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HE Glossary

A list of words and phrases that you meet hear or see during your university life.

A levels

A levels are examinations in particular subjects taken in England and Wales, usually at the age of 18 after high school. They are often used for university entry.

Academic staff

Academic staff are lecturers, supervisors and researchers who are concerned with the study and teaching of the different subjects in the university. They are distinguished from administrative staff.

Aims

The aims of a course are what the course should teach you.

Alumnus/Alumni/Alumna/Alumnae

Alumnus/Alumni/Alumna/Alumnae refer to someone who has left university after completing their studies (male/male plural/female/female plural).

ASDA

ASDA is one of the big chains of supermarkets in the UK.

Asian

On various university forms, and also UK ones, Asian means from the Indian sub-continent. It does not mean coming from Asia.

Assessment

Assessment means measuring your ability in a certain area. Most assessment is done by examinations or coursework.

Assignment

An assignment is a piece of work you have been told (assigned) to do. The mark received usually contributes to your total mark for the course.

Bachelor

A Bachelor's degree is the title of the first university degree, usually after 3 or 4 years of university study.

Barclays

Barclays is one of the big 4 UK banks.

Bibliography/references list

At the end of your essay or report, you need a list of the works (books, periodicals, Internet) that you have consulted. This is called a references list or a bibliography.

BMA

The BMA is the British Medical Association. It is a professional association of doctors, representing their interests and providing services for its 123,000 plus members.

Board of Governors

Every university has a board of governors. They are elected and come from industry, local government and academic staff etc. They preside over the basic administration of the university, such as staffing and finance. They can not overturn academic decisions.

BT

BT is British Telecommunications plc. It is the main UK telephone company and one of the world's leading providers of telecommunications services. It is also one of the largest private sector companies in Europe.

Bursary

A bursary is money given to students to help them pay for their university studies.

Catering

Catering means providing and serving food and drinks.

Census

A census is an occasion when official information is collected about the number of people in a country, their ages, jobs etc. We had one in April 2001.

Chancellor

The Chancellor is the ceremonial head of the university and represents us publicly and helps to spread the good name of UH. He has no powers to overturn decisions.

Chaplaincy

The Chaplaincy represents and is financed by all the main Christian denominations. It acts as a link between them and the University. It works alongside the other helping agencies in the University, assisting with concerns of an emotional, religious or practical kind and is available for anyone, staff and students alike, of any religious faith or none

Citation/Refer/Reference/

A citation or reference is a way of indicating in your essay where you have obtained your information.

City

The city is the business centre of London where the large financial institutions, such as the Bank of England, are.

Clearing

Clearing is a procedure which gives applicants who have not gained a place at a university by the end of August a final opportunity to do so by using published vacancy information.

Clubs

Clubs are university student organisations: cultural, religious, academic, political, or sporting.

Contact time The tome you actually spend with a lecturer.

Counselling

The counselling service is a part of student service that can help you with problems.

Course

A course is an informal word meaning either a programme or a module.

Coursework

Coursework is the work you have been told to do. The mark received usually contributes to your total mark for the course.

Creche

The creche refers to the childcare facilities for use by the students and staff.

Credit

Credit is given for success at one of four levels: Level 1 – normal 1st year of a degree programme. Level 2 - normal 2nd year of a degree programme. Level 3 - normal 3rd year of a degree programme. Level M – normal postgraduate study. At most universities one module is worth 15 credit points.

Dean

Many universities are divided into subject areas or faculties. Each faculty is headed by an academic member of staff called the Dean.

Directed learning

Directed learning is learning which is given by the lecturer but done by the student in the student's time.

Disability

A disability is a physical or mental condition that makes it difficult for someone to do something the way most people do.

Doctorate

A doctorate (or PhD) is the highest university qualification usually obtained after doing a period of research of three or more years and writing a thesis.

English

English is the main language used in the UK.

Equal Opportunities

Equal opportunities is the principle of treating all people the same and not being influenced by a person's sex, race, religion etc. when jobs, etc are being decided on

Exam Board

An exam board is a meeting where students' examination and other marks are considered. It usually consists of all the lecturers on the course plus external members from other universities to ensure comparability of standards.

External Examiner

An external examiner is a member of academic staff from another university whose job is to monitor the courses and assessment to ensure that they are equal to courses elsewhere.

Faculty

Many universities are divided into large subject areas or faculties. Each faculty is headed by an academic member of staff: the Dean.

Fire Alarm

A fire alarm is a piece of equipment that makes a loud noise to warn people of a fire in the building. They are often tested to check they work.

Fire Drill

A fire drill is the set of actions that should be performed in order to leave the building when it is on fire. Practices are often held.

First floor etc

In UK, the ground floor is part of the building that is on the same level as the ground or road. The first floor is the part of the building just above the ground floor.

GCSE

GCSE is an examination that is usually taken by students age 15 or 16 in UK.

Graduate student

A student who has already obtained one degree and is studying for a more advanced qualification. In UK we usually call these students post-graduates.

Graduate

A graduate is someone who has successfully completed a first degree course at a university.

Ground floor, 1st floor etc

In UK, the ground floor is the part of the building that is on the same level as the ground or road. The first floor is the part of the building just above the ground floor.

Hole-in-the-wall

The hole-in-the-wall is the colloquial name for the Coffee shop on the Hertford Campus. It is also known as Richard's.

HSBC

HSBC is one of the big 4 UK banks. Until recently it was the Midland bank and is still known by that name.

IELTS

IELTS is an internationally recognised English language testing service, mainly UK.

Independent learning

Independent learning is learning which is controlled by the student in the student's time. UH believes this is very important.

Interaction

Interaction means talking to people and making relationships with them.

International

An international student is one who is not from the UK. They may be from the EU or overseas. Overseas students pay the full rate.

Learning outcomes

The learning outcomes of a programme or module are what you should be able to do after you have learned something.

Lecture

The lecture is one of the main ways of teaching at universities. Usual the lecturer stands at the front of a large room and the students listen and take notes.

Lloyds

Lloyds bank, now Lloyds TSB, is one of the main 4 UK banks.

LRC

The LRC is the Learning Resources Centre - The building which houses the library and computers.

Marks & Spencer

Marks and Spencer is a very big well known UK department store. It has had some trouble recently.

Masters

A Masters course is a course that you do by studying for one or two years after your first degree.

Mobile (phone)

In UK a mobile (or mobile phone) is a phone which is not connected to a wire - called a cellphone in USA.

Module

A module is a defined and self contained amount of study with defined objectives, syllabus and assessment procedures. Students study a combination of modules. A module is typically worth 15 credits and is regarded as one twenty-fourth of the study normally required to obtain an honours degree.

Module Guide Full information on your modules.

National Westminster

The National Westminster bank is one of the main 4 UK banks. It is also known as Nat West.

Nursery

The nursery refers to childcare facilities for use by the students and staff.

OALD

The Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary is one of the most useful dictionaries if you want to know the meaning of a word in English.

OED

OED is the Oxford English Dictionary - the main Dictionary of the English Language. It includes meaning, history, and pronunciation of over half a million words. It is 20 volumes and only found in libraries. It is not the most useful dictionary to use if you want to know the meaning of a word.

Outcomes/Learning outcomes

The learning outcomes of a module or programme are what you should be able to do after you have learned something.

Overseas

Overseas student usually means students from outside the European Union. They receive no subsidy and pay the full tuition fee.

PhD

A PhD is the highest university qualification usually obtained after doing a period of research and writing a thesis. It is also called a doctorate.

Pigeon holes

A pigeon hole is one of a set of small boxes, open at the front, in which your letter and messages are left.

Plagiarism

Plagiarism is the representation of another person's work as the student's own, either by extensive unacknowledged quotation, paraphrasing or direct copying. Do not do it.

Portal/Personal Portal

The gateway to your VLE, information on available facilities, programmes, modules, calender, news etc.

Post-Graduate

A post-graduate (or graduate) student is a student who has already obtained one degree and is studying for a more advanced qualification.

Presentation

A presentation is an academic talk. Presentations are becoming increasingly important as a means of assessment.

Pro Vice-Chancellor

The Pro-Vice-Chancellor is one of the senior managers below the level of vice-chancellor.

Programme

A programme is a set of one or more awards which are administered together.

Programme Committee A group of staff - both academic and administrative - and students that meets regularly to discuss programme matters.
Programme Handbook Full information on your Programme.

Recreation

Recreation means enjoying yourself when you are not working.

Refectory

The refectory is the student restaurant or cafeteria.

Reference list/Bibliography

At the end of your essay or report, you need a list of the works (books, periodicals, Internet) that you have consulted. This is called a references list or a bibliography.

Refer/Reference/Citation

A reference is a way of indicating in your essay where you have obtained your information.

Reference

A reference is a letter from your tutor describing your performance in class. They are usually confidential in UK.

Safeway

Safeway is one of the large UK supermarket chains.

School

Each faculty may divided into more specific sections called schools or departments. Each school/department is headed by a Head of School/Department (HoS/D).

Semester

Teaching at many UK universities is divided into 2 semesters: Semester A is from September to the end of January & Semester B is from February to May. Post-graduates often do a project or dissertation in Semester C.

Seminar

A seminar is one of the main ways of teaching at universities. A seminar is usually a formal meeting of a small group of students (about 15). Very often in seminars, one of the students will lead.

Societies

Societies (and clubs) are university student organisations: cultural, religious, academic, political, sporting.

Student Union

The SU is an organisation of students nationally and at particular universities. Students unions provide help and entertainment for students. The (Students) Union often means the bar.

Term

The university year is often divided, by holidays, into three terms - Autumn (September - Christmas), Spring (Christmas - Easter) and Summer. (Easter - Summer). Most teaching is organised into Semesters, not terms.

TESCO

TESCO is one of the big UK supermarket chains.

TOEFL

TOEFL is an internationally recognised English language testing service, mainly USA.

Undergraduate

An undergraduate is a student who is studying for a first degree.

Vice-chancellor (VC)

In a UK university, the vice-chancellor is the person responsible for controlling the business and teaching.

Visitor

The university Visitor is a person with a supervisory jurisdiction similar to the High Court's power of judicial review. A student or member of staff of the University unhappy with a decision of the University can contact the Visitor. UH visitor is Dr Mary Archer

West End

The West End is the theatre and entertainment section of London.

Westminster

Westminster is the home of UK government.

White

On various university forms, and also UK ones, white means Caucasian - the race of people originally from Europe.

Workshop

A workshop is one of the main ways of teaching at universities.  Usually participants in a workshop will be expected to be active and contribute to the success of the session.

Yellow pages

The yellow pages is a telephone directory organised by subject.