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Students talking in the UQ Great Court.

9 new words you'll hear at university

Uni life
Published 1 Sep, 2020  ·  5 minute read

Choosing to go to university is an exciting decision, but it can bring up a whole lot of questions.

You’ve probably heard people talk about programs, prerequisites, majors and minors, but what do these all mean?

To get you started, here are 9 words you’ll hear at UQ that you may be unfamiliar with.

Program

A program is a university qualification, such as a bachelor’s degree.

An undergraduate program is the first level of study at university. After graduating from your undergraduate program, you may choose to head out into the workforce or start a postgraduate program.

At UQ, you can choose to study 2 programs at the same time. This is called a dual program – also known as a double degree. Studying a dual program can expand your career options and give you a competitive edge.

Explore our programs

Prerequisite

Most programs have prerequisites – specific subjects you must have successfully completed to be eligible for an offer.

All bachelor programs at UQ have an English prerequisite. Many programs also have maths and/or science prerequisites.

Prerequisites ensure you have a certain level of knowledge to successfully complete the first year of your degree. We want you to succeed, and having prior knowledge is the best way to begin.

If you didn’t complete your prerequisite subjects at high school, don’t worry! Our pathway options will set you up for success.

Course

A program is made up of courses – also known as subjects. Normally a course is completed within a semester. Studying full-time means enrolling in 3 or more courses each semester.

Most programs have compulsory and elective courses. Compulsory courses are set courses that you must study to graduate. Elective courses are courses you can choose depending on your interests.

For each course, you’ll have different classes, such as lectures and tutorials.

Major and minor

A  major  is a combination of courses in a program which focus on a specific discipline. This means that when you graduate, you'll have specialist knowledge in a certain area. Some examples of majors are:

  • Bachelor of Arts with a major in Criminology
  • Bachelor of Health Science with a major in Nutrition.

Some programs also offer dual majors and extended majors.

A minor is similar to a major, but they require fewer courses. Minors often complement a major and sometimes involve emerging disciplines. Some examples of minors are:

  • Diploma of Arts with a minor in Gender Studies
  • Bachelor of Social Work (Honours) with a minor in Health and Ageing.

Lecture and tutorial

A lecture is a presentation delivered by an academic. They're usually 1–3 hours long and held in a large lecture theatre. This is where you’ll be taught the theory of your course.

Tutorials or ‘tutes’ are held in a smaller classroom and involve more interaction between students and the tutor. Tutes are the perfect time to discuss course material, debate ideas and ask your tutor any questions.

Some courses also include other class types, such as practical workshops or peer-assisted study sessions.

Semester

Instead of the 4 terms you have in high school, a UQ year has 3 semesters: Semester 1, Semester 2, and an optional Summer Semester.

Semester 1 and 2 are usually 13 weeks long and Summer Semester is usually 8 weeks.

Each semester has a mid-semester break – a week where you won’t have any classes. Depending on your courses, you may be able to chill out and catch up on some rest, or work on your assessment.

Timetable

At UQ, most classes are held between 8am–9pm weekdays.

Your timetable depends on your courses. Each day of the week will be different, and your timetable will change each semester.

Your uni timetable will look quite different to your school timetable. At uni, you’ll likely spend less time in classes, which gives you more time to study, complete assessments, work and participate in internships.

Still have questions? Contact us. We’re here to help!

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