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 of study students can enter directly from secondary school. Students need University Entrance to start a bachelor’s degree.

For most AUT students a bachelor’s degree is the first university qualification they complete.

Most bachelor’s degrees take three years’ of full-time study; some can take four to five years.

This is the location where AUT qualifications are taught, eg AUT City Campus, North Campus or South Campus.

Certificates and diplomas can serve as a pathway into a bachelor’s degree. For example, the Certificate in Hospitality and Tourism is a pathway into all hospitality and tourism degrees, and our Diploma in Paramedic Science is a great alternative for students who missed out on the popular Bachelor of Health Science in Paramedicine.

A conjoint programme of study enables a student 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’s usually possible to complete two three-year degrees in four to five years.

Students need to maintain a B grade average across all papers each year and do papers from each degree every year. AUT offers a number of conjoint programmes across different disciplines.

To study double degrees, students need to apply and enrol separately in each of the two degrees. There may be some papers that can be cross-credited from one degree to the other, but this varies depending on degree combinations.

If a student is considering a double degree, we highly  recommend they contact AUT to discuss it further.

An elective is a non-compulsory paper students may be able to choose as part of their programme to broaden their learning.

A hierarchy of learning complexity from Level 1 to Level 10 (doctorate level), as defined in the New Zealand Qualifications Framework.

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

A major is the subject area a student specialises in. For most bachelor’s degrees, students don’t have to know exactly what major they would like to specialise in when they start at AUT. For example, in AUT’s Bachelor of Sport and Recreation, students get a taste of all the different majors in their first year, and in their second year they start to specialise in their chosen major(s).

A major normally makes up at least one third of a degree (120 points) and requires completing certain compulsory papers and other requirements.

In many degrees, students can choose to study two majors and develop skills in two separate disciplines, as long as their timetable allows this. For some programmes choosing a major is optional and students can also study the degree without a major.

A minor is also a subject area a student can specialise in, but it’s smaller than a major. In many degrees, students can choose to include a minor as part of their degree, as long as their timetable allows this.

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 are studying full-time, you normally enrol in 60 points per semester (120 points per year).

PhD is short for Doctor of Philosophy. A PhD is a globally recognised postgraduate degree awarded to candidates who have submitted a thesis or dissertation, based on extensive and original research in their chosen field.

A PhD is usually the highest qualification awarded at university.

Every paper (course) has a point value associated with it, which indicates its contribution to a qualification. A typical undergraduate bachelor’s degree is worth 360 points. Most papers are worth 15 points each.

This is the highest level of study at AUT. To enrol in a postgraduate programme students generally need to have completed a bachelor’s degree in a related field.

Some postgraduate programmes are made up of papers (courses) students need to complete, while others include the opportunity to complete research in an area of 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 papers.

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

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.

For many of our bachelor’s degrees, the final part is a supervised work placement or a project for an organisation of the student’s choice. It’s a great chance for students to apply what they’ve learnt in the classroom and develop their skills.

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.