Jargon buster

Below is a list of words and terms associated with university study.

FAQ list

Academic adviser: Every undergraduate student at Kent is assigned an Academic adviser to support their academic and professional development and encourage the development of graduate attributes and skills. Students can find their Academic adviser by logging in to the Student Data System.

Academic integrity: the attitude of approaching academic work honestly. (See Plagiarism)

Academic school: Each student at Kent belongs to an academic school who is responsible for their learning and teaching. 

Academic year: The University year at Kent runs from September through to June. See term dates.

Alumni: Former students of a university. 

BACS transfer: Electronic payment from one bank account to another.

Bachelor's Degree: A bachelor's degree is the qualification achieved after successfully completing a three (or four) year programme of degree-level study. Depending on the course, a student can be awarded a Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Engineering (BEng) or Bachelor of Science (BSc).

BTEC: BTEC National Diploma qualifications are usually the equivalent of three A level courses - often based in practical fields. They are graded Distinction, Merit, and Pass.

BUCS: British Universities & Colleges Sport. The national governing body for higher education sport in the UK.

Bursary: Contributes towards student living costs. Is often means-tested and is non-repayable.

Campus university: all facilities are based on one site (accommodation, teaching, students' union, sports centre etc)

Clearing: The process where students who do not meet the conditions of their offers may be offered places at other universities.

Combined honours: An undergraduate degree course that involves several subject areas (usually three)

Conditional Offer: An offer dependent on students reaching certain targets (eg 3 'A' grades at A level)

Confirmation: When conditional offers that have been accepted by an applicant become unconditional or are declined. Confirmation may be dependent on an applicant’s qualification/exam results or other conditions.

Degree classification: the overall grade an undergraduate degree is given.

Deferred entry: A student can apply for a university place but request that they start it the following year, thus deferring entry. 

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.

Employability: a combination of skills and attributes that makes a student employable and successful in their chosen career (See Grad goals)

Entry profiles: Comprehensive information about individual courses and institutions, including statistics and entry requirements.

Entry requirements: The required grades or qualifications a student needs to gain entrance to university. 

Extra-curricular: activities that are outside the academic requirements of the course (eg membership of a club or society).

Firm offer: The offer that a student has accepted as their first choice.

First: First class honours degree - the highest grade attainable

Foundation year: If a student’s qualifications are not in the right subjects or at the right grades to meet the entry requirements for their chosen course (usually a science or engineering course), they may be able to do one year’s foundation study. If they complete this to the required standard they will be guaranteed a place on the first year of their chosen course

Freshers: First year students are sometimes referred to as 'Freshers'.

Graduand: students attending a ceremony, who are due to graduate.

Graduate: Someone who has successfully completed a degree course and been awarded their degree.

Graduation: The ceremony where a student is officially awarded their degree and collects their certificate. Sometimes referred to as ‘Congregation’.

HESA: Higher Education Statistics Agency. 

Halls of Residence: Accommodation blocks which offer part-catered or self-catered options.

HNC/HND: Higher National Certificate/Higher National Diploma. 

Honours Degree (Hons): Most degrees are split into first class honours (firsts), upper second class or 2.i (pronounced ‘two-one’), lower-second class or 2.ii (a ‘two-two’) and third class honours, or a third.

Honours degree with a foundation year: for students who do not have the qualifications, study skills or English language ability for direct entry.

Inclusive Learning Plans (ILPs): Produced by Student Support and Wellbeing. ILPs specify reasonable adjustments which will enable students to have appropriate arrangements for their programme of study, assessments and exams (See Specific Learning Difficulties)

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.

Integrated Master's:
A four-year programme which combines undergraduate and postgraduate study into a single course.

Internship: Supervised, practical work experience. Can be paid or unpaid.

Intermitting: A process where students can take time out from their studies for personal, medical or financial reasons. This must be approved by the university.

Joint Honours: An honours degree where two subjects are studied on a 50:50 basis

Kitchenette: Some part-catered university accommodation will have a small kitchen, known as a kitchenette. These are usually equipped with a microwave, kettle and a fridge.

Lecture: One of the main teaching mechanisms of universities. They tend to be larger than a regular school class and less interactive.

Loan: See Maintenance loan and Tuition fee loan

Maintenance loan: Provided by the government to help with living costs. These loans are partially assessed on household income.

Major/minor honours: the majority of study is in one subject and the minority in another. For example, Law with a language.

Mature Student: Students who are over 21 when they start their course.

Means-testing: A process undertaken to assess if a student is eligible for financial assistance from the UK government.

Mitigating circumstances ('Concessions'): These are unforeseen, unpreventable circumstances which negatively affect a student's performance in assessed work. 

If your son or daughter thinks they may have grounds to apply for mitigation of extenuating circumstances they should speak to the student support team in their academic school.

Module: Courses at Kent are divided into a number of modules (eg Stand Up Comedy is a module offered on the BA Drama and Theatre). Each module carries a credit rating of 15, 30 or occasionally 45 credits.

National Student Survey (NSS): A survey completed by final year undergraduate students who are asked to evaluate different aspects of their course including teaching, facilities and assessment methods. It is an excellent resource for assessing a university as it is based on actual student experience.

National Unions of Students (NUS): A national organisation that represents students' interests.

Online enrolment:  Enrolment enables the University of Kent to gather essential information about your son or daughter, their programme of study, and if they are entitled to receive money from the Student Loans Company.

They will need to complete online enrolment before they arrive. We'll send them an email letting them know when online enrolment is open. We usually start sending these emails from early July. (See Registration)

Open Days: Open Days are a great opportunity for students (and their parents/carers) to look around a university and speak to staff and students. 

Ordinary Degree: Another term sometimes used to describe an undergraduate degree which is not at honours level.

Personal ID: A 10-digit individual number assigned to an applicant by UCAS. The number is displayed in the format 123-456-7890.

Plagiarism: the practice of taking someone else's work or ideas and passing them off as your own. Plagiarism is a form of academic misconduct and is taking very seriously by the University. (See Academic integrity)

Point of entry: The applicant’s year of entry to the course, for example, 2 refers to the second year of the course.

Quality Assurance Agency (QAA): A government agency which is given the task to assess quality and standards of higher education provision. It assesses universities and scores them according to their findings. See also Research Excellence Framework (REF).

Registration: Your son or daughter must register to become a member of the University of Kent. Registration takes place over Arrivals Weekend and Welcome Week. In order to register, they must have already enrolled online. Registration is confirmation that they have taken up their place, commenced their programme of study and collected their KentOne card. (See Online enrolment)

Research Excellence Framework (REF): The Research Excellence Framework (REF) assesses the quality of research in universities and colleges in the UK. See also Quality Assurance Agency QAA.

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.

Semester: Similar to school 'terms' and how the academic year is structured.

Seminar: A teaching class, overseen by a lecturer. They are similar to tutorials but involve more students.

Single Honours: An honours degree course during which a student studies a single subject.

Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD): Support for Dyscalculia, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia and ADHD.

Students' Union: A democratic body, with officers elected by students, who represent the views of the students to the university.

Transcript: Official statement containing a student’s module results.

Tuition fees: Tuition fees are set by the Government and paid to universities directly once a student has successfully applied for financial assistance via Student Finance England.

Tutor: Members of staff responsible for teaching and assisting students with learning. 

Tutorial: Tutorials can be on an individual or group basis, where students discuss their work with a tutor. 

UCAS: Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, responsible for university applications and providing general advice and guidance.

UCAS Extra: UCAS Extra is designed to provide additional choice if a student is not holding any offers through UCAS. 

Unconditional Offer: Unconditional offers are often used when a student has already taken exams and achieved the required grades, as it is not dependent on reaching any specified targets. 

Undergraduate: Student studying for a first 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 career. It will include lectures, tours and social events. Welcome Week is designed to help them settle in, make friends and find their way around. It's also sometimes referred to as 'Freshers' Week'.

Withdrawal: permanently leaving university.

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