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Glossary of Monash University Terms

This glossary defines key terms used by the university.

If you would like to suggest any additions or alterations to the glossary, or receive regular University Policy Updates please contact

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Academic misconduct

Student cheating or assisting to cheat whether in an examination or non-examination context. See Discipline - student and Discipline Statute.

Academic organisational unit

A unit whose primary objective is teaching and/or research (eg schools, departments and centres).

Academic staff

Staff employed to undertake research and teaching, including Research Only staff.

Access Monash

A program of support, entry pathways, partnerships, scholarships and bursaries providing fair and equitable access to a Monash course.

Administrative unit A unit code in which students are enrolled while undertaking part of their study at another institution, for instance through study abroad, student exchange, cross instituional study or work experience. Also includes Rsearch units.

Advanced standing

Credit which is given in one course on the basis of prior formal studies in another course at the same or another higher education or post-secondary institution. See Credit. See the university's Credit Policy.

Allocate +

Online class allocation system accessible from any computer in the world that has Internet access. Students can browse available timeslots for all enrolled activities and specify personal preferences.

Alternative Arrangements for Assessment

Any variation in the structure, format, duration or venue of an examination or assignment, ensuring that students with disabilities have equal opportunity in all type of assessments (also known as AAAs).

Area of study A component of a course, such as an undergraduate major and a graduate/postgraduate specialisation in a particular discipline.

Authorised University Travel

Travel on behalf of Monash University that has been approved by the Vice-Chancellor, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Vice-President, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Dean, Divisional Director or their formal nominee.


Degree, diploma or certificate which is listed in the Faculties Regulations, or a research higher degree of the university (Masters or PhD).  These are the titles which appear on university testamurs and transcripts.


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Block Credit 

Credit granted in the form of whole stages or semesters of a course.

Board of Examiners

Faculty committee responsible for determining the results of the performances of all candidates enrolled in the faculty. The composition and duties of the Board of Examiners are specified in the Examination Regulations.

Bologna Process

A series of European Union reforms aimed at convergence, consistency and portability across higher education systems in Europe by developing a common framework of Bachelor, Master and Doctorate degrees.

Business Rules

Rules that define or constrain the university's business practices. While business rules guide decision-making behaviour, they do not necessarily emanate from policy. They determine the day-to-day operation of an organisational unit.

Business travel

Approved teaching, research and development undertaken by staff as part of their university work.

Business Travel Diary

Detailed account of staff travel activities and the dates undertaken.


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Student information system developed by Callista Software Services to accommodate the majority of business functions associated with student administration.

Casual staff

Staff engaged by the hour and paid on an hourly basis that includes a loading in lieu of benefits not provided to the casual employee, including leave entitlements, penalties and loadings.

Census date

The date on which a student's enrolment is taken to be finalised. HECS-HELP and FEE-HELP debts are incurred and SLE is consumed on census dates. Students must make their up-front payments and submit their request/s for Commonwealth assistance by the census date.


The chair of Council, appointed to office by the members of Council. The role encompasses ceremonial, statutory, regulatory and executive functions. 


Seeking to obtain an unfair advantage in an examination or in other written or practical work required to be submitted or completed by a student for assessment. See Discipline Statute.

Chief Examiner

Person responsible for assessment in a unit. See Examinations Regulations.

Chief Executive Officer

The Vice-Chancellor and President of the University, or his/her nominee. See definitions in the Enterprise Agreement.

Close personal relationship

A relationship which can result in a real or potential conflict of interest; includes family, marital or de facto, and financial relationships.

Conflict of interest

A member of the university is at risk of a conflict of interest when he/she has some personal or external interest which could be judged to affect the impartial exercise of university tasks or responsibilities.


Individual or business engaged to provide "personal services" to the university, where these are defined as services provided for reward by an individual's personal efforts or skills, but do not include trade services.

Continuing staff

Staff whose employment has no fixed end date.

Continuous assessment

Assessment tasks or activities that are spread throughout the time of study rather than being concentrated at the end of the semester. Continuous assessment may be formative or summative.

Cooperative Delivery

A course in which students are enrolled as Monash students, and Monash and a partner share responsibility for providing teaching, academic support, and administration and services.  See Cross-Institutional Courses and Twinning Programs, and the university's Collaborative Coursework Arrangements Policy.

Core unit A unit that must be completed successfully to satisfy course completion requirements.
Corequisite unit A unit that must be undertaken at the same time OR completed prior to another unit before a student in permitted to commence undertaking the other unit.


The governing body of Monash University, established by the Monash University Act 1958.  Council is chaired by the Chancellor.


The accumulation of units, according to a set of rules, that leads to the award of a qualification (eg Bachelor of Arts, Master of Science).  In the case of a double degree, this course of study can lead to the award of two qualifications. See the university's Course Design Policy.

Credentialled Learning

Relevant skills, knowledge or competencies that have been acquired from a provider other than an Australian university or TAFE college (or equivalent).  See the university's Credit Policy.


 The recognition or credit of prior study in a university or TAFE college (or equivalent); synonymous with Advanced Standing and Credit Transfer. In recognition of their prior learning, students may be granted Block Credit, Specified or Unspecified Credit. See the university's Credit Policy.


External relationships which lead to formal agreements with other tertiary institutions, business, industry, government agencies or schools, both locally, nationally and internationally, based on the joint development and delivery or, and graduation from, education and training programs. See Cooperative Delivery and Twinning Programs, and the university's Collaborative Coursework Arrangements Policy.

Cross-listed unit A unit cross-coded with different alpha prefixes but with the same academic content, learning objectives and assessment regime.


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The university officer appointed as chairperson of the faculty presiding over the educational and administrative affairs of the faculty.

Deferral (or deferment)

An adjournment of the starting date for study which allows a student's place in a course to be held for a nominated length of time, usually one year. See the university's Admission to Coursework Courses and Units of Study Policy.

Deferred Examination

See Special Examination.

Degree faculty

The faculty or faculties that a degree covers; for example the Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Laws has the degree faculty of Law/Arts. See also Managing Faculty  and Teaching Faculty.

Diploma Supplement

Document attached to a higher education diploma providing a description of the nature, level, context, content and status of the studies successfully completed. It aims to facilitate academic and professional recognition of qualifications.

Discipline - education

In the university's Course Design Policy, defined as synonymous with 'field of study'.

Disciplinary action - staff

Action by the university to discipline a member of academic or general staff for unsatisfactory performance, misconduct or serious misconduct. See definition in the Enterprise Agreement.

Discipline - student

The Discipline Statute encompasses academic, general and research misconduct by students.

Discipline group 

A means of classifying units of study in terms of the subject matter being taught and/or researched in them.


The groupings of central administrative areas.

Domestic student

A person enrolled in an undergraduate or postgraduate academic program and who is an Australian or New Zealand citizen, or who holds Permanent Residency status in Australia.


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Elective unit A unit that is not prescribed, but which may be undertaken and credited towards a course.

Exchange student 

A student who is participating in a formal exchange program arranged between the university and a non-Australian overseas higher education provider. The student pays fees to the home institution not to the host institution. See also Monash Abroad.


Where a student is not required to take a certain unit on the basis of work already completed but is required to undertake an alternative unit of equivalent credit points. See the university's Credit Policy.


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The groupings of academic areas within the university.

Field of Study

An approved sequence of units in cognate areas. See the university's Course Design Policy.

Fixed-term employment

Employment for a specified term with a specific start and end date.


System that monitors all travel bookings made through the university's preferred Travel Management Company.  The system enables early warning of travellers booking to risky locations.

Formative assessment

Diagnostic use of assessment during a teaching program to monitor progress and provide feedback. Formative assessment is part of the teaching cycle, and unlike summative assessment, does not involve assigning marks or grades.  

Full-time employment

All employment during the regular weekly ordinary hours as per the Enterprise Agreement.

Full-time study

For the purposes of OS-HELP only, full-time study is taken to be a level of academic engagement that is broadly equivalent to the level of academic engagement required by a student undertaking at least 0.75 EFTSL per year.

Future Students

Information for future and prospective students.


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General misconduct

Any behaviour in relation to people or property which is contrary to generally accepted standards of behaviour. See Discipline Statute.

Genuine fifth year units

Units in the discipline that are clearly a year beyond fourth year honours or a postgraduate diploma level unit. See the university's Course Design Policy.

Genuine fourth year units

Units that are a clear level beyond third year undergraduate level units. They may be fourth year honours units or they may be special units suitable for a postgraduate diploma, or professional training that builds on three years of study in the discipline. See the university's  Course Design Policy.

Grading Scale

The framework correlating a percentage of marks to a level of achievement on an individual task or a whole unit or course. See the university's Grading Scale Policy.


A person on whom the university has conferred an academic award, including honorary awards and awards conferred jointly with another institution.



Non-mandatory approaches to the implementation of policies, procedures or business rules. They provide flexible "good practice" recommendations to assist those responsible for the implementation of policies, procedures and rules, and may include codes of conduct guiding behaviour.


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Heads of Agreement 

A non-binding document outlining the main issues relevant to a tentative partnership agreement.

Home Campus

Monash University campus at which the staff member usually works, or student studies, in any part of the world.

Home Institution

The institution at which the student is enrolled for the majority of their course.

Host Institution

The partner institution at which a student is undertaking some part of an exchange, study abroad or cross-institutional program.


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A program of activities to assist new staff orientating to the university.

Insurance Services

Office responsible for all insurance related matters including travel insurance.

Insured person

Employees, Directors, Council and Committee Members, Voluntary and Honorary lecturers, Honorary sports coaches, voluntary workers, consultants, contractors and postgraduate students of Monash University.


A break in studies that when granted reserves a place in the course for a student when the intermission has ended providing that the student re-enrols during the designated periods.

International assignment

A period of work when a Monash University Australia staff member is seconded overseas to a Monash University campus or centre for a period of more than ninety days and relocation is required.

International student

A person enrolled in an undergraduate or postgraduate academic program who is not a citizen of Australia or New Zealand and who does not hold Permanent Residency status in Australia.

Intra-level unit A unit which shares a minimum of 80% content with another unit within a year level, but where differences in the teaching pedagogy and/or background of students require differences in the learning objectives and assessment.


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(1) A minimum of 48 credit points in a field of study or discipline, including a minimum of 12 points at both second and third year levels respectively. See the university's Course Design Policy.

(2) The focal area of study undertaken in a degree. In some faculties the major may be highly structured, with requirements of units to be completed in a specific discipline area, while other faculties define their majors more in terms of credit points and level of units.

Managing Faculty

The faculty that is assigned responsibility to coordinate administrative matters for each single or double degree program (including but not restricted to admission, enrolment, course advice, academic progress and academic referral). Only one faculty can manage a course/enrolment; for example the Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Laws has the managing faculty of Law.


A process where a less inexperienced member of staff or graduate student is supported by an experienced colleague. Monash University runs a university-wide mentoring scheme for academic and general women staff members.

Minor sequence 24 credit points taken in a sequential order from levels 1-3 in an undergraduate program.

Misconduct - staff

Staff conduct which is not serious misconduct but which is nonetheless conduct which is unsatisfactory. See definition in the Enterprise Agreement.

Misconduct - student

See Discipline - student

Mode of attendance

This is a classification of the way in which a student is undertaking a unit of study, according to whether their enrolment in a unit is Internal, External or Multi-modal.

Monash Abroad

The Monash Abroad website provides information about exchange and study abroad opportunities for Monash students, and students at overseas institutions who would like to spend one or two semesters studying at Monash.

Monash University Act

The University Act is the legal instrument under which the university operates.

Multi-level unit A unit listed as being taught at two or more levels, where academic content across these levels is a minimum of 80% identical, but learning objectives and assessment regime differ.


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Natural justice

The right to be heard, the right to be treated without bias, the right to be informed of allegations being made and provided with an opportunity to respond to them. The principles derive from the belief of the Romans that some principles of law are "natural" or self-evident. See the principles of procedural fairness in the university's Student Discipline Guidelines.

Non-award course

An academic course of study of varying length, normally not more than the equivalent of one semester full-time (eg faculty certificates).  Non-award courses are normally designed to meet the needs of external clients, including the profession, industry and the community.  The course may include units that are normally taken as part of award courses, and may articulate into award programs.


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Off Campus Learning

Distributed learning with teacher and learners geographically separated from each other.  (The term ‘Off Campus Learning' has replaced the terminology previously used by the university including ‘Distributed Learning' and ‘Distance Education'.)


The beginning of semester for new students: activities (usually of a week's duration) designed to help students settle into university and provide them with information to prepare them for university life.


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Parental leave

Parental leave in the 2009 Enterprise Agreement covers maternity leave, adoption leave and spouse/partner birth leave.


Partnerships primarily involve two basic models, "twinning programs" and "cooperative delivery". See also the university's Collaborative Coursework Arrangements Policy.

Personal information

Any information or opinion about an individual whose identity is apparent or can reasonably be ascertained from the information or opinion, and may include name, address, date of birth and staff or student identification number. See the university's Privacy Policy.


Using another person's ideas and or manner of expressing them and to pass them off as one's own by failing to give appropriate acknowledgement. See the university's Plagiarism Policy.


A concise, formal and mandatory statement of principle which provides a framework for decision-making and a means by which the university reduces institutional risk. Policies support the university's course for the foreseeable future and should therefore change infrequently.

Postgraduate coursework student

A person enrolled in a higher degree program based predominantly on coursework study. Masters by coursework programs may involve a project or ‘minor thesis' that allows the student to become familiar with research methodologies in the area and provides a limited opportunity for putting them into practice. At Monash, coursework Masters Degrees normally involve the completion of coursework subjects that represent no less than 50% of the requirements of the course.

Postgraduate research student

A person enrolled in a higher degree program based predominantly or wholly on research rather than coursework.

Prerequisite A requirement which must be satisfied before a student is permitted to commence undertaking a unit.


Mandatory steps required to implement and comply with a policy and meet its intent. They specify who does what and when. Procedures may be reviewed and revised more frequently than policies.


The path to an award or course.

Prohibition Prevention of a student enrolling into a unit which has been determined as being equivalent or similar in academic content, learning objectives and assessment regime to another unit.


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An award or other form of certification of attainment, competence or attendance.

Qualifications Category

A particular level of academic study leading to a qualification.  Each qualification category has specific entrance and exit standards, duration and credit points. See the university's Schedule of Qualifications Categories.


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Often known as "associated legislation". Like statutes, they are drafted by the university solicitors and Council is the final step of approval; however, unlike statutes, they do not have to be signed off by the minister. The regulations will typically spell out in more detail some aspect of the statute.


Database software used to track research activity at Monash University

Research misconduct

Negligent or intentional (i) fabrication or falsification of data; (ii) plagiarism; (iii) misleading or inadequate ascription of authorship; (iv) breaches of the university's Responsible Conduct of Research Policy. See the Discipline Statute.


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Serious misconduct - staff

Misbehaviour of a kind which constitutes a serious impediment to the carrying out of a staff member's duties; and/or serious dereliction of one's duties; and/or conviction by a court of an offence which constitutes a serious impediment to conducting one's duties. See definitions in the Enterprise Agreement.

Sequence At least two units and a minimum of 12 credit points in a defined area.

Special Consideration

Consideration by a board of examiners of students whose assessment has been affected by illness or other serious cause. See the university's Special Consideration Policy.

Special Examination

Also referred to as a deferred examination: may be granted to students whose work during the academic year or performance in an examination or other assessment has been gravely affected by illness or other serious cause. See the Examinations Regulation.


Synonymous with 'major'. See the university's Course Design Policy.

Specialised degree

Structured degree program with a high content of units in an area of specialisation, named with either a specific degree or tagged degree title. See the university's Course Titling and Abbreviations Policy.

Specific degree

A specialised degree whose main title indicates the specialisation, in contrast to a tagged degree. See the university's Course Titling and Abbreviations Policy.

Specified credit 

Credit granted in the form of specific Monash unit(s). See the university's Credit Policy.


Pieces of university legislation subordinate to the Monash University Act. Changes are drafted by the university solicitors, approved by Academic Board, then Council, and must be signed off by the state Minister of Education.


A structured program of study in a specific discipline area, which may be part of single or multiple award course program.

Study Abroad Program

An approved program of study at a host overseas higher education institution that counts as credit towards a course enrolled in with the home higher education provider. These students are not covered by an agreement between institutions and will typically pay fees set by the overseas institution while studying overseas. See also Monash Abroad.

Summative assessment

Summative assessment assigns marks or grades to students' work after learning has occurred. It can take the form of continuous assessment and/or terminal examinations. See also formative assessment.

Supervisor - staff

Person responsible for the day-to-day supervision of the staff member. See definitions in the Enterprise Agreement.

Supervisor - student

Person responsible for academic supervision of a postgraduate research student (see also supervision section of Doctoral and MPhil handbook).

Supplementary Examination

Supplementary assessment granted to a student in circumstances such as when a candidate obtains a mark in a particular mark range or after certain prerequisites have been satisfied.  See the university's Examinations Regulation.

Syllabus +

Syllabus + (or Plus) along with Allocate Plus are used for space management, timetabling and class allocation forming the Monash University Timetable System (MUTTS).


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Tagged degree

Specialised degree whose title consists of a broader generic degree with a specialisation in parentheses.

Teaching faculty

The Teaching Faculty is a unit level variable. It is the faculty that runs the individual unit and is assigned the funded teaching load.

Teaching-research nexus

This refers to the many ways in which teaching informs research and research informs teaching; this mutually supportive relationship operating to the benefit of both.

Terminal Examination

Examination held after the end of the teaching period and the results of which are wholly or partly used in the final assessment for the unit concerned. See the university's Examinations Regulation.


The adjustment, development and change experienced when progressing to university study. See the university's Adjusting to University Life program.

Travel Plan

Documentation of a staff member's planned travel which constitutes the request for authorisation to undertake international travel.

Twinning Programs

A course where a partner educational organisation delivers the first year or two of an undergraduate course and Monash delivers the final year or sometimes two years.  See also Cooperative Delivery and Cross-Institutional Courses, and the university's Collaborative Coursework Arrangements Policy.


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Un-credentialed learning

Learning acquired through work and life experience. See the university's Credit Policy.

Undergraduate student

A student enrolled in an academic program designated by the statutes or rules to be an undergraduate program.


A component of a course of study which is taught and examined as a discrete entity but does not include a thesis for a higher degree by research which is governed by regulations of the Research Graduate School Committee. A unit is represented by a single unit code.

Unit code The alphanurmeric code used to identify each unit of the University, consisting of three alpha characters followed by four numeric characters, with the first numeric character indicating the course level at which the unit is primarily offered.
Unit offering The delivery of a unit in a particular teaching period, in single or multiple modes, streams or locations.

Unspecified Credit 

Credit which is not matched to a particular unit in the student's new course at Monash.  It is often given in the form of credit points or exemption from a course's elective requirements. See the university's Credit Policy.