When you’re new to uni life, some common terms such as roles and titles can be a little confusing. Below is a list of key terms and definitions that will help you during your student journey.
For formal definitions of terms used in our policies refer to our Dictionary of Terms
If you need help understanding a university term or process, or just need general help, you can stop by a myMurdoch Advice location and speak to an advisor.
Browse University Terms
The academic chair is a member of academic staff responsible for a course, major or minor. They can provide detailed course advice and may approve course variations, late enrolment into units, and course transfer applications.
Advanced standing refers to credit that is awarded for previous study or experience. It is sometimes known as credit for prior learning or recognition for prior learning.
You can apply for advanced standing at any time during your course.
To find out more about advanced standing see recognition of prior learning.
Your attendance mode is usually described as:
- Internal – allows students to study the unit on campus with the benefit of face-to-face lectures, workshops, tutorials or laboratory sessions.
- External – allows students to study the unit off campus with the benefit of being able to study at their own time.
International student visas have conditions that could restrict the delivery mode.
Australian Qualifications Framework
The Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) is Australia’s national policy for regulated qualifications delivered in all education sectors. Murdoch University offers qualifications at AQF Levels 7 to 10.
An award is a qualification conferred by the University as a result of fulfilling the requirements of an approved course of instruction. Awards can include Degrees, Diplomas, and Graduate Certificates.
Career learning spine
A set of units or learning experiences that complement or augment disciplinary learning by developing skills for successful career management.
A census date is the last date you can withdraw from a unit within a particular teaching period without incurring fees or having the unit appear on your academic transcript.
It is also the last date to make full payment or complete a Commonwealth assistance form.
The collective term for teaching activities, including lectures, tutorials, laboratories, workshops and seminars.
Classes are for internal students and form part of your attendance for your units. You need to sign up for classes after you have enrolled in a unit.
A unit set that requires fewer credit points than a major, but more than a minor. Co-majors typically require between 18 and 21 credit points for completion. Students gain specialised knowledge with less depth than a major.
A combined degree is two courses combined and studied at the same time. This is different from a double major which is two separately approved majors undertaken while enrolled in a single course.
To find out more about combined degrees see personalise your course.
A course is a coherent combination of units approved by Academic Council that leads to a particular award. Students must complete the requirements of the course and the requirements of the major in an undergraduate degree.
A sequence of required units or specified elective units (unit set) that is a compulsory component of a course or group of related courses.
A degree is an award conferred by the University as the result of successfully fulfilling the requirements of an award course. The two most common types of degrees are:
- Undergraduate degrees, also known as Bachelor awards, typically require three years of full-time study or up to five years for combined degrees.
- Postgraduate degrees, which include Masters and Doctoral degrees. They vary from one to four years of full-time study.
A double major or additional major is two separately approved majors undertaken while enrolled in a single course. This is different from a combined degree which is for two courses.
To find out more about double majors see personalise your course.
A qualification conferred by the University as the result of successfully fulfilling the requirements of a graduate award course such as a Graduate Certificate or Graduate Diploma.
Graduate research director
The graduate research director looks after a group of research students within a discipline.
Integrated Research Management Applications (IRMA) is Murdoch’s research management system, covering publications, grants, ethics and higher degree by research reporting.
A presentation made by your teacher. This is where you’ll learn the main information for your units. Depending on the unit, you normally have from one to three lectures per unit each week.
A unit set that allows you to develop knowledge and skills in a defined field of study as part of completing a course.
Depending on your course, you may be able to study multiple majors or a combination of majors and minors.
A unit set that requires fewer credit points to complete than a major. Each minor prescribes 12 credit points (15 credit points for certain Psychology minors). A minor can allow for specialisation or diversification.
Murdoch ID and password
Your Murdoch ID or username is your student number. When you activate your student account you will set up your password.
This secure single sign on is sometimes referred to as Murdoch Authentication and Identification System, or MAIS.
MyAnswers is a student support tool with the answers to many University administration questions. You can also ask a question or submit a request through the ‘ask a question’ enquiry form.
MyFeedback is a student survey tool to gather feedback about units, to improve the quality of the learning experience for you and your peers. You will receive an email inviting your feedback when you complete a unit.
myInfo is your online student information system where you can manage all your student details including your profile and contact details, enrolments, classes and fees. At the end of the semester you can view your unit results.
myMurdoch is the place for you to get notifications, find the latest news and events, and access student information. You can also access your profile, enrolment details, calendar, support requests, student systems and other student essentials.
myMurdoch Advice locations are places you can drop by to get advice about your study, your wellbeing or getting the most out of university.
Find your closest advice location.
myMurdoch Learning, sometimes referred to as LMS or Moodle, is Murdoch’s learning management system. It is an online virtual classroom containing unit information and learning guides, lecture recordings, lecture slides, discussion forums and other electronic resources.
A qualification that often follows on from an undergraduate or graduate award. Masters and PhD are both types of postgraduate degrees. They allow for in-depth research into an area of specialisation.
Postgraduate research chair
The postgraduate research chair looks after a group of research students within a discipline.
A requirement that a student must satisfy to be permitted to enrol in a unit. Where a unit has prerequisites, enrolment in the unit will require a student to have satisfied the prerequisites (or equivalents elsewhere) before commencing the unit.
A ranking system where you score between 99.95 and zero, used to assess your admission score. Your selection rank could include your ATAR, previous university study, STAT result or enabling program entry.
Special topic units
Special topic units comprise advanced study in particular areas, and the range of topics available (if any) varies from year to year. Details of topics on offer can be seen in the Units section of the online Handbook.
Special Tertiary Admissions Test (STAT)
Special Tertiary Admissions Test is a national test and is used to assess competencies generally considered important for successful tertiary study. It provides an avenue of entry for people who don’t have the formal entry requirements.
The credit point value enrolled in during a teaching period or academic year. Study load can be:
- full-time – 9-15 credit points per teaching period
- part-time – less than 9 credit points per teaching period.
Student visa holders are required to study full-time, except under special circumstances.
Find out more at changing your study mode.
A teaching period is the timeframe for when a unit is being offered. The standard teaching periods are:
- Semester 1
- Semester 2
- Trimester 1
- Trimester 2
- Trimester 3
- Summer term
- Winter term
See the full list of teaching periods in the handbook.
Tutors are assigned for each unit you are enrolled in and they are your first point of contact. Tutors facilitate classes and provide guidance on your assignments.
A practical class which is usually less formal than a lecture and smaller in class size. They provide the opportunity to discuss material from lecturers and readings in more detail.
An undergraduate course can sometimes be a student’s first university experience. Depending on the course, successful completion can lead to various different awards, most commonly a Bachelor or Bachelor Honours degree.
A unit is an individual subject that is studied within a course. Units are the basic elements of courses.
Units are usually worth three credit points. Full-time students typically complete four units each semester.
While many units are studied in a standard semester or trimester, some are studied over two semesters or in non-standard teaching periods.
Unit coordinators are responsible for the design and delivery of a specific unit. They manage the unit content and assessments and can help with issues about the unit. Your unit coordinator is often your lecturer and may also be your tutor. Unit coordinators can help with questions about the unit content or assessments, or approval for late enrolment.