University terms explained

For a full list of terms, see the Glossary of terms.


The first degree you study towards at university is called an undergraduate qualification eg, bachelor's degrees, certificates, and diplomas. An undergraduate student is one who is studying for their first degree, certificate, or diploma after high school.

Graduate and postgraduate

A graduate is a person who has completed and been awarded a degree from university.

Postgraduate qualifications are for students who have already completed an undergraduate qualification (ie, graduates) and involve more advanced study in the area of your undergraduate qualification. They include honours degrees, master’s degrees, postgraduate certificates and diplomas, and doctorates (such as a PhD).

Graduate qualifications normally involve study in an area other than the area of your first qualification. They allow you to change subject areas and some prepare you for employment in a certain field eg, teaching. They include graduate certificates and diplomas.

Domestic student

You are domestic student if you have any of the following:

  • New Zealand citizenship (this includes New Zealand citizens born in the Cook Islands, Niue, or Tokelau, and New Zealand citizens by descent)
  • Australian Citizenship (only eligible for domestic fees only if residing in Aotearoa New Zealand for the period of your study)
  • New Zealand Residence Class Visa (only eligible for domestic fees only if residing in Aotearoa New Zealand for the period of your study)
  • Australian Permanent Residence (only eligible for domestic fees only if residing in Aotearoa New Zealand for the period of your study)

If you are hold a New Zealand Residence Class Visa, Australian citizenship or Australian Permanent Residence, you will be considered an international student if residing outside Aotearoa New Zealand for the period of your study.  International fees would apply in such cases.

International Student

You are an international student if you are a citizen or a residence class visa holder of a country other than Aotearoa New Zealand or Australia.


A qualification is an award you receive after completing your programme of study. UC offers a number of different types of qualifications.

UC's preparatory programmes are pre-university qualifications that prepare you for university study, especially for those that still need to meet University Entrance requirements. After completing a preparatory programme, you can enrol at UC into an undergraduate qualification.

After completing an undergraduate qualification (bachelor's degrees, undergraduate certificates and diplomas), you can carry on to a postgraduate qualification (postgraduate certificates and diplomas, honours degrees, master's degrees, PhDs and doctoral degrees), or change study direction with a graduate qualification (graduate certificates and diplomas).

Explore your qualification options:


A subject is a particular area of study that UC offers courses in eg, English, French, Mathematics, or Geology. While you can study many subjects at 100-level, some subjects eg, Counselling, Diplomacy and International Relations, Fire Engineering, and Secondary Teacher Education are only available at graduate or postgraduate levels.

Browse undergraduate subjects and graduate/postgraduate subjects to explore your study options and get an idea of everything that is on offer.


Courses are 'classes' or 'papers' that involve blocks of lectures usually taught over one semester. To graduate with your chosen qualification, you will need to complete the courses required in that qualification.

Some courses are compulsory or core (ie, must be taken by all students in that qualification), and some are optional or electives (ie, you can choose your courses from a list of options in that qualification).

Course codes and course occurrences

Each course has a code of four letters and three numbers. The letters show the subject, and the numbers show the level (or year you usually study this in your degree).

For example, MATH 101 is a Mathematics course at 100-level (usually first year), ENGL 201 is an English course at 200-level (usually second year), and ECON 310 is an Economics course at 300-level (usually third year).

Courses can be offered through Semester 1 (S1) from February–June, Semester 2 (S2) from July–November, over the whole year (W), over the summer months (SU) from November–January, or can be started anytime during the year (A).

Find out more about Course codes.


Each course has a point value that reflects the workload for the course. All courses have a point value of 15 or multiples of 15.

When you pass a course the points are credited towards your degree. If you fail a course you do not get the points. You must complete a certain number of points to complete your degree.

Courses will also have an EFTS value, or Equivalent Full-Time Student, that indicates the overall workload of that course.

15 points = 0.1250 EFTS
30 points = 0.2500 EFTS
45 points = 0.3750 EFTS
60 points = 0.5000 EFTS
90 points = 0.7500 EFTS
120 points = 1.0000 EFTS