This section lists terms and abbreviations used within the University. You will encounter them frequently so it is useful to know them.
Academic Progress Policy
A student who fails to make satisfactory progress (i.e. pass half or more of the points enrolled for in a calendar year) will be placed on Conditional Enrolment and may enrol for a prescribed course of study only, in the next year of enrolment. Such a student who passes fewer than half of the points in the Conditional Enrolment year will be suspended from enrolment from the University for the subsequent two calendar years.
This policy will be applied to students transferring from other universities as if their previous study had been undertaken at the University of Otago. Students suspended under the academic progress policies (or equivalent) of other universities will not be permitted to transfer to the University of Otago until such time as that suspension has passed.
Ad Eundem Statum Admission
Admission "at the same level", which is usually granted on the basis of qualifications from overseas or of non-university tertiary qualifications gained within New Zealand. Admission can be at entrance level (for students with the equivalent of a standard university entrance qualification e.g. through CIE or IB), or with credit for one or more papers, or at graduate level if you have completed a degree or equivalent qualification.
Admission refers either to admission to the University or to a specific paper or programme. Apart from a few special circumstances, a person must have a university entrance qualification (normally on the basis of NCEA credits, Bursaries results, ad eundem statum admission, special admission, provisional entrance or discretionary entrance) and must have fulfilled language requirements in order to be admitted as a student (new and recommencing students enrolling for most undergraduate courses will be selected via Preferential Entry or Competitive Entry). Also, admission to an Honours or postgraduate programme or to a paper or programme with limited numbers (e.g. degrees in Medicine, Law, Surveying) requires special approval and normally involves making a formal application.
Adviser of Studies
A member of staff with authority to discuss and approve a student’s enrolment in particular papers and/or programmes. Most students must consultthe designated Advisers of Studies at Course Approval or if they make later changes to their courses, but may also discuss their study plans with them at other times of the year.
The process normally completed online, of applying for admission to and/or enrolment in the University
An online service provided by the University with answers to general enquiries and questions including, but not limited to, matters such as applying, admission, enrolment, records, exchange, accommodation and student life on campus. Ask Otago is available at www.ask.otago.ac.nz.
The process by which learning is evaluated either internally on the basis of essays, reports, exercises, and tests or by a final examination at the end of the teaching period, or by a combination of both.
Some papers are taught by audioconference, a telephone link which enables students and lecturers in different towns to talk simultaneously to each other.
A first or undergraduate degree, normally requiring at least three years of full-time study.
A web-based learning environment where University course materials, class discussions, assignments and assessments are available on the internet to enhance on-campus learning and/or to deliver distance learning.
A course to assist students to prepare for study in a later academic semester or year.
The University’s official publication containing its regulations, statutes and degree schedules. It is available from bookshops, and is in secondary schools and many libraries.
The grounds and buildings of the University.
Certificate of Proficiency
A term which describes a paper not necessarily being counted towards a particular qualification (e.g. an additional paper surplus to degree requirements); or a paper being repeated in the hope of gaining a higher grade; or a paper being taken to complete a degree at another university (e.g. an Otago paper being taken for a Canterbury degree).
A synonym for School, used in the title of the University of Otago College of Education, which was created from the merger of the Dunedin College of Education with the University in 2007.
Also see Residential College.
A pathway for admission to undergraduate courses and programmes, for students who do not qualify for Preferential Entry. Competitive Entry students are ranked according to their academic performance and other relevant criteria and are offered places in the University in order of priority subject to fulfilling minimum age, entrance, and language requirements and the availability of places in their nominated programmes.
Under the Academic Progress Policy, students who pass fewer than half of the points they are enrolled in for a calendar year are placed on Conditional Enrolment in their next year of study and may enrol for a prescribed course of study only.
A paper which must be taken concurrently with another.
The governing body of the University.
The collection of papers for which a student is enrolled in a particular semester or year.
The process by which students are given academic advice based on the relevant Degree/Diploma regulations, their previous academic performance, the papers and Degree/Diploma Programme for which they wish to enrol, and plans for employment or further study.
The process by which a student's finalised course for the year or semester is accepted by both the University of Otago and the student.
A course adviser must normally sign the Form for Course Approval after making any necessary amendments. This is formal approval of the course as valid, reasonable and academically sensible.
The student's signature constitutes a formal commitment to the course and to liability for the associated fees.
Students who fail to complete Course Approval on time may not have access to all University resources.
Papers or points which can be counted towards a qualification. Students may be given credit at Otago on the basis of passes from other New Zealand universities (transfer credit) or from non-university or overseas tertiary institutions (ad eundem credit).
A student studying for two or more degrees can usually cross credit (share) papers between the two qualifications. Students may cross credit up to 126 points between two three year degrees (e.g. BSc and BCom), up to 180 points between a three year and a four year degree (e.g. BA(Hons) and BSc; BCom and BPhEd), and up to 234 points between two four year degrees (e.g. BA(Hons) and LLB). Some limits on cross credits apply if three programmes are involved.
The academic and administrative Head of a School or Faculty.
A student who owes money to the University and is listed as a debtor. Such students will not have access to the full range of University services until payment of any outstanding amount is made.
The academic award conferred by the University on the successful completion of a programme of study. Undergraduate (bachelors’) degrees normally require at least 3 years of study (some require 4, 5 or 6); postgraduate (masters’ and doctoral) degrees require at least 1 – 3 years of study after completion of earlier qualifications.
An organisational unit of the University consisting of academic staff teaching a particular subject or discipline together with supporting general staff.
The method for students under 20 years of age and without a New Zealand University Entrance qualification to gain admission to University. Usually based on Year 12 NCEA results. This does not apply to international students.
An extended piece of written work, normally based on original research, required for an Honours degree or Postgraduate Diploma and for some masters' degrees.
Planned learning that normally occurs in a different place or at a different time from teaching. It requires special course design and instruction techniques and use of technologies to enable communication, access to resources, and student support.
The University is divided into four teaching Divisions - Commerce (also known as the School of Business), Health Sciences, Humanities, and Sciences - which include the staff in all of the Departments and Schools in each of the four groups of related disciplines. Some Departments teach courses for degrees based in other Divisions (e.g. Information Science is a Commerce subject taught by a Commerce department but can also be taken for degrees in Arts and Science).
All students who are New Zealand citizens (including citizens of the Cook Islands, Tokelau, and Niue), or permanent residents of New Zealand resident and studying in New Zealand, or Australian citizens resident and studying in New Zealand, or permanent residents of Australia resident and studying in New Zealand are classified as domestic students. All other students are international students and normally require a student permit if they are studying in New Zealand.
Double Degree Programme
A programme of study that leads towards two degrees (e.g. BA and BCom), normally including cross crediting.
A programme of study for a bachelor’s degree which includes the major subject requirements for two subjects (two separate sets of 300-level papers are required).
EFTS (Equivalent Full-Time Student) is a unit of measurement of a student's enrolment and is the basis of the funding system for the University.
A typical full-time year's study equals 1.0 EFTS unit and the papers taken are fractions of that unit. In practice, a year's study will vary in EFTS value according to the papers studied.
A subject or area of specialisation for certain qualifications (e.g. PGCertHealSc endorsed in Resuscitation).
The collective term used to describe the completion by a student of application, Payment of Tuition Fees, and Course Approval.
Further information about enrolment is available elsewhere on this website.
The system under which domestic students are assessed for selection and admission to most undergraduate programmes. Also see Competitive Entry and Preferential Entry.
The e:Vision portal is a one-stop shop for study related information where students will apply to study, access all important study related information, and maintain their personal information
Permission to leave a particular requirement out of a course. This normally requires approval by the Division concerned.
A decision-making body for academic matters affecting a group of Departments or a specialist School.
An off-campus visit, usually to observe natural phenomena or to collect specimens (often a compulsory part of courses in subjects such as Botany or Geology).
Final Examination Only Enrolment
In most papers (but not all), a student who has completed course work satisfactorily but has failed to pass the paper concerned may apply for Final Examination Only enrolment. This means that the student may sit the examination at the end of the next teaching period that the paper is offered but may not attend teaching sessions or submit further assignments. This concession is granted only once for a particular paper, and only for the teaching period in which the paper is offered next.
A person enrolled for a course which is sufficient to complete a qualification in that semester or year. A student enrolled in 2012 would only be a finalist if they were expecting to finish their qualification in 2012.
Often called 'finals', these are formal examinations conducted under the authority of the Senate at the end of the teaching period for a paper.
First Year Student
A student who has not previously attended the University of Otago or any other university in New Zealand.
A full-time course is generally between 54 and 72 points in any one semester or 108 and 144 points in any one year. (Also see Workload.)
A letter awarded for a particular paper which indicates the level of performance in examinations and other assessment. (A+ is top grade; C- is lowest passing grade; D and E are failing grades).
Grade Point Average (GPA)
A numerical measure of a student’s academic achievement. When a GPA is needed at Otago for admission or scholarships purposes, a numerical value is assigned to each letter grade:
- A+ = 9
- A = 8
- A- = 7
- B+ = 6
- B = 5
- B- = 4
- C+ = 3
- C = 2
- C- = 1
The weighted average is then calculated (taking into account differing point values of papers).
A student who has completed the requirements of a qualification, but has not yet graduated.
A person who has had a degree conferred.
A qualification available only to graduates but comprising papers at undergraduate level.
If you wish to apply for special consideration on health grounds because you miss a compulsory class or assessment for health reasons, or in connection with a final examination for health reasons, you should use a Health Declaration Form. Part B must be completed by a health professional if a final examination is involved, but is not always required in other cases; check with the department or school concerned.
There is some variation in practice for particular programmes (e.g. Dentistry, Medical Laboratory Science, Medical Radiation Therapy, Medicine, Pharmacy, Physiotherapy). Students enrolled in those programmes must check with their schools or departments on their requirements.
Download the Health Declaration Form (192k in PDF format)
Head of Department.
A more specialised degree than an ordinary bachelor's degree, usually involving more papers in the subject of the degree and a research report or dissertation. In most subjects, the honours degree is a postgraduate degree, requiring an additional year of study after completion of an ordinary three-year bachelor's degree. In other cases (particularly professional programmes), the honours degree is an undergraduate degree requiring additional work but taking no longer than the corresponding ordinary degree.
Interest Only Enrolment
Interest Only enrolment is when a student is permitted to enrol for a paper and to attend classes without undertaking any examinations or other formal assessment (and therefore without the possibility of being awarded any credit for the paper).
In addition to or instead of final examinations, some or all of the final grade for each paper is based on internal assessment - results for essays, assignments, laboratory or other practical work, and tests or examinations (sometimes known as terms tests) conducted by individual departments or schools.
See Domestic Student.
A teaching session involving experimental or practical work.
The main method of instruction at the University. Usually a 50 minute oral teaching session.
The different stages at which a subject is taught which reflect how advanced a paper is (e.g. 100-level is the first level).
The subject chosen as the main area of study for a Bachelor's degree. A major subject is studied up to 300-level.
An advanced degree taken by a student who already holds a Bachelor's degree. Normally involves research for a thesis or a dissertation.
The formal addition of a student's name to the records of the University at the beginning of the first year of enrolment.
See Health Declaration.
A recognised selection of papers in a particular subject area, in addition to a major subject. Normally 5 papers are required, with 2 at 200-level and one at 300-level.
National Student Number (NSN)
A number assigned to every student by the Ministry of Education to help in the maintenance of information about students, even if they change institutions.
A student who has not previously attended the University of Otago.
Ordinary Bachelor's Degree
A bachelor's degree awarded without honours. Most ordinary bachelor's degrees may be completed in 3 years of full-time study, although some require 4, 5 or 6.
A programme of events organised at the beginning of the year to introduce new students to University life.
The smallest individual components of a course. Each paper is listed separately on an academic record, has a result recorded for it, and generates a fee to be paid.
Each paper is identified by a seven character code. Four letters denoting the subject area (e.g. ACCT for Accounting, PHSE for Physical Education) are followed by three numbers (beginning with 1 for 100-level papers, 2 for 200-level papers, and so on).
Any course whose workload is less than 54 points in any one semester or 108 points in any one year is normally regarded as a part-time course. Part-time students are not normally eligible to receive student allowances. (Also see Workload).
Personal Information Management System (PIMS)
The Personal Information Management System (PIMS) is the underlying system that provides study related information such as your papers, exam results and timetables. PIMS is accessed via the e:Vision portal. (Also see e:Vision).
The degree of Doctor of Philosophy, a higher degree than an Honours or Master's degree, involving at least two and a half years of supervised research and a thesis.
Every paper has a point value that shows its proportion of an equivalent full-time year of enrolment of 120 points.
A qualification for graduates which requires at least one semester of full-time study (or the equivalent in part-time study).
A course undertaken by a student who has already completed a Bachelor's degree and comprising papers or other work at 400-level or above.
A qualification for graduates requiring at least one year of full-time study (or the equivalent in part-time study).
A pathway for admission to undergraduate courses and programmes. Students who qualify for Preferential Entry on the basis of academic merit and/or other criteria are guaranteed places in the University subject to fulfilling minimum age, entrance, and language requirements.
Requirements to be met before a paper or course may be taken.
Description of the academic content of individual papers.
The entire requirements for the qualification towards which a student is studying (e.g. a certificate programme or degree programme).
A student who has been enrolled at the University previously but not in the preceding two calendar years.
A hall of residence associated with the University providing accommodation and other facilities for students. There are 14 residential colleges at Otago: Abbey, Aquinas, Arana, Carrington, City, Cumberland, Hayward, Knox, St Margaret’s, Salmond, Selwyn, Studholme, Toroa and University College.
Papers which have a large amount of content in common are often restricted against each other so they cannot be credited to the same qualification.
A student who has been enrolled at the University in either or both of the preceding two calendar years.
In some cases it is possible for students to have prior non-credentialled learning (i.e. learning which has not been formally recognised with a qualification or other documented record) recognised for the purposes of admission to or credit towards a course or programme. The process of assessing and recording such learning is called Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) and any credit granted is termed RPL credit.
A section of the University which teaches a particular discipline (e.g. School of Dentistry) or which groups a number of departments in a Division together (e.g. Dunedin School of Medicine).
The academic year has two main teaching periods, the first semester and the second semester.
The University's main decision-making and advisory body for academic matters.
A means of entrance to the University for domestic students over 20 years of age who do not hold a New Zealand University Entrance qualification. Special Admission is available to domestic students only.
Specialised Bachelors' Degrees
Qualifications for which only a limited number of students may enrol have specific entry requirements in the relevant programme regulations (e.g. for Teacher Education, Law, Physical Education, Surveying, Social Work and several Health Sciences professional degrees).
Papers which have too many students to be taught in one class are divided into groups called streams.
An intensive teaching period from early January to mid-February during which a range of undergraduate papers offered.
Suspension (in regard to Academic Progress Policy)
Under the Academic Progress Policy, students who pass fewer than half of the points they are enrolled for in the Conditional Enrolment year will be suspended (i.e. will not be permitted to enrol) for the subsequent two calendar years.
Terms means the requirements a student must complete to be permitted to sit final examinations. Terms are gained by attending classes and completing oral, written, and practical work for the paper concerned. Students are informed of the minimum requirements at the start of each paper.
See Internal Assessment.
A long dissertation based on original research and submitted for a Master's or Doctoral degree.
A copy of a student's academic record showing enrolment information and examination results for each paper or course.
A student who has previously attended another university in New Zealand but not the University of Otago.
Small group sessions led by a tutor which meet for discussion and individual assistance.
A student studying for a Bachelor's or other first degree.
A qualification at a lower level than a degree or diploma, normally requiring one year of fulltime study.
A qualification at a level lower than a degree requiring at least two years of full-time study.
A photocopied document signed by a person of suitable standing (e.g. Solicitor, Justice of the Peace), who has seen the original document and checked that the copy is true and unaltered.
A full-time course is generally between 54 and 72 points in any one semester or 108 and 144 points in any one year. As a general guide, 1 point represents study in formal instruction or independent study for 10 hours, made up of a combination of lectures, tutorials, laboratories, assignments and reading. Some professional, honours and postgraduate programmes may differ from this. Any course whose workload is less than 54 points in any one semester or 108 points in any one year is normally regarded as a part-time course. Part-time students are not normally eligible to receive student allowances.