Glossary of terms
Click any link that has a black underline to jump to its definition.
- Academic Calendar
- Southern Cross University has two calendars, “Terms” and “Sessions”. Most students will be studying in the Term teaching calendar, but some courses will run in Session during a phased transition. There are 3 Session per year, each Session is 15 weeks in duration. Students will study most units in Session 1 and 2 and if you want to fast-track your studies there are optional units you can complete in Session 3. For Terms, there are six per year for a shorter 7-week period. For more information about Terms and Sessions please see the Teaching Calendar/Key Dates page or for more information about full-time study loads see Centrelink (Income Support) and full-time study loads.
- You have been made an offer into a course, if you accept your offer you are telling the University that you want to start studying. The University will then admit you to your course. Accepting your offer means that you accept the University’s terms and conditions and you agree to abide by the University’s rules.
- Every on-campus unit will schedule activities which you must attend during the term to pass the unit requirements. Activities include events like lectures, tutorials, practicals, Science Labs and so forth. Some units will schedule a single activity (for example a lecture), while others may be made up of many activities (for example a lecture, a tutorial and a computing lab). Some activities will occur every week (for example a lecture), while other activities may be scheduled less regularly. Each on-campus unit will have a different requirement. Information about the unit’s scheduled activities can be found in the Unit Outline which is available online in the unit’s MySCU Learning Site.
- Before you can start studying you must be formally admitted to your course. You need to accept your offer of admission to be admitted to your course. Once you are admitted to your course you are a candidate for your degree.
- Advanced Standing
- Advanced standing (sometimes called recognition of prior learning or RPL) may be granted if you have completed previous post-secondary study, have relevant professional experience and/ or demonstrable expertise.
- Australian Fee Paying
- When you successfully complete your course at SCU, an award is conferred upon you at graduation and you are allowed to use the letters after your name in official documentation (for example, John Citizen, MBA or Jane Citizen, BEnvSci). These award initials stand for the degree you completed (for example Master of Business Administration or Bachelor of Environmental Science). Some higher degrees also confer the right to use of a title such as Dr.
Because you “do” a course to complete a “degree” and get an “award”, these terms are often used interchangeably, (for example “I am doing the Bachelor of Arts course, in order to complete the Bachelor of Arts degree requirements, and if I do I’ll graduate with an award called Bachelor of Arts”). It can be quite confusing at first.
- Census Date
- The census date is the date on which your unit enrolment is finalised and reported to the Government. If you withdraw from a unit after census date you will incur the full cost of the unit and academic penalties. Each unit of study in a teaching period at Southern Cross University has a census date. Once you have enrolled in a unit, you can see the census date in:
My Enrolment > My Study Plans > Current Enrolment
You can also find them on the Census Dates page.
- If you are enrolled in on-campus (internal mode) units, you will attend on-campus classes. Each unit will timetable some classes for the activities scheduled for the unit (for example a fortnightly class might be timetabled for a lecture activity and a weekly class might be timetabled for a tutorial group activity).
Unit activities will vary from unit to unit and a number of classes will be timetabled for each activity. Usually all students attend a single class for a lecture (one big class only, no choice, you must attend) but because tutorial groups are smaller, three tute group classes might be timetabled for the tutorial activity — this means you may have some choice about when you attend your tutorial class. Before the teaching period starts, you need to register in your chosen classes.
Classes fill up quickly so register early if you want to get the class that fits best with your life. Use the class timetable to plan your week.
- Class Timetable
- Clinical Placement is a structured block of time in which students attend a clinical setting for a supervised learning experience.
- Commonwealth Assistance Form (eCAF)
- This is a Government form. If you have been offered a Commonwealth Supported Place, you must submit a HECS-HELP form even if you intend to pay your HECS up-front. If you have been offered a fee-paying place, you may be eligible to complete a FEE-HELP form and defer your tuition fees. Most students will be required to pay a Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF) and you can choose to defer this fee too by completing an SA-HELP form. For more information about the Government HELP schemes, visit the Commonwealth Government’s web site using the following link.
Go to Study Assist
- Commonwealth Supported
- If you are a Commonwealth Supported Student, then the Australian Government pays the majority of your University fees, but you must still make a student contribution (frequently called HECS) for each unit in which you enrol. You will incur that student contribution fee (HECS) on the census date for the unit. If you are an Australian citizen or the holder of a permanent humanitarian visa you may choose to pay your student contribution up-front or you may prefer to defer your fees to the Australian Taxation Office (this is called a HECS debt and it will accumulate until you reach a taxable income threshold when you will be required to pay it back).
If you are a permanent resident of Australia or a New Zealand citizen you must pay your student contribution up-front, but remember that the Government is still paying the majority of your costs. For more information about Commonwealth Supported University places visit the Australian Government’s website using the following link:
Go to Study Assist
- Community/Professional Placement
- Community/Professional Placement includes community and work contexts across a diversity of modes from individual professional placements where students experience work as an ‘employee’ or ‘client’, to group projects that work collaboratively with a partner organisations. A ‘community’ is considered to be a group of people external to the University that are defined by geography, interest, practice, affiliation or identity. Community/Professional Placement covers work experience such as Work Integrated Learning (WIL) and internships.
- A degree program at Southern Cross University (e.g. the “Bachelor of Nursing”, the “Master of Business Administration”, the “Associate Degree of Creative Writing”). Courses are sometimes called “awards” or “degrees” (e.g. what award are you working towards? What course are you doing? What degree are you studying?)
- Course Progression
- Every course has a suggested enrolment pattern. If you follow the suggested enrolment pattern you will complete the foundation units before you complete the advanced units and you will not run into any requisite knowledge issues or timetable problems — so you will be able to complete your studies on time. Suggested enrolment patterns may differ depending upon the specialisation, stream or major you are undertaking and the session you commence your course, so be sure to follow the one that matches your study needs.
Go to Course Progressions page
- Decline Your Offer
- You have been made an offer into a course, if you decline your offer you are telling the University that your circumstances have changed and you do not want to start the course after all. Once you have declined your offer, you will need to submit a new application for admission if you wish to start the course in the future.
- Defer Your Fees
- Australian citizens who supply a tax file number on their Commonwealth Assistance Form have the option of deferring their fees on a teaching period by teaching period basis by using a HELP-Loan. If you choose to defer your fees, they will be collected by the Australian Taxation Office once your annual income reaches a specified threshold level. For more information about HELP loans, visit the Commonwealth Government’s website:
Go to Study Assist
- Defer Your Offer
- You have been made an offer into a course, if you have been offered a Commonwealth Supported place you are allowed to defer your offer. If you defer your offer you are telling the University that your circumstances have changed and you are unable to start your studies this year, but that you would like to start the course next year instead. You will automatically receive an offer into the same course for the next calendar year. Do not confuse deferring your offer (delaying the start of your studies) with deferring your fees (using a Government Loan Scheme to pay your fees).
- See Commonwealth Assistance Form.
- Enrol in Units
- Each teaching period you will undertake a number of units (individual subjects) in accordance with your course rules. You enrol in your units for the full year, enrolling is the action of selecting where, when and how you choose to study your units. You will self-enrol in your units using My Enrolment. You will receive an email to your SCU Email advising you when enrolment opens.
- Field Work
- Fieldwork is completed with an organisation or in an environment outside the University. The focus is on linking what is learnt in class with what is seen, collected and tested in the field. The specific aims of fieldwork may vary, but they usually include one or more of the following:
- observing principles learnt in class as they appear in the field
- applying what has been learnt in class to real situations
- collecting information such as samples which can be used in class.
- General Offer Conditions
- See Offer Conditions.
- ID Cards
- See Student ID Cards.
- An internship is a temporary position which emphasises on on-the-job training. Interns generally have a supervisor who assigns specific tasks and evaluates their work.
- Laboratory Session
- A laboratory class provides practical knowledge that allows you to apply the theory learned in the Unit. The class is usually hands on and conducted in real time in a Laboratory setting.
- Lapse Date
- The date by which you must respond to your offer. If you do nothing by the lapse date, then the offer will lapse automatically and you will need to submit a new application for admission if you wish to commence studies.
- Learning Site
- Every unit in which you enrol has an online Learning Site. It is critical to your studies that you can enter your Learning Site(s). Your Learning Site contains a Unit Outline which will give you your assignment and assessment tasks, due dates and important information about the unit. Your Learning Site(s) also contain various other online resources and contact details for your Unit Assessor. If you are studying by Online, your Learning Site will be your virtual classroom for the unit and will be the primary method by which your Unit Assessor will communicate with you. You will find your Learning Sites inside MySCU. Log in to MySCU, scroll down the page and find the links to your Learning Sites.
- Leave of Absence
- Students who wish to take time off from their studies must apply for a leave of absence. To be eligible for a leave of absence a student must have completed at least one unit of study. A leave of absence when granted is for one year.
- Lecture On-Site
- Lectures are mainly for content delivery where the focus is on the presentation of information by an academic staff member. Lectures can take many forms including in traditional classroom settings, online, video and audio recordings. Where a unit is delivered concurrently across multiple campuses, lectures may be recorded and/or offered through video-link (video streamed).
- Lecture Online
- Lectures are mainly for content delivery where the focus is on the presentation of information by an academic staff member. Lectures can take many forms including in traditional classroom settings, online, video and audio recordings. Where a unit is delivered online, lectures may be recorded and/or offered through video-link (video streamed).
- My Enrolment
- My Enrolment is the University’s student management system; it contains your official student record. Your access into this system enables you to self manage your studies; it is where you will officially self-enrol in your units, self-register into on-campus classes at the beginning of a teaching period and get your official results at the end.
You can request a leave of absence here or change your enrolment if necessary. The invoice for your studies can be found here and so can the details of any examinations you may need to sit. It contains details about you too — your contact details and so forth. You can update these details here and it is your responsibility to ensure that they are always accurate.|
You will use My Enrolment for a lot of important tasks throughout your studies at SCU so take the time to get to know your way around it now.
Go to My Enrolment
- MySCU is the secure intranet available to all students. You login to MySCU from the public website It provides you with a portal into all the key services you will need as a student studying at SCU (for example the library). Most importantly it contains your Learning Site. Your Learning Site becomes available only when you enrol in a unit. It is where you will find your unit documents, text book lists and from here you can communicate with your classmates, tutors and lecturers online.
Go to MySCU
- Your formal offer to study a course at SCU. Your offer contains important details including the name of the course, the location where you’ll be studying, the SCU School/College offering your course and the year, the teaching period when you’ll start and any offer conditions your offer may have. It also contains the SCU student number that has been allocated to you.
- Offer Conditions
- Specific Offer Conditions: Your official offer contains a section called “Specific Offer Conditions”. These are conditions that must be fulfilled before you will be allowed to start studying. For example sometimes we may need to get a copy of a transcript of your past academic results. Check your offer to see whether there are any specific conditions attached to it. If so, you will need to provide the Admissions Team at SCU with any information they may have requested before you can enrol in units.
General Offer Conditions: Your official offer contains a section called “General Offer Conditions”. These are conditions that are generally placed on every student in your course — this section will advise whether or not you have an option to defer your studies.
- On-campus study is also known as internal mode, if you study on-campus you are expected to attend on-campus classes.
- Online study is also known as external mode, if you study an online unit you do not need to attend on-campus classes. Online students are well supported by specialist staff, Online study materials and virtual classrooms where you can interact with your lecturer and other Online students. Although you do not have to attend regular on-campus classes as a Online student, sometimes a unit will require you to attend a residential workshop. When you enrol in an Online unit, make sure that you read the unit outline in MySCU to find out about any residential requirements.
- Practical Session
- A Practical Session is some form of practical teaching often run in laboratories, studios, practical demonstration room or in the field that allows you to apply the theory learned from the lecture and tutorial material.
- Register in Classes
- Approximately three weeks before a teaching period starts, class registration opens. You will receive an email in your SCU Email account advising you of registration opening date. You will register for your classes online through My Enrolment.
- Residential Session
- A Residential may be conducted either during a teaching period or in the session breaks. The duration can vary and they are usually a compulsory component of a unit. A Residential commonly includes a series of lectures, small group tutorials, workshops or practical/laboratory sessions.
- Pre-requisite: This indicates units which must be completed or requirements which must be satisfied before a candidate may enrol in the unit named. The Head of the School or Director of the College offering the unit may waive a pre-requisite where it can be satisfactorily demonstrated a candidate has a background of study sufficient to undertake the unit successfully. Any candidate who considers sufficient grounds can be presented for a waiver of pre-requisite should present the case to the Head of School/Director of College concerned or nominee.
Co-requisite: Co-requisites must be completed in conjunction with or prior to the unit named. Any candidate who feels sufficient grounds can be presented for a waiver of a co-requisite should present the case to the Head of School/Director of College concerned or nominee.
Anti-requisite: Means a specified unit that is deemed to have content that is too much in common with another unit, thereby prohibiting enrolment in the other unit either concurrently with the specified unit, or where the specified unit has been successfully completed.
- Schedule of Units
- The Schedule of Units (SOU) lists, alphabetically by the Unit Name, all units planned to be taught by all of the Faculties at SCU in a particular teaching period. The SOU is updated daily and reflects the most up-to-date information about unit availabilities.
- Special Consideration
- Special Consideration means consideration for extension or variation of deadlines for assessment tasks, for a special examination, or for consideration related to a completed assessment task.
- SCU Email
- SCU provides you with a University email address. It is SCU policy that we will only send official communications to your SCU Email account — we will not send them to any other email address. It is therefore very important to regularly check your SCU Email account. It is possible for you to set up your SCU Email account to forward all emails to your personal email account, but this will not happen automatically, you must set this up yourself.
Go to SCU Email
- Self-directed Project
- In a self-directed project the student works under the supervision of an academic staff member to undertake and complete their own project.
- A seminar is a form of academic instruction in a small group focused on a particular topic and readings in which everyone is able to participate. As opposed to a lecture, the seminar is relatively informal and interactive. Seminars occur in real time, either in-person or online (webinar).
- See Academic Calendar for more information about the 3-Session calendar.
- A simulation is a representation or model of a real-world environment. This may be online or in a purpose built environment.
- Structured Online Learning
- Structured online learning involves specific unit content which the student is directed to complete and can involve working through online activities, allowing opportunity to choose the timing of participation within a specific time period.
- Student ID Card
- Southern Cross University issues Student ID Cards to all students. The card remains valid while you are a student and should be carried with you whenever you are on campus.
- Student Number
- Your SCU student number is unique to you. You will be asked for your student number many times during your time at SCU and you will use it to access some SCU systems. It can be found in your offer — make sure you keep it somewhere safe.
- Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF)
- SSAF is a compulsory fee for non-academic related student services and amenities, such as employment and career advice, counselling services, childcare, financial advice, food facilities etc. This fee is charged in Session 1 and Session 2 only and the amount you pay is dependent on your study load and location. For more information please go to the SSAF site.
- Study Plan
- Your study plan in My Enrolment follows your course structure — any core units (compulsory Part A units) will already be planned for you and you will be able to see them individually on your study plan. Where you must make a decision (for example choosing a Part B major or choosing a Part C elective and so forth) your study plan will contain an “Option” line. When you enrol in a unit or complete a unit successfully, it will remain on your study plan but its status will change allowing you to keep track of your progression through the course requirements.
- The term supervision is used to identify a unit in which a student works under the supervision of one or more academics on a research project, thesis or similar endeavour.
- Tax File Number
- A tax file number (TFN) is your personal reference number in the tax and superannuation systems.
- See Academic Calendar for more information about the 6-Term calendar.
- Tutorial On-Site
- Tutorials complement lectures and usually run for 1–2 hours and may be face-to-face or online using video-conferencing software. They are a small group learning opportunity in which students discuss the key topics, concepts and ideas of the unit with their tutors. Students are expected to prepare for tutorials by reading required material and preparing questions and/or answers to questions, and are also expected to participate actively in class discussions and small group activities.
- Tutorial Online
- Tutorials complement lectures and usually run for 1–2 hours online using video-conferencing software. They are a small group learning opportunity in which students discuss the key topics, concepts and ideas of the unit with their tutors. Students are expected to prepare for tutorials by reading required material and preparing questions and/or answers to questions, and are also expected to participate actively in class discussions and small group activities.
- Unique Student Identifier
- A Unique Student Identifier (USI) is your individual education number for life. It also gives you an online record of your VET training undertaken in Australia. If you're at university, TAFE or doing other nationally recognised training, you need a USI. Without one, you can't get Commonwealth financial assistance or your qualification or statement of attainment.
- Every course at SCU is made up of a series of units (individual subjects that you will study). Enrolling in one or two units in a teaching period is considered a part-time load. Enrolling in three or four units in a single teaching period is considered a full-time load. Most (but not all) Bachelor Degrees are made up of 24 units. Most (but not all) Masters Degrees are made up of 12 units. Find out how many units make up your degree by locating your course in the Course Options, and then viewing the course structure page.
- Unit Approval Request
- If a student cannot self-enrol in a unit, they can submit a unit approval request (UAR) which is done through My Enrolment.
- Unit Learning Site
- See Learning Site.
- Unit Outline
- Every unit has a unit outline. When you enrol into a unit, you will gain access into your Learning Site in MySCU. Inside your Learning Site you will find your Unit Outl;ine. It will provide you with the details of the assessments and due dates for your assignments, the details of any exams or residentials you must attend and the text books you will need. You will usually find a suggested study plan for the unit that will help you to plan your work. Its an important document and you should read it thoroughly when you first start a unit.
- University Place
- When you accept your offer of admission to Southern Cross University, you will be “occupying a place”. Due to physical space limitations, Government rules and teaching resources, every University has a limited number of places that they can offer. If you decline your offer, the place becomes free and we can re-offer it to another applicant.
- See SCU Email entry.
- Workshop On-Site
- A Workshop is a stand-alone session where the focus is on discussion and activity on a particular task. They can be held face-to-face or online with the activity occurring in real time, although they may also be recorded.
- Workshop Online
- A Workshop is a stand-alone session where the focus is on discussion and activity on a particular task. When held online the activity occurs in real time, although they may also be recorded.
- Great! Now you can get an explanation for any term/phrase that has the grey, underlined style.
- International Onshore Applicants
- International Onshore Applicants are international students studying at a Southern Cross University campus in Australia, who have applied for a course that is CRICOS registered.