A-Z Uni translator

As you explore your university options you’ll come across some new words, so it helps to know what people are talking about!

We’ve translated them for you.

A former student of a particular school/college/university 

Money given to you as a student, due to financial or personal circumstances, in order to help fund your university tuition fees. Bursaries do not need to be paid back.

Contact time
Contact time is the time you’ll spend with members of staff, such as lectures, seminars or tutorials, as well as during lab sessions, studio time and workshops.

Each module you study is assigned a number of credits according to the amount of time needed to study it. Usually each year of study is worth 120 credits.

This is a large-scale research project usually completed on a topic chosen by you. It is often, but not always, the main form of assessment in your final year of study.

Elective modules
Optional units of study which may be taken outside of the subject area you’re studying.

Foundation year
These are often studied by mature students, or students that didn’t meet the entry requirements of their course, in order to prepare them for degree-level study.

Eg. BSc (Hons) or BA (Hons), this is short for Honours degree and shows that the qualification is level 6. You may not be awarded an honours degree if you don’t pass or study a sufficient amount of the course.

Independent learning
Unsupervised time where you’re expected to do private study, including working on assignments set by tutors, revising information or reading to increase your knowledge of the subject.

Joint honours
This is when two subjects are studied, either evenly split (if the course has “and” in the title) or unevenly split (if the course has “with” in the title).

In a lecture, a member of staff will present information to a large group of students, often more than 50, usually lasting for one or two hours. Students usually sit in rows and take notes while they listen to the speaker.

These are individual units within an overall degree course. Modules can be different at each university, even if the course has the same name, so it’s worth you checking to see exactly what’s covered.

Sandwich courses
These are courses that include a placement year where you’d work for an organisation related to the area of your study, or a year abroad. Usually after your second year of study.

Money given to you, usually due to exceptional academic achievement, in order to help fund your university tuition costs.

A member of staff will lead a small group of students to discuss the topic being studied. You’ll be expected to express your opinion and share your ideas with the group.

Single honours
When only one subject is studied.

Universities and Colleges Application System – the independent charity which manages the applications for Higher Education in the UK. You can apply for up to five courses through UCAS.

UCAS codes
The four characters used to identify a specific course.