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Uni Terminology Explained

University Terminology for Students 2021/2022

Ever wondered what a certain word at uni meant? Or have you been reading through your course notes and spotted something you weren’t sure of? Well we’ve got a University Term Glossary here for you to browse!

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Admission is the process of allowing someone to take a course at University.

Admission criteria are the set of standards someone must meet in order to gain entry.

Admissions office is responsible for the rules and processes of allowing people entrance to University.

Admission pathways are the different variations of admission criteria that a candidate can choose to persue.

Advance standing is how the University recognises your previous academic study to count as credits towards future study.

Adjustment factors are for those who have exceeded their grade expectations and would like to explore more options while retaining their University place.

Accommodation fees are the costs you have to pay to cover your student accommodation, which will vary based on location, luxuries, and whether you’re in a student house or student halls.

Additional period of study refers to an extension of the registered period of study for doctoral students.

Alternative exam arrangements are for those who need special conditions to take their exams, either for medical or other circumstancves. These can involve private rooms, or additional time.

Assessment is simply a method of evaluating student achievement, and helps to standardise scores across multiple students, usually in the form of exams or coursework.

ATAS (Academic Technology Approval Scheme certificate) is a specific certificate required to study sensitive subjects at the postgrad level, including Biological sciences and Engineering.

Award certificate is the award of your course results, with your score and type of degree where applicable.


Bank letter is a proof from the University used by students to open a student bank account.

Biometric Residence Permit is a document provided by the Home Office ton students as eveidence of their immigration status.

Bursary is a gifted amount of money granted to students coming from less well off families in order to contribute to their University living costs.


Continuing student is a student who is moving from 1 university year to another, ie moving from year 1 to year 2.

Council Tax exemption certificate is a document to prove that you are not eligible for council tax because you are a student.

Counselling Services are support and professional advice for students to turn to during times of need during their time at university.


Data Protection Act 1998 is the act of Parliament defininingdata processing laws.

Diploma supplement is an extra document that details more information about your study during your course.

Dissertation is a very large final document that certain subjects use as final coursework for their final year assessment.

Distance learning is where a course allows your to study from any place at any time using self study.


EEA (European Economic Area) is the area of free movement for people, goods, services and capital within the EU.

Erasmus is a Euro-wide initiative to share information of studies across European countries.

Exam Board is the collection of individuals assigned to oversee and create rules for the exams taken at university.

Examiners are the people who overview exam submissions.

Extensions are additional time periods given to students submitting deadline assessments in certain circumstances.


Faculty could also be described as the departments at a university, such as Arts, Engineering, Medicine, Science, etc.

Financial Support is a student service for those who need help managing their finances.

First sit is the opportunity to retake a module as if it was for the first time, usually because of special circumstances.

Freshers are first year students.

Freshers’ Week is known as the first week (or two weeks) of the university term, which is usually filled with special events and nights out.

Funding application through SLC is the process of applying for your student loan.


Graduate in absentia are for people who graduate without attending their graduation ceremony.

Graduate transcript is a list of all the marks achieved at university.

Graduation is the ceremony where you are awarded your certificate for your final degree.

Graduation deferral is where you apply to have your graduation ceremony another time.

Graduand is a student who has completed their course but has not yet received their official graduation certificate.


Halls of Residence are large blocks of accommodation that are usually used by first year students.

HESA (Higher Education Statistics Agency) is the organisation that collects data about higher education in the UK.

Home Office is the ministerial department that controls law and order of domestic affairs.


Information Commons is the official university library of the University of Sheffield.


Leaver’s transcript is a report of marks from a student who did not complete their full degree at their university.

Living costs are the costs you incur not including your course fees or accommodation, which would include things like food, transport, and social life.


Outcome of assessment is the process of delivering exam results to students.


Pass degree is usually reserved for those that have failed their final exams, and are offered retakes in order to attain a pass degree.

Plagiarism is copying someone else’s work and passing it off as your own.

Provisional transcript is a copy of exam results for current students.


Reassessment fee is the cost you must incur to take exam retakes if you have failed previously, and thus allowing you to continue the following year.

Registration during Thesis Pending Period is for full-time research students and can allow them exemptions from council tax and full use of university facilities.

Registration with the University is what all students must do before they begin their studies, usually during the first week of the academic year.

Repeat Semester is where a student is allowed to repeat a module or whole year of study due to external circumstances.


Student Charter is the official relationship between the university and its students.

Student Hardship Fund is setup to provide additional financial support to students in need.

Study abroad is for those students who wish to spend some time in another country during their studies.

SU (Students’ Union) is an organisation run for students by students, and is the home of societies, events, bars, restaurants and nights out.


Termination of course is where a student is no longer allowed to progress to the next stage of their course.

Terms and semesters are ways to divide up the time of your academic years. Semesters are usually described as two sections, either Autumn or Spring. Terms are usually described in three sections, Autumn, Spring and Summer.

Tuition fees are the costs of attending a course at university.

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