University terminology

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Academic Standing

This is a status the University assigns you. It depends on your level of academic performance during your studies. Good academic standing means you are passing all or most of your subjects and your progress through your degree is considered satisfactory. Poor academic standing is assigned to students who fail more than half of their subjects in a semester and thus their progress is considered unsatisfactory.

Advanced Standing

This is credit awarded for previous studies. Credit can go towards your current degree based on study completed through another tertiary institution (including TAFE), another program at La Trobe, or relevant work experience.

Allowable materials

Allowable materials are things you are allowed to take into an exam. See the full list of allowable materials.


Any student who has graduated from a University is considered part of the Alumni network (or 'Alumnus' when referred to as a singular). La Trobe has an active Alumni network.


Association of Professional Engineers, Scientists and Managers, Australia. APESMA is the largest national non-profit organisation representing professional employees. Members may achieve La Trobe qualifications through specialised programs.


A degree, diploma, or certificate that is conferred by the University at a graduation ceremony or 'in absentia'. This word is also used to describe prizes awarded to individuals by the colleges or Academic Board (i.e., Dean's Commendation Award).


Census date

This is the last day you may withdraw from a course or subject without incurring a financial liability. See the Key Dates site for more information.


The administrative structure of the University is based on Colleges. La Trobe has two Colleges. To see what each college has to offer, please see our college page.

Conceded Pass

This is awarded to students who achieve a mark of 48% or 49% and meet specified criteria.


The legal act of graduation.  Awards are conferred by the University at a graduation ceremony or 'in absentia'.


Another word for graduation.


A subject which must be completed successfully before, or studied at the same time as, another subject.

Core subject

A subject that is needed to complete your degree. A core subject usually needs to be taken at a specified time within your degree, as it is often a prerequisite for more advanced subjects.


A course of study, e.g. Bachelor of Arts. A course is made up of prescribed study, assignments and/or examinations, and any other requirements and regulations as stipulated by the college or academic board. For a full list of La Trobe courses, see Courses.

Credit points

The amount of points a subject contributes towards your degree. For example, to complete a Bachelor of Arts, students must complete a minimum of 360 credit points, with at least 120 credit points at third year level.



Delaying the start of the course you have been offered by 1 or 2 semesters.


An area of study located within a school. For example: the Department of Politics & Philosophy is located in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, which is located in the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Commerce.


Deputy Vice-Chancellor. Find out about the role of the DVC on the senior managers page.



A subject that is chosen according to your interests, or a non-compulsory subject. Some restrictions may apply to what electives you can select.

Excluded subjects

These are subjects that you are NOT permitted to take. For example, science students may be excluded from doing specific subjects from certain colleges, schools or departments. Any excluded subjects for your course should be listed in your course description in the University Handbook.


In specially considered circumstances, you may be given an exemption from completing a specific subject requirement of your program.



FEE-HELP is a Commonwealth Government loan scheme available to help eligible students pay their university fees. For more information see the StudyAssist website.



Eligible Commonwealth supported students can defer their fees to the HECS-HELP scheme, and make payments later through the tax system. For more information see Commonwealth Supported Places.


Honours is an optional extra year of study that can be completed as a part of your degree. Admission to an Honours program generally requires that at least a credit average over your second and third years of study. Check with your college for more information.

Hurdle requirement

A compulsory piece of assessment that must be satisfactorily completed in order to pass the subject.


In Absentia

To graduate in absentia is to have your award conferred without attending a graduation ceremony.

Intermission of studies (Leave of absence)

A period of leave from your studies after you have started them. Intermission may be granted in all undergraduate and postgraduate courses, and faculties set policies regarding the administration of this process. Get more information about intermission.


Learning Management System (LMS)

The Learning Management System is a web-based tool that gives you online access to learning materials and activities related to your studies.



The main discipline area of your degree. A major is a sequence of subjects that are designed to link together to provide thorough training in one specialised area. Some courses allow you to undertake two majors.


A secondary discipline area of your degree. A minor is similar to a major. It is a sequence of subjects that focus on one discipline. It simply does not involve as many subjects as a major.



The reproduction of someone else's words, ideas or findings and presenting them as one's own without proper acknowledgment. The University takes plagiarism very seriously, and there a number of penalties for students found take part in it. For information on how to avoid plagiarism through proper referencing see Student Learning.


A University qualification undertaken after a Bachelor's degree (eg. Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma, Postgraduate Diploma, Master, Doctorate).


Generally practicals (often referred to as 'pracs') are laboratory sessions where experiments or other type of laboratory work are undertaken.


A subject you must complete before enrolling in a more advanced subject. For example, you must complete Level 1 Maths before enrolling in Level 2 Maths.


The combination of approved subjects that make up an award, degree or diploma.


Residential College

Accommodation provided for students who decide they wish to live on-campus. For example, La Trobe Melbourne has five colleges: Menzies College, Glenn College, Chisholm College, Graduate House, Waterdale apartments, and Barnes Way. Regional campuses also have residential options. See campus accommodation for full details.



An area of study within a College. For example, the College of Arts, Social Science and Commerce consists of the following schools: Business, Law, Humanities and Social sciences and Education. Please see our Schools page for a full list of schools at La Trobe.


The academic year is divided into two semesters over one year. For more information please see our Academic Calendar.

Student Union

The La Trobe Student Union (LTSU) is a student association that provides its members with the opportunity for students to have their opinions heard through representation on University committees and Boards. The LTSU also provides access to entertainment and social and sporting activities. The LTSU is the student association for La Trobe's Melbourne campus. See Student Organisations for other campus associations.

Study Abroad

The Study Abroad Program at La Trobe allows international students to undertake a semester or year of study at La Trobe as part of their degree at an overseas university.

Study load

The total number of credit points you undertake in a term.


The individual classes/elements of your degree, e.g. MATH1031, PSYC3001etc. Students normally take a number of subjects within a semester, and these combine to give a study load. Subjects are sometimes referred to as units.

Subject code

Subject codes are written (usually) as three letters followed by one digit followed by three letters, e.g., NSG3PIN. The first three characters usually indicate the discipline (in this case, Nursing). The fourth character indicates the year level of the subject (in this case, third year). The last three characters of a subject code are usually an abbreviation of the subject name (in this example, Philosophies in Nursing).

Subject quota

A subject quota is the maximum amount of students allowed to enrol in a subject each year. If you come across a subject with a quota, please contact the faculty administration in order to get more details about how to enrol in such subjects.



This is the degree certificate for an award. It is a legal certification from the university that you have satisfied the requirements of your course and states the date that your award has been conferred.


Usually a small discussion group that is offered to complement the material presented in lectures.



A single bachelor degree is an undergraduate program, which usually takes three or four years of full-time study to complete. Your degree program will consist of a number of subjects.


See subjects.



Vice-Chancellor, the senior manager of the University. See our Vice-Chancellor page for more details.