University language explained

This page explains some of the university language and terms you might hear at AUT.

A bachelor’s degree (or undergraduate degree) is the highest and most common programme you can enter directly from secondary school. You need University Entrance (UE) to start a bachelor’s degree.

It normally requires at least three years of full-time study. The programme requires completion of a specified number of points, including specified numbers from particular sets of courses or at a particular level.

Compare AUT bachelor’s degrees

This is the geographical location where your AUT programme is taught, like AUT City Campus, North Campus or South Campus.

AUT campuses and locations

Certificates and diplomas can serve as a pathway into a bachelor’s degree. For example, the Diploma in Arts is a pathway into the Bachelor of Arts, and our Diploma in Engineering is a great alternative for students who missed out on our engineering degrees.

Many of our one-year diplomas are another way into AUT – you start your studies with the diploma and can the move into Year 2 of your chosen bachelor’s degree.

Pathway programmes at AUT

In large courses the classes each have a number. This class code identifies the class you have selected for your timetable.

This is the process through which you apply, and are approved, for entry to AUT and to study a university qualification.

An elective is a course of your choice you take simply for interest. It can be taken from almost any subject area at AUT. Elective courses count towards your qualification but not towards your major, minor or specialisation.

If you need help choosing elective courses, you can talk to your AUT school or department.

Enrolling in an elective course

Our courses are taught at levels that reflect the complexity of what you study, from level 4 to level 9. Courses in a bachelor’s degree for example are at levels 5, 6 and 7. You start with level 5 courses and work your way up to level 7. Postgraduate courses are level 8 and 9.

For example courses that start with 5 are normally first-year undergraduate courses, for example COMM501.

Because the programme you’re studying may require you to take a certain number of courses at a specific level, it’s important to know the level of the course you’re enrolling in.

In a conjoint programme of study, you can study two bachelor’s 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 courses can count towards both degrees. It’s usually possible to complete two three-year degrees in four to five years.

Only some bachelor’s degrees can be studied as conjoint programmes. If your chosen combination is not available, you may be able to study double degrees but these are usually longer than conjoints. Law in particular is a good option for double degrees.

To study double degrees, you need to apply and enrol separately in each of the two bachelor’s degrees. There may be some courses that can be cross-credited from one degree to the other, but this varies depending on degree combinations. If you’re considering a double degree, you should contact AUT to discuss your options.

Want more options in less time?

Some of AUT’s bachelor’s degrees offer extra flexibility so your degree can be as unique as you are – you can include subjects from across AUT; all in one three-year degree. Our flexi degrees take less time than conjoints or double degrees, and you can choose from even more subjects to include in your studies.


The programmes at AUT are grouped under faculties, each led by a dean. AUT has five faculties.

AUT faculties and schools

The descriptor provides detailed information about the specific course you're interested in. This includes an overview of the course content, learning objectives, assessment methods, prerequisites, its points value and other essential details.

Large courses can have several timetable options for lectures or tutorials/labs where the same material is covered each week, but with a choice of when you want to attend. A class is the timetable option you select and you will attend classes according to that timetable.

A grade is your overall mark for the course. This reflects your performance across all the assessments and activities in this course.

Enrolment is the process of selecting courses and classes for the programme you’re studying at AUT.

Enrolling in course and classes

If you study at AUT full-time, you normally complete 120 points of courses per year (across two semesters), or 60 points in each semester. Courses are normally 15 points each - so as a full-time student, you normally take four 15-point courses per semester and eight 15-point courses a year.

Each AUT programme is made up of courses. A course is the smallest unit of work you can enrol in, identified by a unique number, and delivered through lectures, tutorials, seminars, practical requirements etc.

Most courses are worth 15 points  but some are worth more. For a bachelor’s degree you need a total of 360 points to complete the programme. If you are studying full-time, you normally enrol in 60 points per semester, which is usually four courses.

Each course will have an identifier consisting of four letters and three numbers, for example COMM501.

Each course has an identifier consisting of four letters identifying the subject and field, and three numbers, the first of which identifies the level, for example COMM501.

EFTS stands for Equivalent Full-time Student. StudyLink uses this information. It relates directly to your study workload; the number of points you’re completing in a year. 120 points are one EFTS.

If the course you want to enrol in has a corequisite, this means you need to take it together with another course, unless you have already successfully completed that course.

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

If you're choosing to take a minor, you will study this in addition to your chosen major.

If the course you want to enrol in has a prerequisite, this means you need to have successfully completed one or more other courses before you can take this course. Prerequisite courses are often at a lower level of study to prepare you for studying more complex concepts.

The programme you’re studying at AUT consists of a prescribed set of one or more courses, leading to a qualification.

When you apply to study at AUT, your application is assessed to ensure you have met the entry criteria for the programme(s) you’re applying for.

If your application is successful, we will formally offer you a place in the programme.

Once you have successfully completed the programme you’re studying at AUT, you’ll be awarded your qualification; a degree, diploma or certificate.

Every course you study at AUT has a point value associated with it, which indicates its contribution to a qualification.

If you study full-time, you would typically complete 120 points a year. A three-year bachelor’s degree is worth 360 points. Most courses are worth 15 points each.

This is the highest level of study at university. You generally need to have completed a bachelor’s degree in a related field before you can start postgraduate study.

Courses at postgraduate level are usually at level 8 or higher, whereas courses in a bachelor's degree are normally at level 5, 6 or 7.

Some postgraduate programmes are made up of courses you need to complete, while others include the opportunity to complete research in an area of your interest. The Master of Philosophy and Doctor of Philosophy are research-only degrees – ideal for students who want to solely focus on their research project and not complete any courses.

A semester is the teaching period when you’re studying the courses you’re enrolled in. A semester usually covers 15 weeks.

AUT’s academic year has two semesters – Semester 1 normally starts late February and Semester 2 in mid-July. Most AUT courses are semester based.

AUT semester dates

Generally, this is the first level of study a school leaver will do at university. A bachelor’s degree is the most common form of undergraduate study.

Many AUT degrees include work integrated learning, a supervised work placement or a project for an organisation of the student’s choice. This is your chance to complete workplace experience in an industry organisation, apply what you've learnt in the classroom and make valuable industry connections.

Employers value the fresh ideas and latest thinking our students bring to the organisation, and for many of our students the workplace experience also leads to a permanent role in their host organisation.

Workplace experience as part of AUT programmes

With some qualifications you can choose to do two majors and specialise in two different subjects.

The teaching period is the specific timeframe in which a course is taught and assessed. This is normally a semester but some programmes use trimesters, terms or Summer School.

A major is the main subject area you want to specialise in. It’s a substantial component of the programme you’re studying.

For most undergraduate degrees the major is 120 points of courses related to your chosen subject (one third of your degree) but it's important to check the requirements for your specific programme.

Information for new students

New to AUT? Make sure you get the best start to your AUT journey and use our resources to get set up for studying at AUT and all the support available to you.


Enrolling in courses and classes

Once you've accepted your offer of place at AUT, you're ‘admitted’ into your chosen qualification at AUT. The next step is enrolment in your courses – this is where you select the courses needed for the programme you’re studying.