Area of study

An area of academic or vocational specialisation, leading to a major or a minor.


The process of evaluating learning outcomes, as reflected in the quality of a student's submitted assignments, examination responses, and other kinds of assessment tasks, relative to the standard expected.


A degree, diploma or certificate obtained when a student graduates from a program at UNSW. It recognises the student's successful completion of that program.

Breadth requirement

The breadth requirement are free elective and general education courses that are taken in addition to those courses that meet the program’s depth requirement. Students enrolled in a program in concurrent mode do not complete the breadth requirement.

Capstone course

A course taken usually in the last semester of study designed to draw together the various strands of an undergraduate major sequence. It is an opportunity for students to demonstrate that they have achieved the goals for learning. Typically, capstone activities will incorporate a research project or examination which encourages students to consider the broad context of their discipline.

Dual mode

A program offered in dual mode requires on the completion of the depth component when the student is completing a second dual program. For example a student completing the Bachelor of Arts (BA) and the Bachelor of Laws would only complete the 96 uonits of credit (UOC) depth component for the BA and not the remaining 48 UOC depth component.


Those courses within a program which are compulsory. They must be completed for the award of the degree.


Also sometimes called a 'subject', a course is an individual study unit offered within a program and plan (for example, ARTS1450 – Introductory Chinese A). Students enrol in many courses to make up their program of study, made up of compulsory and elective courses. At UNSW, courses are identified by a four character alphabetic prefix which identifies the subject area or specialisation administering the course and a four-digit numeric suffix e.g. ECON1101 Microeconomics 1.

Course authority

The lecturer who is responsible for the course.

Depth requirement

Those core and prescribed elective courses that are essential to the successful completion of the program.

Designated minor stream

A field of study that cannot be completed as a major stream.

Discipline/area of study

An area of academic or vocational specialisation, leading to a major or a minor.

Double major stream

Two approved areas of academic or vocational specialisation that are part of single program. For example, a student who is enrolled in a Bachelor of Arts program may chose two areas of specialisation and obtain double majors in History and International Relations. The two majors can be from two Faculties, provided they are approved.

Free elective

A free elective is any course offered either within or outside the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences in which the student is able to enrol.

General education

Students must complete 12 units of credit selected from courses outside the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. These courses are above and beyond any courses external to the Faculty that are meeting a core, prescribed elective, major or minor stream requirement.


It is highest level of training in an undergraduate degree within the Australian tertiary education system. It is an optional fourth year of intensive study, including a significant research project, after three years of basic undergraduate study. For entry requirements, see individual undergraduate programs.

Learning outcomes

Learning outcomes are explicit statements of what students need to know, understand, or be able to do as a result of completing their chosen course.


Programs are generally structured in a number of 'levels' of study, requiring students to complete a specified number of units of credit and/or a particular sequence of courses at each stage. Generally, when a student completes their degree program within the normal minimum time, the different stages will correspond with the different years of the student's enrolment, for example, Level 1 is Year 1, Level 2 is Year 2, etc.


It is an approved depth sequence of study in a discipline or an area of academic or vocational specialisation. To qualify as a major, a specific number of courses set out by the faculty must be undertaken to meet the required units of credit. Most programs require students to complete a major chosen from a list provided by the Faculty.


In some programs, students are required to supplement their study major with a 'minor.' This is a sequence of depth study in a secondary area of specialisation, comprising fewer units of credit than a major. For example, a student enrolled in a Bachelor of Arts might complete a major in Theatre and Performance Studiers and a minor in Art History and Theory. Lists of minors are available from the Faculty.

Non-designated minor stream

A major stream from which a student is completing 36 units of credit as a minor.


A prerequisite is a requirement which must be completed before enrolling in the course or the next level of courses. For example, completing 12 units oif credit of Level I Development Studies courses before progressing to Level II Development Studies courses.

Prescribed elective

A prescribed elective is a course from a specific list of offerings provided by the program of study.


Students enrol in a 'program' as the first step towards being awarded a degree, diploma or a certificate. Programs may be undergraduate or postgraduate and are identified by a four-digit numeric code, for example, the program code for the Bachelor of Arts is 3403.

Program authority

The program authority is responsible for all matters that affect students enrolled in an award program. In the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, the Faculty Student Centre can provide you with program authority advice.


Rules and procedures to ensure students can appropriately complete their degree. This can refer to completing the required number of units of credit at each level, and undertaking the required prerequisites.

Single mode

A program offered in single mode includes both the depth and breadth component.


Streams are designated courses from a discipline or area of study. In the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences there are major streams and minor streams.

Substitution rule

Each program may have rules allowing substitution of its prescribed courses with other courses to suit the special abilities or needs of individual students. Often such substitution must have prior approval of the Head of School or Program/Discipline Convenor.

Units of credit

Each course at UNSW has a particular load or weighting which is referred to as a unit of credit (UOC). Most courses are 6 units in value. The standard annual full-time study load for degree programs is 48 UOC per academic year, or 24 UOC in each of the 1st and 2nd semesters often totalling 144UOC for a 3 year general undergraduate program. UNSW programs require the successful completion of a certain number of UOC and fees are also charged on a UOC basis.


The Weighted Average Mark (WAM) is calculated by multiplying the mark obtained for each relevant result by the units of credit of the particular course, adding up the products and dividing by the total number of units of credit for the relevant courses. A 'Term WAM' is calculated for relevant results in a semester, and a separate cumulative WAM is calculated for relevant results over the student's entire program.