Academic skills resources
OUA offers students the option of study assistance resources:
Academic transcript
See Record of Results

A description for a unit or course that can count towards or form part of a formal qualification from a university or TAFE.

Australian Higher Education Graduate Statement (AHEGS)
An Australian Higher Education Graduate Statement (AHEGS) supplements the testamur and record of results when a student graduates with a degree. It provides additional information on the qualification for students, employers, industry and professional associations. The statement includes:

  • Description of the course from which the student has graduated including admission requirements, credit points and structure, language of instruction and external accreditation for which graduates are eligible
  • Results in units which contribute towards the award
  • Information on the Australian higher education sector
  • The Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) level of the course
Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF)
The Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) is the national policy for regulated qualifications in Australian education and training. It incorporates the qualifications from each education and training sector into a single comprehensive national qualifications framework. It was first introduced in 1995.
See Qualification.
Bachelor's degree
When you successfully complete an undergraduate university course, this is the qualification you will receive. A Bachelor is usually the first university degree students complete, generally consisting of 24 units.
Census date

The census date is the legal deadline for you to finalise your enrolment and fees, like making an upfront payment of your student contribution, applying for a loan, or formally withdrawing your enrolment to avoid incurring a HELP loan debt. After the census date, you cannot receive a refund or a re-credit of your debt unless you can demonstrate special circumstances. There are several census dates throughout the year. We list them all at Key dates. Each university sets a census date for every study term.

A Certificate is a short qualification offered at higher education and TAFE level. If a student decides not to complete the entire qualification, there are a small number of undergraduate qualifications that offer an early exit point at Certificate level.
A co-requisite unit is one that must be studied prior to, or at the same time as, the unit to which it is attached. Co-requisites ensure that students build their knowledge and progress through their studies appropriately. Students may apply for a waiver from a co-requisite if they have completed equivalent study elsewhere. Co-requisites are listed (where applicable) under the 'Prerequisites' section of the unit description page.
Commonwealth Assistance Notice (CAN)
The Commonwealth Assistance Notice (CAN) is issued by providers and contains information and details of studies enrolled with government funding assistance. CAN notices for FEE-HELP will be issued by OUA, whereas HECS-HELP notices are issued directly by the universities.
Commonwealth Higher Education Student Support Number (CHESSN)

A Commonwealth Higher Education Student Support Number (CHESSN) is allocated to every student who applies for a Commonwealth supported course, or accesses other forms of Commonwealth assistance, for example, Commonwealth Scholarships or FEE-HELP.

Your CHESSN is a unique identification number that remains with you during and after your studies for the purpose of managing HELP and Commonwealth Scholarships. Australian universities report any Commonwealth assistance you've used to the government using your CHESSN.

Your CHESSN is on your Commonwealth Assistance Notice (CAN). You can print or download your CAN from My Study Centre.

For more information on CHESSNs, visit the Study Assist website.

Commonwealth supported place (CSP)

A place at a university for a specific degree that is subsidised by the Australian Government. The costs of this type of enrolment are split into two parts:

  • The Australian Government pays one part of the tuition fee, called the subsidy.
  • The student pays the other part. This is called the student contribution amount.
Commonwealth supported student

A student who has applied for, been admitted to, and enrolled in a Commonwealth supported place.

Conditional prerequisite

A conditional prerequisite is a unit that must be studied prior to another unit to which it is attached. If enrolling in a unit with a conditional prerequisite, your enrolment will only stand on the proviso that you receive a successful pass grade in the conditional prerequisite unit. In the event that you do not complete the conditional prerequisite unit successfully, you may be required to re-attempt the failed prerequisite. This is to ensure that you build your knowledge and progress through your studies appropriately. Students may apply for a prerequisite waiver from a conditional prerequisite if they have completed equivalent study elsewhere. Prerequisites are listed where applicable under the 'Prerequisites' section of the unit description page.

A unit with continuous availability is open for enrolment all year round. You can enrol and start studying at any time.
Core unit
This is a compulsory unit that students must pass in order to meet the requirements of a degree or other qualification. Most undergraduate qualifications have core units and elective units. See also elective unit.

If you've already completed some higher education or relevant work experience, you may be able to credit it towards your course. This means that you won't need to complete as many units, so you can get your qualification faster. Please visit your course details page or contact your academic provider for more information regarding credit and Recognition of Prior Learning.

Credit points
Credit points are the number of units of credit granted towards a qualification. These are tallied on the basis of a qualification or unit(s) previously completed in a qualification with a university course, TAFE course or equivalent.
See also EFTSL.
Credit transfer

If you have undertaken part of a relevant accredited TAFE course with an Australian university, TAFE institute or private registered training organisation (RTO) you may be able to receive credit for your completed units. Please visit the course details page of your academic provider for more information regarding credit transfers.

This is a qualification or award conferred by a university that signifies the recipient has satisfactorily completed a course of study. See also Bachelor's degree and Master's degree.
Delivery method
OUA uses four primary methods to deliver information (e.g. study materials) to students: fully online, web dependent, web supplemented and print only.
Department of Education

The Department of Education is the Commonwealth Government agency that now oversees Commonwealth funding of education and training including student assistance schemes such as FEE-HELP or HECS-HELP. It replaced the functions of DIISRTE in September 2013.

Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR)
DEEWR was the Commonwealth Government agency that formerly oversaw Commonwealth funding of education and training including student assistance schemes such as FEE-HELP or HECS-HELP. It was replaced in December 2011 by the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education (DIISRTE).
Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education (DIISRTE)

DIISRTE was the Commonwealth Government agency that oversaw Commonwealth funding of education and training in 2012 and 2013. It was established in December 2011, replacing DEEWR, and it was replaced in September 2013 by the Department of Education.

A Diploma is a qualification offered at TAFE level. A Diploma often follows a Certificate. A small number of Bachelor's degrees also offer an early exit point at Diploma level.
Discussion groups
Discussion groups are online forums in which you can meet other students and get your questions answered. Sign in to My Study Centre and go to the Discussion groups tab to access the groups.
eCAN is an online (or electronic) Commonwealth Assistance Notice (CAN). You can access your eCAN notification for FEE-HELP assistance by logging on to My Study Centre. As a student accessing HECS-HELP you will receive your eCAN notification directly from your provider. See Commonwealth Assistance Notice for more information.
Elective unit

This is a non-compulsory unit. As each degree is structured differently and can be made up of elective and compulsory units, students need to check the degree outline for more information. Compare with core unit.

Enrolment statement
See Statement of Enrolments.
Equivalent Full-Time Study Load (EFTSL)
EFTSL measures the number of hours you are likely to spend on a unit. While the study load weighting as applied to a unit can vary between units, most undergraduate units are 0.125 EFTSL and require 10-12 hours per week of study. A load of 0.250 (usually two units) in a term is equivalent to full-time study. Check your unit page for EFTSL.
Fee band
This is a scale used to calculate fees for each unit. Fee bands apply to groups of selected undergraduate units. Higher band numbers indicate higher fees for those units. OUA study areas are classified using the following bands:

Band 1 - Arts and Social Sciences
Band 2 - Science, IT and Mathematics
Band 3 - Business and Law

Please note: These are not necessarily identical to the bands used by the Australian Government to regulate Commonwealth-subsidised fees. For more information, including the schedule of fees, see unit fees.
FEE-Higher Education Loan Program (FEE-HELP) is a Commonwealth Government loan scheme that gives eligible students the chance to defer payment of their unit fees. Repayments are made through the tax system according to income. Read FEE-HELP for more information.
Fees (current and planned)
The unit fees for the current year of study are displayed on the unit page. The fees displayed for the next year of study are indicative only, based on the unit pricing for the current year of study, and are subject to change. Students should not rely on the accuracy of these indicative prices. Final pricing for the next year of study is available in October.
Forward planning
Forward planning involves planning enrolments for the next calendar year. You can add units to your Study Cart and, from the Study Cart, choose if you want to study a unit this year or next year. Units assigned to next year are considered forward planned and are subject to change.
Forward planning availability
The availability of forward planned units is determined based on the availability of the current unit for enrolment. This availability is subject to change, and will not be confirmed until late November in the current calendar year.
Fully online
One of four delivery methods, in which all educational content, learning activities, assessment and support services for a unit are delivered digitally.
Graduate Certificate
A Graduate Certificate is a short higher education qualification taught at postgraduate rather than undergraduate level.
Graduate Diploma

This graduate qualification is normally taken after a Graduate Certificate or Bachelor's degree. It is possible for a student who has successfully completed  a Graduate Diploma to progress to a Master's degree without having received Honours with a Bachelor's degree. It is sometimes referred to as a Postgraduate Diploma if it has as a prerequisite successful undergraduate study in the same field.


HECS-HELP stands for Higher Education Contribution Scheme-Higher Education Loan Program. It's a Commonwealth government loan scheme through which eligible students enrolled in Commonwealth supported places (CSPs) can defer their course fees. Students pay back the loan through the tax system once their income reaches a minimum threshold. Refer to our HECS-HELP page for more information.

Higher education

Often called 'tertiary education', higher education is the education provided by a university or other education organisation approved to issue university-level qualifications. Tertiary education is also used to cover TAFE education.

Higher education provider
A higher education provider is any institution that provides higher education qualifications, including universities and other approved organisations.
International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
An international, standardised test of English language proficiency. It assesses the language ability of overseas students who want to study at university level in Australia. OUA offers an online program to help students prepare for the IELTS test. See also bridging units.
Invigilated exam
An exam that is conducted under formal examination conditions and supervised by an exam invigilator. Most end-of-term invigilated exams are organised by OUA Exam Services and conducted across a worldwide exam venue network.
This is an approved examination supervisor who is responsible for ensuring that an exam is taken in accordance with university requirements and rules, and for returning completed exams to the university for marking.
Learning Skills Units
See Quick Skills Modules.
Level of study

Level of study is usually a three-part classification that indicates the difficulty of a (mostly undergraduate) degree over the years of study required. Some undergraduate courses include a fourth level of study. The study levels guide a student's progression through that degree as follows:

Level 1 - Introductory units within a discipline. They often do not have prerequisites unless they form part of a sequential course of study.
Level 2 - Intermediate units or principal areas of study within a discipline. They may include prerequisites (in the form of Level 1 units).
Level 3 - Advanced units providing in-depth study within a specialised topic. They often have prerequisites or assume readiness for advanced level study.
Level 4 - Specialised advanced units applicable only to select undergraduate courses.

Macquarie Gateway to Academic Literacy
An interactive online program designed to help you develop your academic essay and report writing skills. All OUA students have unlimited access to the Gateway.
A subject or series of units in which you specialise during your university degree. Completing a major usually involves undertaking between six and eight units in a particular study area across Levels 1, 2 and 3. A major can also be called a 'stream'.
Mandatory prerequisite
A mandatory prerequisite is a unit that must be completed before enrolment in a subsequent unit can be allowed. Mandatory prerequisites are present when study must be structured to build knowledge through a series of units, or where a specific level of prior knowledge or expertise will be assumed. If you have completed prior study equivalent to a mandatory prerequisite you can apply for a waiver from that prerequisite. Mandatory prerequisites are listed (where applicable) under the 'Prerequisites' section of the unit description page.
Master's degree

A Master's degree is a postgraduate degree that usually takes about two years to complete. Students normally need to complete an undergraduate degree before commencing a Master's degree. Also called a 'graduate degree'.

A subject area of secondary specialisation within a university degree. A minor requires fewer units of study than a major, but enables an additional study area to be included in a degree. A minor normally consists of between two and four units. Compare with a major.
Describes a course of study that does not lead to or count towards a formal university qualification.
Non-invigilated exam
An exam or test that does not require supervision or need to be conducted in a formal exam venue. Non-invigilated exams are most often online examinations that students can conduct in their own home or any other convenient location. There may be a requirement to complete the examination at a designated time.
A unique OUA student number is issued to every student. The OUA ID is displayed on the OUA Student Card and on the Letter of Confirmation and should be used when contacting OUA.
OUA Pathways
OUA Pathways recommends the best units to start your studies, even if you're not sure which course you want to do. Each pathway includes four units based on your area of interest. Once you complete your recommended path you'll be able to choose from a range of courses in your area of interest. Plus, each of the units you complete through OUA Pathways can also be credited towards your chosen course.
Payment statement
See Statement of Payments.
Postgraduate Certificate/Diploma
See Graduate Certificate/Diploma.
Postgraduate Single Unit

Postgraduate Single Units are stand-alone units from our catalogue of courses. Successful completion of these units may provide you with the opportunity for a credit transfer to a different level of qualification in your future. Postgraduate Single Units are available in the Arts, Business, Education, Health, IT, Law, and Science disciplines. You can choose Postgraduate Single Units from six of Australia's leading universities including Curtin University, Griffith University, Macquarie University, RMIT University, Swinburne University and Uni SA.

Postgraduate studies

Studies undertaken in a course beyond a Bachelor's degree. Also called 'graduate studies'.

Prerequisite unit
A unit or group of units that must be completed before a student can progress to the next level of study. Prerequisite units are necessary to ensure a student will be able to successfully understand and have the required skills for the next unit in a particular or related subject area. Prerequisites for units are listed in the unit description page and should be checked carefully when making unit selections.
Print only
One of four delivery methods, in which all educational content, learning activities, assessment and support services for a unit are delivered in print. Email may also be used for interaction with staff and support services.
Professional Education

Continuing Professional Education courses focus on skills and knowledge required by various professionals, including risk management, project management, IT and more.

The award conferred upon students who successfully complete a course of study. Qualifications include: degree (specific types of degree are Bachelor's or Master's), Certificate and Diploma.
Quick Skills
Previously, one of the free academic skills resources for students enrolled in undergraduate or postgraduate study. They were delivered in online modules designed to help build skills in areas such as time management. Quick Skills modules are no longer offered to OUA students.
Recognition of Prior Learning
Recognition of Prior Learning, or RPL, is the formal acknowledgement of previous learning, from informal (work, extracurricular activities, etc.) as well as formal learning (university, TAFE, etc) situations, for credit towards a degree or TAFE qualification.
Record of results
A record of all learning leading to an AQF qualification or an accredited unit in which a student is enrolled and is issued by an authorised issuing organisation. In Australia this may also be known as a 'transcript of results', 'academic transcript', 'record of achievement' or 'statement of results'. OUA provides a record of all results for units undertaken through OUA studies on behalf of the relevant providers.
The place, especially the house, in which one resides. This information is required for your enrolment and may influence the types of financial assistance for which you are eligible.
A session refers to a university term during the year during which most postgraduate classes are held. OUA offers three 14-week sessions each year. Not all postgraduate units run in sessions; for that reason students should check course pages carefully. Some universities refer to sessions as 'semesters', 'trimesters' or 'terms'.
An academic skills resource, Smarthinking offers students live online tutoring and writing support services. Students can drop in for live tutoring, submit questions and generally receive a response within 24 hours and schedule 30-minute tutoring sessions.
Special circumstances

Refers to circumstances which:

  • Were beyond the person's control
  • Did not make their full impact until on or after the Census Date, and
  • Made it impracticable for the person to complete the requirements for the course(s) in the period during which the person undertook, or was to undertake, the course(s).

Source: Higher Education Support Act (HESA), 2003. A student who, under special circumstances, is unable to complete a unit(s) or withdraw in a timely manner, may be eligible to apply for a refund of unit fees, a FEE-HELP re-credit or a waiver of penalties. HESA regulates the terms under which special circumstances may apply.

Statement of Academic Record
See record of results.
Statement of Attainment
A Statement of Attainment recognises that one or more accredited units has been studied successfully. OUA might issue a statement on behalf of its providers to recognise that an OUA student has not completed a whole qualification or has chosen to complete only a unit or a number of units.

Please note: A Statement of Attainment is not always accepted as an official statement of results, and a Record of Results may be required in some cases. You can obtain a Statement of Attainment from My Study Centre.
Statement of Enrolments

A statement that displays a student's enrolment and withdrawal activity for a calendar year. This statement can be used by students who wish to prove their current or previous enrolment status or claim relevant entitlements from Centrelink. A Statement of Enrolments can be downloaded from My Study Centre.

Compare with Statement of Payments.

Statement of Payments

A statement that displays a student's payment activity relating to all processed unit fees, penalties and purchases within a financial year. This statement can be used by students who need to claim reimbursement of fees from their employer or prove enrolment payments for taxation purposes. A Statement of Payments can be downloaded from My Study Centre. Compare with Statement of Enrolments.

See major.
Student Advisor
Student Advisors are telephone support staff trained in advising students on a variety of issues, from planning their online study experience to applying for government student loans. Provider university advisors will help with academic questions specific to units of study or qualifications.
Student contribution amounts

These are the fees that a Commonwealth supported student pays for their study.

Student loans

In Australia, student loans are part of the government's Higher Education Loan Programme (HELP). Under this program, the HELP loans that apply to OUA students are:

  • FEE-HELP - Available to eligible students. FEE-HELP is capped, meaning that there is a 'lifetime limit' on the amount you can borrow. See Study Assist for more information, including the FEE-HELP limits for past and current years.
  • HECS-HELP - This government loan helps eligible Commonwealth supported students pay their student contributions. HECS-HELP is only available to students who are offered a Commonwealth supported place. HECS-HELP is not capped, which means that there is no limit on the amount you can borrow.
Student services amenities fee

This fee is charged by your university for student services and amenities of a non-academic nature, such as employment and career advice.

Study level

Undergraduate degrees - are usually the first university degree you'll study. Successful completion usually leads to a Bachelors qualification.

Postgraduate degrees - are designed for students who have already graduated with a tertiary level degree—for example, a Bachelors degree. Successful completion usually leads to a Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma or Masters Degree.

Also see Level of study.

Study Period
Refers to a study term in which some units are offered. OUA offers four 13-week Study Periods each year. All undergraduate units and some postgraduate units are held in Study Periods. Some universities refer to Study Periods as "semesters" or "terms".
Study skills units
Units that provide an introduction to university-level learning or a grounding in core skills needed for further study. Study skills units may be accredited or non-award.
Study term
A term referring to the time during which units are offered. Units may be offered in Study Periods, Sessions, or Study Years. Students should check their course and unit pages for the study term applicable to their units.
Study Year
A study term which runs for 12 months, in which some units are held. OUA offers one Study Year each year. You should check your course and unit pages for the study term applicable to your units.

Technical and Further Education (TAFE) is a nationally-recognised quality training qualification that is valued by education providers and industries in Australia. See also Vocational Education and Training (VET).

Tertiary education
See higher education.

The formal certificate that you will receive on completion of most higher education qualifications. See also Australian Higher Education Graduate Statement (AHEGS).

See Academic Transcript.
Undergraduate qualification
This is the first degree or degrees taken at university level. An undergraduate qualification is also called a Bachelor's degree.
See Level of Study.
The individual components that make up a qualification or degree. They may also be studied as stand-alone subjects, i.e. not as part of a degree. They are held over the course of a study term. Each unit usually requires 10 to 12 hours of study each week. Units are identified by a title e.g. Accounting Fundamentals, and a code indicating study area and level e.g. ACF110.
Unit profile
Refers to the information about a unit such as its title, code, overview, topics, learning outcomes, prerequisites and special requirements. OUA unit profiles are official documents and are required if a student wishes to gain credit or Recognition of Prior Learning for their OUA studies. You can download unit profiles from the unit pages on the OUA website. Unit profiles for units already completed can be downloaded from My Study Centre.
Unit-by-unit student

As a unit-by-unit student, you may not have decided on a degree, or you might just want to complete individual units.

VET FEE-HELP is a student loan scheme for the TAFE sector that is part of the Higher Education Loan Program (HELP). VET FEE-HELP assists eligible students undertaking certain TAFE courses of study (including most diploma, advanced diploma, graduate certificate and graduate diploma courses) with an approved TAFE provider, to pay for all or part of their tuition costs. Approved providers are registered training organisations approved by the Australian Government to offer VET FEE-HELP assistance to their students. See VET FEE-HELP for further information.
Vocational Education and Training (VET)

VET is a type of study that provides practical, work-related skills or competencies. Technical and Further Education (TAFE) institutions are public VET providers.

See also TAFE.

Web dependent
One of four delivery methods, in which online participation for a unit is compulsory. Supplementary materials may be delivered via print, DVD or CD.
Web supplemented
One of four delivery methods, in which online participation for a unit is optional. Students are still expected to have access to the internet for email and research purposes. Supplementary unit materials may be available from a unit website.