double Degree

A structural model that permits the selection of two qualifications to be undertaken concurrently for a reduced total duration.

Formal Learning

The learning that takes place through a structured program of learning that leads to the full or partial achievement of an officially accredited qualification. See also ‘informal learning’ and ‘non-formal learning’. (AQF Glossary 2013) Microcredentials are considered formal learning for the assessment of credit.

Formative Assessment

Any learning activity that will assist a lecturer to identify deficiencies in student learning to date; design future learning tasks to address the deficiencies, and provide students with feedback that will assist them to improve their performance in summative assessment activities.

Formative assessment may be marked but will not normally contribute substantially to the final mark for the course.

Formative Feedback

Formative feedback is any commentary on student work that is designed to assist students to improve current or future learning.

Full-time Student

Students studying in semesters and non-standard sessions who are enrolled in 18 or more units (0.375 EFTSL or greater) in a Study Period are considered to be full-time students.

Students studying on a student visa should note that they are required to be enrolled at 100% intensity which generally equates to 24 units in a Study Period, except where they are approved by their ANU College to study at a Reduced Study Load or as part of an intervention strategy.

Fund Administrator

The fund administrator is responsible for making payments to recipients based on the Conditions of Award. 

Fund Delegate

The fund delegate is responsible for the financial health of a fund including financial reports, ongoing pipeline monitoring and annual budget review.

Fund Manager

The fund manager is responsible for the day-to-day financial oversight and expenditure of a fund and may make recommendations on expenditure or remediation if the fund is not in good financial health.   

Fund Owner

The fund owner is accountable for the establishment and ongoing health of a fund.

Further Assessment

An oral, written, or practical piece of assessment required from a student in addition to normal assessment for a course, to ensure that the academic performance of the student in that course is adequately and fairly assessed.

Future student

A person who has not commenced study at the ANU. This person may have applied but not yet accepted or not yet met the conditions of their offer.

Grade Point Average (GPA)

A GPA is an internationally recognised method of assigning a numerical index on a scale. It provides a summary of academic performance. At ANU, the GPA is calculated on a 7 point scale.


Letters that correspond to bands of marks, according to an institution-wide scale, e.g. where students with a numerical mark that corresponds to 80 – 100% of the total marks available for the course will be awarded a grade of High Distinction (HD). (cf. Mark.) For full information on grades used at the University refer to

Grade Distribution

An overview of the frequencies of results in given bands of grades (HD,D,C,P,N).

Grading Scheme

Broad descriptors that describe the overall level of achievement expected for each grade in terms applicable to a wide range of assessment activities.


A student who is deemed to have completed requirements for an award of the University but has not yet had the Award conferred.


A student who has had an Award conferred. A person who holds a degree or diploma from a tertiary institution.

Graduate Coursework

Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma or Masters by coursework program comprising less than two-thirds research.

Graduate Research

A Doctoral or Masters program comprising a maximum of one-third coursework and minimum of two-thirds research such as Doctor of Philosophy or Master of Philosophy program.


The process of conferring Awards of the University either at a formal ceremony or in absentia.

Graduation Statement

See ‘Australian Higher Education Graduate Statement’


A merit-based award that is made to a current student as a one-off payment to provide a reimbursement or to cover a specific cost to pursue their program of study at the ANU.


The Programs and Courses website defined under the Coursework Handbook Rules.

HDR Fee Remission Merit Scholarship

Awarded in a merit-based process; the tuition fees are not charged by ANU.

HDR Research Support

Forms of financial assistance such as education-related expenses including fieldwork costs excluding tuition or accommodation or stipend.

HDR Stipend Scholarship

A HDR scholarship where the value of the scholarship is greater than or equal to $20,000 per annum.

HDR Supplementary Scholarship

A scholarship that is less than $20,000 per annum in value and awarded in addition to an existing merit-based stipend scholarship (also known as a top-up scholarship) or may be a scholarship that offers a stipend with no additional benefits or conditions. The College or external provider determines the scholarship amount and duration.


A loan scheme to assist Commonwealth supported students pay their student contribution amounts.

Higher Education Loan Program (HELP)

A loan program to assist eligible students pay student contribution amounts (HECS-HELP), tuition fees (FEE-HELP), Services and Amenities (SA-HELP) and overseas study expenses (OS-HELP).

Higher Education Provider

Universities and higher education institutions listed in subdivision 16-B of the Higher Education Support Act (HESA) and providers as determined by the Minister under section 16-25 of HESA and supported by the definition in the Provider Category Standards in the Higher Education Support Framework (Threshold Standards), Part B.

Higher Education Support Act (HESA)

Legislation that relates to Government funding for Higher Education Providers in Australia.

Honorary Degree

A non-AQF qualification that recognises outstanding achievements but does not require completion of a program to be awarded. Covered by the Honorary Degree Rules.

Hurdle Assessment

An assessment task that tests competency or skills or knowledge that is considered as fundamental to passing the course or, is required by a discipline specific or other accreditation authority.

In Absentia

Literally ‘in absence’ and used when a student has their Award conferred but does not attend a formal ceremony.

Incompatible Course

A course that may not be taken if another alternative course has been undertaken and passed, or is currently being undertaken. Incompatibilities between courses must be mutual, ie if Course A is incompatible with Course B then Course B must be incompatible with Course A.

Individual mark adjustment

Adjustment of the raw mark of an individual student, based on academic judgment of that student’s particular circumstances particularly in relation to special assessment consideration requests.

Informal Learning

Informal learning refers to learning gained through professional activities and experiences. Typically, informal learning is not organised or externally structured in terms of objectives, time or learning support. See also ‘formal learning’ and ‘non-formal learning’.

In-person course

A course where the curriculum has been designed with every expectation that students need to attend one or more face-to-face events on-campus or in a facility managed by the University during the semester or term in order to achieve the learning outcomes. Such a course is supported by a learning management system which will provide access to the Course Outline and an online assessment submission facility at the very least, but may also provide access to other resources such as notes and recordings.

In-person program

A program designed so that students may choose a sequence of courses meeting the full study requirements, such that a significant majority of units (75% or more of the total) come from completion of in-person courses. The full study requirements are those published on the Programs & Courses website.

Intensity of Study

The distinction, in relation to a student’s study load, between full-time and part-time.

See ‘Full-time Student’ and ‘Part-time Student’.

Intensive course

A course which is designed to be completed in less than semester length, often through one or more periods of intensive teaching.

Intensive Program

A program which is designed to be completed in less than the typical volume of learning specified in the Australian Qualifications Framework for the qualification type, by taking more than 24 units in a given Study Period.

Intensive teaching

Teaching which is undertaken in blocks, generally over one or more consecutive full days

Interim Grades

Temporary grades used in place of a final result, where a final result is still to be determined or is being withheld for administrative reasons.

Interim grades include PX, RP, DA, WA and WF.

See ‘Grades’.

For full information on grades used at the University refer to

Internal funding source – ANU managed

A scholarship or grant provided and administered by a person or entity within the ANU e.g. University Research Scholarship (URS)

Internal funding source – college managed and funded

A scholarship or grant provided and administered by a person or entity within an ANU College.

Internal sponsorship

See definition for ‘fee reductions’.

International Student

A student who is not a domestic student. An international student may be studying onshore or from an offshore location (ie. their physical location while studying does not determine their designation as an international student).

See ‘Domestic Student’.

International Student Fee (ISF)

The tuition fee payable by international students enrolled in a course.

ISIS—Interactive Student Information Services

A web-based system that allows students to access certain personal and academic information held on the University’s student system, including examination results, enrolment and graduation details.

Joint Degrees

Joint degrees are where two institutions offer a program together leading to a single testamur.

Late fee

A fine or penalty levied as a disincentive for late payment of fees under the Fees Rule or for late enrolment in, or withdrawal from, a course.

Late Withdrawal

A student may apply to be given a result of WD (withdrawn without failure) and a refund/remission of tuition fees for a course due to encountering unavoidable and unexpected extenuating circumstances that impeded their successful completion of the course and the circumstances occurred or exacerbated after the Census Date for the course. As this application is submitted after the relevant Census Date, it is referred to with the terminology ‘late’.

Learning Management System

A software application which provides tools that assist with the administration and delivery of online education.

Learning Outcome

The expression of the set of knowledge, skills, and the application of the knowledge and skills a person has acquired and is able to demonstrate as a result of learning. In higher education, learning outcomes are described using verbs such as create, evaluate, compare, criticise etc. Course outlines contain a description of both the aims and learning outcomes of the course.

Leave of Absence/Program Leave

A period of absence from studies at the University.


Either a member of staff or a guest academic or a subject matter expert who conducts a presentation on a particular topic to students in a course, or to members of the public in the case of a public lecture.

A course may have more than one lecturer and a lecturer may also be a Course Convener.


A set of related courses which are constructed for students to achieve specified learning outcomes and require the completion of 48 units.

Majors can be in a single discipline (e.g. mathematics), or multi-disciplinary (e.g. corporate sustainability). Majors exist independently of programs but may be referred to by the requirements of a specific plan. Majors are available only to undergraduate students and listed on academic transcripts but not on testamurs.


A number between 0 and 100 inclusive that provides a numerical representation of a student’s attainment with regards to assessment tasks.


The process of a student being made active in a given program allowing them to then enrol.


A measure of academic or other excellence.


A short-form credential designed and taught for lifelong learning rather than as part of an ANU program.

For clarity, a micro-credential is not a program or a course as defined in ANU policy and procedure.

(Policy: Micro-credentials)


Progress indicators that Higher Degree Research candidates are required to complete to make progress through their program.

Examples of milestones include Annual Plan, Research Integrity Training and final Oral Presentation.


A set of related courses which are structures for students to achieve specific learning outcomes. A minor requires the completion of 24 units. Minors can be in a single discipline (e.g. mathematics) or multi-disciplinary (e.g. corporate sustainability). Minors exist independently of programs but may be referred to by the requirements of a specific plan. Minors are available in both undergraduate and postgraduate plans and are listed on academic transcripts but not on testamurs.


The practice of adjusting the marks of a group of students, to ensure the marking standards across cohorts of students are consistent and that the marks awarded are representative of the achievement of the cohort. The adjustment of marks is based on academic judgement, is usually supported by a statistical calculation and may involve reviewing a selection of assessed student work. Marks may be adjusted up or down. Marks available to students are provisional until officially released by the University.

Multimodal program

A program designed so that a student can study up to one third of their program units as online units. The full study requirements are those published on the Programs and Courses webpage.

Narrow Field Award

A graduate coursework Award, other than a Broad Field Award, named after specific discipline or multi-disciplinary field. Masters Degrees and Graduate Diplomas require that a minimum of 48 units (1 EFTSL) of courses is in the specific discipline or multi-disciplinary field while Graduate Certificates require that 24 units (0.5 EFTSL) is in the specific discipline or multi-disciplinary field. Examples include:

Master of Nuclear Science

Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice

Graduate Certificate of Management

National Code

The National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2018 is a set of standards that govern the protection of overseas students (international students with a student visa) and delivery of courses to those students by providers registered on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Course for Overseas Students (CRICOS). The National Code is established under the Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Act 2000.

National Priority

National Priority courses are those that attract a reduced Student Contribution Amount for domestic students in order to attract students to study a particular field. These priorities are set a Federal level.

Non-award program

A program of study where the courses studied do not result in an Award. For example, a cross-institutional non-award program or an inbound exchange program.

See ‘non-award study’.

Non-award Study

Studies that do not lead to the attainment of a degree, diploma, or certificate, but consists of completion of courses at undergraduate or graduate coursework level.

Non-formal learning

Non-formal learning refers to a successfully completed unit of learning that takes place through a structured program but does not lead to an officially accredited qualification. See also ‘formal learning’ and ‘informal learning’. (AQF Glossary 2013)

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.

Summer Session: 1st January-31st March

Autumn Session: 1st April-30th June

Winter Session: 1st July- 30th September

Spring Session: 1st October-31st December

Online Course

A course where the curriculum has been designed with no expectation that students need to attend any face-to-face events on-campus or in a facility managed by the University in order to achieve the learning outcomes. Such a course is supported by a learning management system, which will provide access to the Course Outline and an online assessment submission facility, and access to other resources such as notes and recordings, and peer- or teacher-led activities via interactive technologies. In some circumstances an online course may require invigilated assessment in-person at a location determined by the University.

See also ‘Learning Management System’ and ‘Course Outline’.

Online Program

A program designed so that students may choose a sequence of courses meeting the full study requirements, such that all courses are online. The full study requirements are those published on the Programs and Courses webpage.

Order (Legislation)

Legislative instruments that made under section 50(3) of the Australian National University Act (for example, the Information Infrastructure and Services Order).

Order (Program)

Program requirements as stated in the Coursework Awards Rule (progam content).


A loan available to eligible undergraduate domestic students who undertake some of their program at an overseas institution.


Where a student enrolled in semesters and sessions undertakes a study load greater than 24 units (0.5 EFTSL) in a Study Period (where non-standard enrolment overlaps with Semester enrolment or where all study of more than 24 units is undertaken as Semester enrolment).

Part-time Student

Students studying in semesters and non-standard sessions who are enrolled in 17 or fewer units in a half year (January – June or July – December) are considered to be part-time students.

Students studying on a Student Visa should note that they are only to undertake less than 24 units of study in a Study Period where they have been approved by their ANU College for a Reduced Study Load or as part of an intervention strategy.

Partnership funding source

A scholarship provided and administered jointly by the ANU and an entity outside of the ANU. The ANU funding is dependent on external funding existing e.g. Malaysia, Taiwan, China Scholarship Council (CSC).

Pathway Programs

Allow students to move through qualification levels with full or partial recognition of the qualifications and/or learning outcomes they already have. In the context of disestablishments, pathway applies only to programs in which there is a conditional offer to a subsequent program, e.g. Associate Degree to Bachelor, or Graduate Certificate to Masters.

Permanent Resident

The holder of an Australian Permanent Residency visa.

Permission Code

An ANU College will sometimes place restrictions on a course to ensure that students meet certain requirements prior to enrolling in the course. Students who do not meet the entry requirements may only enrol with a permission code issued by the ANU College or School to override course restrictions.


A plan is a specific set of requirements that lead to an Award. Multiple plans may exist in a program. All students are enrolled in at least one plan.

Accreditation of a plan requires approval of the Academic Board.


A student enrolled in but not yet completed or graduated from a graduate certificate, graduate diploma, masters, or doctorate program.

Potential Graduand

A student who can expect to complete program requirements at the end of the current semester or session on the successful completion of the courses for the semester or session.

Pre-requisite (Award)

A requirement to have completed studies in a field or discipline prior to gaining admission to a specified program.

Pre-requisite (Course)

Studies that must be completed satisfactorily before enrolment will be permitted in a specified course. These studies may comprise another course at the University or a course taken in previous tertiary or secondary studies.

Prior Learning

Formal, informal or non-formal learning that has taken place before admission to a program.


An award which carries no condition for future commitment and is made on the basis of prior outstanding performance, academic achievement, or service.

A prize may take the form of monetary reward and/or certificate, medal, book voucher, equipment, subscription to a professional organisation, plaque or other token.

Professional/short courses

A short-form non-credentialled offering designed and taught for lifelong learning rather than as part of an ANU program.

(See: Micro-credential)

Program (Academic)

A structured sequence of study predominantly leading to the attainment of one or more Awards. A non-Award program does not result in an Award.

See ‘Non-Award study’ and ‘Award’.

Program (system)

A grouping of one or more academic plans around a particular theme, Awards, or set of admission requirements.

Program Authority/ Program Convener

The person within an academic organisation unit (AOU) who holds delegations for the management of a program.

Recognition of Prior Learning

Recognition of prior learning is a process that involves assessment of an individual’s relevant prior learning (including formal, informal and non-formal learning) to establish the equivalence to the Learning Outcomes of a Program or Course.


A requirement placed on a course that determines whether enrolment may be permitted. It may consist of a pre-requisite, co-requisite, or incompatibility.

Research Degree

The degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), a professional doctorate by research, the degree of Master of Philosophy (MPhil), or another degree of Master by research. The program must consist of research, research training, and/or independent study not less than two-thirds of the total program requirements.

Residential Sponsorship

An award that assists with accommodation expenses at a hall of residence, college, or lodge by paying those costs on behalf of the recipient whilst they are residing in that accommodation and pursuing their program of study at the ANU.


Retention rates are identified as an indicator of performance in the TEQSA threshold standards, and in the DIISRTE Higher Education Performance framework which sets targets for completion.

The retention indicator looks at the rate at which students from a program or equity group are retained from the previous year. It is calculated as a percentage: R = r(current yr)/(N(prev yr) – C(prev yr)) where r(current yr) is the number of students from the previous year’s group who enrolled again in the current year. N(prev yr) is the number of students from the group who were enrolled in the previous year, and C(prev yr) is the number of students from the group who completed their course in the previous year. Calculations are based on March 31 readings for each year.

Calculations for retention often highlight transfers from one program to another. Although these are not strictly lost enrolments, they can still highlight issues with a program, and although attrition rates for programs do vary, a rate of 20% or higher would characterise the outcomes of the ten universities in Australia with the worst retention outcomes.


A tool for describing and assessing levels of achievement against assessment criteria. Rubrics provide feedback to students by indicating areas of improvement against the most important aspects of the activity. They are most often presented as a matrix that allows performance against each criterion to be compared.


A transformation of the marks of a group of students according to a statistical calculation. Scaling does not change the rank order of students and includes processes such as a linear increase or decrease of marks, and fitting marks to a bell curve. ANU uses a process of moderation to determine whether marks will be scaled.


An award which carries a condition for further study and/or commitment so that students may pursue a program of study at the University.

A scholarship must not be a one-off financial benefit but must meet the minimum financial threshold published in the guidelines.

Scholarship availability

Whether a scholarship is available for application for a particular intake.

Scholarship duration

Identifies how long it is expected that payments will continue to be made under the Conditions of Award of the scholarship.


A session of 12 weeks duration divided into two teaching periods, with a mid-semester break of two weeks between each of the two teaching periods. There are two semesters in a year.


A seminar provides for group exploration of material that has been set for prior study. It is typically found in advanced undergraduate or postgraduate teaching. It may be the only contact for a course. It is usually led by the course convener or by guest presenters.

Services and Amenities Higher Education Loan Program (SA-HELP)

A loan scheme that assists eligible students to pay for all or part of their services and amenities fee.


An academic period of study. Standard Sessions are Semester 1 and Semester 2.

Non-standard sessions include:

summer session, autumn session, winter session and spring session (coursework); or

quarter 1, quarter 2, quarter 3 and quarter 4 (research).

Sessional Course

A course scheduled in a non-standard session.

Courses scheduled in non-standard sessions do not necessarily adhere to the session dates. Sessional courses can run at any time during a non-standard session for any period of time. A sessional course’s affiliation with a non-standard session is determined by its Census Date (ie. If a sessional course’s Census Date is between 1 April and 30 June, the sessional course is a Autumn Session course). It is important to check the sessional course dates in Programs and Courses before enrolling.

See ‘Non-standard Session’.

Show Cause

The process by which a student may appeal against exclusion under the Academic Progress Rule.

Special Assessment Arrangements

Arrangements made for students with a temporary or chronic disability by the University’s Disability Services Centre. They may include additional reading or writing time, the provision of special equipment, separate accommodation, or the services of an amanuensis (scribe).

Special Consideration (admissions)

A process that affords equal opportunity to applicants who have experienced extenuating circumstances that have negatively impacted on their educational performance prior to admission.

Special Consideration (assessment)

A process that affords equal opportunity to students who have experienced extenuating circumstances that have had a negative impact on the assessment items submitted by the student.

Specialisation (undergraduate)

A University-approved set of courses, the completion of which indicates depth of specialist knowledge of the discipline or field identified by the name of the specialisation. An Undergraduate specialisation requires the completion of 24 units of 2000/3000-level courses that must be completed in conjunction with a specific major or as a specified requirement within a degree.

An Honours specialisation requires the completion of 48 units of 4000-level courses (for a plus-one Honours program) or 24 units of 4000-level courses (for an embedded Honours Program). It includes both research training and the application of that training in one or more projects or a thesis. Specialisations are listed on academic transcripts but not on testamurs.

Specialisation (graduate)

A set of related courses which are structures for students to achieve specific learning outcomes. A specialisation requires the completed of 24 units. Specialisations can be in a single discipline (e.g. mathematics) or multi-disciplinary (e.g. corporate sustainability). Specialisations exist independently of programs but may be referred to by the requirements of a specific plan. Specialisations are listed on academic transcripts but not on testamurs.

Specified Credit

Credit recorded on a student transcript against the code of a regular ANU course, in recognition of the near or exact equivalence of the content and learning outcomes of the recognized prior or external learning with that course. Students are considered to have met the Learning Outcomes of the ANU course. See also ‘Unspecified Credit’.


An organisation such as an employer or government agency that officially registers with ANU to pay the tuition fees and/or other associated study/living/travel costs directly to the University for one or more students.

Sponsored Student

A student who is studying with the financial support of a Sponsor.

See ‘Sponsor’.

Sports Scholarship

An award where the primary eligibility criterion and/or primary selection basis is sporting ability, participation or recognition and may carry a condition for further participation in a sport or club.

Official Sponsorship

An arrangement between a student, a sponsor and the University to cover some or all of the program costs on behalf of the student. This may be subject to a formal agreement between the University or the sponsor, or the relationship may be primarily between the student and the sponsor.


A regular periodic payment made to a student as outlined in the Conditions of Award. A stipend payment is distributed through the HR Payroll system but is not a wage or salary. See the ATO for the treatment of scholarship payments.

HDR stipend payments are available for domestic and international students.

Student Contribution Amount

The amount that a Commonwealth supported student pays for a course. The amount will vary depending on the discipline area (bands) to which the courses belong and when a student commenced.

Student Life Cycle

All aspects of a student’s engagement with the University including: initial enquiry, application, admission, enrolment, graduation, and into the future as alumni.

Student Load

See ‘Equivalent Full-Time Student Load (EFTSL)’.

Student Number

See ‘University ID’.

Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF)

A fee that universities and other approved higher education providers can charge for student services and amenities of a non-academic nature such as: sporting and recreational activities, employment and career advice, child care, financial advice, and food services.

(Higher Education Support Act 2003)

Study Period

There are two Study Periods in an Academic Year.

Study Period 1 is 1 January to 30 June and comprises summer session, semester 1, and autumn session (for coursework) or quarter 1, semester 1 and quarter 2 (for research).

Study Period 2 is 1 July to 31 December and comprises winter session, semester 2, and spring session (for coursework) or quarter 3, semester 2 and quarter 4 (for research).

Subject Area

A Subject Area is a broad area of academic study e.g. Archaeology or Physics. Subject Areas are identified by a four letter Subject Code, e.g. ARCH or PHYS.


System structures within a program that overarch courses (for example, majors, minors and specialisations).

Summative Assessment

Assessment designed only to evaluate student learning against standards without providing feedback to teachers and students to improve further teaching and learning in the course. Summative assessment is typically undertaken towards the end of a course.

Supplementary Assessment

An additional piece of assessment undertaken by a student who achieves a final result for a course of N45%-N49% or fails a course because of a requirement that a pass in a hurdle assessment is necessary to achieve a pass in the course and the student achieves a final result for the course of not less than N45%.

Supplementary assessment in relation to a course includes, but is not limited to, assessment by a formal assessment, a practical assessment, a take-home assessment or an essay.


Where at least one student is enrolled after the relevant census date.

Teaching Break

Any period between the scheduled start and end of a course that is not allocated to teaching. For a semester course this would comprise the mid-semester break and the period between the end of teaching and the beginning of examinations.

Teaching Period

A period of active teaching and learning for a course when teaching activities such as lectures, seminars and tutorials are scheduled to be conducted. For a Semester, the teaching period comprises 12 weeks, excluding teaching breaks. Sessional courses do not have standardised teaching periods.

See ‘Semester’, ‘Sessional Course’, ‘Non-Standard session’.


See ‘Session’.


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 (e.g. Honours) and specialisation. Other terms for this may include Diploma or Degree certificate.

See ‘in absentia’.

Thesis (Coursework)

The product of a research project of at least 24 units that investigates a research question through the application of an advanced knowledge of the research principles and methods and theoretical concepts of one or more disciplines or specialisations.

Thesis (HDR)

A significant body of original written work that:

incorporates an account of research done during a program and its result;

if the research is on more than one topic, demonstrates the relation between the topics; and

is required to be provided by a student for the program

The exception is written work comprising answers to a written examination or tasks required to be performed for the assessment of performance in coursework.

Thesis by Compilation

A thesis comprised of multiple published, peer reviewed works that may contain limited overlap, however does demonstrate a relationship between the works through linking text. A thesis by compilation must contain a context statement of 10,000 words.

Thesis in an Alternate Format

A thesis that is comprised of video recordings, film or other works of visual or sonic arts, computer software, digital material, or other appropriate non-written material.

Transition award

A type of ANU award given to assist a student to either come to ANU or move to a career after completing a degree at ANU.

Tuition Fee Waiver

An award benefit that provides a reduction in fees for a student, with the associated costs surrendered by the appropriate University delegate. A tuition fee waiver results in no income being received by the University.


A member of teaching staff who leads a tutorial, encourages student engagement with course material, and provides contextual guidance as well as supplementary and additional information to that provided in lectures or seminars.

See ‘Tutorial’.


Provides for group-based exploration of material arising in or from lectures or other group teaching events. It is not the only contact for a course. It is led by a tutor.


A student enrolled in and not yet completed or graduated from a Bachelor degree, diploma or associated degree program (pass, honours or graduate entry).

Unique Student Identifier (USI)

Is a Government-generated education identification number for domestic and onshore overseas students. This number applies to an individual for life across all and any education-related institutions registered in Australia. A USI is linked to an online record of all education and training for an individual.

This number will replace the CHESSN from January 2021 for new students.


An indicator of the value of the course, in relation to the volume of learning, towards the completion of a program.

See also ‘Equivalent Full-Time Student Load (EFTSL)’.

Universities Admissions Centre (UAC)

The majority of domestic coursework students, and some international students, apply through the ACT and NSW Universities Admissions Centre for admission to the University.

University ID

A seven digit number which uniquely identifies a student or staff member at the University.

Unspecified Credit

Credit recorded against a credit course code, in recognition of the equivalence of the learning outcomes to the level (1000 to 8000), and the relevance of the content to the discipline of the Alpha code. Unspecified credit does not exempt a student from a compulsory course, and must be approved for a particular part of the program orders against which it may be counted.

Vertical Double Degree

A structural model that permits the selection of a Bachelor degree with a Master degree for a reduced total duration.

Weighted Average

Mark (WAM)

A measure of student performance across multiple courses, with

the mark for each course weighted by volume of learning for the

course measured in units. The formula for calculating a weighted

average mark is: Σ (mark x units) / Σ units

Courses without marks are normally excluded from the

calculation, with the exception of NCN and WN, which are given

a nominal mark of zero. In specific contexts, other courses may

be excluded. Weightings other than units are not used, such as

course level (e.g. 1000 level, 2000 level).


Printable version (PDF)
Title Glossary: Student policies and procedures
Document Type Policy
Document Number ANUP_002601
Version 25
Purpose To define terms used in Student Policies and Procedures.
Audience Staff, Students
Category Academic
Topic/ SubTopic Students
Effective Date 13 Jan 2021
Next Review Date 8 Jul 2026
Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration
Approved By: Academic Board
Contact Area Division of Student Administration and Academic Services
Authority: Australian National University Act 1991
Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013
Delegations 0
On 9 April 2021, the ANU Council assigned authority to approve academic policy to the Academic Board.