Jargon buster

Struggling to get your head around all the uni lingo? Find out what some common confusing words really mean. 

Assignment – this is a piece of work you must finish and hand in – on or before a deadline – to be graded. Uni assignments are given much more importance than the homework you do at school.

Campus university – a uni where everything is one place; the lecture theatres, halls of residence, libraries and admin buildings. The University of Birmingham is a campus university.

Clearing – run by UCAS, this places students who don’t have a uni place, or who didn’t get the qualifications needed to study their subject, into a more suitable uni or on another course.

Dissertation – a very long essay (between 10,000 to 80,000 words!) that counts towards the final marks for your degree.

Fresher – a student in their first year; they’re still ‘fresh’!

Freshers’ Week – sometimes called ‘Intro Week’ is your first week at uni, and is packed with events and entertainment to help you settle in.

Graduate – someone who has successfully completed their degree.

Honours degree – most Bachelors degrees are three-year honours degrees, but you can earn a degree with or without honours depending on how well you do in your final assessments.

International Baccalaureate – an exam, similar to A-levels, that is recognised as a qualification by universities around the world.

Lecture – a talk given by a member of academic staff or an expert in their subject about their ideas or theories, often in a lecture theatre.

Masters degree – once you’ve done a Bachelors honours degree, you can go on to study for second qualification, known as a Masters. This is usually for one year.

Sandwich course – this is a four-year degree course, but you spend one year on a work experience placement in between studying.

Tuition fees – this is the actual cost of your course at university. Tuition fees are paid by the government to your uni (you still need to pay them back), while most students also need a maintenance loan to cover their living costs.

Undergraduate – someone who is studying their first degree. When you have completed your degree, you become a post-graduate.

Still got questions? Download the complete A-Z from our junior prospectus.


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