Glossary of terms

This table contains a list of commonly used terms that you may not be familiar with.

Glossary of terms
Term  Definition
Alumni Former students of a university.
Bachelor of…   

Arts, Science, Education,

Engineering, etc

An undergraduate degree.
Bursary Contributes towards student fees and/or living costs. Is often means-tested and is non-repayable.
BUCS

 

British Universities & Colleges Sport

Clearing The process where students who do not meet the conditions of their offers may be offered places at other universities. 
Combined honours degree An undergraduate degree on which students study several subject areas (usually three). 
Conditional offer An offer made to an applicant by a university or college, whereby the applicant must fulfil certain criteria before they can be accepted on the relevant course. 
Confirmation When conditional offers that have been accepted by an applicant become unconditional or are declined. Confirmation may be dependant on an applicant’s qualification/exam results or other conditions.
Department Faculties are usually split by subject area into departments or schools. 
Dissertation An essay or report usually of several thousand words on a specific subject that is completed during a course of study, often in the final year. 
Entry profiles Comprehensive information about individual courses and institutions, including statistics and entry requirements. 
Faculty Schools and departments are grouped together into faculties.
Firm offer The offer that a student has accepted as their first offer. 
First First class honours degree – the highest grade available.
Foundation year If a student’s qualifications do not meet the entry requirements for their chosen course (usually a science or engineering subject), they may be able to study a foundation year. If they complete this to the required standard they will be guaranteed a place on the first year of their chosen course.
Fresher First year students are often referred to as freshers.
Graduate  Someone who has successfully completed a degree course and has been awarded their degree.
Graduation  The ceremony where a student is officially awarded their degree and collects their certificate. Sometimes referred to as ‘Congregation’.
Halls of residence  Accommodation blocks with cleaners, heat, light, electricity and a variety of amenities, which can include launderettes, common rooms and TV lounges.
HND  Higher National Diploma – based on vocational studies and generally aimed at preparing students for a particular industry. It can lead to, or count towards, a degree course.
Honours degree  Most degrees are honours degrees and are split into first class honours (or firsts), upper second class or 2.1 (pronounced two-one), lower second class or 2.2 (a two-two) and third class honours, or a third. If a student does badly, but not quite badly enough to fail, they might not get an honours degree, but an ordinary degree instead.
Institution or HEI  A university or college offering higher education courses.
Insurance offer  The offer that a student has accepted as their second choice in case they do not meet the requirements for their firm offer. 
Joint honours  An undergraduate degree on which students study two subjects. 
Lecture One of the main teaching mechanisms of universities. They tend to be larger than a regular school class and less interactive. 
Mature student A mature student is anyone aged 21 or over when they start a university course.
Means-testing  An investigative process undertaken to assess whether or not a student is eligible to qualify for financial assistance from the UK Government. 
NUS  National Union of Students. Provides information about all aspects of student life. 
Personal ID number A 10-digit individual number assigned to an applicant. The number is displayed in the format 123-456-7890.
Point of entry  The applicant’s year of entry to the course, for example, 2 refers to the second year of their course. 
Scholarship  A financial award in recognition of excellence to help support students through university. Awarded purely on merit in areas of academia, music or sport, they do not have to be repaid. 
Seminar A teaching class, overseen by a lecturer. They are similar to tutorials but involve more students. 
Single honours An undergraduate degree on which students study a single subject. 
Student Loans Low interest loans from the Government to help university students pay their living and study costs. 
Tuition fees Tuition fees are set by the Government and paid directly to the university once a student has successfully applied for financial assistance through Student Finance England. 
Tutorial A small group of students who meet up with a tutor to discuss their studies.
UCAS University Colleges and Admissions Service. The service deals with university applications and provides general advice and guidance. 
UCAS Extra UCAS Extra is designed to provide additional choice if a student is not holding any offers through UCAS. It means that students will no longer have to wait until Clearing to seek a place.
Unconditional offer An offer given to a student by a university or college, whereby they have satisfied the criteria and can attend the course. 
Undergraduate A student at a university who has not yet received a degree. 
Unsuccessful The applicant has not been accepted by the university or college concerned. 
Welcome Week This is the first week of the first term of the first year of a student’s university life. It will include lectures, tours and social events. Welcome Week is designed to help them settle in, make friends and find their way around.


 
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