Enrolment terms explained

General information about unit and course planning and common terms about codes you will see while enrolling.

Modes of delivery

At Deakin, study is provided either on one of our physical campuses, in our Cloud Campus, or a combination of both.

Cloud Campus mode

This is where the dominant mode of delivery is through the University's online environment. There may or may not be compulsory contact hours online. In some Units, students may be required to attend an event such as an exam or an assessment at a designated physical site.

This was formally referred to as 'off-campus' or 'cloud (online)' study.

Campus mode

This refers to a course or unit where the dominant mode of delivery is through attendance at classes at a Deakin campus, centre, affiliated industry or other physical site. Within a Campus unit, there are classes and seminars which students attend.

Formerly called a 'lecture'. Is a general meeting for all enrolled students, in a particular unit, for which you do not need to register (if you're enrolled in the unit which has a 'class', it will appear on your timetable), and where teaching staff engage you through presentations and learning activities.
Formerly referred to as a 'tutorial' or 'workshop'. Is an interactive meeting for smaller groups of students. All other contact hours descriptors remain unchanged (eg. practicums, studio work).

Course planning and enrolment terms

Enrolment rules and planning

Course advice and planning, enrolment officers

All courses of the University have structures which include the completion of a set number of units and may also include completion of core units or particular sequences of units.  These course rules can be found by using the Course Search facility in each year's University Handbook.  The course descriptions in the Handbook differ from those on the course search for new students as they contain more detail for students currently studying. 

You can also find your course rules on StudentConnect through 'View course progress'.  This enables you to check your progress to successfully complete your course.  It also lets you know where there are units you must still complete to finish your course.

In all faculties and for all courses there are appointed Enrolment Officers/Course advisers who can assist with course planning and provide information on course requirements. You can contact these staff for enrolment advice by email, in person or telephone.

Enrolment help videos

Common terms are explained below, but we have also created a few short videos to help explain how courses are structured here at Deakin. To see these, visit our Enrolment help page.

Core units

These are units which you must complete in order to meet the requirements of your course. Not all courses have core units (eg. Bachelor of Arts), and some courses will be made up almost entirely of core units (eg. Bachelor of Nursing). Your course rules and core units (if any) will be provided in the University Handbook.


An elective can be any unit that does not have a restriction on it and one that your course allows you to do.  In an undergraduate course you can only choose undergraduate units as electives. Speak with a course adviser about any units you are interested to find out if you can fit it into your course.

Co-requisite units

If a unit description has a co-requisite unit, it means you must complete that unit at the same time (same study period), as the unit you want to enrol in. If a unit has a co-requisite, it will be detailed in the University Handbook.

Course rules

Each course has rules and a structure that must be followed. Course rules will tell which units you can choose from, in what order and from what level, to successfully meet the requirements of your course. Your course rules can be found in the University Handbook. If you require specific information contact your Faculty course adviser.

Credit transfer and recognition

If you have studied at post-secondary level before, or have relevant work or life experience, you may be eligible for credit transfer or recognition (credit for prior learning).  This means you may not have to complete a unit if you've completed something very similar at the same level before, or you may get general credit and therefore not have to complete an elective. Further information is available on the Credit for Prior Learning website.

Enrolling and re-enrolling

As a student, to secure your place each year you need to make sure you're enrolled correctly, and that you re-enrol for the next year on time. Re-enrolment usually occurs in September each year.

You should always make sure your personal details (contact details, enrolment and payment information) are correct through StudentConnect.

Invalid units

If you fail a pre-requisite or co-requisite unit or fail to meet special requirements for a unit, the unit in question will become 'Invalid'. For more information about invalid units and rule breaches, visit the Rule breaches website.


A major is a group of units (a unit set) in  a particular area or academic discipline. A major can be made up of either 6 or 8 units. A major only pertains to undergraduate courses.

To find out all the majors offered by Deakin either talk to a course adviser or simply use the Handbook search and see which courses that major (your area of interest) belongs to. In some cases, your course rules might allow you do a major from another faculty or course.

Prerequisite units

If a unit has a 'prerequisite unit', you must have successfully completed that prerequisite unit/s before you study in the unit with the prerequisite. If a unit has a prerequisite, it will be detailed in the University Handbook.

Study load / contact hours

Full-time study

To be considered a full time student by the University and Centrelink, you need to be enrolled in at least three units (or 3 credit points) in a trimester. However, 4 credit points in a trimester is the usual full time load when attempting to complete a course as efficiently as possible.

Part-time study

A part time study load is 1 or 2 credit points in a trimester. You should consider the time it will take you to complete your course if you chose to study part time.

Contact hours

'Contact hours' and 'Study commitment' are detailed in a 'Unit Guide' which is provided for every unit.

  • Contact hours provide the number of hours, classes, seminars and online learning experiences scheduled for Campus and Cloud Campus students, usually each week.
  • Study commitment gives an indication of the hours over a trimester a student could be expected to spend in teaching, learning and assessment for a unit.

Unit Guides can be found on CloudDeakin through DeakinSync.

Codes and descriptors


Each unit code is made up of three letters and three numbers.   The first number in each code denotes the level of the unit. The unit name is usually descriptive of the unit content.

Business and Law
Science, Engineering and Built Environment.

Codes for courses and units

The codes below will help you make sense of the codes used to describe courses, campuses and units.

Melbourne Burwood Campus
Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus
Geelong Waterfront Campus
Warrnambool Campus
Campus mode (day)
Campus mode (evening)
X or ONL-X
Cloud (online)
Cloud (online) unit for campus based students
Online unit for off-campus based students
Community Based Delivery for the Institute of Koorie Education
TAFE students only
Overseas study
Taught face-to-face in intensive blocks during trimester
Campus mode (day) international students only
Cloud (online) intensive mode
Campus intensive mode

Study periods


At Deakin there are three trimesters (a study period).  Trimester 1 runs from February to July; Trimester 2 runs from July to November; Trimester 3 runs from November to February.  Generally, to undertake your course full time, you would study 4 units in Trimester 1 and 2. Trimesters allow great flexibility though, and you could always spread your load throughout the three trimesters and give you time for work or other responsibilities outside uni.


The Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery and the Bachelor of Medical Imaging operate over two semesters each year.  The first runs from February to June, the second from July to November.

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