Glossary of terms for policy and procedures

Accessibility links

Glossary of terms for policy and procedures


Term Definition
Academic governance

A subset of the overall governance of an education organisation, and deals with the framework that regulates academic decisions and academic quality assurance within the organisation. Academic governance includes the policies, processes,  definitions of roles, relationships, systems, strategies and resources that ensure academic standards and continuous improvement in academic activities,   and is concerned with the integrity and quality of the core higher education activities of teaching, research and scholarship. (TEQSA definition 2012)

Academic record

Refer to Official Statement of Academic Record.

Academic staff

A member of staff of a higher education provider who is appointed wholly or principally to undertake a teaching and/or research function. (TEQSA definition 2012) Refer to the USC Enterprise Agreement 2014-2018.

Academic standards

Predetermined levels of performance demonstrating academic achievement or attainment.

Academic transcript

Refer to Official Statement of Academic Record.

Academic year

The academic year is organised into two study period, each spanning half a calendar year. Study Period 1 covers the period 1 January – 30 June ; Study Period 2 covers the period 1 July – 31 December.

Admission bonus

An additional score or rank which may be added to an applicants’ Admission or Tertiary Entrance Rank or OP score based on criteria determined by the University.

Admission level

The basic measure (cut-off) of academic merit for tertiary admission purposes,   expressed as a Tertiary Entrance Rank, Admission Rank, OP Score or Grade Point Average (GPA) requirement.

Admission rank

A score (0 – 99) allocated through an admission schedule to represent particular qualifications, education or other experience of an applicant and used to determine the applicant’s eligibility for an admission offer and to rank applicants for competitive selection.

Admission schedule

An approved schedule by which an admission or Tertiary Entrance Rank is assigned to a particular qualification, experience or characteristic held by an applicant.

Anti-requisite course

A course where there is sufficient overlap with the learning outcomes and content of another course that the student is not permitted to undertake or receive credit for both courses.

APT staff

See Professional Staff.

Articulation arrangement

An arrangement which enables students to progress from a completed qualification to another with admission and/or credit in a defined qualification pathway. (AQF definition 2011)


A process to determine the student’s achievement of expected learning outcomes and may include a range of written and oral methods and practice or demonstration. (AQF definition 2011)

Assessment tasks

Activities set for students that enable them to demonstrate the learning outcomes of a course and make it possible for markers to determine levels of achievement.


The qualification granted to the student who has completed all the requirements of the program associated with the award.

Award of a qualification

Occurs when the student has met the requirements of the qualification and the qualification is certified through the provision of a testamur. The term ‘conferral’ may also be used to describe this process. (AQF definition 2011)

Term Definition
Balance of probabilities

A standard of proof established by a preponderance of evidence that suggests that something was more likely to have occurred than not occurred.

Term Definition

The physical location from where a course of study is being delivered. This location may or may not be owned by the Higher Education Provider which enrols the student. For e-learning (online) or other distance education courses this would be the location at where the electronic course material is maintained. (TEQSA definition 2012) USC refers to its larger sites as a 'campus' (i.e. Sippy Downs, Gympie, Fraser Coast, SouthBank and when built Moreton Bay). Some of USC's smaller sites are referred to as 'study nodes'.

Census date

The effective enrolment date and charges liability date for the course. A student cannot enrol or withdraw from units after census dates without significant academic and/or financial penalties.

Central examination

An examination held in the identified examination period and administered by Student Administration on behalf of the Course Coordinator.

Commonwealth supported places

Student places which are available to non-international students, that is, Australian citizens and permanent residents, New Zealand citizens and Permanent Humanitarian Visa holders and which are funded partly on the basis of funding from the Commonwealth Government to the University and partly through the fee the student is charged, which is called the Student Contribution.

Commonwealth supported student

Student who is an Australian citizen, or a New Zealand citizen or a holder of an Australian Permanent Resident visa who has been offered a Commonwealth supported place and who has sufficient student learning entitlement.

Core course

A course that enables students to gain skills and knowledge for successful tertiary study and lifelong learning, and provides a foundation for the graduate attributes.

Co-requisite course

A course that must be studied before, or at the same time as, another specified course.

Cost centre manager

The most senior officer or member of staff responsible for the management of a faculty or a management or support service or administrative area or sub-section of which that is specifically identified for allocation of funding within the University's budget framework.


The Council of the University of the Sunshine Coast constituted under the University of the Sunshine Coast Act 1998.


A discrete element of a program, normally undertaken over a single teaching session, in which the student enrols, and on completion of which the student is awarded a grade.

Course outline

The document that represents the statement of course requirements that are authoritative for both the University and the students undertaking the course. It is prepared in accordance with the requirements specified in the Program Accreditation and Course Approval Procedures and includes: graduate attributes, learning outcomes,   details of assessment tasks, details of the minimum essential requirements necessary to pass the course, and any required attendance and/or participation.


A method of teaching and learning that leads to the acquisition of skills and knowledge that does not include a major research component. (AQF definition 2011)


The value assigned for the recognition of equivalence in content and learning outcomes between different types of learning and/or qualifications. Credit reduces the amount of learning required to achieve a qualification and may be through credit transfer, articulation, recognition of prior learning or advanced standing. (AQF definition 2011)

Credit Transfer

A process that provides students with agreed and consistent credit outcomes for components of a qualification based on identified equivalence in content and learning outcomes between matched qualifications. (AQF definition 2011)


The Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS ) is the register prescribed under section 10 of the Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000. (TEQSA definition 2012)

Cross-institutional enrolment

An enrolment in a course(s) in another institution, which, on successful completion, may be credited to a program at the University.



Term Definition

A defined branch of study or learning. Refer to also field of study, work and/or learning. (AQF definition 2011)

Domestic fee-paying places

Student places which are available to non-international students, that is, Australian citizens and permanent residents, and New Zealand citizens and Permanent Humanitarian Visa holders, in which the student pays a tuition fee.

Term Definition
Early assessment task

Task that provides students with feedback on their progress early in the teaching session. It is usually linked to later assessment tasks and has no or low (equal to or less than 30 percent) weighting in terms of the summative assessment.


One Equivalent Full-Time Student Load is a measure of the study load, for a year,   of the student undertaking a course of study on a full time basis. (TEQSA definition 2012)


Involves electronically designed use of any digital technology or resources to deliver and support specific teaching and learning aims and outcomes. Also referred to as ‘online learning’. (TEQSA definition 2012)


Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000

Examination booklet

The booklet provided by the University in which the student records answers to the examination question paper.

Examination question paper

The paper prepared by the Course Coordinator or examiner consisting of a set of questions or exercises to be completed in a supervised environment to evaluate knowledge or skill in a particular course.

Examination supervisor

In the case of a central examination this is the Chief Invigilator and for a Faculty examination the Course Coordinator


Exclusion from the University for a minimum period of one year, after which period the student must reapply for admission if they are Refer toking re-enrolment.


Permanent exclusion from the University.

External examiner

An examiner for higher research degrees who is not connected to the university or student’s research. (AQF definition 2011)


Term Definition
Faculty examination

An examination administered by the Course Coordinator.

Final mark

The total of the results for all summative assessment items, normally expressed as a percent.

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. Refer to also Informal and Non-formal learning. (AQF definition 2011)

Term Definition

The processes by which the University is directed, controlled and held to account. It encompasses authority, accountability, stewardship, leadership, direction and control exercised in the organisation. (Standards Australia AS80002-2003)


A representation of the overall level of attainment achieved by the student in a course as recorded on the student’s official statement of academic record.

Term Definition
Higher degree by research

A supervised research program that requires original research in an area.


A scheme that provides loans to help eligible Commonwealth supported students pay their student contributions. (TEQSA definition 2012)

Term Definition
Informal learning 

Learning gained through work, social, family, hobby or leisure activities and experiences. Unlike formal or non-formal learning, informal learning is not organised or externally structured in terms of objectives, time or learning support. Refer to also formal and non-formal learning. (AQF definition 2011)

International student

A student who is not an Australian or New Zealand citizen and does not have Australian Permanent Residency status and who has entered into a current written agreement with the University to undertake a course or program of studies with the University.

Introductory level course

A course that is coded at 100 and is normally associated with the first full-time study year of an undergraduate program.

Term Definition
Joint degree

A higher education degree (as described in the Australian Qualifications Framework awarded through an agreement between two or more higher education providers. (TEQSA definition 2012)

Jointly conferred academic award

A program delivered concurrently by two or more institutions and upon completion of the program the student receives either a single award testamur conferred jointly badged by those institutions or receive award testamurs from each of the participating institutions on which the contribution of the other institution(s) is acknowledged on the testamur by way or inclusion of a logo.

Term Definition
Learning outcomes

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. (AQF definition 2011)

Limited grade course A course that is only assessed on a Pass/Fail basis. The use of limited grades is restricted to courses where there is either:
• a work integrated learning activity at either Categories 1 or 2 level
• extensive project work/coursework assessed in diverse settings external to the University
• a professional competency task is included in the course
Term Definition

A stipulated set of courses that has a total unit value of 96 units (usually eight 12-unit courses) that in scope and sequence provide coherence, depth and breadth of study within a specific discipline, field or professional area within an undergraduate program.


A person responsible to the Course Coordinator for marking and providing a result for assessment tasks.


The process of assigning a numerical score to a task that has been graded to represent a standard of achievement.


A stipulated set of four courses that in scope and sequence provide breadth of study within a specific discipline, field or professional area within an undergraduate program.

Natural justice (procedural fairness)

In simple terms means that a person who might be adversely affected by an administrative decision (the affected person) must be given a ‘fair hearing’ before the decision is made. However, there are generally considered to be three aspects of natural justice:

1. The notice requirement
The notice to the affected person must identify the critical issues and contain sufficient information for the person to be able to participate meaningfully in the decision-making process.

2. The fair hearing rule
A fair hearing means that the affected person is given a reasonable opportunity to ‘speak or respond’ and also that the decision maker genuinely considers the affected person’s submission in making the decision.

3. The lack of bias rule
The person making the decision must act impartially in considering the matter. Bias is a lack of impartiality for any reason and may be in favour of or against the affected person. It may arise from the decision maker having some financial or other personal interest in the outcome of the decision (conflict of interest), or giving the impression that they have prejudged the issue to be decided (prejudgement).

Source: Queensland Ombudsman (2013) Good decision-making guide: good decisions make good sense, available online 

Non-award program A program of study that does not, of itself, automatically lead to the award of a degree.
Non-formal learning Learning that takes place through a structured program of learning but does not lead to an officially accredited qualification. See also Formal and Informal learning. (AQF definition 2011)




The formal notification from the University or the Queensland Tertiary Admission Centre on behalf of the University, offering an applicant a place in a nominated program.

Official Statement of Academic Record

The document that provides an accurate statement of the information about the student's academic and academic related activities at the University. This document satisfies the University's responsibilities to the student and other third parties (including other universities) for adequate and appropriate representation of relevant information about the student's academic and academic related activities.

Organisation unit

A faculty or a management or support service or administrative area or sub-section that is specifically identified for allocation of funding within the University’s budget framework.

Overall Position (OP)

A tertiary entrance score (1 – 25) awarded by the Queensland Studies Authority to eligible students who have completed Year 12 in Queensland.

Term Definition
Passing grade

One of the following grades: Pass (PS), Pass in a Limited Grade Course (PU), Credit (CR), Distinction (DN) and High Distinction (HD).


A statement of principles or position that is intended to guide or direct decision-making and operations that supports the achievement of the university's vision and objectives.

Postgraduate level course

A course that is coded at 500, 600 or 700, with the first digit of the coding indicating a Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma or Masters course, respectively.


The specified minimum requirements an applicant must satisfy in order to be considered eligible for admission to a particular program. (TEQSA definition 2012)

Pre-requisite course

A course that encompasses specific knowledge the student needs to possess in order to progress to a subsequent nominated course. As such, it must be completed prior undertaking the subsequent course. If a minimum grade other than a Pass is set for a prerequisite course this requirement must be approved by Academic Board.

Procedural fairness

see Natural Justice

Professional competency task

A task that is specifically designed to meet a stated professional competency standard/s in an externally accredited program and which must be successfully completed (for example practicum, professional placement, professional portfolio, skills/practice competencies).

Professional staff

staff appointed to a position which reflects the operational requirements and core areas of responsibility for administrative, professional, and technical occupational groups. Formerly referred to as Administrative, Professional and Technical (APT) Staff. Refer to the USC Enterprise Agreement 2014-2018.


A set of coherently scoped, sequenced and structured studies or courses undertaken by the student in order to meet the requirements for award of a qualification excluding higher degrees by research.

Program of learning

A course, curriculum, training package, units of study, or structured workplace learning that leads to the award of a qualification. (AQF definition 2011)

Program plan

A coherent set of courses that develop a particular academic theme which is formally recognised on the Official Statement of Academic Record and University testamur.


Term Definition
Quality assurance

The management and organisational processes in place for checking that the standards and quality of higher education provision by the University meet higher education sector requirements and norms.


The Queensland Tertiary Admissions Centre is the organisation established in Queensland to coordinate the admission processes of participating institutions for specified programs.

Term Definition
Required course

A course that is mandatory for all students to complete to be eligible for graduation from a program.


Systematic experimental and theoretical work, application and/or development that results in an increase in the dimensions of knowledge. (AQF definition 2011)

Research Training Scheme (RTS)

A scheme which aims to recognise and reward those higher education provider that provide high-quality research training environments and support excellent and diverse research activities. (TEQSA definition 2012)


The numeric mark the student receives on an individual assessment task.


Term Definition
Satisfactory performance

A student achieves at least 50 percent as their final result in a course with no hurdle assessment task. In the case of a course with a hurdle assessment task/s it means achieving at least 50 percent in each of the hurdle assessment tasks and also achieving at least 50 percent as the final result.

Semester, Trimester and Session Named teaching periods within Study Period 1 and 2, consisting of a variable number of weeks of teaching.
Service learning

Authentic community-based learning experiences which can result in both meaningful community service and student achievement of course learning outcomes.


A person enrolled in a formal program of learning in an educational institution. (AQF definition 2011)

Study component

A coherent set of courses that develop a particular academic theme which is formally recognised on the Official Statement of Academic Record. This includes Majors, Extended Majors, Minors, Specialisations and Dean’s Scholars.


Study period

The academic year is organised into two study periods, each spanning half a calendar year. Study Period 1 covers the period 1 January – 30 June ; Study Period 2 covers the period 1 July – 31 December.

Study Node

A University of the Sunshine Coast facility which are not referred to as a 'campus', e.g. Noosa, Caboolture, North Lakes, the Sunshine Coast Health Institute (SCHI), etc. See also Campus.

Term Definition
Teaching period

The specified duration for the delivery of a course and these are categorised as semester,   trimester and session.

Teaching session

The University defines a set of teaching sessions within a Study period. A teaching session is the period within which courses are delivered.

Teaching week

The week in the 13 week (semester) teaching session; an equivalent time should be equated for teaching sessions of different lengths.


Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency, the body established by section 132 of the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency Act 2011. (TEQSA definition 2012)

Tertiary Entrance Rank (TER)

A score (expressed as a rank from 0 – 99) allocated by a Studies Authority or determined in accordance with accepted Admissions schedules to represent the educational order of merit of an applicant and used to determine the applicant’s eligibility for an admission offer and to rank applicants for competitive selection.


An official certification document that confirms that a qualification has been awarded to an individual. (AQF definition 2011; TEQSA definition 2012)





The website provided for students to undertake a range of self service options including enrolment.

University premises

Any buildings or grounds which are under the control and management of the University and which are used for, or in connection with, the purposes of the University.


A numerical value associated with a course or program.





Vocational education and training, which includes government colleges of technical and further education (TAFE) and private registered training organisations (RTOs).


Any person who visits the University and is not classified as a worker of the University. Visitors to the University may include, but are not limited to: students, family and friends of staff and students, users of University facilities, attendees at conferences and functions, tenants.




As per the meaning given in section 7 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Qld), a worker includes employees, contractors, subcontractors, students gaining work experience, and volunteers in the workplace.

Work integrated learning

Educational activities that integrate theoretical learning with its application in the workplace, profession, career or future employment.

Back to top

Searching {{model.SearchType}} for "{{model.Query}}" returned more than {{model.MaxResults}} results.
The top {{model.MaxResults}} of {{model.TotalItems}} are shown below, ordered by relevance ({{model.TotalSeconds}} seconds)

Searching {{model.SearchType}} for "{{model.Query}}" returned {{model.TotalItems}} results, ordered by relevance ({{model.TotalSeconds}} seconds)

Searching {{model.SearchType}} for "{{model.Query}}" returned no results.

No search results found for