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University jargon: What does it mean?

University jargon: What does it mean?

University jargon: What does it mean?

When it comes to university there are all sorts of different words and vocabulary used – it’s important you know everything about understanding university jargon. It can be quite confusing and hard to get your head round, but with our help, you will understand the university jargon terms better and what they mean to you.


This is when universities and courses mean the rate or possibility of a job or career after you complete your degree. They like to use the word to show that having certain degrees will help you get work in different career sectors, for example, if a course if you need a specific qualification to continue your studying or to secure a job after.


An assessment is how you are marked and graded for your work. Courses can have lots of different types of assessments, like, tests, exams, projects, dissertations, coursework, essays, presentations, group work and much more! It depends on your degree and modules, but they will tell you how you will be assessed.


This generally means when there is a meeting or consultation. Don’t worry, you aren’t going under the knife or have to visit your GP to get into university! You may have these type of surgeries with your course administrator, personal tutor or lecturer for a particular module.


Modules are subjects that you learn, they are usually taken during one or two terms/semesters and add up to credits. Your degree can be made up of at least 9-12 modules, and the majority of modules are 30 credits each.


Credits are what each module is worth. Most degrees have students take 120 credits a year, on a full-time course, and 90 credits for part-time students. And this has to add up to 360 for your entire course. It is to show how much work you have done, and the different modules you have taken.

Levels, 4, 5, 6

This can seem quite confusing! Modules have levels, and this is to show progression in your degree and the harder the modules will become as you are developing in your course. Generally, universities prefer students to take a few of each level but will have their own rules about how many to take of each. The degree is made up of a different number of each, to show how you have progressed and taken on more difficult learning throughout your course.


This is basically known as before you have a degree in higher education. So any studying you have done before/towards degree level. Undergraduate is what is generally known as your first or foundation degrees and courses.


Now postgraduate is after you have a degree, and this can go onto a master or a PhD, another level of learning. You don’t have to worry too much about this yet, but it is good to know you are able to carry on studying after you have completed your first degree.


A foundation course is for students to study pre-undergraduate level, to prepare them for a degree level course. Usually, universities offer a foundation level, which you will still be awarded a qualification and a certificate, and then offer them, students, a chance to do the degree connected to the course in one to two years.


This is the type of postgraduate degrees you can achieve, a Masters level usually takes 1-3 years to complete whether it is part-time or full-time, and is completed non-funded! Yes, that means you have to pay for it yourself, and they can be quite pricey! On average they can cost from £15,000-£21,000 to complete.


This is known as a doctoral degree, and once completed, will be known as a Dr! Cool, eh? With PhD’s you can apply for funding by conducting research and have businesses, academics and people fund your degree. This is definitely something you don’t have to think about for a very, very long time!


Student referencing at higher education level is extremely important and not to be taken lightly! During academic work, essays and journals, whenever you use anybody else’s ideas, theories or directly use their work by quotations, you have to reference where it came from, basically, where you got the information from. This is to show the research you have conducted for your work and so you’re not accused of plagiarism, which is when you steal or use someone else’s work and pretend it is your own. This is taken seriously at university and degree level. Universities usually offer workshops and support for students to help them understand how to reference correctly in their work.


This is similar to referencing, but just how you actually display it in your work. With referencing you have a footnote at the bottom of the page that explains where the quote or idea came from. With citing, you give this information, in a reduced format, in your actual work in brackets. Again, there is lots of support and help from your personal tutors, universities and forums to help you do it correctly.

University is a different level of education, and what usually comes with it, other than studying, partying and student discounts, is another type of language. It can be quite hard to understand all of the words they like to use, but if you do get the stick, just ask your tutor or lecturer, and if you are embarrassed you can always email them privately to put themselves more clearly.

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