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Higher education glossary

In How to apply

In How to apply

We've tried to avoid using jargon at all costs. But just in case there is a term or description in this prospectus that you don't understand we've put together this glossary to help you out.

Academic year

This is the university's teaching year, which begins in September and ends the following summer.


The Admissions team manage all aspects of the student admission process from enrollment to enquiries.


An award is the qualification granted to a student who successfully completes an approved course of study.

BA (Hons)/BSc (Hons)/BEng (Hons)

The 'B' stands for Bachelor and is what people usually refer to as an undergraduate degree - normally three years of fulltime study. The 'Hons' is just a shortened version of Honours. Between that, 'BEng' refers to engineering based subjects; 'BSc' to science-based subjects; and 'BA' refers to arts-based courses.


A financial grant given to eligible students that doesn't need to be repaid.

Course (of study)

The approved set of modules taken by an individual student in order to recieve a qualification.


A numerical value given to each module as a measure of its size and the amount of learning required to complete the module successfully. (The higher the credit, the harder and more important the module).


An 'academic discipline' or field of study is a branch of knowledge that is taught and researched as part of Higher Education.

Foundation Degree

A foundation degree is a combined academic and vocational qualification in higher education which equals to two thirds of an honours bachelor's degree.

Foundation Year

An extra year of study at the start of a university course.

Dissertation or Final-Year Project

A project usually taken in the final year of your course, where you explore a very specific topic in depth.

Two-year accelerated degree

A two-year accelerated course lets you complete a full degree qualification in just two years, saving you time and money, and getting you into the job market more quickly.

Integrated Masters

Unlike a 'standard' Masters, an Integrated Masters degree (for example MEng, MSci) is a four-year course (or five years with a placement year), which combines undergraduate and postgraduate study into a single course.

Joint Honours degree

This lets you follow a broader course of study in two subjects. You can study the subjects equally or you can study one slightly more than the other.


Lectures are used to teach you about key issues and direct you to relevant resources. They tend not to be interactive and can be attended by up to 200 students. They provide a valuable tool in learning the basics of a topic.


This refers to the academic level at which your study is to be undertaken. Normally, it corresponds to one year of study for full-time students. A three year undergraduate degree is made up of Levels 4, 5 and 6, however, students may take modules from different levels at the same time, provided they meet the requirements for their award.


Masters awards are the next level up from a Bachelors degree. These usually take another year of full-time study after you complete your undergraduate degree.


A module is an area of study within acourse. A module is usually worth 30 credits. For an undergraduate honours degree, you need to gain 360 credits. Even if you don't complete your degree, you may still gain a qualification (for instance, a certificate or a diploma) if you complete enough modules. A Core Module is one that you have to pass in order to qualify for a given award.

Option Module

This is a module that you get to choose from a prescribed list. They are studied in conjunction with the Core Modules for a particular course.

Offer Holder Day

Open Days for students who have received an offer from us that are designed to give you first-hand experience of life here at Staffordshire University.

Placement Sandwich Year

This is a period of time (normally a year) taken out from your studies and spent on a placement in business, industry or workplace. The purpose is to give you experience and develop your learning in a practical setting. A Placement Sandwich Year adds to the length of your degree course.

Practise Learning

If you're studying Nursing, Operating Department Practice or Midwifery Practice 50% of your time will be spent working in 'real life' environments, from hospital wards and community settings to specialist units this is what we call Practice Learning.


A School consists of a group of subject areas in the University, for example the School of Computing and Digital Technologies.


An amount of money awarded to a student - usually based on academic eligibility criteria.


A period of study into which the academic year is divided. Semesters may include induction, learning, assessment and academic counselling.


Unlike lectures, these are much smaller groups where you can discuss topics and develop your knowledge and understanding.

Single Honours Degree

An award that lets you specialise in one specific area of study.

Top-up Award

A course, normally of 12 or 18 months, designed specifically to convert your HND or foundation degree into an honours degree.

Undergraduate Student

Someone who is studying at University for a bachelors/undergraduate degree, as opposed to a Masters or other degree.