Handbook glossary

Area of study
A collective term for a group of units used to create sequential study in a discipline within a course. This commonly includes majors, minors and specialisations. You can use the Handbook’s advanced search to find information on the areas of study offered at Monash.
Comprehensive course 
A course that allows you to select from a wide range of subjects within a broad field of study. Comprehensive courses are available in five subject areas: arts, business, commerce, information technology, and science. For example, the Bachelor of Science is a comprehensive course that allows you to include units (related or unrelated to your degree) from another faculty.

See also specialist course.
Core unit
Units you must complete as part of your course. Core units usually provide a basic or broad understanding of the subject matter, with subsequent units allowing you to branch off into more specialist fields and areas that particularly appeal to you. Depending on their purpose, core units may also be referred to as gateway, cornerstone, or capstone units.

To find out more, see the Handbook or a course adviser from your managing faculty.
Corequisite
A unit or requirement you have to complete or meet at the same time as you’re studying your chosen unit. For example, a final-year engineering undergraduate must enrol in ENG0001 for Continuous Professional Development (CPD). This is an example of a compulsory requirement rather than a unit, so it’s worth 0 credit points but must be completed at the specified time (other corequisites may be units and will have credit points attached).
Course and award
A specified list of units required for a specific qualification. The qualification is a type of award – so courses leading to a qualification are called award courses. The name of a course doesn’t necessarily match the award (or qualification) name. For example, your course might be a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours), but your award name, as appearing on your certificate (testamur), could be Bachelor of Chemical Engineering (Honours).
Course progression map
A document to help you visualise the outline of your entire course, showing the units that need to be completed for you to get your qualification. The map highlights any required sequences of units (including any prerequisites and corequisites) that must be completed in a particular order. Course progression maps are outlines only, and course information is subject to change. You can find the course maps on the Handbook course pages or you can request one from your managing faculty.
Course requirements
Compulsory activities may include specific units of study, industry-based experience, safety demonstrations, professional development activities, and more. To graduate, you need to complete these activities and satisfy all course requirements outlined in the Handbook for the year you started. You’ll find the course requirements on the course and areas of study pages in the Handbook.
Course structure
The key features and study components of a course (e.g. a course may consist of core and elective units, research projects and placements).
Credit points
The number of credit points a unit is worth. A typical full-time course load per semester is 24 credit points. Most units are worth 6 credit points each, but some require a higher workload, so may be worth 12, 18, or 24 credit points. You don’t receive any credit points for a failed unit.
Extended major
A sequence of 72 credit points (with the exception of Psychology, which is 60 credit points) studied over three years. Extended majors are available in undergraduate comprehensive courses or wherever you have enough free electives.

To find courses with extended majors, go to the Handbook’s advanced search filter, then select Areas of study and filter by Type > Extended major.
Free elective
A free space on your enrolment that allows you to pick any unit at Monash (if you meet the entry requirements). To take an elective, you need to satisfy any specified prerequisites, corequisites or prohibitions. Some units aren't available to all students. If you have enough free electives, you may be able to complete a minor (24 credit points) or a major (48 credit points).The Handbook lists limitations on majors and minors, including the maximum number of level one units you can complete.
Full-time and part-time study
Full-time study usually equates to 24 credit points in both the first and second semester (or 48 points per academic year). Full-time students must enrol in at least 36 points of units in any academic year, although international students are normally required to enrol in 24 points in each semester (in accordance with their visa obligations).

If you’re taking summer semester units, you shouldn’t enrol for more than 18 points for the period.

Most courses at Monash University can be completed by either full-time or part-time study, or a combination of both. You’re encouraged to adjust, where permitted, the number of units you take in any semester according to your individual needs and circumstances. Some courses, however, are full-time or part-time only. In these cases, the course entry in the Handbook states F/T only, or full-time only or P/T only or part-time only.
HDR program
A postgraduate degree involving a unique research project.
Hurdles
Hurdles are compulsory unit requirements that must be met in order to achieve a pass mark for the unit. If your unit has hurdle requirements, they will be specified in the Handbook.

There are two types of hurdles: competency hurdles and threshold hurdles.

A competency hurdle is a task (which may or may not have any credits points) that students need to satisfactorily complete to demonstrate a professional accreditation competency.

A threshold hurdle is a threshold mark that applies to an assessment task (or collection of tasks) that is worth 20 per cent or more of the final unit result. Normally, you need to get at least 45 per cent for the hurdle task in order to pass (the threshold mark for the hurdle is specified in the Handbook).

If you don’t meet a hurdle requirement, and would otherwise have achieved a mark of 45 or above in the unit, you’ll receive an NH (hurdle fail). If you fail the hurdle and the unit, you’ll receive an N grade and your mark.
Major
Study in a single discipline to the value of 48 credit points, with no more than 12 credit points at level 1 and no less than 18 points at level 3.

See also extended major.
Minor
Study in a single discipline to the value of 24 credit points, with no more than 12 credit points at level 1.
Mode
See study mode.
Non-award pathway
A pathway that's used for entry into a specific Monash University unit but that doesn't lead to an award.
Part-time study
See full-time and part-time study.
Prerequisite
A unit or other requirement you must successfully complete before you can study your chosen unit.
Prohibition
A unit or other requirement which, if you’ve already completed it, means you won’t be allowed to study your chosen unit.
Semester
The main teaching periods of the academic year. For most courses, the academic year is made up of two semesters, each consisting of a 12-week teaching period. Semesters one and two run from February to late May and mid-July to mid-October respectively (see principal dates). Each semester has a mid-semester break and an end-of-semester break to prepare for exams. Exams and breaks are additional to the 12-week teaching period (see semester dates summary).

Some courses have non-standard teaching periods, such as terms, trimesters and summer semesters (see census dates).
Specialisation
A specific set of units (either a predetermined grouping or a wider selection from which you can make choices) that caters to a particular stream of learning. For example, you can choose to take Nursing and Midwifery, which is a specific field of study within the Bachelor of Nursing course.
Specialist course
Courses where you study in your particular area of interest from the beginning because you have a specific career goal or field of study in mind.

Specialist courses ensure you have the right combination of skills needed for your chosen profession. Some prepare you to practise in a regulated profession such as law, physiotherapy, architecture, or engineering. Others, like fine art, biomedical science, and pharmaceutical science, develop expertise relevant to a whole field of study that can lead to a range of professional positions. All specialist courses lead to an honours degree.
Study mode
Refers to the place where study occurs. Units at Monash are taught:
  • on-campus
  • off-campus
  • online (generally with no face-to-face interaction with lecturers)
  • through a combination of these modes (multi-modal).
Unit
A subject that runs for one semester. Units are the building blocks of a course. Most undergraduate courses are made up of eight units per year (four per semester) and are generally worth 6 credit points each. Each 6-credit-point unit requires an average workload (class attendance, assigned work, and private study) of 12 hours per week for 12 weeks. You don’t receive any credit points for a failed unit.
Vertical double
An undergraduate and masters degree that is done in four years. With this type of degree, you take masters level units as your electives in the third year. You then complete the remainder of the masters course in the fourth year.

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