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UCAS jargon buster

There is a lot of terminology associated with applying to university and it can be confusing for you and your children. We've created this handy glossary and jargon buster that covers some of the key phrases you'll need to know such as undergraduate, postgraduate, offer and Track. 

ADMISSIONS The process of applying to a UK university

ASSESSMENT The process of measuring knowledge against the defined learning outcomes for a course or module

ALUMNI A graduate of a university

APPLICANT NUMBER A ten digit number assigned by UCAS. Sometimes also referred to as UCAS ID.

AWARD A degree, diploma, certificate, or other similar formal mark of recognition for successful completion of a course

BACHELORS DEGREE A type of undergraduate degree that usually requires three years of full-time study to complete

BACHELOR OF ARTS (BA) A type of bachelors degree with a focus on the arts

BACHELOR OF ENGINEERING (BEng) A type of bachelors degree with a focus on engineering

BACHELOR OF SCIENCE (BSC) A type of bachelors degree with a focus on the sciences

CAMPUS A building or collection of university buildings in which most university activity and teaching takes place

CITY CAMPUS One of the University of Sunderland campuses in the city of Sunderland

CONDITIONAL OFFER An offer of a place at university, which is dependent on certain conditions eg: achieving certain grades or medical clearance 

COURSE A complete study route with defined aims and learning outcomes, made up from combinations of modules and which leads to a recognised award

CREDITS Each module is worth a certain number of credits. Students must achieve a certain number of credits in each year to be able to progress to the next level of study and ultimately graduate.

EMPLOYABILITY / EMPLOYABILITY SKILLS The skills, experience, and attributes a students has that makes them more attractive to employers

ENROLMENT The process of becoming an official student of a university, also known as REGISTRATION 

FIRM CHOICE An applicant can make one firm choice from their initial (up to) five choices, and this is their preferred university and course

GRADUATE (NOUN) A student who has completed and graduated from an undergraduate course

GRADUATE (VERB) The act of attending a graduation ceremony and receiving an official higher education award

GRADUATION A graduation ceremony where students receive their official higher education awards

INDEPENDENT STUDY Time spent learning alone or in a group with other students, without the presence of a member of teaching staff, including reading, researching, completing assignments and preparing for taught sessions

INSURANCE CHOICE An applicant can make one insurance choice from their initial (up to) five choices of universities and courses; usually has lower entry requirements than the FIRM CHOICE

LEAVE OF ABSENCE Time away from university during term-time, which must be approved by the university

LIBRARY CATALOGUE A fully searchable database of all books available in the University of Sunderland, available from any internet connected computer or device

MASTER OF ARTS (MA) A type of postgraduate degree with a focus on the arts

MASTER OF BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION (MBA) A type of postgraduate degree with a focus on business

MASTER OF ENGINEERING (MEng) A type of postgraduate degree with a focus on engineering

MASTER OF SCIENCE (MSC) A type of postgraduate degree with a focus on the sciences

MODULE A unit of assessed learning with coherent aims and learning outcomes

OFFER An official offer of a place on a course from the University of Sunderland, giving an unconditional or conditional offer of a place on a course

PLACEMENT A period of unpaid work experience with a company or organisation that is related to a course, usually undertaken during the course or between years 2 and 3

POSTGRADUATE Higher Education study for students who have already completed an undergraduate course

REGISTRATION The process of becoming an official student of a university. Also known as ENROLMENT. 

SCHOLARSHIPS Money, given to students by the university, which is theirs to keep and does not need to be repaid.

SIR TOM COWIE CAMPUS AT ST PETER'S One of the University of Sunderland campuses in the city of Sunderland, North East England

(UCAS) TARIFF A system used to allocate points to post-16 qualifications, and also used by universities to set entry requirements for their courses 

(UCAS) TRACK An online system that allows applicants to check the status of their application

TUTOR A lecturer who supervises the welfare and studies of students

UCAS The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, an organisation that administers applications for entry onto full-time higher education courses

UNCONDITIONAL OFFER An offer of a place on a course, given to a student who has satisfied all entry requirements

UNDERGRADUATE A student who is studying for a bachelors degree

UNDERGRADUATE DEGREE A course of study leading to a bachelors degree


UCAS have also created this handy video explaining some of the key terms associated with the application process:

More information

Please contact our Student Helpline for more information on the application process:

Email: student.helpline@sunderland.ac.uk
Tel: 0191 515 3000