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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 and programs:

In the same course or program at different times

In different courses or programs in the same institution

Similar courses or programs in 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

The principle that work is genuine and original, and completed only with the assistance allowed according to the rules, policies, and guidelines of the University. In particular, the words, ideas, scholarship and intellectual property of others used in the work must be appropriately acknowledged. Work includes not only written material, but in addition any oral, numerical, audio, visual or other material submitted for assessment. Breaches of academic integrity include plagiarism, collusion, the fabrication or deliberate misrepresentation of data, and failure to adhere to the rules regarding examinations in such a way as to gain unfair academic advantage.

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A fail grade (WN - withdrawn with failure) that is awarded for a course from which an enrolled student has withdrawn.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

Academic progress is a measure of progress in a degree program. Thresholds for satisfactory and unsatisfactory academic progress are defined in the Academic Progress Rules for coursework and milestones for HDR.

Academic Progress Committee

The Committee is established under the ANU Academic Progress Rules that oversees decision making in cases of 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

An Academic Transcript is a certified statement detailing a student’s complete academic record at the University. It includes details of all programs and courses in which the student has had an effective enrolment and the marks/grades achieved in course. Marks are only included for courses taken since 1994. It also lists University prizes and graduation details where applicable.

Academic Year

The ANU Academic Year runs from 1 January to 31 December. The academic year is divided into two Periods. Period 1 comprises three sessions of Summer, Semester 1, and Autumn for coursework, and Quarter 1, Semester 1 and Quarter 2 for research. Period 2 comprises the three sessions of Winter, Semester 2, and Spring for coursework and Quarter 3, Semester 2, and Quarter 4 for research. Trimesters are excluded from study periods.

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.


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. The assessment strategy is designed to provide the teacher with the evidence they need to make an informed judgment about how well students have achieved the stated learning outcome.

ANU award (lower case)

A one-off award to assist the recipient to meet costs associated with a specific future course of action.

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 (LAW)

ANU College of Medicine, Biology and Environment (CMBE)

ANU College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences (CMPS)

ANU College Dean

The person responsible for leadership of the 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 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 standards against which tasks are assessed to determine whether a student has demonstrated attainment of learning outcomes. Students are 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 college, and may also be referred to as Deputy Dean or Director of Education in some colleges.


An Augmentation is 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)

AHEGS is 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)

AQF is 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

The ANU Bachelor Honours degree exemplifies ANU’s commitment to research-led education. It prepares students for professional life and further studies including higher degrees by research, through the development of an advanced knowledge of the research principles and methods and theoretical concepts of their discipline/s or specialisation such that they can design and implement projects that involve research and lead to the development of new understandings or that provide solutions to complex problems.

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 one-off payment to assist a current student to pursue their program of study at the ANU.


The level of program you are participating in. At the ANU, this could be non-award, undergraduate, graduate or research.


A final course 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 session, trimester or 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 31 March

Second Semester Census Date 31 August

Census Date for Trimesters 1, 2 and 3 is Friday of Week 4 of teaching

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

Co-requisite (Course)

Courses that must be undertaken prior to, or alongside, the specified course.

Code of Practice

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

College Student Office

The College Student Office is a single point comprising staff who provide students with academic advice amongst a number of other activities.

Commencing Student

A student is a commencing student if they are enrolled in the 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.

Commonwealth Higher Education Student Support Number (CHESSN)

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

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 commonwealth supported place is 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.

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; only permitted with the approval of the relevant Delegated Authority.

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 coined by Professor John Biggs (2003) and used to describe the deliberate planning (by a teacher) 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 B 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.

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.


A subject of scholarly study taught:

In a connected series of lectures or demonstrations

By means of practical work including the production by students of essays or theses or case studies, or the attendance and participation by students in seminars or workshops,

Each course requires a course outline.

A four character alphabetic subject area code and a four digit numeric catalogue number identify each course. The first digit denotes the state/year of the program in which the course is normally taken. Each course is normally assigned a unit value that is a measure of the proportion of the academic progress that a course represents within the total credit for the program.

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-digit code that is used to identify an individual course at the University. This code will be the same regardless of the year or semester the course is scheduled. See course.

Course Convener

A course convenor 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 course outline and other course materials comply with University policy and college and school requirements.

Student issues relating to the Discipline Rules and Academic Misconduct Rules.

A course convenor may or may not be the lecturer for the course.

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.


A group of courses constituting all or part of the requirement for an award.

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, evaluation and review, and reporting. 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.

Deferred Examination

An examination a student is permitted to take 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 programs at the same 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.

Director Science Education

The Education Delegate in the two Colleges of Science (CPMS and CMBE). Equivalent to Associate Dean (Education) in other Colleges.

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.


A benefactor or one who bequeaths an award or gift, or their executor.

Double Degree

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

Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF)

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

Dual Degree

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


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.

Elective Courses

Where students may choose a course which contributes to their degree requirements, such as in the following circumstances:

Electives in Majors/Minors (ie courses that are neither compulsory nor core).

Electives within the 96 units of in-college courses.

Electives that are not specified and can be taken from any college.


The basis upon which a student may apply for a scholarship

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 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 undertaking of a 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 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

Formal learning is 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.

Frequency of Payment

The timing of scholarship payment in accordance with the scholarship conditions of award.

Full-time Student

ANU students studying in semesters and non-standard sessions who are enrolled in 18 or more units (0.375 EFTSL or greater) in a Period are considered to be full-time students. ANU students studying in trimesters who are enrolled in 12 or more units (0.25 EFTSL or greater) in a trimester are considered to be full-time students.

International students should note that they are normally required to be enrolled at 100% intensity which generally equates to 24 units in a Period.

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.


Programs and Courses website.

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 where not for 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 which allows students to borrow from the Government to pay their tuition fees. See HECS-HELP, FEE-HELP, OS-HELP or SA-HELP.


The Higher Education Support Act 2003.

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 HESA and providers as determined by the Minister under section 16-35 of HESA and supported by the definition in the Provider Category Standards in TEQSA.

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 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.

Internal Sponsorship

See definition for ‘fee reduction’.

Intensity of Study

The distinction, in relation to a student’s study load, between full-time and part-time. (See also Full-time Student, and Part-time Student.)

Intensive course

A course which is designed to be completed in less than semester or trimester 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 Period or more than 18 units in a trimester.

Intensive teaching

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

International Student

A student who is not a domestic student.


International Student Fee.

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 Colleges of Science

Used when referring to the ANU College of Medicine, Biology and the Environment, and the ANU College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, are referred to together.

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 these the Fees Rules or 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/or 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. As this application is submitted after 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

A period of absence from studies at the University.


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 set of related courses which are structures for students to achieve specific learning outcomes. A minor requires the completed 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 only to undergraduate 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 students may choose a sequence of courses meeting the full study requirements, such that some units come from completion of in-person courses but these are less than a significant majority (less than 75%) of the total units required. 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 Registration Authorities and Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2007 is a set of standards that govern the protection of overseas students 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 Study

Studies that do not lead to the award 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. Courses scheduled in non-standard sessions do not adhere to the session dates, and can be run at any time within that quarter. This means that some courses may be very short, intensive courses and other will span over the entire quarter. Each course in a non-standard session has a different Census Date. It is important to check non-standard session course dates in Programs & Courses.

Ongoing Eligibility

A condition/s a scholar must meet in order to retain and continue to receive scholarship benefits. The specific nature of ongoing eligibility will be defined in the Conditions of Award and agreed to by the scholar in receipt of the scholarship.

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.

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.


Legislative instruments that are referred to the Australian National University Act, and Handbook Rules. Orders may refer to a number of requirements including orders for programs and courses.


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


Where a student enrolled in semesters and sessions takes a greater than standard full-time load of 24 units (0.5 EFTSL) in a Period, or a student enrolled in trimesters takes a greater than standard full-time load of 18 units (0.375 EFTSL) in a trimester.

Part-time Student

ANU 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. ANU students studying in trimesters enrolled in 11 or fewer units in a trimester are considered part-time.

International students should note that they are normally required to be enrolled at 100% intensity which normally equates to 24 units in a half year.

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

Pathways allow students to move through qualifications levels with full or partial recognition for the qualifications and/or learning outcomes they already have. In disestablishments contexts, 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.


A grouping of sessions.

Period 1 comprises summer session, semester 1, and autumn session

Period 2 comprises winter session, semester 2, and spring session.

Trimesters are excluded from study periods.

Permanent Resident

The holder of an Australian Permanent Residency visa.

Permission Code

An ANU Academic College will sometimes place restrictions on a course, as only a select group of students meet the criteria to enrol. If a student tries to enrol in this course they will receive an error message in ISIS that prevents them from progressing. A permission code is issued by your College or School and overrides this restriction. If you are facing this issue, contact your College to check if you are eligible for the course.


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, trimester or session on the successful completion of the courses for the semester, trimester 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.


In an academic sense a program is a structured sequence of study normally leading to the Award of one or more degrees, diplomas or certificates.

In a system sense a program is 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.


Services and Amenities Higher Education Loan Program (SA-HELP) is a loan scheme that assists eligible students to pay for all or part of their services and amenities fee.


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.

Selection basis

The basis upon which an eligible student will be assessed to receive a 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 convenor or by guest presenters.

Services and Amenities Fee

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


The session is the academic period of study. For most students this will be Semester 1 and Semester 2. It also includes, as the case required:

In relation to a person undertaking a coursework program—summer session, autumn session, winter session and spring session;

In relation to a person undertaking a research program—research quarter 1, research quarter 2, research quarter 3 and research quarter 4.

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

A process that affords equal opportunity to students who have experienced extenuating circumstances. This may be applied in the admission process, or towards assessment items.


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. The structure of a specialisation

at undergraduate level, 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; it indicates additional study in a discipline above any normal major requirement;

at Honours level, an “Honours Specialisation” requires the completion of 48 units of 4000-level courses; it includes both research training and the application of that training in one or more projects or a thesis; and

at graduate level, requires the completion of 24 units of 6000/7000/8000-level courses.

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 available only to graduate plans and 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.

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.


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


Student Number

See University ID.

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 of PHYS.

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 and an essay.

Taught (course)

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

See Semester


See Semester.


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.

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

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 completed a degree at ANU.


A session of 10 weeks duration. There are three trimesters in a year.

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 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, who may or may not have other responsibilities in the course.


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


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


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

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 21
Purpose To define terms used in Student Policies and Procedures.
Audience Staff, Students
Category Academic
Topic/ SubTopic Students
Effective Date 13 Jan 2021
Review Date 8 Jul 2023
Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration
Approved By: Vice-Chancellor
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.