This page provides a glossary of the key words and phrases used by the University of Waikato. Often the terms used by organisations such as the University of Waikato are highly specialised, or are otherwise uncommon in everyday language usage. This glossary is a helpful tool to assist you when you are unsure of the meaning of a specific word or phrase used by the University.

100, 200, 300, 400 Levels
These refer to the different levels at which papers are taught and are usually associated with years of study. First year (100 level) papers are more general while fourth year (400 level) papers are more advanced.
Bachelors Degree
This is a first degree. It is sometimes also called an undergraduate degree. It takes a minimum of three or four years of study to complete.
The University’s official record of rules and regulations, staff, papers, dates, etc. It is available online at
The grounds and buildings of the University are known as the campus.
Conjoint Degree
This is a special programme in which you study for two Bachelors degrees at the same time, e.g. BA/LLB (Arts and Law). Some universities call this a double degree.
An academic unit within a School of Studies/Faculty that is responsible for teaching a particular subject e.g. Chemistry Department.
EFTS (Equivalent Full-time Student)
This relates directly to points –120 points equate to one EFTS. StudyLink uses this information.
These are papers from outside your major which you choose. An elective can be from almost any subject taught within the University.
Faculties/Schools of Studies
The Faculties/Schools of Studies represent a broad division of learning within the University. Each consists of a number of different departments.
A person who has been awarded a university degree.
You will be required to attend two to four hours of lectures each week for each of your papers. There may be as many as 300 students in a lecture. The lecturer stands at the front of the lecture theatre and speaks, writes on the board and shows overheads and videos while you listen and note down the most significant information. These notes are important as they form the starting point from which you will do further research.
This is the main subject in your degree. A second major is when you study two subjects in depth. To major in a subject, you study it to a higher level, i.e. 300 or 400 Level.
This is similar to a topic at secondary school. To complete each paper, you will be required to participate in a range of lectures, tutorials and maybe some practical work. Each paper is assessed and, on passing, you will gain points towards a degree.
Degree requirements are expressed in terms of points (e.g. a three-year degree generally requires 360 points). Points bear a direct relationship to workload; one point equates to approximately 10 hours’ total work; so a student might expect to spend about 150 hours in total during a semester on a 15-point paper.
This refers to study above undergraduate level.
A prerequisite is a requirement to have studied a subject to a certain standard before you can enrol in that particular paper, e.g. 14 credits at NCEA Level 3. At university, different papers may have a prerequisite requirement to have passed another paper, e.g. you may have to complete a specific first-year paper before you can enrol in a particular second-year paper.
Programme of Study
The papers that you are enrolled in each year make up your programme of study for that year. Most full-time first-year programmes will include eight papers.
A restriction against a paper means you cannot do that paper if you have done a paper with similar content, e.g. JAPA102 is restricted against JAPA232.
Similar to a school term, a semester is a teaching period of approximately 12 weeks. There are two semesters per year and they are known as Semester A, which starts in February and ends in June, and Semester B, which starts in July and ends in November. Most of Waikato papers are semester papers but there are some full-year and Summer School papers.
A specialisation is a study theme within a degree or major that enables you to focus on a particular area of interest, e.g. you can do a Bachelor of Science majoring in Computer Science and with a specialisation in Artificial Intelligence.
An area of study, e.g. Accounting, Biological Sciences, History.
Summer School
Summer School papers can be used to catch up on failed papers, fit in with other commitments, reduce workload in other semesters and as a “kick-start” to some graduate programmes.
Supporting Subject
This is a subject that is studied in some depth but not in as much depth as the major subject.
Your timetable is your programme of lectures and tutorials. You can check your timetable at
In addition to attending lectures, you will attend tutorials or “tutes” as they are more commonly known. There will be fewer people in your tutorial than at your lecture, usually 20-25 students. The tutorial is led by a tutor who may be a postgraduate student or a member of the academic staff (your tutor is not usually your lecturer). In tutorials, you talk about issues that have arisen out of the lectures and the readings you have been doing. Sometimes there are exercises or small tests to complete. As well as leading the tutorial group, the tutor is responsible for marking your essays and assignments.
A person who is studying at university for a first degree.
The head of the University. At Waikato, the Vice-Chancellor is Professor Neil Quigley.
Waikato Pathways College
Waikato Pathways College (WPC) provides pathways to degree study which include academic, specific purpose and English Language programmes. Short courses and seminars are offered as part of our continuing education programme. WPC also provides academic support for all tertiary students.

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