Your guide to university terminology

Confused by university terminology? Don't worry, you are not alone.

Sometimes we use university-specific language, which we know can be confusing if you’re not used to the terms. Our handy guide is here to explain everything from UCAS applications to accepting your offer in a no nonsense way.

University terminology guide

Adjustment is an optional service provided by UCAS for students who meet and exceed the conditions of their firm choice.

Admissions is the process which you will go through in order to become a student at university. We have an Admissions team who deal with thousands of applications every year. They are experts in assessing your qualifications, personal statement and references to check your suitability for a course.

The name of the UCAS online application system.

Alumni are former students who have graduated from our university. Our alumni have lifetime access to all of the support available at the University of Central Lancashire. This includes careers advice, library and gym facilities or business support. Find out more.

This is the abbreviation for Bachelor of Art. This is a type of degree traditionally awarded to subjects based in the field of Art, Social Sciences and English etc.

A degree awarded by a college or university to a person who has completed undergraduate studies.

This is the abbreviation for Bachelor of Engineering. This type of degree is awarded to subjects in the field of Engineering.

This is the abbreviation for Bachelor of Science. This type of degree is traditionally awarded to subjects based in the field of Science and Social Science. The BSc degree is not limited to traditional sciences.

A bursary is a monetary award that is granted on the basis of financial need and does not have to be repaid.

A university situated on one dedicated site, with student accommodation, teaching and research facilities, and leisure activities all together.

An alternative offer may be made if you haven’t met the conditions of the offers you accepted.

Clearing is a system that operates after A Level results are published. It allows prospective students who don’t have a confirmed offer to find a place at University at universities where there are still vacancies. 

A type of degree where you study two subjects.

This is an offer of a place on a course, but to be accepted on the course you will need to meet the conditions – usually related to your exam results. This is the common type of offer made to students applying directly from school or college. 

Once you have met the conditions of your offer, we will automatically confirm your place on your chosen course, normally through UCAS.

A degree apprenticeship is for people who would like to work whilst they study for a university degree. You will spend the majority of your time working for an employer and some of the time studying. Degree apprenticeships are usually fully funded by the employer and the government. Find out more.

A student can apply for a university place but request that they start it the following year, thus deferring entry. Students who wish to take a GAP year do this to ensure they have a place at university for when they complete their year out.

A dissertation is an extended piece of writing on a chosen topic related to your area of study, usually undertaken at the end of your degree. This can be part of an undergraduate or postgraduate degree.

For new students, ‘enrolment’ is the formal process of confirming your course details, accepting our rules and regulations and agreeing to pay tuition fees. Enrolment is usually done online before you arrive. Once you’ve enrolled, we’ll send you an email or a letter that says “Acknowledgement of Enrolment”, so you’ll know you’ve enrolled.

Returning students need to enrol at the start of every academic year they’re studying here. Receiving a UCLan ID Card or network account details doesn’t mean that you’ve enrolled. Once you receive your UCLan Network Account username and password, you can enrol online. For more information about enrolling see here.

In a UCAS Undergraduate application, Extra is a service you can use to apply for alternative places if you do not hold an offer from your first five choices.

The university you accept as your first choice in the UCAS application. This is your first choice course/institute. It may be a conditional or unconditional offer. Universities usually refer to this as CF (Conditional Firm) or UF (Unconditional Firm).

This provides a route to study honours degrees; students must undertake and pass an extra preliminary year of study.

This is the term commonly used to describe students in their first year at university. A ‘Fresher’ is the name given to a new student who is ‘Fresh’ to the University. There are lots of activities for ‘Freshers’ designed to help you settle in, make friends, and have fun during your first few weeks here at UCLan.

A year away from education that some students take before going to university. Often students will use their gap year to travel or to gain work experience and additional qualifications.

This is the term used for a person who has completed and passed his or her degree and been awarded their qualification.

This is education and training for students of 18 years and older, who have completed the required amount of study in further education, (college or sixth form). Institutions such as universities often provide Higher Education in the form of degree programmes.

This is a degree programme taken at university. It is normally a first degree which lasts three or four years. The term usually follows BA or BSc, so BA (Hons) would be Bachelor of Arts with Honours.

This typically covers ‘arts’ subjects such as history, literature, classics, theology film, modern languages and drama.

An Insurance choice is the university you accept as your backup choice on your UCAS application. This is your second choice, and is your backup to your Firm choice, in case you don’t meet the entry requirements of your Firm choice. Universities usually refer to this as CI (Conditional Insurance) or UI (Unconditional Insurance).

Integrated or undergraduate masters are four year degrees such as Masters of Engineering (MEng), Masters of Science (MSci) etc which comprise three years of undergraduate level study, with a further year to gain a master's qualification.

Some courses require students to attend an interview or audition, so we can assess your suitability before an offer can be made. This is also a good opportunity for you to ask questions to make sure we're right for you. 

Master's degrees are taught courses which allow students to extend their learning for one to two years after they have graduated from their first (bachelor's) degree. Master's degrees can include abbreviations such as MA (Master of Arts), MSc (Master of Science), MPhil (Master of Philosophy), and MEd (Master of Education).

A module is a unit of study that explores a specific area within a subject. Your degree will be made up of a number of different modules, varying from course to course. Some of these will be compulsory, but on some degrees you will be able to choose to study a specific module.

This is where you will find your student record within the Student Hub. MyUCLan allows you to update your contact details, enrol on your course, register for an elective module and check your module results. The Student Hub allows you to access your online learning materials, timetables and attendance records, and also to submit assignments, get assignment grades, connect with your tutors and more. MyUCLan allows you to update contact details, check if you’ve passed a module, enrol on your course, register for an elective module, and much more. Once you have your UCLan email and password, you can login to the Student Hub. 

An Open Day is an event when the university is open to students who are considering applying. They often include activities such as campus tours, subject talks, accommodation tours and finance talks

Also known as a doctorate, this is the highest form of degree awarded and involves you carrying out research with little or no teaching. You need to have completed at least an undergraduate degree to study at this level.

This is a year of either work experience or study placement in another institution, which can be an optional or compulsory part of a university course. Students can opt to take their placement year in another country.

A student who has completed an undergraduate degree and is studying for a higher degree such as a Masters or PhD.

These are guides produced by individual universities detailing the unique information about that university and the courses it offers.

A unique 8-digit number preceded by a letter (normally a ‘G’) that identifies you to UCLan. Your registration number will be on most correspondence from us. You’re likely to be asked for it if you contact us, so keep it to hand.

The year of an undergraduate course where you work in an area relevant to the course you are studying.

A scholarship is an award of financial aid for a student to further their education. Find out more about our scholarships and bursaries.

A seminar is small group teaching, where students engage in discussion with other students and a member of staff.

Student Finance England, where students from England apply for their finance to help fund their studies.

The Student Loans Company (SLC) is a non-profit making Government-owned organisation to provide loans and grants to students in universities and colleges in the UK.

It’s an online system designed to help you make the most of your time at UCLan by pulling together lots of information about you and your UCLan journey in one easily accessible place. Use Starfish to view module information (including attendance and grades) and quickly connect with and get help from relevant academic staff and support services around the University. You’ll find Starfish within the Student Hub.

The Student Portal provides you with all the information you should need while studying with us. You can find information and advice about all aspects of student life, including course information, health, money and careers. You can also use the eLearn (Blackboard) online learning environment to access study materials and reading lists. You can access the Student Portal once you have received your network account details.

An organisation that is run by students, is dedicated to the representation and support of the students at the university and promotes social activities. Find out more.

The tariff system is a points system designed by UCAS for entry into Higher Education. Some Higher Education institutions express their offer of a place at university in terms of a tariff point score rather than as grades.

This is where students can see their offers on the UCAS website.

An individual or group opportunity for students to discuss their work with a tutor.

UCAS is the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service. This is the organisation that handles nearly all university applications.

Your unique 10-digit identification number given to you by UCAS once you submit your UCAS application.

Once you have no outstanding conditions to meet and you have confirmed your acceptance onto your course here, we’ll send you an email containing your UCLan Network Account username and password, as well as your full UCLan email, which you can use to enrol and access a wide range of services. You’ll use your UCLan Network Account details to enrol online and your UCLan email to access the Student Portal, where you can access teaching materials, timetables and more.

A credit-card sized plastic ID card you’ll need if you’re studying at UCLan’s Preston or Burnley Campuses. It’s used to access some buildings (e.g. the library), is scanned to register your attendance at classes, and used wherever you need to prove your status as a UCLan student. It also shows your UCLan Network Account Username and Password. See here to upload a photo for your UCLan ID Card.

This is an offer made by the admissions team which is not dependent on students reaching certain targets. This is often used when a student has already taken their exams and achieved the required grades. This offer means that you’ve already met the conditions required to study here, so the place is yours if you want it.

A student studying for their first degree on a programme which normally lasts for three or fours years.

A university is an institute of Higher Education which has the authority to award bachelors and higher degrees and which usually has research facilities.

When we receive your application, we’ll send you an email to the email address you used on your application, to make sure it’s the right one. You’ll need to click on a link within that email to validate your email address, so we can be sure it’s you we’re emailing. If you change your email address during the application process, e.g. from a school/college email to a personal email, we will resend the validation email.

Welcome Week and Induction is also known as Freshers' Week.

Induction refers to the wide range of activities you’ll experience when you first arrive at UCLan. During ‘Induction’ you’ll receive information about your course and meet other students and tutors; complete administrative tasks (such as ID checks) and have the opportunity to take part in various ‘Freshers’ events. If you’re going to be living in our Halls of Residence, we require all residents to complete e-induction, which is different to course induction. E-induction covers essential information you’ll need about health, safety and security whilst living in Halls of Residence.

Once your place at UCLan is confirmed, our Admissions Team will send you a welcome pack, which includes an Induction Guide booklet, containing lots of information about what you will be doing during Induction and where to get help and information.