Uni Speak

Some key terms explained

Starting your university journey can sometimes feel overwhelming. This directory defines some useful concepts to help you along the way.

Assumed knowledge relates to things you should have studied before starting your degree. Classes will be taught on the assumption that you have a certain level of knowledge when you begin. Recommended studies are directly related to a particular degree and it’s strongly suggested that you have undertaken the listed subjects as the course will be taught on the basis that you understand these subjects.

The subjects listed under Assumed knowledge and Recommended studies are HSC courses. Equivalent TAFE, interstate, registered training provider or international qualifications are also accepted.

Bridging and refresher courses

If you’re looking to get a head start on your degree or refresh your knowledge on key subject areas, we strongly recommend completing a University of Newcastle Prep bridging and refresher course prior to starting your degree. The courses are free and are available both online and on campus.

Learn more about Newcastle Prep


An organisational unit with responsibility for academic programs, often with a number of sub-units called Schools. All degrees will be owned by a particular College of the University.

Combined degrees

A combined degree means you study two degrees at once. You will then graduate with two qualifications in less time.

Financial assistance

Whatever your background and financial status, we have support systems available to help with the costs involved in studying, including scholarships and emergency loans. You also might be eligible for Australian Government assistance with HECS-HELP loans and income support.

Learn more about financial assistance

Learning formats

  • Blended Learning: enables you to master course content independently through a variety of online learning subjects and then attend active workshops as a lecture group to engage with materials on a deeper level and actively work with course materials.
  • Laboratories: gives you a chance to practise and experiment with what you are learning.
  • Lectures: provide the theory component of your area of study in an interactive and engaged environment.
  • Tutorials: small classes run by tutors where students have the opportunity to explore and ask questions.
  • Workshops: active classes that give you a chance to practise what you are studying in an engaged environment.
  • Captured Lectures (through UONCapture): provide slides and audio recordings of your lectures to allow you to listen back and review lecture materials in your own time.

Majors and minors

Some degrees allow you to major or specialise in a particular group of subjects. This focuses your area of study and ensures you are suitably qualified for jobs in your preferred field. Some degrees also give you the opportunity to complete a double major which is two specialty areas. A minor is a specialised area of study without the depth of a major.


You can apply to start selected degrees in second semester commencing in July. Mid-year applications are submitted through UAC.


You can nominate five preferences in your UAC application. List your preferences in order of the course you’d like to study most, rather than the Selection Rank. Your dream degree should always be at the top of your preference list.


  • Enabling Pathway Programs (Open Foundation and Yapug): a pathway to undergraduate study requiring between 40 and 80 units to be completed.
  • Undergraduate Certificates: a credit based-pathway program requiring 40 units to be completed.
  • Diploma: a program of study requiring 80 units to be completed.
  • Associate degree: a program of study requiring 160 units to be completed.
  • Bachelor degree: the university level qualification for entry into many professions.
  • Honours: some degrees allow you to get an additional qualification that helps boost your chances of employment. Embedded honours is included as part of your degree and end-on honours is a separate additional year of study that you elect to complete.
  • Postgraduate degree: any qualification being at the level of Graduate Certificate or above.
  • Higher Degree by Research (HDR): is a postgraduate university degree involving a unique supervised research project. These degrees are either a Masters of Philosophy or a Doctoral degree (either Professional Doctorate or a PhD).

Selection rank

This score was the lowest Selection Rank of any school leaver to receive an offer in Semester 1, 2021 based on ATAR plus adjustment points. You may meet the score listed using your ATAR alone, or your Selection Rank (your ATAR plus adjustment points).

Please note, some degrees also have additional entry requirements or criteria (such as an audition) so check for these requirements in the degree listing for your chosen program. If criteria in addition to ATAR is considered, the minimum ATAR will be listed as ‘A+C’ or ATAR + Criteria, and median ATAR will be listed as ‘N/A’. If ATAR is not considered, the minimum and median ATAR will be listed as ‘N/A’.


This is the academic teaching period, which is approximately 13 weeks in duration. There are two semesters in a year.

Student support

We have a range of services available to help you, such as:

  • Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS): one-hour weekly review sessions.
  • Learning Support: for tips, workshops and resources from our Learning Advisers.
  • Careers and Student Development: for access to valuable work experience opportunities and employment help.

Learn more about support

Universities Admissions Centre (UAC)

UAC is the central office that receives and processes applications for admission to most undergraduate degrees, advanced diplomas and diploma courses at participating tertiary institutions.

Visit UAC

Work Integrated Learning (WIL)

Work experiences built into most degrees where you can apply your classroom theory to a real-world setting.

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.