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StudySwitch - What Makes University Study Unique?

You have no doubt put a lot of thought into your application and acceptance of your offer to study with us, but you may not have had the opportunity to reflect on the details of exactly what it is that makes studying at university so worthwhile. In this section we hope to give an insight into the main features of a university education at UCLan, so that you feel more prepared to embrace all that we have to offer.

Breadth and depth

Studying at university is your opportunity to focus on your favourite subject or chosen career in real depth. Sometimes it can be difficult to picture exactly what this will feel like. You may have already studied the subject, or you may have worked in a similar area in industry, but filling your whole week with it may seem hard to imagine. Although your degree title will include a named subject, your university studies will encourage you to explore it in depth and breadth. You will see the subject in its wider context, for example how it sits within the wider areas of humanities, arts or sciences, and how it blends with other subjects. You may explore how professionals in related fields work across different contexts and reflect on which specific areas interest you the most. Whatever opportunities you choose to engage with, you should above all love what you are learning.


Student view:

Olivia (Final Year BSc Forensic Science and Criminal Investigation) “As you progress through your course at university, the knowledge you gain is profound as you are getting closer to being able to understand your subject more than you ever could think. In my subject, the further you go through your degree, the more independence, understanding and knowledge you gain. This is vital for when you do your dissertation, as this is your major piece of independent work that you present at the end of your degree.”


At university, you will find yourself with more independence and responsibility for your progress. Extra research and reading should not feel like a chore or a test, but rather a chance to immerse yourself in your subject, moving closer to becoming somewhat expert! But don’t worry, there is no expectation that this will happen overnight. In fact, learning to learn is just as much a part of the university experience as gaining new knowledge.

Student views:

Olivia (Final Year BSc Forensic Science and Criminal Investigation) “You will receive a yearly reading list with recommendations on background information for your area. You also receive a weekly reading list so you can read around more specific topics, this will help your wider understanding of the subject.”

Maria (First Year BA Journalism) “If you’re feeling overwhelmed then just ask for a little bit of help, no one is perfect so just embrace the support that you can reach out to in difficult times!”


As you progress through your university career, you will have some choice over the content that you study – this may come in the form of module choices, and later on in your studies you will likely complete a dissertation or longer research project. Try to embrace this choice - in your first year you may use it as a chance to study things you’ve not previously had the chance to, or maybe try out an area that you’ve not always enjoyed as much, in order to give yourself a broad range of experiences.

Student view:

Olivia (Final Year BSc Forensic Science and Criminal Investigation) “I had to decide whether I wanted to do a photography or anthropology module. If I didn’t like the choice I made, I had a few weeks to change my mind, but I would suggest giving the choices you make some time to settle. You will never know whether you’ll like what you’ve chosen until you’ve given it a go. The choice you make may end up being the best decision for you and may even change your career path.”


Teaching staff at university are experts in their specific fields and may have their own research projects ongoing. In interacting with tutors, you will find that teaching and learning at university is a collaborative experience. If you are interested in a particular area, or need some advice on academic work specific to your subject, then work with your tutors who are there to support you.
There are also many people working in our support services across the university whose role is to help you develop your academic skills as you progress from novice to graduate.

Student views:

Olivia (Final Year BSc Forensic Science and Criminal Investigation) “The lecturers are the most supportive and encouraging people that you will probably come across. They will go out of their way to help you in any way that they can. They will listen to your problems and try to help you out. They only want the best for you. If you put the effort in, then they will as well!”

Maria (First Year BA Journalism) “When I first started at university, I worried about everything, but in hindsight I shouldn’t have. You’ll get used to your course mates and in time you’ll gain confidence, but try and ask questions and contribute to conversations because other people are probably thinking the same as you! And if not, you can always stay behind after a lecture or workshop to ask the question privately, or even send an email.”

Assessment and feedback

With study comes exams, however at university there are many other ways you can receive feedback on your progress. Tasks that lead to formative assessment are important too, and you will be able to use opportunities to reflect on your feedback either individually,  or with your tutor(s) in order to get the most out of it, before any ‘final’ exams. First year will be full of opportunities for you to develop and improve your skills. With a positive attitude towards criticism and advice, you can make leaps and bounds in your academic skills. University study should be about developing your knowledge and skills in a subject you love, over time, in a supportive environment and with advice tailored to your needs.

Student view:

Shannon (Second Year BSc Sports Therapy) “How best to study is very personal, and you need to discover the most effective techniques that work for you. It is also important to mix up your study time so it doesn’t get boring, this could mean studying in a group, in a different environment or switching from notes you’ve made to watching videos. I wrote about what works for me, if you’d like to hear more about my experience.”