New Students JCU Enrolment Terminology

JCU Enrolment Terminology

A full glossary of terms is available, but the following terminology and useful information is most relevant to your enrolment process.


Useful information


Advanced standing (credit for previous studies)

If you have undertaken previous studies (or have relevant work experience) you may be able to apply for advanced standing towards your JCU degree. To apply, you will need to complete the application form.

As the outcome of the application will affect your subject choices, we recommend that you submit the application with your Offer Acceptance form or at least two weeks before the start of teaching. Please remember to include certified copies of your academic transcript.

Attendance Mode

Subjects can be delivered in different ways. For many subjects, the mode of delivery is through regular face to face teaching each week. However, subjects may also be delivered through online delivery or through block mode study. You will need to consider the attendance mode when you are choosing subjects.

The following table provides further detail of the different study modes or modes of delivery for subjects.

Study mode



Subjects offered via internal mode require regular attendance at classes over most weeks of a study period and are usually held on campus. Internal mode subjects offered during Semester 1 (Study Period 1) or Semester 2 (Study Period 2) are generally of 13 weeks duration.

Block mode

Subjects offered via block mode require attendance at classes conducted via block teaching sessions and may be held on or off campus. For example: classes may be held from 9.00am - 5.00pm Saturday and Sunday for three consecutive weekends, or may be held three nights per week for, say, four weeks.

Limited Attendance

Subjects offered via limited attendance mode are offered via flexible delivery and require some on-campus attendance for classes. Flexible delivery may incorporate the delivery of teaching material wholly or in part via the Internet, print material or CD Rom. Some practicum subjects are also designated as limited attendance subjects.


Subjects offered via external mode are offered via flexible delivery and require no on-campus attendance for classes. Flexible delivery may incorporate the delivery of teaching material wholly or in part via the Internet, print material or CD Rom.


Subjects offered via placement mode require attendance at an external organisation for most of the duration of the subject for work experience/practicum/ clinical placement under the professional supervision of that organisation. There is usually no on-campus attendance.

Census dates

The census date of each subject is a very important date. The census date is the date that your enrolment in a subject must be finalized.

You will find the census dates for each study period in the Important Dates listing, Study Periods, Payment Due Dates and Census Dates table, or specifically for the subject offering you choose through Subject Search.  The census dates for your enrolled subjects are listed in your Fee Statement.

If you are eligible to defer payment through HECS-HELP or FEE-HELP, you must submit the appropriate Commonwealth assistance form by the census date to defer all or part of your payment. Failure to make arrangements to defer payment by a subject’s census date will result in cancellation of your enrolment in the subject. Government legislation specifies that you cannot enrol in a subject as a Commonwealth supported student after the census date for the subject.

Subjects with a census date prior to 1 July fall within Teaching Period 1 and subjects with a census date on, or after 1 July fall within Teaching Period 2.

Credit points

Every course requires you to successfully complete a specified number of credit points – for example, you will need to complete 72 credit points for a three-year degree and 96 credit points for a four-year degree.

All subjects have a credit value. Most subjects at JCU have a 3 credit point value. The standard full-time load for one year is 24 credit points. Therefore, most full-time students will take eight subjects each year (3 x 8 = 24 credit points) – four subjects in Study Period 1 and four subjects in Study Period 2.


Parts of the course structure that can be seen on a study plan. Components may be individual subjects, regardless of whether those subjects are core or optional, or they may be sequences of subjects i.e. Majors or Minors.


A subject you must complete in order to meet the prescribed requirements of a course or major. You will find core subjects already listed on your study plan.


An area of study that interests you and which you elect to pursue in some depth e.g. Ecology or Marketing. A major is a component of some courses. Refer to Choosing Majors for more information.


Similar to a Major, a Minor is an area of study that you elect to pursue in some depth but a Minor has a lesser number of credit points than a Major. Only a few courses include Minors.


A subject that is selected from a range of pre-defined choices e.g. any fourth year LA subject, any undergraduate subject, any undergraduate Science subject, 6 credit points from the following list of subjects PX2020, PX2036, PX2040. It is handy to understand the formatting of subject codes when choosing subjects from some option lines.


Students are not generally permitted to undertake more than 12 credit points each teaching period. If for some reason you need to study more than 12 credit points in a teaching period, you will need to gain approval from an Academic Advisor or Faculty Registrar to do so. This is NOT recommended in your first year of study.

Payment Due date

The Payment Due Date for a subject is the date on which payment of student contributions and tuition fees must be paid in full to ensure continued enrolment in your subjects.  The Payment Due Date for each subject within a study period is listed on the Fee Statement/Tax Invoice and listed under our important dates on Current Students.

Requisite subjects


Some subjects, especially at higher year levels, require background knowledge in a specific area and as a result students may have to complete pre-requisite subject/s first. If you have undertaken equivalent study or work experience elsewhere, you can apply for a ‘requisite waiver’ through eStudent. Information about a subject’s pre-requisites can be found using Subject Search.

If it is necessary for you to undertake a pre-requisite subject, and you either fail or withdraw from this subject, you will subsequently be withdrawn from the second subject (ie, the one that required the pre-requisite). You will need to check your enrolment details and may wish to add an alternative subject to your study plan in eStudent.


If there is a significant overlap in content for two or more subjects, they may be defined as anti-requisites for each other. You will not be able to enrol in any subject that is an anti-requisite for one of your existing subjects. Information about a subject’s anti-requisites can be found using Subject Search.


Two or more subjects that must be undertaken in the same study period are defined as co-requisites. You must enrol in co-requisite subjects at the same time; you cannot enrol in one without the other. Information about a subject’s co-requisite(s) can be found using the subject search facility.

Study Period

All James Cook University subject offerings are assigned to a study period. Each study period has a designated:

  • start date

  • end date

  • payment due date

  • census date

  • last date for addition or substitution of subjects without prior approval of subject coordinator

  • last date for withdrawal without academic penalty, and

  • date for release of subject results.

The two main study periods are Study Periods 1 and 2.

Study Plan

To successfully complete your course you will be required to complete a set combination of components. This may include a Major (or two) or a Minor or it can just be a list of subjects. Your subjects may be mandatory core subjects or you could have some level of choice through options and electives. When enrolling, you can only choose subjects that are on your study plan, that is, subjects that are approved to meet the requirements of your course.

Your study plan lists the subjects you have completed, those for which you have received Advance Standing (credit for previous study), those you are currently enrolled in, and those you still need to complete in order to graduate in your course of study.

Study Plan Component

Parts of the course structure that can be seen on a study plan. Components may be individual subjects, regardless of whether those subjects are core or optional, or they may be sequences of subjects i.e. Majors or Minors.

Subject codes

All JCU subject codes consist of eight characters. To demonstrate what the letters and numbers mean, we have used the example of NS1012:03 – Nursing Inquiry 1 – Ways of Knowing

NS Subject in the discipline of Nursing Science

1 Year level of the subject

012 This, together with the year level, is the subject number

03 Number of credit points the subject is worth

It is handy to know the format of the subject code for wildcarding searches in eStudent. For example you may want to search for a list of first year nursing subjects. You can wildcard this by typing NS1%.

Subject offering

When you choose your subjects for enrolment you also have to decide ‘when’, ‘where’ and ‘how’ you wish to study the subject e.g. Study Period 1, Townsville campus, internal study mode. This information defines each offering of a subject. You will find more information on the various offerings for each subject in Subject Search.

Subject quotas

In order to ensure that subject offerings are adequately resourced, some subjects have a maximum number of students that can be enrolled at one time. Maximum enrolment numbers are also known as quotas. If you are unable to enrol in one of your chosen subjects because the quota has been reached, you should contact your Faculty Office to talk about alternatives.

Teaching Period

As previously mentioned, the academic year is divided into two teaching periods:

  • Teaching Period 1 is the first six months of the year, and

  • Teaching Period 2 is the second six months of the year.

Each teaching period contains a number of different study periods to cater for the delivery of subjects at different times and in different modes.

Useful information

How the academic year is structured – teaching periods and study periods

When you choose your subjects you will need to decide the study period in which you will enrol in each subject. JCU’s academic year is structured around two teaching periods – Teaching Period 1 is the first six months of the year, and Teaching Period 2 is the second six months of the year.

Within each of these teaching periods is one main study period – Study Period 1 and Study Period 2. Most of the subjects that you study will be offered in one of these two study periods. Both of these study periods have 13 weeks of teaching, followed by an examination period. JCU also has a number of other, shorter study periods in which some subjects are offered. These study periods are often used for subjects involving field trips.

Study Periods 1, 3, 4, 5 and 6 are all classified as Teaching Period 1 subjects and Study Periods 2, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 are all Teaching Period 2 subjects. This is important to know if you need to balance your study load over the two teaching periods, to meet Centrelink requirements.


As mentioned above the standard full-time load is 24 credit points in an academic year. If you wish to complete your course in the minimum time, this is the number of credit points you should enrol in each year.

However, for the purposes of Centrelink entitlements, you are considered to be a full-time student when you are enrolled in at least 18 credit points of study in an academic year, or 9 credit points each teaching period. If you complete less than 24 credit points each year, it will take you longer than the minimum time to complete your degree.

If you are an international student, a standard full-time study load for one teaching period is 12 credit points. It is a requirement of your student visa that your enrolment status is full-time. The only exception to this is in the final teaching period of study.


You are considered a part-time student when you are:

enrolled in less than 9 credit points in a teaching period, or

enrolled in less than 18 credit points in an academic year.

We recommend that you should study no more than four subjects (12 credit points) in a teaching period and you should allow approximately 10 hours per week for each 3 credit point subject (includes time to attend lectures, tutorials and the like, as well as time to complete the required reading and assessment tasks).

Choosing majors

Some courses require students to nominate a major area of study as part of the course structure. A major is an approved sequence of subjects in a discipline or group of disciplines. Where a course offers the option of a single major, your study plan in eStudent will include an option line to enable you to nominate the name of the major that you wish to pursue.

If your course offers the choice of a double, single, advanced or interdisciplinary major, or any combination of these major types, your study plan in eStudent will initially show an option line that enables you to choose the type of major that you wish to pursue. After you have chosen the type of major and expanded your choice, your study plan will include an option line to enable you to choose the name(s) of your chosen major(s).

major type


Single major

One directed course of study (specialisation) in your degree

Double major

Two complementary courses of study (specialisation) in your degree

Advanced major

You must select two majors from different areas of study

Interdisciplinary major

A more prescribed version of an existing major

You should consider your major choice carefully as, once you have chosen them, major types and majors cannot be changed online.

Lectures, tutorials, workshops, seminars and practicals

Depending on your subject choices, your timetable will be made up of a combination of lectures, tutorials, workshops, seminars, laboratory and practical sessions.

Lectures involve a lecturer presenting information to a large group of students in a lecture theatre.

Tutorials, workshops, seminars and practical sessions are scheduled for smaller groups of students and are led by a tutor or demonstrator. These sessions are usually more interactive and may include set activities to be completed in class. The tutors are there to help you to understand the course material and to examine it in detail. Some courses also include field trips or work placements.

Lecture timetables

Before finalising your subject selection you must check for potential clashes of class times and also that the class times suit you, by referring to the lecture timetable.

Study Periods – Key Dates

A breakdown of JCU Study Periods and Key dates is available at on our website.

Last date for withdrawal without academic penalty

The other critical date for each subject is the last date for withdrawal without academic penalty. If you withdraw from a subject after this date, other than in exceptional circumstances, you will receive a fail for the subject.