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Some of the key words and terms used at the University and their meanings.

Academic Calendar

These are important dates for you to know about when we will teach on your course, when you will be assessed and the dates of potential reassessments.

Academic conduct

Academic conduct means ensuring that your work is your own and that you have met the learning outcomes that allow you to achieve the award. Sometimes students try to gain an unfair advantage as below:

  • Plagiarism which means copying someone else’s ideas or work, this can be a fellow student or a copying from the internet or from a book or journal.
  • Breaking the rules in examinations such as taking in notes or talking to other students.
  • Getting someone else to complete your work for you or paying someone to do this.

This list does not include all the ways of gaining an unfair advantage, but just some of the them. If you break the rules on academic conduct you will fail your assessment, module, level or even course.  The procedures for dealing with allegations that you have broken the rules are set out in the Academic Conduct Procedure.


This is a type of award which is made if you are unable to complete your course because of illness or similar circumstances. To make the award, the Award Board must be satisfied that you would have met the standard required, were it not for the illness or other valid reason. Aegrotat degrees do not receive a classification, such as 2:1 or 2:2.


You may appeal if you have reason to believe that the University has not followed its policies or procedures about your assessment, your progress to the next stage of your course or degree classification, and you wish this to be reviewed.

You can find out more about making an appeal on our Complaints and Appeals Procedure page.


In our Academic Regulations we explain that we expect you to attend your course fully. It means that you will engage through online learning activities and attend any teaching sessions.  classes or tutorials. If we think that you are not attending we will write to you to explain that you may be removed from your course.


An award is the qualification given to you on successful completion of your course for example BA (Hons). Awards are usually described by an award title for example Film, Media and Production.

Award Board

An Award Board confirms your module results, and based on this, will makes decisions about  progression through your course and your final classification. After the Award Board has met, your results are published through e:vision and this is your formal results notification.

Break in Studies

Taking a break in studies is sometimes called intermission or interruption and means that you stop attending your course and you re-join later, normally at the beginning of the next semester or academic year. For further details please our Academic Regulations.


Degrees are awarded with different levels of achievement depending on how well you have performed. In Honours Degrees these are first, upper second class 2:1, lower second class 2:2 and third. Other awards, for example, Masters Degrees and Foundation Degrees have a distinction, merit and pass classifications.


If you are dissatisfied with aspects of your experience whilst at the University you should discuss this with your Personal Tutor, Course Leader and/or Head of Department to give us the opportunity to put them right. If we have been unable to resolve your concerns you may use our Complaints Procedure.


Condonement is when you have narrowly missed passing the module, with a mark between 35%-39%, but the Award Board gives you the credits for the module because you have demonstrated your knowledge elsewhere in your course. However, not all courses allow condonement, your Course Handbook will explain if this applies to you.


A course is a number of modules, with defined learning outcomes, that lead to an award.


Credit is the way we measure your learning on your course. The credit is achieved at specified levels, for example level four, five and six are required for an Honours Degree. The number and level of credits required for each award is defined in Academic Regulations.


Edexcel is an awarding body and the University has the authority to make awards on its behalf. 


Enrolment is when you sign up to the University’s rules and move from being an applicant to a student. Through this process we confirm your identity, academic qualifications and what fees you will pay.


Expulsion means that you are told to leave your course before it has been completed. An expulsion occurs for non-academic reasons, usually following a Student Conduct Committee or Fitness to Practise Committee.

Extension to registration

This is where you ask for more time to complete your course, due to exceptional circumstances. Decisions on extensions to registration are made by an Award Board and the University Award Board for Exceptions.

Exceptional circumstances

Exceptional circumstances (formerly known as Extenuating) are unforeseen and unplanned events which, you have not been able to overcome, and which have a negative effect on your performance. If this applies to you, in the first instance you should talk to your Personal or Module Tutor and we will try to help you meet your deadlines. If this not possible, you can make a claim to the Exceptional Circumstances Procedure.

Exit awards

If you do not complete the whole course, you may be able to use the credits you have achieved towards a lower level or ‘exit’ award. We explain what exit awards are available in the Academic Regulations.


If you have not satisfied the requirements to pass, at your first or re-sit attempt, you have failed the assessment or module. Sometimes, failed modules can be condoned if you have enough credits from other modules. 

Fitness to Practise

If you are on a professional course leading to registration, the University has a responsibility to make sure that you are healthy and of good character before you can register as a professional. Please see the Fitness to Practise Procedure.

Late submission

This is where you submit your work up to 5 working days after your hand-in deadline. You can only do this on the first attempt. Your work will be marked but you will only receive the basic pass mark. This is 40% for undergraduate courses and 50% for postgraduate courses.


The level of a module tells you about its complexity and how demanding it is. The higher the level of the module the more complex they are. Undergraduate degrees are normally studied at levels 4,5, and 6 and Masters degrees at level 7.


A module is the standard building block of courses. The level of a module will tell you how complex it is and the number of credits will tell you the size.

Module Registration

When you enrol, you register on your course. You will also pick the specific modules you wish to study. This is also known as registration.


Monitoring is a quality assurance process where the University checks that the delivery and performance of each module and course meets the required standard.


In a module, a pass is awarded when you have attempted all assessments and achieved an overall pass mark. You may also be awarded a pass in a module because of condonement. Modules on professional courses leading to registration may require that every assessment is passed before the module is passed.


Plagiarism is representing another person’s work as your own, without acknowledgement of the source.  Plagiarism is a breach of academic conduct and allegations of plagiarism will be investigated in accordance with the procedure for Academic Conduct.


Progression means that you may continue to the next stage of your course. Decisions about your progression are made by an Award Board.

Re-sit Assessment

Re-sit assessment is another chance to pass a failed assessment in the same academic year. You will not need to register for the module again, but your marks will be capped at the basic pass mark when you -re-sit. This is 40% for an Undergraduate module and 50% for a Postgraduate module.

Retake module

A retaken module is an opportunity to restudy a failed module, including the assessment, in the next academic year. This will be as if for the first time. You will need to register for the module again and you are expected to attend the scheduled activities and sessions. You may be retaking a module, having already progressed to the next stage of your course (up to 30 credits) or you may be retaking a number of modules before you can progress to the next stage (up to 60 credits).

Repeat Year

 A repeat year is an opportunity to repeat the whole stage in full. This will be as if for the first time. You will need to register for the whole stage again and you are expected to attend the scheduled activities and sessions. You may be given this opportunity if you have passed less than 60 credits but have demonstrated engagement and achievement on your course. Some professional courses leading to registration may not be able to offer you a repeat year if you have failed in your placement.

Recognition of Prior Learning

Recognition of Prior Experience and Learning means that we can place value in any relevant learning or experience which has taken place elsewhere and which may meet some of the learning on your course. This may be from another course, or from your work experience. 


You will be notified of your results through e:vision. This counts as your formal results notification where we will tell you about any assessments that you will have to take again and what your next steps are. The marks that you receive on BlackBoard are not confirmed until you have received your formal results notification. 

Sandwich degree

This is a course which includes a period of supervised work experience undertaken in addition to the academic study required for the award.


Courses are broken down into stages. Each stage needs to be passed before you can progress on to the next stage. Your Course Handbook will show you the stages of your course.


Suspension means that you are temporarily prevented from continuing on your course. A suspension occurs for non-academic reasons, usually following a Student Conduct Committee or Fitness to Practise Committee.

Transcript of credit

A transcript of credit is a letter from the University to tell you how many credits you have achieved and at what level. 

Transfer credit

Transfer credit is when we consider credits you have achieved at other institutions and count them towards your award, or you take with you to another institution from Staffordshire. Please see the Recognition of Prior Experience and Learning Procedure.

University Award Board for Exceptions

An Award Board confirms your module results, and based on this, will makes decisions about progression through your course and your final classification. An Award Board for Exceptions is where, for valid reasons, the University needs to make an Award Board decision that it is outside of its own regulations.


Validation is a process by which the University ensures the quality and standards of a new course.


Withdrawal is when you permanently leave your course before you have completed it. The University may conclude that you have withdrawn if you stop attending. The University may withdraw you if you fail to pass your course but we will always check to see if you have achieved an Exit Award.