The glossary explains common terms used by the University and across this website.


Academic Board

The committee appointed by the Victoria University of Wellington Council under clause 18 of Schedule 11 to the Education and Training Act 2020, which

(a) advises the Council on matters relating to courses of study or training, awards and other academic matters; and

(b) exercises powers delegated to it by the Council.

Academic Staff

Staff employed by the University with responsibility for teaching and research. See also General Staff.

Academic Transcript

The official record of a student’s study at Victoria University of Wellington.

Academic Year

The teaching period from the beginning of the Trimester One in late February/early March in a particular year to the end of the Trimester Three in late February of the following year.

Ad Eundem

A procedure for admission to Victoria University of Wellington for those with a qualification gained outside the New Zealand secondary school system. Also known as the Qualification Assessment for Admission.


A student is granted admission when it has been confirmed that he/she is eligible to enrol to study in degree level qualification(s) offered by Victoria University of Wellington.

Aegrotat Pass

An aegrotat is a consideration of how much a student has learned in the course work completed before the exam or final assessment. Students may apply for an aegrotat pass if their preparation for, performance in, or ability to sit an exam or complete an assessment due in the last three weeks of teaching is impaired because of illness, injury or other serious circumstances beyond their control. To be granted an aegrotat pass, students need to have done well in their previous course work. An aegrotat pass is recorded as a G on a student’s academic transcript.

Find out further information about aegrotats.


Former students at Victoria University of Wellington or the former Wellington College of Education.

Animal Ethics

All staff and student research and teaching involving animals needs to meet ethical standards. Approval for research involving animals is authorised by the University’s Animal Ethics Committee.


The process of assigning grades to pieces of work submitted by a student enrolled in a course, and to the student’s overall performance in the course. This includes assessment, and any examination at the end of the course.


Bachelor’s Degree

A first or undergraduate degree, normally requiring at least three years of full-time study. The programme requires completion of a specified number of points, including specified numbers from particular sets of courses or at a particular level.


The brand name of the software application that manages student information at Victoria University of Wellington, including personal details, course information and academic history.


A web-based software product (or a learning management system), which is used to support flexible teaching and learning in on-campus and distance courses. It provides tools and facilities for online course management, content management and sharing, assessment management, and online collaboration and communication.

Bridging Courses

Courses to assist students to prepare for university study in a later academic trimester or year.



The University’s official publication of important dates, regulations and degree schedules.


University area or precinct. Any property owned or managed by Victoria University of Wellington. The University has three campuses: Kelburn; Pipitea and Te Aro.

Certificate of Achievement

A certificate containing some, but not all, of the information shown on an Academic Transcript. It is a less formal format, and the categories of information included can be adjusted within certain parameters to suit the student’s wishes.

Certificate of Attendance

A certificate stating that the student has attended a non-credit-bearing course offered by the University.

Certificate of Completion

A certificate confirming that a student has satisfied the requirements of a qualification, issued in the period before the qualification is conferred or awarded by the University Council. (Previously referred to as a ‘Short Certificate’.)

Certificate of Proficiency

A Certificate stating that a student has passed an individual course not credited to a qualification.

Certificate of Proficiency in English

A certificate that is issued upon attainment of a prescribed level of English in a 12-week intensive English course taught at Victoria University of Wellington’s English Language Institute, designed for students with English as a second language.

Certified Copy

A document that has been signed and witnessed as a true copy of the original document by a Solicitor, Notary Public, Justice of the Peace or by any other person authorised to take a statutory declaration.


Lecture, tutorial, laboratory session, field trip, practicum, supervisory session and other formal events in which teaching is taking place.

Class Representative

A student enrolled in a course or programme, who is selected by students in that course or programme to facilitate communication between staff and students.

Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students

A document that sets out the minimum requirements that education providers must meet in terms of advice and care for international students.


An informal term, sometimes used to refer to a degree component that is smaller than a minor, consisting of courses worth at least 45 points in a single or related subject area, including at least 15 points at 200-level or above. The terms ‘module’ and ‘unit of study’ are also sometimes used, with a similar meaning.

Concurrent Enrolments

Enrolments of students who are studying for two or more qualifications at the same time at one institution or across more than one institution.

Conditional Offer

An offer for enrolment for students that is dependent on fulfilling either entrance or English requirements. Students must satisfy the admission conditions before they can enrol at Victoria University of Wellington.


The granting by the University Council of a University qualification or honorary degree either at a graduation ceremony or in absentia.

Confirmation of Study

A notification sent to students in response to their returned Offer of Study that acts as the record of their programme of study. This form can be used to make alterations to the programme of study.

Conjoint Programmes of Study

Programmes of study that lead to two or more qualifications. Conjoint programmes involve special cross-crediting arrangements that allow students to complete two qualifications in a shorter time than that required to complete each separately.


An additional course that must be studied concurrently (if not already passed) in order for enrolment in a particular course to be approved.


The University Council is the governing body of the University constituted in accordance with the Education and Training Act 2020. The functions, powers and duties of the Council are set out in the Education and Training Act 2020.


An individual unit of study towards a qualification, identified by a course code and title and carrying a specified points value.

Course Codes

Each course has two identifiers. One consists of four letters identifying the subject and field, and the other consists of three numbers, the first of which identifies the level, e.g., INFO 101. The other identifier is known as the Course Reference Number (CRN). The CRN distinguishes between identical courses taught in different trimesters or different modes (e.g., lecture and distance), or between different streams of the same course in a particular trimester.

Course Feedback

Feedback from students on the quality of the learning opportunities of a particular course.

Course Finder

A publicly available online publication that lists all courses, course prescriptions and timetabling information. The Course Finder is used by students when completing an Enrolment Application and is a companion document to the University Calendar.

Course Co-ordinator

The person responsible for the organisation, content and administration of a course. This is often, but not always, the principal lecturer.

Course of Study

A set of courses undertaken by a student towards a degree, conjoint or double degree, diploma or other
qualification(s); and the requirements with which a student must comply to gain that qualification(s). This may also be referred to as a ‘programme (of study)’.

Course Outline

A document supplied to each student at the beginning of each course which accurately describes the content and assessment of the course as well as explaining general University requirements. This document forms the basis of a legal contract between the University and the student.

Course Reference Number (CRN)

The CRN is a number unique to a course offered in any one year. It distinguishes between identical courses taught in different trimesters or different modes (e.g., lecture and distance), or between different streams of the same course in a particular trimester, and must be included on an enrolment application. See also Course Codes.


The work undertaken by a student over the duration of a course. The term is also used in the expression ‘Master's by coursework’, denoting a Master’s programme comprised of a number of courses, rather than a thesis-based Master’s programme.

Cross Credits

The reduction in total points allowed for a student taking a double degree programme or studying for a second (or third) undergraduate degree.



A Dean provides academic leadership within a Faculty and chairs the Board of that Faculty.


A qualification at the undergraduate or non-degree level with a total value of not less than 1 EFTS, which may build on defined prior qualifications or experience. See also graduate diploma and postgraduate diploma.

Discretionary Entrance

A category of admission to Victoria University of Wellington for certain students under 20 years of age without a New Zealand University entrance qualification.

Distance Learning

A mode of study for students who do not attend on-campus courses. Courses are managed using postal services or, more commonly, internet-based digital media, and may include short periods of on-campus attendance.

Domestic Student

A student who is a citizen or permanent resident of New Zealand, Australia, the Cook Islands, Niue, the Tokelau Islands, or a citizen of another country who is resident in New Zealand as a consequence of assignment to a diplomatic or consular post, his or her spouse, and their immediate dependents.

Double Degree

A programme of study that leads towards two degrees. For example, BA/LLB.

Double Major

Where the appropriate requirements for a major in an undergraduate degree are met in two subjects.


EFTS—Equivalent Full-Time Student

A unit of measurement of a student’s enrolment (corresponding to 120 points), a normal one-year fulltime load.


A subject area appended to a qualification, most commonly a graduate or post graduate diploma or certificate, to indicate a particular focus or set of skills in the candidate’s course of study.

English Language Tests

Four English language proficiency tests are accepted by Victoria University of Wellington for consideration for admission as an International Student: TOEFL, IELTS, CPE and CAE.

Enrolled Student

A student enrolled at the University in accordance with the Admission and Enrolment Regulations.


The cover term used to describe the process of enrolling at Victoria University of Wellington. This involves the student submitting an Enrolment Application, obtaining course approval, signing a declaration and paying tuition fees. All of these steps are required before a student can be regarded as enrolled.

Enrolment Guide

A booklet included in the Enrolment explaining how to complete the Enrolment Application and the enrolment process.

Enrolment Pack

This pack contains everything required to apply to enrol at Victoria University of Wellington, including the Enrolment Application, Enrolment Guide and the Course Catalogue. Packs are available from Student Administration Offices, the Enrolment Office, or Student Recruitment and Course Advice, from mid-October each year.


An item of assessment to be undertaken at a predetermined time and place by all the students enrolled for a course during an official examination period following the end of the course. The scheduling, conduct and supervision of examinations are arranged by Faculties, in accordance with such detailed instructions as may be approved by the Academic Board.

Exchange Student

A student studying at Victoria University of Wellington for one or two trimesters, as part of a reciprocal exchange programme with an overseas institution, or a Victoria University of Wellington student studying for one or two trimesters at an overseas institution. Exchange students pay fees and gain credit at their home institution for the courses passed.


Face-to-Face Teaching

A form of teaching where a teacher and students share the same physical space on a regular basis as part of the programme of study.


A Faculty is a grouping of programmes under the academic leadership of a Dean.

Faculty Board

The academic decision-making body of a Faculty, chaired by the Dean. Each faculty is a sub-committee of the Academic Board.

Foundation Courses

Pre-university courses that are designed to enable students to gain the necessary background knowledge and skills in order to undertake tertiary study.

Full-time Student

A full-time year of study is 120 points, 1 EFTS. For Student Allowance purposes, a full-time student is one studying at least 0.8 EFTS or 96 points in a full year or at least 48 points in a trimester.



The status of an undergraduate or graduate student who has finished his or her studies at university, but not yet formally graduated.


Someone who has had a qualification conferred either at a graduation ceremony, or in absentia at the University Council.

Graduation Ceremony

The formal ceremony at which students publicly receive a certificate for their degree or other qualification. Ceremonies are held twice a year, in May and December, at the Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington.

Graduate Diploma

A qualification open to graduates, or to those who have been able to demonstrate equivalent practical, professional, or scholarly experience of an appropriate kind, comprising a coherent programme with a total value of not less than 1 EFTS, which includes the requirement that one half or more of the courses or other work prescribed shall be at the 300 level or higher.

Graduate Guide

A listing of the University’s postgraduate and post-experience programmes, including enrolment information, closing dates and contact details.


Hall Resident

A resident in a Hall of Residence that has a formal agreement with the University, whether or not the resident is a student at the University.

Higher Degree

There are five higher degrees: Doctor of Literature (LitD); Doctor of Music (DMus); Doctor of Science (DSc); Doctor of Laws (LLD); and Doctor of Commerce (DCom). The degrees are awarded to graduates of Victoria University of Wellington for substantial published work that has made an original contribution of special excellence in their specified field.

Honorary Doctoral Degree

Honorary doctoral degrees in Literature (LitD), Music (DMus), Law (LLD), Science (DSc) and Commerce (DCom) are awarded by the University Council in recognition of the recipient’s outstanding contributions to the goals pursued by the University, either through the achievement of national or international distinction in their chosen field or field of relevance to the academic programmes of the University, or through significant support for the academic interests and programmes of the University over a sustained period. By convention, recipients do not use the title ‘Dr’ before their name.

Honours Degree

A Bachelor’s degree that requires advanced or distinguished study. There may be either a discrete one-year programme following a three-year Bachelor’s degree, or a four (or longer) year Bachelor’s degree that requires a particular level of achievement.

Human Ethics

All staff and student research and teaching involving human participants needs to meet ethical standards to ensure that no harm occurs to the participants. Approval for research involving human participants is authorised by the University’s Human Ethics Committee.

Hunter Fellow

An award made by the University Council in recognition of outstanding contribution to the advancement of Victoria University of Wellington. The Hunter Fellowships were instituted in 2003.



A temporary or long-term condition, illness or injury that affects a student’s learning, communication, concentration, memory, hearing, mobility, movement, speech and/or vision.

Informal Learning

Learning that occurs outside accredited courses or qualifications. This may include work-place training, marae-based learning or independent learning.

In-term Assignment

Items of assessment other than examinations. For example, tests, assignments, class presentations, practical work.

Interdisciplinary Major

A substantial component of an undergraduate degree consisting of courses worth between 120 and 180 points across two or more cognate disciplinary areas, including at least 40 points at 300-level. Normally, at least one 300-level course should be included from each of the disciplinary areas involved.

International Student

A foreign student studying in New Zealand on a student permit from the New Zealand Immigration Service.



Usually a 50-minute timetabled session in which all students enrolled in a course are taught by a lecturer. Courses with a large number of students are divided into groups or ‘streams’ (refer also to stream).

Limited Entry Course/Qualification

A course or qualification where a limitation has been put on the number of students that can be accepted.



A substantial component of an undergraduate degree studied to at least 300 level, and consisting of courses normally worth at least 120 points in a recognised subject area and including at least 40 points at 300-level, but no more than 140 points at 200-level and above.

Mandatory Course Requirements

Formerly known as ‘terms’, these are the requirements within a course (other than obtaining an overall C grade or better) that students must meet in addition to a passing grade in the formal assessment in order to satisfactorily complete the course. Participation in tutorials or practical work is an example.

Master’s Degree

An advanced degree taken by a student who already holds a Bachelor’s degree or, in some cases, has extensive professional experience. The degree may be a thesis, or completed by coursework. Master’s degrees normally have a value of 240 points unless account is taken of relevant professional experience.

Mentoring Programme

Victoria University of Wellington has developed mentoring programmes to assist Māori and Pacific students fully participate in University life by providing academic and social support. Mentors are other students or staff who can assist with course-related tasks. Te Pūtahi Atawhai is the Māori and Pacific Students Mentoring Programme for the university and has two coordinators who are specifically dedicated to students enrolled in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences and the Faculty of Commerce and Administration; Te Rōpū Āwhina Pūtaiao (Āwhina) is the group offering support for Māori and Pacific students in the Wellington Faculty of Science.


A component of an undergraduate degree, consisting of courses at 200-level or above in a recognised subject, or subject area, worth at least 60 points, and including at least 15 points at 300-level.


An informal term, sometimes used to refer to a degree component that is smaller than a minor, consisting of courses worth at least 45 points in a single or related subject areas, including at least 15 points at 200-level or above. The terms ‘concentration’ and ‘unit of study’ are also sometimes used with similar meaning.


Ngāi Tauira

The Association of Māori Students at Victoria University of Wellington.



A programme of events organised at the beginning of the year to introduce new students to University life.



A qualification studied for on a part-time involves the same work but is studied over a longer period of time than its full-time equivalent basis. For Student Allowances purposes, a part-time student is one studying less than 0.8 EFTS or 96 points in a full year or 48 points in a trimester.

Personal Course of Study

The particular combination of courses, or other units of study, which an individual student undertakes in compliance with the relevant regulations in order to achieve a qualification or qualifications.


The degree of Doctor of Philosophy, is a research that is of significantly higher status than a Masters. It involves at least two and a half years of supervised research resulting in a thesis.


The presentation of the work of another person, or other persons, as if it were one’s own, whether intended or not. This includes published and unpublished work, material on the Internet and the work of other students and staff.


The measure of value assigned to each course. One point nominally equates to 10-12 hours of student work, whether in class or not. 120 points equates to one full-time academic year of study and 1 EFTS unit.

Postgraduate Diploma

A qualification that builds on attainment in the prior degree, open to graduates or to those who have been able to demonstrate extensive practical, professional or scholarly experience of an appropriate kind, comprising a coherent programme with a total value of not less than 1 EFTS, which includes the requirement that the papers or other work prescribed shall be in advance of the 300 level.

Postgraduate Study

Study at a level above a Bachelor’s degree.


Any course that must have already been passed, or any other condition that is required, before enrolment in a particular course can be approved without special permission.


A brief description of the content of a course. Prescriptions are published in the Course Catalogue.


An academic unit responsible for the teaching of a particular discipline (eg history, chemistry).

Programme (of study)

A set of courses undertaken by a student towards a degree, conjoint or double degree, diploma or other
qualification(s); and the requirements that a student must comply with to gain that qualification(s). See also Course of Study.


A publication produced by an academic school or discipline essential for all enrolled students within the school or a particular programme. A prospectus includes information about staff, general and administrative information and detailed course information.

Provisional Entrance

A category of admission to Victoria University of Wellington for certain students under 20 years of age who do not possess a New Zealand University entrance qualification.



A degree, diploma or certificate.

Qualification Assessment for Admission

An assessment of qualification gained outside the New Zealand secondary school system for the purposes of admission to the University. Used in ad eundem admission.


Restricted Enrolment

A restriction of the number of points or courses that can be taken by a student who is not making satisfactory academic progress. (Refer to the Academic Progress Statute.)

Restriction (against a course)

A course may be restricted against another course with similar content. If a student has passed one course, they cannot also gain credit for a course that is restricted against it.



Victoria University of Wellington’s student newspaper, published weekly during trimesters 1 and 2.

Schedule to a Qualification Statute

A list of courses that are offered for a particular qualification. The schedule forms part of the statute for the qualification.


Schools are academic units of the University, often consisting of two or more Programmes. Academic staff in the Schools carry out teaching, research and scholarship functions. General staff in the Schools carry out the associated administration functions.

Short Certificate

See Certificate of Completion.


An optional area of focus within a major, a subject or a specialised graduate or postgraduate qualification. A specialisation shall require at least 45 points of directly relevant courses at 200 level or above, including at least one course above 200 level. The courses specified for a specialisation shall normally be from courses within the associated major, subject or specialised graduate or postgraduate qualification, but in all cases, at least 50 percent of the specified points shall be from such courses.


A statute made by the Council under section 284(1) of the Education and Training Act 2020.

Statute on Student Conduct

The Statute on Student Conduct reflects the expectation that students are entitled to work, study and socialise in an environment of safety and respect. This statute outlines acceptable standards of conduct and sets out the procedures that apply in the event that a student is alleged to have breached these.


Some very large courses are divided into two or more parallel groups, referred to as streams.


Any person enrolled at Victoria University of Wellington, or a person who is studying at the University under an exchange agreement with another institution.

Student Allowances and Student Loan Schemes

The schemes implemented by StudyLink, a division of the Ministry of Social Development, which provide eligible students with financial assistance.

Student Contract

A contract that defines the responsibilities and obligations of the University and students undertaking programmes of study at Victoria University of Wellington.

Study Abroad Student

A student from an overseas institution who is completing part of their degree programme at Victoria University of Wellington, receiving credit and paying full fees.

Summer School

A defined six-week period of teaching, that occurs in January and February (ie a part of the third trimester).


Te Hui Whakapūmau

The marae graduation celebration held in December each year.

Te Marae o Te Herenga Waka

Victoria University of Wellington’s marae on the Kelburn Campus.


See Mandatory Requirements.


A substantial report that contains the result of research undertaken for either a Master’s degree or a PhD.


A pan-University Faculty Māori academic forum. All Māori academics may elect to become members, and non-Māori academics teaching courses or undertaking research with a significant Māori content may be invited to be part of Toihuarewa.


One of three teaching periods that make up the academic year March-June; July-October; November-February).


A group interactive teaching session, including laboratories, workshops and formally managed online discussions.

Tutoring Staff

Staff employed by the University to support teaching of courses under the supervision of course co-ordinators or programme directors. This includes staff employed as sessional assistants, teaching assistants, laboratory assistants and in similar roles.

Twinning Student

A student who has completed part of their tertiary qualification at an approved partner institution before coming to Victoria University of Wellington to complete that qualification.


Undergraduate Degree

See Bachelor’s Degree.

Universities New Zealand

A statutory body that represents the interests of New Zealand universities. (Formerly called the New Zealand Vice Chancellors’ Committee.)


Victoria University of Wellington. The ‘University’ is the usual abbreviation in internal University documents for the term Victoria University of Wellington.

University’s Common Seal

A red embossed emblem incorporating a representation of Queen Victoria seated, crowned and sceptred, surrounded by eight stars and enclosed in a circular band bearing the words ‘Seal of Victoria University of Wellington’, affixed by resolution of the University Council to some official documents of the University.


University Teaching and Development Centre—the former name (until 2011) of the Centre for Academic Development.


VUWSA—Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association

Representative body for students studying at Victoria University of Wellington. VUWSA provides a range of services and promotes the interests and welfare of students. Membership is voluntary from 2012.



The person with managerial responsibility for a Hall of Residence.