University Study

Compared to anything that you might have done before, studying at university level is all about helping you to stretch, grow and expand your capabilities. Get ready to embrace all the ways of learning!


Ways to learn

When you start at Southern Cross University, you'll discover that there are many different ways to learn the course content. Click the cards below to familiarise yourself with the different methods of learning before you arrive.

Image showing owl on a pencil with Lectures written below

Lectures are mainly for content delivery where the focus is on the presentation of information by an academic staff member.

Image showing bubbling liquid in glass tubes with Labs written below

A laboratory class allows you to apply the theory learned in the Unit in a practical context. Usually hands on and conducted in a lab setting.

Icon showing mechanical brain with Tutorials written below

Tutorials complement lectures. They are a small group learning opportunity to discuss key topics, concepts and ideas of the unit with the tutors.

Icon showing computer screen with Collaborate written below

Collaborate Sessions are virtual classrooms and web conferencing environments. Sessions can be recorded for viewing later.

Icon showing desk lamp and pile of books with Self-Study written below

You will be expected to self-direct your own study outside of class sessions, including reading key texts and completing assignments.

Icon showing open book with microscope and word PASS written below

Learn how to learn.
Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS) are sessions run by students, for students, and they have a relaxed and productive atmosphere

Icon showing globe with Online Forums written below

If you're studying online, you'll likely be expected to contribute to discussion boards and forums.

Icon showing brain in a box with Seminars written below

Seminars take place in small groups and focus on a particular topic and readings in which everyone is able to participate. Typically informal and interactive.

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Key study disciplines

You may have come across all three study disciplines throughout school, work or previous study. To understand what's expected at university level, click the relevant sections below. Want more information? The offers a wide range of Quick Guides for numeracy and academic literacy.


Researching at university

Most assignments will require you to support the main points with relevant research. Ultimately what this means is that we expect you to provide an informed opinion, not just an opinion.

Once you’ve identified a topic and a handful of key words, it’s usual to begin the research process by identifying the available relevant sources, from books to journal articles to reliable websites. This is followed by evaluating the content, extracting key information and building the findings into your discussion.

One of the most important things when it comes to research and assignments is giving credit where it’s due. You will see this referred to as referencing and academic integrity.

Southern Cross University is subscribed to many research databases so you’ll be able to find relevant academic journals to support your discussion, and all campuses have library facilities hosting a wide range of key texts, set by course coordinators. The library also offers a service to post out books to online students, free of charge.

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Grades icon showing paper and tick

How will I be assessed & graded?

You may find the way your are assessed at university is very different to what you are used to, particularly if you are joining us from overseas. Here are some important things you should know about assessment at Southern Cross University:

Types of assessment

There are a variety of ways in which a study course will be assessed and each assignment will require you to analyse the task and address the requirements. You are usually being asked to demonstrate evidence of critical thinking in your assessment. It is likely that you will have several assignments due around the same time for different courses and being organised and planning your study time will mean you will have allowed sufficient time to complete each assessment by the due date. The Southern Cross University website contains Quick Guides that cover a range of resources and can be quickly downloaded to assist you with your assessments.

Introduction to essays

While there are many ways to structure an essay, there is a generally accepted format that assignments should contain an introduction, a body and a conclusion. As you become more experienced and proficient at academic writing you will experiment with and vary this structure to suit your assignment.

What's required?

Assignment writing requires planning, drafting and editing. It’s important to stay within the framework of the task, be mindful of the word limit and ensure your referencing sources are included. The Southern Cross University website has Quick Guides which provide advice and resources to help you successfully complete your assignments.

Introduction to reports

You will most likely have to write a report for one of your units. Reports are required for a variety of reasons and have a formal structure with sections, headings and subheadings. Examples of report types are: a research report which is based on research study you have undertaken or an evaluative report which evaluates a practice or behaviour.

What's required?

The purpose of the report will determine the required report structure and there are Quick Guides available on the Southern Cross University website to assist you to determine what style of report to use. Follow the guides closely, ensuring you use correct numbering for each section and substantiate your interpretations. Report language is generally analytical and needs a consistent tense throughout.

Introduction to presentations

It's likely that you will have to do an oral presentation as part of an assessment at university. While some people may find the idea of public speaking confronting at first, it’s a skill that you can develop through practice and being a confident speaker will benefit your career.

What's required?

You will have to address the requirements of the assignment by identifying what you are expected to present and considering who your audience is likely to be. Prepare your presentation incorporating visual aids and practice your presentation until you feel comfortable using only your prompts.

Introduction to group work

The skills you develop working in groups will assist you throughout your time at university and are transferable skills that will be highly valued by future employers. This type of assignment allows you to develop your communication and problem solving skills as well learning from other members’ ideas to produce a more complex result than you may have been able to do on your own.

What's required?

No matter what the size or nature of the group you are working in, there are certain rules and strategies you should apply to ensure that the group operates effectively and successfully. It’s critical to start the introductions early, set up the ground rules of how the group will operate and create a schedule of meeting dates. A lecturer or tutor is always available to assist if a problem is unable to be resolved.