University is a daunting thing, especially when you don’t know what everyone is talking about, it can feel a bit like learning a new language! Luckily, we at University Compare, are more than aware of the challenges that new students (And even older students) face when trying to understand exactly what people are talking about, so we’ve created a University Terms Glossary for you, right here, a University Dictionary, if you will select the phrase that you think you’re going to struggle with, and get learning!
An Access Course is an “entry-level degree” for university students that perhaps don’t feel that they are ready for full university degree at university. An Access Course will focus on a number of different subject areas, mainly that of English Language and English Literature, and will also have a very brief introduction to the university degree that you will be doing. Not all universities will offer Access Courses, however, so be aware of that before applying.
The polar opposite of Clearing (See below). This is where you have overachieved on your A-Level Results Day. If you were predicted to get 225 UCAS Points and you ended up with 270 UCAS Points, then you’re in luck! You can apply to even better universities than the ones you were applying to, to begin with, you clever little sausage, you!
A university that is aimed at students that are looking to pursue a career in Agriculture and with an emphasis on Agricultural skills and Farming skills. These universities are perhaps best known for more niche university degrees that they offer, such as Equine Studies or a Forestry Degree.
This is a process at university. The process is usually done for students that are unhappy with their results. This is done when students either feel that they have received a higher or lower grade than they expected. When doing things like this, it depends on which level of study you are at for this, but the best people to speak to are your course tutor and the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAAHE) for advice and to request a remark.
When you receive your final grade for the university year, it will often include a grade for a number of classes that you have attended. Your Attendance Grade will often make up somewhere between 5% and 10% of your final grade, so make sure you attend your lectures!
Bachelor of Arts (BA):
A Bachelor of Arts or BA, is just a fancy way of saying degree. This is only relevant in certain university fields. For instance, a History degree, a Communications degree or a degree in the Arts field is the main area that a student can achieve a BA. This is not too different from your normal Undergraduate degree, it just has a fancy name.
Bachelor of Education (BeD):
This is a degree that is geared more towards those that are studying to become a teacher. Whilst universities do still offer BeD’s for students, the qualification has somewhat fazed out over the years as universities have either opted for specific degrees or have opted for other teaching qualifications such as a PGCE degree (See below).
Bachelor of Science (BSc):
This is a degree that is awarded to students that have completed a degree in either a Science-related area of study or a Mathematics degree of some kind. BSc’s take longer than your usual undergraduate degrees, as they can last anywhere between the standard three years and the longer five years.
A Bursary is given to those that are in need of financial help. It is designed to offer money to the students that perhaps come from low-income households or those that require additional financial support, a Bursary is not affected by any previous academic achievements.
Pretty much what it says on the side of the tin, to be honest. A school or institute that is created with the express purpose of helping students that are looking to study anything in the realm of Business, whether that be a Business Management degree or an Economics degree or anything else that you can think of that is Business, related.
Capping – Class Size:
The maximum number of students that are able to study a certain course. Most courses will have a high number of admissions and a high number of students that are already on the course. Most universities will introduce a capping system for classes that are becoming too popular.
Capping – Grades:
You absolutely do not want to be here! This is when a student has submitted their piece of work late. Whether that be a week late or a second late, the deadline has passed. This now means that you can only achieve a maximum of 40% on that piece of work. It doesn’t matter how good the piece of work was, anything over 40% will still be marked as such, so make sure you don’t go missing any deadlines, university can be a cruel mistress.
Certificate of Higher Education:
Focuses on either a particular profession or job or academic study. It is the most basic level of qualification that a student can gain in higher education, and can show how individuals are capable of studying at university level.
Using a piece of work or quote that is already by another person. Essentially, you are referencing, but Citing means that you will need to say where you found the work that you’re using. Not a nice thing to have to do, but you will need to do it all the same.
This is often when a student applies to a different university than the one that they had initially decided to join after they have not achieved the grades that they believed that they would. It can often be a blessing in disguise, however, as it can mean that you are able to either retake your exams during a gap year or apply for a different course at another university. Check out our official University Clearing app, here.
This is an offer from a university. The offer will state that you will be accepted to study at the university, assuming of course, that you meet certain standards set by the university in question. This will often mean having to achieve certain grades or meet certain academic milestones.
This is basically a fancy way of saying attending hours. This is when you’re due to be appearing in university lectures, or you’re meant to be in tutorials or workshops. Note: This doesn’t include examinations in their hours.
This is where you are graded on your work, outside of officially recognised examinations. Basically, this will take-into-account everything for assignments, class tests and coursework and will give you a grade accordingly.
This is a unit of value. Though it’s not a currency, it is a currency with which your university life can be transformed. Course Credits indicate the value of the module of the course that you’re studying. If you decide to study a postgraduate degree, then your university may look at your course credits for previous years.
You’ll probably already be aware of the concept and definition of what coursework, but it is still worth covering. It can also be known under the word assessment too. Coursework is work done independently for your normal classwork activities. The work that you complete will almost always count towards the final grade that you receive at the end of the school year, however, it has been known to be the overall judgement for students that don’t have examinations for their course(s). However, this is incredibly rare at university these days. Some students will prefer their course to be marked heavily in coursework, while other will prefer exams, this is why choosing a degree course is tailed to your preferences is essential.
All essays or pieces of work will have a deadline that the university expects you to adhere to, however, sometimes, especially in mitigating circumstances, you will need to have the deadline extended further, so the course tutor will grant you an extension to complete your work. This can be through request or it will be given in class.
This is where you have applied to university, but do not intend to start the course for another year. Maybe you feel like taking up a gap year or venturing off into the world of work for the forthcoming year. There are differences between Deferral and Mitigation, however, so don’t get the two confused.
This is a degree that allows students to balance university life and university work with work in the real world. The courses tend to last a bit longer, generally around twice the time of a normal degree, however, these allow the students to focus on the possibilities of securing a job when university is done. This is statistically usually done by Mature Students (See below), though, this is not always the case.
A Dependants’ Grant, is a grant that is set up for those that have a financial responsibility for other people. The money available can fluctuate depending on the area of the country that you happen to be studying in.
This is any money that is given to your student landlord at the very beginning of your tenancy in a new house. This deposit will secure your place, however, it will now make you responsible for any of the damages that happen around the property, itself. Any arrangements that need to be made around the property like cleaning, construction, damages, gardening, plumbing etc, will be taken out of your deposit.
Basically some student slang for you here. This is pretty much the only bit of slang in the whole glossary, so you won’t need to carry this around like a Nadsat dictionary for a copy of “A Clockwork Orange”. Basically, digs is a rented room in a house, whether you’re renting with a family or living with friends, this is how “digs” work.
A DipTrans is a Diploma in Translation. It is the oldest professional qualification in this area and it is recognised by employers and bodies around the world as one of the premier qualifications required to become a Translator. Much like a Teacher requires a PGCE degree to become a Teacher, you won’t find many Translators that don’t have a DipTrans.
A dissertation is an essay on a subject of your choice, it usually comes at the end of your final year, although, some universities and some courses will have multiple dissertations per-course, although this is exceedingly rare, this is why it’s important to choose the right university and course that suits your work style best. A dissertation is mainly a research project that is aimed at seeing how students handle independent study. Most dissertations will come with independent word counts too; the word count is vitally important too.
This is a course that is done by not actually appearing at any lectures. Although this may seem like a student’s dream-come-true, alas it is not. The lectures are usually done on the internet and do not mean that you can just not do any work. This is also known as a Correspondence Course.
This allows the student that has achieved the grade to teach at university-level in the subject area that the Doctorate has been achieved. Some other jobs require a Doctorate too, such as being a Doctor or working in any other type of Medical-field.
This is a student who is legally a citizen of the country that they are studying in. This can be very useful because, in countries like Scotland, the student finance in Scotland means that you are eligible for free education if you are for the country or are an EU National.
This is where your piece of work is marked by two separate people. This works in several ways, it means that either the second marker does not see the first mark when marking, or both markers agree on a grade overall to mark the paper.
Disabled Student Allowance (DSA):
The DSA provides extra funding to students that are attending university with a learning difficulty. These include everything from physical disabilities, all the way through to general mental health complaints at university, essentially, anything that prevents students from being able to work effectively at university.
A programme designed to help students to travel abroad as part of a university course. Often part of a language course, designed to help students with anything from travel to accommodation. The Erasmus programme has been around since 1987.
These generally tend to vary for university-to-university, but they have the same basic premise, which is that if you find yourself affected by ill health or you are affected by a bereavement or some such issue, then you are excused for work until a later date. It is unlikely to affect your final result.
These are people that mark your work outside of university. This ensures that your mark is fair and is not done with prior knowledge of the student themselves, which can be an advantage and a disadvantage.
This is a course that aims to get students fast-tracked through their course. A Fast-Track course is not really a course that you can select, it is a category of degree, that can apply to normal undergraduate degrees, Foundation degrees or even to a Master’s degree.
This really is just to see if you’re paying any international tuition fees or any domestic fees as you go a long through university. Basically, if you are part of a programme (Like Erasmus) that studies abroad, you may (But not always) be susceptible to potential fees.
First Class Honours:
The highest honour that you can achieve in a degree at university. This means that you have achieved over a grade point of 70 throughout your studies. This means that you will achieve a 1:1. Otherwise known as a first.
A foundation degree is a little bit different for your Honours degree (See below). A Foundation degree will have lower grade requirements, allowing students to study a degree with weaker grades. Once the Foundation degree has been completed, students then have two options; 1 – continue with the Foundation degree and graduate with that particular level degree or 2 – transfer over to a honours degree and complete to course with a higher valued degree (we would recommend this if you feel confident with your studies).
A chance for fellow freshers to meet each other. The idea of fresher’s week is that people get to know each other and get to experience the university that they have turned up to or the town/city that they are now in. You’ll need to get stuck in if you want to appreciate it fully! Fresher’s Week will also give you the chance to talk to 2nd and 3rd years, so they are great people to talk to as they have already experienced the university life already!
As predicted, a course that is the polar opposite of a part-time course. This is a degree that has a timetable on every day of the week. Weekends are unlikely, but some universities have been known to do that, too!
An F1 Visa is a nonimmigrant visa for students who are looking to study in the United States. Studying or applying for an American university as an international student is impossible without an F1 Visa. An F1 Visa is also needed if you plan on attending a private school, high school, college or any other training programme or education provider, it is not exclusive to those that are looking to study at university.
This is a year that is often taken before the beginning of university and after the completion of secondary education. You can work, retake exams, volunteer, explore the world or anything else that you can imagine!
An assessment that requires students to work with other students to form a group. Can be a stressful time for students, but also a very communal one, there are mixed reactions to this, you are marked for your own individual contribution and your ability to collaborate, too.
Universities have a legal requirement to hold some money at the university that can help students that are struggling financially, this is a Hardship Fund. This is different from a bursary, however, as this is reserved specifically for particular circumstances, like students that are coming from low-income backgrounds or if the student has any disabilities or if they have any dependents.
HEFCE stands for the Higher Education Funding Council for England. This is a company that is made with the express purpose of providing the highest possible standards for students that are in higher education.
Higher National Certificate (HNC):
Higher National Diploma (HND):
This is a house that is shared by university students. This will often compromise of students that are usually doing the same course, or a course related to one another (Though this is not always the case) and is not supervised by the university, either.
When you apply to university, you are expected to have a first choice (See above) and an Insurance Choice. An Insurance Choice is there as “insurance” to ensure that you have a university to go to if your ideal choice does not work out for you.
An International Baccalaureate is an internationally recognised qualification and every educational institute in the world accepts an International Baccalaureate, as the grading systems and the marking criteria are universal, and not specified to certain countries, although the curriculum may be.
Integrated Master’s Degree:
This is a normal degree, in essence, however, it will be followed by an additional year’s study at a level similar to that of a Master’s Degree. A very popular degree, especially if you want to have your degree expand further.
A joint degree is a degree that allows you to study more than one subject and then amalgamate them into one single qualification. A joint degree allows you to explore more than one subject at university.
A J1 Visa (or the J1 Exchange Visitor Visa) is a non-immigrant visa that is offered by the United States to students that are studying in the country as part of an exchange programme. Specifically, programmes that promote cultural exchange or focus on medical or business training are given preferential treatment with the visa.
Live Deadline Assignment:
The LNAT (The Law National Aptitude Test) is an aptitude test which universities ask students to sit prior to application, to see if they are suitable to study a Law degree at their university.
Many students who apply to study Law at university may not already have any formal qualifications in this area and may not have any experience with a course this demanding, so the university will ask you to study this as a way of seeing if you’re good enough to come to their university.
A grant aimed at students with a lower-income than other students, and whose circumstances require help
A Maintenance Loan pays for your living costs, the loan is then paid directly into your bank account at the start of every university term. A Maintenance Loan is dependent on the household income and is dictated by the amount coming into the household of those that are applying for them.
A Mature Student is someone who is over the age of twenty-one when they begin university. There is a fair amount of dispute over the age, but officially, universities consider all those over twenty-one to be a Mature Student.
An NHS Bursary is a bursary afforded to students who are looking to study a job that will eventually be in the NHS.
Nineteen Ninety-Four Group (1994 Group):
This is eleven research-intensive universities that have formed a sort of coalition together since 1994. It is made up of some of the very best universities in the UK and includes the following eleven universities:
- University of East Anglia (UEA)
- Birkbeck, University of London
- Royal Holloway, University of London
- University of Sussex
- University of Essex
- Goldsmiths, University of London
- SOAS University of London
- Institute of Education, University of London
- University of Leicester
- Lancaster University
- Loughborough University
A day when prospective students may come and visit the university and explore the facilities, speak to lecturers, gain an insight into the university’s history and the codes and conduct. We recommend that you attend as many Open Days as possible in order to gauge a feeling of the university before agreeing to join.
A degree that doesn’t have the same hours as a full-time degree. With a Part-Time degree, the hours are usually around twenty-one hours-a-week and lectures usually take place in the evening, much like Night School.
A statement written by you to essentially, ahem, sell yourself to a university and inform them why you would be a good fit for both the course and the university, itself. Submitted onto UCAS and it is written between 3,000 and 4,000 characters (Including spaces).
A PhD is a Doctor of Philosophy. Despite its namesake, it is not only related to a Philosophy degree. The qualification is often used for people that are looking to gain jobs as scientists or teachers or a career similar to this. PhD’s can only offer by universities and are only offered in certain subject fields. It is also known as a Doctorate as well. A PhD or Doctorate will also increase your chances of finding more popular jobs, too!
This is also the same as a “Sandwich Year”. This is where you take a year out of your chosen university course and begin working at a placement. This is not the same as taking a gap year or mitigating or deferring.
Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) Degree:
A PGCE degree is a higher education course that is run in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, it is a course that is aimed at students that are looking to become teachers. The degree itself is a good choice for those that are looking to complete a Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).
These are exactly the same as normal halls, but more expensive. These will have everything for ensuites, larger communal areas for the students and with more open space as the halls will most likely be larger.
Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA):
This is an agency that is aimed with the sole focus of improving higher education standards for students in the UK. This is by advising universities and informing them of any issues that may cause a dip in quality.
This is a group of twenty-four universities that have very high academic standards and have been renowned for some time, in their various fields. The group is made up of universities that have always achieved consistently high grades. The universities included in the group are:
- University of Birmingham
- University of Bristol
- University of Cambridge
- Cardiff University
- University of Durham
- University of Edinburgh
- University of Exeter
- University of Glasgow
- Imperial College London
- Kings College London
- University College London
- University of Leeds
- University of Liverpool
- London School of Economics & Political Science (UoL)
- University of Manchester
- Newcastle University
- University of Nottingham
- University of Oxford
- Queen Mary, University of London
- Queen’s, University Belfast
- University of Sheffield
- University of Southampton
- University of Warwick
- University of York
A Sandwich Course is a university degree that includes a placement of some kind. A placement is a where you spend time out in the big bad world of work. You will be expected to work in the industry related to your course. For instance, if you are studying a Sports Science degree at university, then you will be expected to do a work placement at a company related to your degree.
No, we’re not talking about the school that you’re so used to. This is a university classification for certain university classes, such as School of Medicine. It is a specialised way of studying certain subjects.
Scottish Awards Agency (SAAS):
The SAAS is the Scottish Awards Agency Scotland. These are the people that are in charge of the money that you will be spending when you’re at university and the like. The SAAS will be tuition fees for eligible students, regardless of their current financial situation, of course, ineligible students will face a slightly harder time of it.
A seminar can have a different connotation than you may be used to. When people usually talk about seminars, people often think of people speaking to a large room and teaching the people in attendance. This is not the case with the university context of the word. The university context of the word is that students sit down in a room with their course tutor and discuss the course topics and engage in discussion. This may also be known as a tutorial group.
Social Work Bursaries (SWB):
A bursary that is open to social work students that do not receive funding from their employer.
Special Support Grant (SSG):
A Special Support Grant is eligible for people for all around the country and it is mainly aimed at you if you’re on income support or if you’re on housing support, it can also be used for people if you are a single parent or if you have a disability.
If you have any issues you go to your Student Advisor. A Student Advisor is there to facilitate you with any issues that you may have and any problems that you may be encountering. And they will always be able to help you out with university and personal issues.
This is there to help students to pay for any big expenses at university. Whether they be tuition, living expenses and books. It does also have interest rates included, too, not paid back until you are earning over a certain threshold or past the thirty-year cut-off.
Student Accommodations Office:
The Student Accommodations Office will be a part of any university and will handle any and all accommodation queries that you may have. They will have a lot of different places for you to stay, whether they be flats or houses or they be student halls themselves. The Student Accommodations Office will need to be contacted as soon as you have been accepted to university, as only then will you be able to sort out your housing situation.
The Student Union is a communal area complete with a bar and other activities that will be arranged by your student representatives. Your student union body is there to ensure that students are well represented and will help as much as they can with any issues that you are facing.
This is a place where you will deliver your completed assignments. This can be a physical drop box for your lecturer or a digital one online, sometimes you will use a software like TurnItIn (See below).
A grant for those that are studying a PGCE Degree or any other form of a teaching qualificiation who requires financial aid.
Tier 4 Visa:
A Tier 4 Visa is a points-based system used by the UK government to award international students a visa. The name for the process is also the name of the visa itself and it can be renewed if there are any changes in your educational circumstances, such as changing university or changing courses.
Travel Grace Period:
A Travel Grace Period is a period of time in which the student may take up to thirty days to travel around the United States. During the thirty-day period, you are no longer under the jurisdiction of the J-Visa and are instead under the jurisdiction of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
A Travel Grant is designed to help you to travel. It is aimed to help students that have placements that are part of their university course and travel is too much, so a Travel Grant will be opened for you, so don’t let a course having a placement put you off with the extra travelling costs.
Two-Year degrees are also known as Accelerated degrees. A Two-Year degree does exactly what it says on the side of the tin, it is a degree that is studied in two years, rather than the usual three-year undergraduate degree. They’re not too dissimilar in terms of content, it’s just that the course and it’s content is condensed into a shorter time period.
The person who will teach the course that you’re on. They may not teach you specifically but they will be in charge of the university course itself in some capacity. They will meet you every so often to gauge your progress on your course and how you’re coping with university life in general.
Your application to UCAS.
This is sort of like a careers day, in that over three-hundred different institutions (Universities and colleges alike) will appear and will provide prospective university students with the information that they need about their institution. Gap year companies and recruiters have also been known to attend.
Upper Second-Class Honours:
This is a way to give you an idea how much a certain module, assignment or an academic year will be worth for your overall grade. For instance, examinations may make up 45% of your overall grade and the rest is in modules and assignments in a 25% and 30% split.
This is where you or indeed the university themselves, have withdrawn your application for the university in question before the course starts.
Women Careers Foundation:
A grant that is for female students that are over the age of twenty-one (Although exceptions have been known to happen for younger students that are studying a Music degree or Dance degree (Or Musical Theatre degree ) at university)