Glossary of University Terms

This glossary of University terms is a helpful tool to assist you when you are unsure of the meaning of a specific word or phrase used by the University of Waikato.

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 or level 1) papers are more general while fourth year (400 level or level 4) papers are more advanced.


This describes the process where your eligibility to attend the University of Waikato is assessed.


People who have graduated from the University of Waikato are described as alumni.


A qualification can only be awarded after a student's knowledge has been measured in some way. This is called "assessment". Assessment methods include tests and exams, essays, reviews, laboratories, workshops and presentations. Paper outlines and handouts provide guidelines for the forms of assessment and will give you the dates on which your assignments are due along with the penalties for missing these dates.

Bachelors degree

The qualification awarded to a person who has completed a university undergraduate degree.


The University's official record of rules and regulations, staff, papers, dates. The University Calendar is published annually.


The grounds and buildings of the University are known as the campus.


A paper that must be studied at the same time as another (or others).

Conjoint degree

A conjoint degree (also known as a double degree) is a specialised programme that allows you to study for two undergraduate bachelors degrees at the same time, e.g. BA/LLB (Arts and Law)

Core paper

A paper that must be passed as part of a particular degree or diploma.

Corresponding papers

Papers which are either equivalent or share a considerable amount of common content of which only one paper can be credited towards a degree.

Credit points

Each paper has been given a point value. A full-time year of study equals 120 points. The total student learning hours required for a paper can be calculated at 10 times the point value of the paper, for example a 15 point paper would require 150 hours of study.

Cultural hour

Cultural hour is every Wednesday 1.00–2.00 pm, and is a time free of lectures and tutorials so clubs and societies can meet, and other University activities can be held.


A programme of study which meets the requirements set down by the University to complete a qualification.


Each faculty is divided into departments. For example, the Faculty of Science and Engineering includes the following departments; Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Earth Sciences, Engineering, Materials and Process Engineering, Physics and Electronic Engineering, and Psychology. Find out where each department is for the paper(s) you are taking so that you can locate your lecturer's office.


A qualification gained from the equivalent of one year's full time study at graduate level or two years at undergraduate level.


A general subject area, for example, English or Psychology.


EFTS stands for Equivalent Full-time Student. This relates directly to points –120 points equate to one EFTS. StudyLink uses this information.


Non-compulsory papers chosen by students. Elective papers contribute to the qualification, but not to the specialisation(s).


Examinations are held during the examinations weeks after lectures have finished in a semester. The exam timetable is available online in MyWaikato.

There is also an examination information brochure which includes information on; special examination arrangements, examination procedures, special consideration for impaired performance or missed examinations, and review of grades. This brochure can be picked up from Schools/Faculty offices and the Assessment office.

Formal examinations are held under strict conditions and are overseen by the Assessment Office. Take your student ID card to the exam. Before each exam begins the supervisors will explain how the exam will be run and at what stage you can leave the room.


Permission to enrol in a paper that overrides requirements such as co-requisites or pre-requisites.


If you have been prevented from meeting a deadline for an assignment by circumstances such as illness, accident or personal crisis, you may apply for an extension. To do this, check your paper outline or ask your lecturer. You may be required to provide proof to verify your circumstances.

Further examination

In some papers you may be able to sit another exam if you narrowly fail the final exam or are granted Special Consideration.


The rating or result awarded for work produced by a student for assessment. Letter grades are usually given, for example, B-.


A person who has been awarded a university degree.


A ceremony where graduands receive their degrees.

Group work

Many papers involve a component of group work as this helps develop skills which will assist you in your future career as well as during your time at university. At times, problems can develop in group work and these need to be resolved quickly either by discussion among group members or with your lecturer/tutor.

  1. Honours degrees are the equivalent of the first year of graduate study and require a higher level of academic scholarship e.g. BMS(Hons).
  2. A class of honours may be awarded for academic excellence in some degrees, e.g. First Class (First Division), Second Class (Second Division).
Interdisciplinary paper

A paper taught from the perspective of more than one discipline and involving academic staff from different departments.


The purpose of laboratories or labs is to provide practical experience for topics covered in lectures and tutorials. Laboratories also refer to the places in which these sessions are held.


Lectures are where you will do most of your learning and are delivered by an academic staff member, exposing you to information, ideas and theories. To find out when your lectures are being held go to the online timetable which can be accessed from

Lectures are normally 50 minutes long. Morning lectures start on the hour (up to and including 12 noon). In the afternoon lectures starts at 10 minutes past the hour from 1.10pm onwards.

Some lecturers provide outlines or summaries of what is presented in the lecture either on-line or in hard copy. These are either handed out in the lecture or can be downloaded from your School/Faculty website. These notes are complementary to your attendance at lectures.


The main subject of your degree studied to level 3 or 4.

Masters degree

A graduate degree which requires the prior completion of a Bachelors or Honours degree.


A subject of interest studied in some depth, but not as in-depth as a major.


Moodle is the University's online learning platform. Many papers have course resources and discussion forums in Moodle. You can access Moodle from the student homepage page which can be accessed from when you login with your student login.


MyWaikato is the University's student intranet portal which contains your personal details, enrolment details, examination results, personalised timetable and more.


Nexus is the weekly student magazine printed by the WSU. Get involved as a contributor by contacting Nexus at [email protected]

Office hours

If you wish to see a particular lecturer check on the times that he or she is available to students. Some will post times on their office door or state them in paper outlines. The department secretary can also provide you with this information.


A named set of lectures, tutorials, labs or field trips which gives credit towards a degree.

Paper codes

Each paper has a unique code. The codes are structured in the following way:

  • ACCNT101-24A (HAM).
  • ACCNT is the subject prefix; in this case Accounting, 101 is the level and unique number of the paper, 24A is the year - 2024 - and trimester - A - or teaching period, and lastly HAM is the location (Hamilton) where the paper is taught.
Paper outlines

You will receive a paper outline for each paper which provides detail about the content, reading and assessment requirements for that paper.  Online access is provided through Moodle for the courses you're enrolled in and the Catalogue of Papers.


Plagiarism is the direct copying or paraphrasing of somebody else's writing, ideas or other material in your assignments without using referencing to show that this information is not your original work. It is fine to include and use ideas and information from other sources, including the internet, but you must state who or what the sources are and you must use quotation marks if you are using the original author's exact words.

The paper outline for your course, or the lecturer, should tell you which referencing system to use. The Library's website provides you with style guides and examples on the different referencing systems used at the University. Plagiarism is misconduct and will be dealt with through the University Student Discipline Regulations and if established, penalties will be applied.


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.


Postgraduate study refers to study above undergraduate level.


A paper which must be satisfactorily completed before entry to another specified paper can be approved.


The papers you are enrolled in each year make up your programme of study.

Programme Coordinator

A staff member who has overall responsibility for organising and administering a paper.

Reading manuals

A reading manual contains photocopied readings the lecturer has selected to complement the lecture programme. Reading manuals can be purchased at PCL Waikato Print.

Restricted pass

You pass the paper ( just) but you cannot continue to a higher level paper in that subject.


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.

School of Study or Faculty

A group of departments responsible for teaching and research in related subjects.

Special consideration

If you are ill or have a personal crisis during exam time you can apply for special consideration. You must either see a doctor or counsellor at Student Health Services within 24-hours of your exam for your application to be considered.


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.


In some large classes students are divided into smaller groups called streams.Streams are often referred to by a letter, e.g. stream X or stream Y. Every lecture will be repeated for each stream. You only need to go to the lectures for your stream. You will be advised at your first lecture whether you need to sign up for a stream and also how to do this. It is helpful if you have your timetable with you so that you are able to choose the stream that suits you best.

Student Academic Complaints Policy

Students should seek to resolve academic issues with their tutor/lecturer in the first instance. However, if a serious issue arises and a satisfactory resolution cannot be reached you can get information and advice on how to make a complaint from the Student Support Services located in the Student Services Building +64 7 856 2889 ext 5199.

Student ID card

A swipe card issued to students to be used as a student ID card, for after-hours access and photocopying. You will receive your student ID card after you have signed your enrolment agreement. If you lose your card, you can go to the Information Desk on level 2 in the Student Centre and get a new card; please be aware there is a charge.

Student Support Services

An area of the University responsible for delivering a range of non-academic support to students e.g. Student Health, Counselling.

Study groups

Many students find working in a study group motivating, helping to develop a deeper understanding of a subject through the exchange of ideas. A guideline hand-out for forming and working in study groups is available from Student Learning.

SUB (Student Union Building)

The Student Union Building located beside the UniRec Centre.


An area of study e.g. Accounting, 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

A subject studied to level two which supports the major subject for your degree.


Tests are held during the semester and are overseen by your lecturer. Test papers will be marked and returned to you once your results are available.


For a number of classes you will be required to purchase textbooks to help you study. These can be purchased on campus at Campus Books located on the Village Green. The library may also hold a copy on desk loan.


Your timetable is your programme of lectures and tutorials. You can check your personalised timetable in MyWaikato and search the full timetable at


Similar to a school term, a trimester is a teaching period of approximately 12 weeks.
There are three trimesters per year and they are known as:

  • Trimester A, which starts in February and ends in June,
  • Trimester B, which starts in July and ends in November, and
  • Trimester C, which starts in November and ends in February.

Other teaching periods in the year include the Full year D teaching period, taught over A & B trimesters; and G & H - two short six week teaching periods before and after the Christmas break.


Tutorials are discussion-based classes and are in addition to your lectures and are facilitated by a tutor or your lecturer. Most tutorials start in the second week of each semester and provide the opportunity for you to raise questions about the lectures and assignments. In some papers attendance and participation in tutorials is part of the assessment process and will contribute to your final grade.


A student studying for their first degree.

University Entrance (UE)

The minimum entry criteria that you need to meet in order to have your admission to university approved.

University of Waikato College

University of Waikato College 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. University of Waikato College also provides academic support for all tertiary students.


The head of the University. At Waikato, the Vice-Chancellor is Professor Neil Quigley.

Village Green

The Village Green is the grassed area bordered byo the Shops, Student Union Building, Oranga and Oranga Lake.

Workshops, labs, field trips

Workshops, labs (laboratories) and/or field trips are an essential part of many papers. Attendance is compulsory and forms part of the assessment. The purpose of workshops and labs are to provide practical experience for many of the topics covered in lectures and tutorials. Labs also refer to the places in which this practical work takes place so you will hear terms such as computer lab, language lab or science lab.