Glossary - AUT speak explained

Degrees, conjoints, majors, minors… tertiary talk can feel like a foreign language. This glossary explains commonly used AUT terms.

Bachelor’s degree

A bachelor’s degree (or undergraduate degree) is the highest programme of study you can enter straight from secondary school. Most bachelor’s degrees take three years’ of full-time study; some can take four to five years.

View bachelor's degrees and other undergraduate programmes at AUT


A corequisite is a specified paper you must take with another paper, unless you have already successfully completed it. For example, to enrol in the paper Te Kākano I, you need to study the paper Wānanga Reo I at the same time.

Conjoint programmes

A conjoint programme of study enables you to study two degrees at the same time and complete both in a shorter time than it would take to complete them separately. This is because a number of papers can count towards both degrees. It is usually possible to complete two three-year degrees in four to five years. You need to maintain a B grade average across all papers each year and do papers from each degree every year.

See which conjoint programmes you can study at AUT

Double degrees

Double degrees consist of two individually approved qualifications you can study at the same time or one after the other. The difference between double degrees and conjoint programmes is that in the double degrees you apply for and enrol separately in each of the two degrees. If you’re considering doing this, please seek course advice to discuss your plans. You may be able to cross-credit relevant papers from one degree to the other, although the number of cross-credits will vary depending on the degree combinations. There are some restrictions. For example, the clinical degrees in health can’t be studied as double degrees.

Read more about double degrees

Double major

A double major means studying two separately approved majors within a degree (only available in some programmes). For example, you can study the Bachelor of Business and major in both accounting and management.


An elective is a non-compulsory paper you can choose as part of your qualification to broaden your learning. Not all programmes have elective papers. Depending on your qualification, you may be able to choose electives from either within your qualification or from another AUT bachelor’s degree.


Papers in a bachelor’s degree are levels 5, 6 and 7. You start with level 5 papers and work your way up to level 7. Postgraduate papers are level 8 and 9.


Your major is the subject area you specialise in. It normally makes up at least one third of your degree (120 points) and requires completing certain compulsory papers and other requirements. For some programmes, a major leads to a specific career pathway, such as the Nursing major in the Bachelor of Health Science. In other programmes, choosing a major is optional and you can also study the degree without a major (often called standard pathway). Some people also study a double major.


A minor is also a subject area you can specialise in, but it is smaller than a major. A minor consists of at least 60 points in a single subject area (a major consists of 120 points).


Each programme is made up of papers. Most papers are worth 15 points and for a bachelor’s degree you need a total of 360 points to complete the programme. If you're studying full-time, you normally enrol in 60 points per semester (120 points per year).


Certificates and diplomas – pre-degree programmes – can be a pathway into one or more bachelor’s degrees. For example, the Certificate in Hospitality and Tourism is a pathway into all hospitality and tourism degrees.


A prerequisite is a specified paper you must pass before you can enrol in next level papers. For example, in the Bachelor of Education ([Specialty] Teaching) you need to complete the paper ECE Professional Inquiry and Practice II before you can enrol in ECE Professional Inquiry and Practice III.


A semester covers a period of 15 weeks. AUT’s academic year has two semesters – Semester 1 usually starts late February and Semester 2 mid-July.

View key dates at AUT

Workplace experience

Workplace experience is a key part of many AUT bachelor’s degrees – giving you a chance to apply your learning to real work situations. This gives you experience in a role that draws on the skills you have been developing through your studies. The length of the workplace experience varies between degrees. You may spend time in a workplace or an organisation related to your major or work on a project for a client.

Last updated: 08-Jan-2015 10.43am

The information on this page was correct at time of publication. For a comprehensive overview of AUT qualifications, please refer to the Academic Calendar.