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Government - Educational

Educational jargon

Access to Learning bursaries

Full time students who may need extra financial help can be awarded Access to Learning bursaries. They are assessed on individual needs and paid according to need. It is possible to apply for these before your course starts.

Access course

Access courses are designed to prepare mature students without other qualifications for entry into university or college and to provide the underpinning knowledge and skills needed to progress on to a Degree or Higher Diploma course.

Accreditation of Prior Learning

For Adult Learners, this scheme can be used by universities to recognise your experiences in work and voluntary situations and qualifications you already have. Prior learning can be used either as an entry qualification or may be counted directly towards an HE qualification.

Admissions Tutors

Each department or faculty will have someone who is responsible for application forms and other enquiries about the admissions process.


People who have graduated (i.e. completed a course and gained a qualification) from a particular university are described as alumni. Being an alumnus can give you ongoing access to Careers Services. Most universities have active alumni associations that enable past students to keep in touch with each other and the university.

Athletic Union (Sports Union)

This is usually a part of the main Students Union and is organised by students to provide a wide range of sporting opportunities (from tennis to kickboxing) that will suit people of a whole range of abilities. Competitions are organised between universities too.

Bachelors degree

A bachelors degree (sometimes also called a first degree) is the qualification you receive after successfully completing a three (or four) year programme of degree-level study at university, or college. You should usually complete a bachelors degree before going on to postgraduate study.


This usually refers to the buildings and surroundings of a university where the university is the principal or sole occupier of an area. Many of the Universities founded in the 1960's and built outside towns and cities are called "Campus Universities" e.g. Lancaster, York. Universities where the buildings are more integrated with the city or town such as Liverpool and Manchester do not have readily definable "campuses".

Careers Services

These provide a very important service for all students whatever stage they are at in their course. They can help in terms of providing advice and guidance about a vast range of career possibilities which students might want to consider once they have completed their course. Many universities are also able to provide information about opportunities for part-time and temporary jobs during their time as a student. Often future employers will visit universities to recruit students for employment and the Careers Service will have details of these "milk round" events

CATS -Credit Accumulation Transfer Scheme

Sometimes it is possible to gain credit for completing parts of a degree. If you have already studied to HND level, on a degree programme or for relevant professional qualifications before you start your degree, you may be able to transfer credits under the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme, CATS. This can allow greater flexibility and means that if you change course, move to another institution or take a break from study or change from full to part time, you can take the credits with you.

Childcare grant

Full-time students with children may be able to get help with the cost of childcare. The amount payable depends on household income and actual childcare costs. The maximum grant available is 85% of weekly childcare costs up to a maximum of £148.75 per week (for one child) or up to a maximum of £255 per week. (for two or more children) This financial help does not have to be repaid. Childcare payments are paid direct to the registered childcare provider.


This is the system operated by UCAS to allocate students places on courses that still have vacancies after the publication of the A level results. Although it is often for those who have not made the grades required by their chosen universities, it can also allow last minute applications to new institutions. For more info click here

Curriculum 2000

Anyone studying post-16 courses after September 2000 will study a broader range of courses. This is part of the New Qualifications Framework, more commonly known as Curriculum 2000. There is now greater parity between vocational and academic qualifications in terms of their recognition and assessment and students can mix academic and vocational subjects. Additionally students can acquire Key Skills in Communication, Application of Number and ICT.


The Dean is a senior member of university staff who is responsible for all matters concerning the operation of a faculty, including teaching.


This is the amount of money that many students find they need to repay at the end of their studies. Most students do leave university with some debt - either to the Student Loans Company or to a bank. Student Loans do not have to be repaid until you reach a certain level of income - the amount varies each year according to average earnings. Bank loans often have to be repaid on graduating.


A degree (also called a Bachelor degree or an undergraduate degree) is a qualification awarded by a university after the satisfactory completion of the equivalent of 3 or more years of full-time study at university level. Foundation degrees may be awarded after 2 years of study.

Dependants' Grant

If you are a lone parent or if you have another member of your family who is financially dependent on you and you are under 55 you may be eligible for financial help. You may be eligible for up to £2335 per year. The amount depends on household income. This help is non-repayable.

Diploma of Higher Education

A qualification that may awarded by some universities, after 2 years of study.


A long report,which can be anything from 5,000 to 40,000 words, describing the results of original study and research. A dissertation can be submitted as part of the assessment on a first degree, but is more frequently submitted in order to achieve a higher degree (such as a Master of Science).


An elective is a course (or subject of study) freely selected by the student at university or college. On some courses an elective is a period of course-related work experience.


Essays are pieces of written work, which are submitted by students to the university and is one form of assessment. Essays usually have a set number of words (depending on the subject or tutor but often around 2000 words) and students are expected to answer a question, showing that they have done some research and are able to discuss the issues clearly and logically. Essays are more common with some subjects than others such as Science subjects.


A faculty is a grouping of academic departments that are grouped together for teaching, research and administrative purposes. For example Faculty of Science, Faculty of Law, etc. Sometimes they are also called Schools e.g. School of Health Studies etc


Further Education. Further Education refers to post 16 education which can be offered at colleges, institutes of education, schools and in the workplace. A very wide range of vocational and academic qualifications can be studied.


Finals is the name given to the final exams taken by students at the end of their study. In the past nearly all of the assessment for a degree was based on the outcome of these exams. Most degrees today rely far less on the results from finals and tend to use assessment throughout the duration of the course.

Foundation degree

A foundation degree is a work-related qualification designed together with employers. It lasts two years full-time, or three years if taken as a sandwich course. Studying for a foundation degree is a way of combining academic knowledge with job-related training. You can progress from a foundation degree to an honours degree at university or college in the same subject. To find out more about foundation degrees in Greater Manchester click here.


Students beginning their time at a university are often referred to as Freshers and a Freshers Week may be organised to introduce them to university life. This can include social events as well as introduction to libraries and other resources.

Gap year

Time spent travelling or working usually after finishing A level, or equivalent, studies and before starting a degree at university or college. A gap year is a chance to gain work experience and additional knowledge and skills that employers value. Some students choose to take a gap year after completing their first degree and before postgraduate studies.


A graduate is a person who has been awarded a degree from a university or college. While you are studying for a degree you will be known as an undergraduate. After the award of a degree you become a graduate. If you undertake further study after your degree (eg. Master's degree or PhD) you will be known as a postgraduate student.


Halls of residence are blocks of student accommodation, which either provide meals or self-catering facilities. Priority for places in halls is usually given to first year students. There are usually a variety of other facilities like laundrettes, common rooms, TVs and cleaners. Sometimes there are shared amenities such as bathrooms and showers but some do have en-suite facilities.

HE - Higher Education

Higher Education usually refers to post 18 study at a higher level. Most higher education students study for HNDs or foundation degrees or undergraduate degrees or postgraduate degrees. Higher Education usually follows on from study at Sixth Form College, a sixth form at school or a College of Further Education.

Independent Student

You are classed as an independent student if one of the following apply :

You are 25 or over before the start of the academic year for which you are applying.

You have no living parents.

You have been married for at least two years before the start of the academic year for which you are applying for support. Your LEA will need to see your marriage certificate.

You have supported yourself for at least three years before the start of the academic year of your course. This includes any time when you:

· were in paid full-time employment;

· received income support or unemployment benefit or Jobseeker's Allowance or were registered for unemployment;

· held a state studentship or similar award, for example from a research council;

· received incapacity benefits, invalidity pension or maternity allowance;

· received training under any scheme for the unemployed or other funding by any state authority or agency; or

· could not support yourself out of earnings because you had to care for a person under 18 who depended on you.


The Local Authority (Local Education Authority or LEA) - mainly responsible for education for those up to 18 years old - they have a Finance or Student Awards Section which deals with request for funding for people living in that local area who wish to go to university.


A lecture is usually a formal presentation of ideas and information by a member of the academic staff to a fairly large number of students. Many lectures are accompanied with student handouts, although you will generally be encouraged to make your own notes too. In recent times lectures have become less formal in many universities with lecturers encouraging active participation from students.

Lecturer or Tutor

Lecturers and tutors are members of university staff who are responsible for the teaching of university courses and in helping students to learn. Traditionally lecturers deliver lectures and tutors hold tutorials for smaller groups, but now the same person often does the two types of teaching.

Mature Students

Generally a mature student is a student who does not enter Higher Education directly, or after a gap-year, from School or college. Mature students often have wider experience of the workplace and life as a whole, or have spent some time away from study. Specific definitions of "mature students" may be applied when financial help is sought to support their studies.

Modular Courses

Some courses are divided into modules and students are required to pass a number of modules to complete a degree programme. To achieve a degree you will usually have to study a number of compulsory and optional modules.


If you are ever unhappy about anything while you are a student, many universities have a Nightline service. Nightline is a confidential listening and information service run by students, for students. The aim of Nightline is to allow all students to talk about any aspect of their lives they wish to talk about and / or find information on any issues causing them concern. Nightline is entirely student run and all of the volunteers receive training in helping other students to cope with a whole range of issues.


Many students spend time in the university library reading and researching for essays. As well as books the library contains specialist periodicals or journals which are published on a regular basis and contain articles written mainly by university researchers. These are a useful and important source of information.

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

A person who has a degree and has undertaken years of research and has published their work and been assessed, may be awarded a PhD and can use the title of Doctor. This is a specialist degree that is usually awarded for at least 3 years of supervised, but original research work. All research students starting Ph.D. research would expect to hold a good degree first. A person with a Ph.D. degree uses the title "Dr".


Plagiarism is when someone uses someone else's writing or ideas and pretends that they are their own. Universities are very keen that students should not cheat in this way and so if you do any research then you should always reference your source of information.

Postgraduate Courses

Courses at a higher level that are usually only available for those who have already passed their degree. Postgraduate study can lead to a Masters degree or a Postgraduate Certificate or Diploma.


Usually one of the senior academic staff within a department who becomes a professor as a result of specialist research and teaching. Some large departments will have more than one professor each with their own subject specialism.


A prospectus is a booklet (or CD-ROM or website) which gives the details of courses, activities and student life at a university or college. A university prospectus is normally designed to give information to anyone who wishes to study with that university and can be obtained from the Admissions Office.

Reading week

A period during a semester or term when students can concentrate on their individual learning and research. During these weeks there are usually no formal teaching sessions.


Redbrick is a term that is often applied to city universities usually established before 1992. The Universities of Manchester, Liverpool, Sheffield, Leeds, Newcastle and Birmingham are some of the universities that would be included in this group of universities.


Research is a key feature of most university courses. Research involves collecting information about a subject from a variety of sources including books, journals and the Internet or by carrying out experiments or talking to people and analysis of this information.

Sandwich course

Sandwich courses are degree courses which include an extra year 'sandwiched' between the years of study. During the extra year the student usually goes on work experience with an organisation or department in their subject field. If the degree is in languages, the extra year will usually involve a trip abroad. (eg. A sandwich course in French may involve a year living and working in France.)

SCR - Senior Common Room

In the same way that all students can belong to the Junior Common Room, all staff can belong to the Senior Common Room. This may be a particular room or can just be a term that describes a collection of staff.


Some universities divide the student year into 3 terms, some divide it into 2 semesters. A semester is half a study year.


A group of students meet to discuss a subject with a tutor; usually someone (or a group) prepares a paper  for discussion and shares the research they have done and their opinions on the subject. Seminars are more interactive than a lecture and are often student led.

Societies (Soc)

Clubs where like minded people can share their interests, beliefs, religion or sport.


Some students are given money by a business that may wish to employ that student in the future. Often, but not always, these students will be studying a vocational subject such as engineering or business studies.

Student Loans

For more information about student loans click here. There are low interest loans from the government to help students pay their living and study costs while they are at university.

Students Union

Each university will have a Students Union (which will probably be part of the National Union of Students). The Union will represent the interests of students and works in their interest about a whole range of issues. The union can also provide the focal point of student activities.


A points system for entry into Higher Education which takes account of different grades and accomodates a range of different types of qualification. Entry qualifications and grades are calculated together as a tariff points score. Higher Education institutions express their offer of a place at university in terms of a tariff points score rather than as grades (e.g. 180 tariff points rather than three B grade A Levels)

Teacher Training

Teacher Training and financial support for teacher training in England is coordinated by the Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA). Their website is http://www.tda.gov.uk

Postgraduate Teacher Training applications are organised by the Graduate Teacher Training Registry (GTTR). Their website is http://www.gttr.ac.uk

Tuition fees

Tuition fees for full-time courses are set by the Government and paid to the university directly by the student or by the local authority if the student is eligible for fees support. Depending on your (or your family's) circumstances the entire fees may be paid for you by the Local Education Authority. The tuition fees for part-time courses will vary according to the length of the course and the university.

Tutor or Lecturer

Members of staff responsible for teaching students in universities and for assisting students with their learning


A small group meets to discuss with each other and their tutor the work they are doing and more general course issues. Tutorials can also be on an individual basis with a student discussing their work with a tutor.


Pronounced Yew-Cass. The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service for the UK. All students applying for full-time courses apply through UCAS. For more information check out the main website at http://www.ucas.com/


Someone studying either full or part time for a first degree including Bachelor of Arts (BA),Bachelor of Science (BSc), Bachelor of Education (Bed), LLB(Law) etc

University Credit Accumulation Transfer Scheme (CATS)

Sometimes it is possible to gain credit for completing parts of a degree. If you have already studied to HND level, on a degree programme or for relevant professional qualifications before you start your degree, you may be able to transfer credits under the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme, CATS. This can allow greater flexibility and means that if you change course, move to another institution or take a break from study or change from full to part time, you can take the credits with you.

viva voce (often abbreviated to viva)

A viva voce is an examination in which the student has a spoken interview with an examiner, as opposed to a written examination. Some university courses, especially in languages, will test students knowledge with a combination of written and viva voce examinations.


Vocational learning is training directly related to work or employment. Vocational courses prepare learners for particular careers, occupations or trades and may involve a substantial element of work-experience. Apprenticeships are a form of vocational training.





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