Uni lingo explained: common university terminology and what it means

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Starting to research your uni options and already feeling lost in all the jargon? Here’s some common terms, phrases or acronyms you’re likely to come across while studying at Murdoch.


Admission pathways

An alternative way to gain entry into a course, using criteria other than an ATAR. We provide a range of admission pathways, including our OnTrack courses (also known as bridging or enabling courses), creative portfolio entry and previous vocational study. Read through our admission information pack for more info.

Advanced standing

When you receive a credit or exemption towards your degree from your previous study or industry experience. Also known as RPL, it can reduce your overall study load and time needed to complete your course. Some courses may have a time limit on when previous studies were completed due to professional registration requirements.


A group of graduates. An individual graduate is known as an alumnus.


Also known as an Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank, your ATAR is a rank, rather than a score. It is calculated by the relevant state’s tertiary admissions centre and is based on your overall academic achievement in Year 12.


Bachelor’s degree

The first qualification you can complete at university and is also known as an undergraduate degree.

Bridging course

This is an admission pathway that’s sometimes also called an enabling course. A bridging course can help you meet the admission requirements for an undergraduate degree.

Boola Katitjin

Located at the centre of our Perth campus, Boola Katitjin provides a mindful and technology-rich educational experience for students to learn, connect and belong. Boola Katitjin means "lots of learning" in Noongar, the name was chosen by Dr Richard Walley and endorsed by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Group.

Bush Court

A quiet place to lay down and get some sun on our Perth campus. If you pick the right day there are bean bags all over the lawn to give you a comfortable seat.


Cafe Kadjininy - ‘Café Kadj’

The Guild café located in the Library – a great spot to catch up with friends, get your caffeine hit or do some study!

Census date

The day when a university finalises your enrolment. Withdrawing after a census date is likely to incur fees or a debt (if you’re on a HELP loan).

Combined degree

Also called a double degree, a combined degree allow you to complete the requirements for two different degrees, for example a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Arts.

Credit points

Numerical value attached to each unit. You need to complete a certain amount of credit points to finish your degree.




If you need to take some time away from uni while having your placement guaranteed. This can happen when you start your degree, to allow you to take a gap year, travel or work to save money.

Double major

A maximum of two majors can be completed under one degree, for example a Bachelor of Criminology with a double major in crime science and criminal behaviour. Double majors usually don’t add extra time to your degree.


The certificate that you receive upon completion of your university degree as proof of completion.

Direct application

If you are no longer completing high school but still wish to apply to university, you must apply directly to Murdoch University instead of through TISC.

Domestic student

Australian and New Zealand citizens, as well as holders of permanent resident visa and permanent humanitarian visas are domestic students.



Also known as the lecture capture system, Echo360 contains recordings of your lectures and is accessible through LMS. You can stream audio or video recordings with a live internet connection or you can download them to watch later. Recordings are usually available within 24 hours of being recorded.


Gap year

When a student defers their course for a year to travel, work, or take a pause before or during their studies.



A loan to help pay for your studies that is available from the government if you meet their eligibility requirements.


International student

A student that is required to hold a student visa in order to study in Australia.



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.


Languages Other Than English.



Your main sequence of units in your chosen area of study. Your major forms the bulk of what you’ll learn during your time at university and will become your area of expertise. 


The student newspaper (Murdoch Empire Telegraph and Indian Ocean Review), run by the Murdoch Guild. Here you can find some of the most up to date information about what is going on both on and off campus.


A short sequence of units in a specialised area of study that has less depth and less units than your major. 

Murdoch Guild

A not-for-profit association, run by students, for students. The Murdoch Guild represents the student voice in the university decision-making process and provides a range of opportunities to have a better university experience through events, clubs, support and the management of on-campus facilities.


Your digital doorway to uni, MyMurdoch is an app and website that has all of the course information you need. It can be used to find unit information, lecture recordings, latest news and events, run your uni calendar and much more!  



One of our enabling courses. We offers a range of enabling courses that can help prepare you for admission to university courses if you don’t meet the prerequisites.

Open Day

An event usually held in the middle of each year that is a good chance for people thinking about studying at uni to explore our campus, find out more about our courses, meet students and academics and enjoy a range of activities and entertainment.


Also known as O-Week, it is designed to welcome new students to university and provide information about your course, the campus and the range of services available. Orientation Week is held the week before the start of each semester.


Postgraduate degree

A qualification that normally follows on from an undergraduate (bachelor’s) degree. A master’s degree and PhD are both types of postgraduate degrees. They allow for in-depth research into an area of specialisation.


RPL (Recognised Prior Learning)

The process used to analyse if a student’s previous learning can be used as credit towards the completion of a qualification.


Selection rank

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.


The academic year is divided into two semesters. Semester 1 is usually February to June, and Semester 2 is July to November. A typical semester is 17 weeks long and normally consists of 12 teaching weeks, three non-teaching weeks and two exam weeks.


Special Tertiary Admissions Test is a nationally recognised test 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.

Student Hub

The main dining area on campus, and an ideal location to meet up with people. There’s something for everyone with a range of eating options such as Roll’d, PattySmith Burgers and Courtside. If you’re looking for a snack to help you through the day, we also have an on campus IGA Express as part of The Hub.

Study Abroad

The opportunity to see the world, experience a different culture and learn a new language by travelling to study at one of our partner universities located across the globe.


The Tavern – ‘The Tav’

A facility to meet up with friends, play pool, watch sport, listen to music or just relax with a cold drink and some food.


Tertiary Institutions Service Centre is the agency involved in processing applications for admission to undergraduate courses at university. For example, if you’re a high school student applying to start university in semester one, you’ll apply through TISC.


An instructor that facilitates classes (such as workshops, tutorials and labs) and provides guidance on your assignments. Your tutor is your first point of contact for any questions you have about the unit and they also mark your assignments.

Tutorial – ‘Tute’

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.


Undergraduate degree

Often also called a bachelor’s degree, this is the first qualification you complete at university.


A component of a course that is focused on a specific topic. Typically for full-time students you will do four units per semester. Each unit is worth three credit points.

Unit outline

Critical information relating to the unit being studied. This information can be found via the MyMurdoch student portal.

Unit Coordinator

The person responsible for the design and delivery of a specific unit. They manage the content and assessments in the unit they coordinate. Your Unit Coordinator is often your lecturer and could occasionally also be your tutor.


Vice Chancellor

The senior administrative staff member, tasked with the leadership and development of the university.



Western Australian Certificate of Education is awarded to senior high school students who satisfy the requirements (usually by successfully completing Year 11 and Year 12). 

WIL – ‘work integrated learning’

Practical training and experience in a work environment that is part of your degree. This experience can help to differentiate you when it comes time to hunt for a job.

If you have any further questions get in touch with us at 1300 687 3624 or join us at one of our upcoming events to see for yourself how a degree from Murdoch can start your career.
Posted on:

12 Jun 2023

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