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


Academic chair

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

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.

Attendance mode

Your attendance mode describes how you study with us. Currently we have two modes of attendance; internal and external.

From the beginning of 2025, the current attendance modes will be replaced by three new attendance modes at course level, and five new attendance modes at unit level.

Course level attendance modesUnit level attendance modes
  • Face to face
  • Online
  • Mixed mode
  • Face to face
  • Online flexible
  • Online schedule
  • Mixed mode
  • Placement

International student visa holders have attendance requirements to consider when selecting their attendance 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.

Back to Browse University Terms


Bachelor degree

A Bachelor degree is an award conferred by the University after successful completion of a Bachelor award course. A Bachelor degree is a type of undergraduate award.

Back to Browse University Terms


Career learning spine

A set of units or learning experiences that complement or augment disciplinary learning by developing skills for successful career management.

Census date

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.

Combined degree

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.

Course core

A sequence of required units or specified elective units (unit set) that is a compulsory component of a course or group of related courses.

Back to Browse University Terms



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.

Double major

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.

Back to Browse University Terms



eduroam is a service that allows easy access to the wireless network at all Murdoch campuses and participating institutions. Access is provided using your Murdoch ID and password.

Back to Browse University Terms


Graduate award

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.

Back to Browse University Terms


Honours course

A course that normally follows on from an undergraduate degree. Honours at Murdoch involves specialised and extended research through advanced study.

Back to Browse University Terms



Integrated Research Management Applications (IRMA) is Murdoch’s research management system, covering publications, grants, ethics and higher degree by research reporting.

Back to Browse University Terms



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.

Back to Browse University Terms



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.

You can use your Murdoch ID and password to access to a number of student systems, including eduroam, myMurdoch, myMurdoch Learning and others.

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 [Profile]

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

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

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.

Back to Browse University Terms


Postgraduate degree

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.

Back to Browse University Terms


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.

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 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.

Study load

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.

Back to Browse University Terms


Teaching periods

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 all teaching periods.


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.

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.

Back to Browse University Terms


Undergraduate course

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 coordinator

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.

Unit offering

Unit offerings indicate how, when and where you can study. Unit offering options include campus location, study load, attendance mode and teaching period.

Unit set

A group of related units that makes up part of a course, for example a major or minor.

Back to Browse University Terms


Work Integrated Learning (WIL)

Work Integrated Learning is practical training and experience in a work environment that is part of your degree. This includes work placements, industry projects and work simulations.

Back to Browse University Terms


For personalised support and advice, contact myMurdoch Advice.

Access myMurdoch technical support