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Enrolment terminology

It can be overwhelming when you face new terminology at university. This page explains a number of key enrolment terms.

For other terminology you can also view:

Finance terminology (covers HECS-HELP and government terms)

Full glossary of terms in student policies

If you have undertaken previous studies or have relevant work experience, you may be eligible to apply for credit, towards your JCU degree. This will reduce the total course time.

Assumed knowledge indicates the minimum level of knowledge you need for a particular subject.

You can still enrol in a subject that requires assumed knowledge, even when you don't have the recommended level of knowledge. However, you will be considerably disadvantaged.

We strongly advise undertaking additional study or other appropriate preparation if you don't have assumed knowledge.

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

Attendance modes include:


Requires on campus attendance. Subjects are offered during Study Period 1 or 2 and are generally 13 weeks' duration.


Studying externally means you have no on-campus class attendance. Your subject materials will be delivered to you online, in print, or on a CD.


Subjects are taught over an intensive time period, many during the semester break. For example, classes may be held from 9.00am-5.00pm Saturday and Sunday for three consecutive weekends, or for two weeks with full day classes from Monday to Saturday.

Mixed attendance

Subjects studied via mixed attendance mode require a combination of scheduled physical attendance and scheduled virtual/online attendance for learning activities.


Also referred to as practicum and clinical placement, this work experience will be arranged under the professional supervision of the organisation. You will be placed out in the workforce and normally, on-campus attendance is not required. Learn more about preparing for placement.

Your enrolment is considered to be finalised on your subjects' Census Date, the last date by which you can enrol and/or withdraw from subjects, and the final deadline to pay or defer your subject fees.

If you do not finalise your enrolment by this date, you will be penalised financially and academically.

Credit points are a basic measure of study load. Most subjects are usually worth three credit points. A normal full-time study load for one year is 24 credit points (8 subjects).

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 3-year degree and 96 credit points for a 4-year degree.

Your course structure is made up of different components, which can be viewed in your study plan in eStudent.

Different components include your course, major, minor, subjects (planned, enrolled, exempt and passed), core subjects and optional/elective subjects. See Study Plan.

Your study load is determined by the amount of credit points you are studying.

A normal full-time load (full-time student) is 24 credit points (8 subjects) spread over an academic year. You are classed as a full-time student if you're enrolled in 18 or more credit points (6 subjects) in one academic year, or 9 or more credit points in a teaching period.

You are considered a part-time student if you are enrolled in less than 18 credit points in one academic year, or less than 9 credit points in a teaching period.

You are generally not permitted to undertake more than 12 credit points in study load each teaching period. If you attempt to do more than 12 credit points, it is referred to as an overload.

Overload is NOT recommended in your first year of study.

You must pay all fees by the Payment Due Date, which is 10 days prior to the Census Date.

In many cases, you must have a certain level of knowledge in a specific area before you can undertake that subject. As a result, you may have to complete one or more pre-requisite subjects.

If you fail or withdraw from pre-requisite subjects, you will subsequently be withdrawn from the subject that requires the pre-requisite(s). If you have undertaken equivalent study or work experience elsewhere, you can apply for a 'requisite waiver' 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.


These are two or more subjects that must be undertaken in the same study period. You must enrol in co-requisite subjects at the same time – you cannot enrol in one without the other.

All subjects are assigned to a Study Period.

The two main study periods at JCU's Australian campuses are Study Periods 1 and 2, which are 13 weeks duration.

Each Study Period has a:

  • Start date
  • End date
  • Payment Due Date
  • Census Date
  • Results Publication date
  • Last date for withdrawal without academic penalty, and
  • Last date for addition or substitution of subjects without prior approval of subject coordinator.

Your study plan is a blueprint of what subjects you need to complete in order to meet degree requirements, including core, optional, elective, major and minor subjects.

Your study plan is listed in eStudent. Subjects will appear on your study plan as 'planned' until you enrol in and/or pass the subject.

Your study plan also lists approved credit for previous study.

Core subjects

These are compulsory subjects that you must pass in order to complete your degree.

Sometimes you may have to select a core subject from a pre-defined list.

Optional or Elective subjects

These are chosen from a list. You need to choose and pass a certain number of subjects from this list to complete your course.

In your Study Plan these subjects are flagged by the word 'option'. These lists have a credit point value, which means you must keep selecting subjects from the list until you reach the required credit point limit.

If you withdraw from or fail these subjects, they will not appear on your study plan. You will need to reselect a subject from the list.


Some courses require you to choose a major, which allows you to study a specific area in-depth (e.g. Bachelor of Social Science majoring in Social and Criminal Justice). If your course requires a major, it will be listed on your study plan in eStudent.


Similar to a major, a minor is an area of study that you elect to pursue in some depth. It is, however, to a lesser number of credit points than a major. Only a few courses include Minors.

Choosing appropriate subjects can be a daunting process.

To assist you, refer to:

JCU Course and Subject Handbook

Subject lecture timetable

Subject Search

When you choose a subject you also have to decide when, where and how you want to study the subject (e.g. Study Period 1, Townsville campus, internal study mode).

This information defines each offering of a subject. View the offerings for your subjects via Subject Search.

Some subjects have a maximum number of students that can be enrolled at one time, known as a 'subject quota'.

If you are unable to enrol in one of your chosen subjects because the quota has been reached, you should contact the Student Centre to discuss alternatives.

The academic year is divided into two teaching periods: Teaching Period 1 (first six months of the year) and Teaching Period 2 (second six months of the year).

Each teaching period contains a number of different study periods including the main 13 week study period and intensive study periods.