You are likely to have a lot of questions about what it is like to study at the University of Brighton. Our new students guide will ensure that you will feel settled in and have all the necessary information. Before you get here, these are some FAQs about studying at university from previous Brighton first-year students:
Your timetable will tell you how many hours you need to be in lectures and labs. This will vary depending on the course you take and the modules you choose. In general, science subjects tend to have more ‘contact’ time than arts and humanities based subjects, but full-time students are normally expected to spend around 35 hours a week studying.
When you are not in classes you will be working independently – reading, preparing for classes and writing assignments. The amount of time you are expected to dedicate to independent learning is usually outlined in the handbook of each module that you undertake.
The ability to take useful notes in lectures is an important part of studying at university. There is always a balance between trying to take down as much content as possible so your notes will be useful in future and trying to listen and engage with what the lecturer is saying. For more advice on note taking see the Academic Study Kit.
The minimum requirement to bring with you is a pen and paper! However, some courses allow you to access your lecture notes (or at least an outline of what will be covered) before the class online on student central, allowing you to bring a printed copy of the slides to make notes on. For those who prefer to type rather than hand-write, you can bring a laptop or netbook to take notes but these can prove an extra distraction. Some students bring small recording devices to capture the lecture and these can be useful for revision purposes. However, you must ask the person giving the lecture whether they are happy for it to be recorded.
When you start your course, you are allocated a personal tutor who you can meet with 1-2-1 to talk about your academic progress. But you can also talk to your course leader, head of year, or module leader. They may advise you to visit the Academic Study Kit website, to use the study skills services that are available, or take part in Peer-Assisted Study Sessions (PASS). There are also a number of specific professional services at Brighton including the Disability & Dyslexia service and English language support for international students.
The university libraries are a great place to catch up on work or get ahead of yourself. With around 1,400 work places and over half a million books, journals and audio-visual material, it is most student’s’ preferred location to study. Each library is typically open for 55-60 hours a week, including evenings and weekends. They are all located close to classrooms and lecture theatres, making it easy to go to before or after a session. See the Library Website for more information.
There are also cafes in which you can study. PABS is mainly based on the Moulsecoomb campus where there is the Watt’s cafe, the Book & Bean, and Basement Central (Student’s Union)
You may only see your lecturers teaching in your classes but this is only a small part of what they do. Lecturers are experts in their subject and are normally required to spend time doing research, writing books and journal articles (long essays written for an audience of interested researchers) as well as talking at conferences to other lecturers and students in their subject area. Lecturers also play a vital role in organising their School by working on administrative committees or managing research institutions. They may also have more formal roles such as ‘Admissions Tutor’ or ‘Head of School’ which involve a large commitment. On top of this there are office hours, marking, supervising students and offering support in their role as a personal tutor.
The ASK website provides support and information for a wide range of students. There is information specific to new students, undergraduate and postgraduates. As well as this, there is information on PASS sessions and study skills services, which are a great way to develop your study skills. The site aims to support and guide you through your studies.
For academic concerns don’t be afraid to ask academic staff – your lecturer, a tutor or course leader – questions or ask for clarification if there is something you don’t understand. If you need more general information about your course or timetable, your School Administrator is a good contact and will usually be able to point you in the right direction.
One of the best sources of support for your studies is other students. Talk to them as they may be experiencing similar concerns and you may be able to share information and study tips. You may even want to set up your own study group to talk through the work, gain better understanding and confidence and support each other.