Understanding the terminology

Some university terms may seem foreign at first, but trust us, you’ll be an expert before you know it! Here are some you’ll come across.

Need to know more? Have a look at the Monash Get Started Glossary Terms.

Area of study

This is a ‘field of knowledge’, eg politics or sociology. Arts has 30+ to choose from. Each area of study is made up of multiple units (subjects) at first, second and third year level.


These are units outside your major and minor studies; they can be from Arts or another Monash course. Some courses have Arts electives and/or Free-Electives. Consult your course handbook for information on what is available.

Full-time study

A full-time student is enrolled in 24 credit points each semester, which is usually made up of four six-point units. Full-time study is a mandatory requirement if you are an international student or receiving Centrelink payments.


This consists of eight (8) units from the same area of study in your Bachelor degree. You can complete more than one major with careful selection of units and instead of some elective units.

Extended major

This consists of more than eight (8) units from the same area of study, to get more in depth in the subjects, and will be instead of some elective units. You should get course advice if you are intending to complete an extended major to ensure you select the right units.

Extended majors are currently only offered in:

  • APAC accredited psychology (60 Credit Points)
  • European languages (72 Credit Points)


This consists of four (4) units from the same area of study.

Part-time study

A part-time student is enrolled in 12 credit points (usually one or two units) each semester. Australian students can move between full or part-time study at any time although Centrelink can be affected if domestic students underload. International students need faculty approval to underload and it could affect visa status (if applicable), entitlement to any scholarships or benefits.


This consists of 8-12 units and is a requirement of specialist degrees.

Units and unit codes

To enrol in units you need to enter the correct unit code into WES (*see note below). Trying to decipher unit codes may seem confusing but here are some tips:

  • undergraduate Arts units begin with ATS followed by four digits.
  • the first digit represents the year level, the following three make up the code that identifies the unit.
    For example, ATS1365 is a first year Arts unit, ATS2723 is a second year unit.

* WES is the Web Enrolment System. It’s where you enrol, update your details and access other student services.