Current Students Enrolment Enrolment terminology

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

Shortcuts to relevant sections

Advanced standing (credit for previous studies)

Assumed knowledge

Attendance modes

Census dates

Credit points


Core – see Study Plan

Major – see Study Plan

Minor – see Study Plan

Option – see Study Plan


Payment due date

Requisite subjects

Study package

Study period

Study plan (including core, optional, elective and major subjects)

Subject codes

Subject selection

Subject offering

Subject quotas

Study load

Teaching period

Advanced standing (credit for previous studies)

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

Assumed knowledge

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.

Attendance modes

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 block 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.

Limited attendance

This means you will need to attend campus for part of the subject, but also receive teaching materials online, in print, or on a CD.


You will be based at an external organisation for the entire duration of the subject. Also referred to as practicum and clinical placement, this work experience will be arranged under the professional supervision of the organisation. Normally, on-campus attendance is not required.

Census dates

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

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, optional subjects and elective subjects. See Study Plan.


You are not generally 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.

You will need to gain approval from an Academic Advisor or Registrar if you wish to study more than 12 credit points in a teaching period.

Overload is NOT recommended in your first year of study.

Payment due date

You must pay your subject fees and your Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSA Fee) by the Payment Due Date, which is 10 days prior to the Census Date.

Requisite subjects

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. We do this to make sure you can succeed in your studies.

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.

Study package

The term Study Package describes all the teaching and learning components that JCU offers. Courses, majors, minors, and subjects are all types of study packages at JCU.

Study period

All subjects are assigned to a Study Period.

The two main study periods 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.

Study plan

Your study plan is a blueprint of what subjects you need to complete as part of the course or degree requirements, including core, optional, elective, major and minor subjects:

Core subjects

These are compulsory subjects that you must pass in order to complete your degree. You will find your core subjects listed in your study plan in eStudent. Core subjects will always appear on your study plan as 'planned', until you have enrolled in and/or passed the subject.

Optional subjects

An optional subject means you have to select a subject from a list of pre-defined choices. These will show as 'planned' in your study plan until you enrol in these subjects. If you withdraw from or fail these subjects, they will not appear on your study plan.

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, optional or elective subjects are flagged by the word 'option'. Option components can mean a selection from a list which involves the style of major, e.g. choosing between a single or double major. These components have a credit point value, which means you must keep selecting components from the list until you reach the required credit point limit.

Elective subjects will show as 'planned' until you enrol in these subjects. If you withdraw from or fail these subjects, they will not appear on your study plan.


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.

Your study plan also lists completed subjects, enrolled subjects, approved credit for previous study and the subject you have yet to complete. You can access your study plan via eStudent.

Subject codes

All JCU subjects have both a code and a name. Subject codes begin with a two-letter prefix signifying the subject area, followed by the year level, subject number and the credit point value. For example, 'EL1100:03 – Critical Reading' can be broken down as:

  • EL Subject discipline (English)
  • 1 Year level
  • 100 Subject number
  • 03 Credit point value

Subject selection

Choosing appropriate subjects can be a daunting process.

To assist you, refer to:

Postgraduate studies

JCU Course and Subject Handbook

Subject lecture timetable

Subject Search

Subject offering

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.

Subject quotas

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.

Study load

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.

See also Overload, above.

Teaching period

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 (block mode) study periods.

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