University Jargon



These are former students who have graduated (i.e. finished a course and received a qualification) from a particular university. The Brighton Graduate Association (BGA) offers a range of benefits and support for University of Brighton graduates. Alumni is plural; the correct term for a male graduate is ‘alumnus’ and a female graduate ‘alumna’.


A term associated with referencing. This is normally a list at the end of your written assignment or presentation giving full details of each of the sources you used to prepare this assignment, even if you have not cited them directly. For more information on referencing, see the Academic Study Kit.


A financial grant awarded to someone who fulfils certain specific criteria. There is an application process but this normally does not need to be repaid. See available Bursaries and Scholarships at the University of Brighton.


This is the buildings and surrounding area where a university is situated and can include teaching space, research laboratories libraries, student accommodation and sports facilities. The University of Brighton has five campuses at three different locations on the south coast.


A term associated with referencing, sometimes called a reference.  It is a direct reference to a source you use within the text of the document.  There are 2 main types of referencing styles for citations:

  • Author/date  e.g. Harvard, APA, Chicago. This is where the author surname and the year appear after the citation (Smith, 2011)
  • Numbered – This is where you insert a superscript number next to the citation which links to a footnote at the bottom of the page or end notes at the end of the document.

For more information on referencing, see the Academic Study Kit.


A senior member of university staff. At the University of Brighton, a dean is the head of a faculty.


An extended essay of in-depth, independent research on a specific subject, submitted as part of a course of study. For undergraduate students, this is normally completed in the final year of study and is between 7,000 and 15,000 words.


This step toward fully becoming a student at the University of Brighton must be done online from the end of August onward. Details of how to enrol on your course will be sent to you in August.


A university department. At the University of Brighton, there are six faculties into which all schools fit. These are the Faculty of Arts, the Faculty of Education and Sport, the Faculty of Health and Social Science, the Faculty of Management and Information Sciences, the Faculty of Science and Engineering, and Brighton and Sussex Medical School. Click here for more information on Schools and Faculties at the University of Brighton.


This refers to assessment that does not count towards the final mark for the module or course of study.  The main purpose of doing this work is developmental, allowing students to receive feedback to support them for their summative assignments.


A student who is new to university. Traditionally, Freshers’ Week is the first week of university when activities are run specifically for new students.


This is a student who has graduated from a higher education institution (i.e. finished a course and received a qualification).

Honours Degree

Undergraduate degree taking three or four years of full-time study, leading to a qualification such as BA (Hons) or BSc (Hons).

Independent Learning

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. For more information on independent learning, see the Academic Study Kit.


This is a short-term paid work placement available to graduates, with an emphasis on professional development. See the Careers Service for more information,


A published collection of articles about the findings of research. Journals can either be published online or in print or can be found in the Library. They can also be peer-reviewed or non-peer reviewed. Students are encouraged to use evidence from journal articles to support their arguments in their assessments.

Learning outcomes

Modules handbooks will include a list of learning outcomes. These are statements of what students are expected to have learnt as a result of taking that module.


A presentation intended to convey information on a specific subject to a large group. Students are not usually expected to speak unless asked by the lecturer, and they are expected to take notes. Lectures normally last around an hour.


A member of academic teaching staff (also referred to as academics, professors or tutors) who are specialists in your subject area.

Marking criteria

This the standard against which tutors will assess your work and should be included in your handbooks. It is a good idea before submitting assignments to self-reflect on how your work meets the criteria.

Marks – 1st, 2:1, 2:2, 3rd, Fail

Work at university level is marked and graded differently. The final degree will be awarded as a classification: either a first, upper second (2:1), lower second (2:2), third, or fail. Generally this corresponds as:

70% and above = 1st
60-69% = 2:1
50-59% = 2:2
40-49% = 3rd or a pass
39% and below = fail

For information on how to use feedback to improve your work, see the Academic Study Kit.

Mature Student

In the context of entry onto higher education programmes, a mature student is classed as someone who is aged 21 years or over. To be means-tested for tuition fees, a student must be 25 or over – otherwise a student’s parents are assessed for contributions.


These are blocks of teaching and assessment that make up your programme of study and are often divided into credits e.g. 20 credits. Some modules are compulsory and others are optional.

NUS (National Union of Students)

A representative body for students, to protect and promote their welfare. Membership of the NUS also entitles you to discounts on items such as travel, clothes and activities. Information about the student union at the University of Brighton can be found here.


The lecturers on your course normally have set hours with which to meet with students in their office. These are normally displayed on their office door and operate on a first-come, first-serve basis

Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS)

PASS is a student-let initiative where issues relating to course material and student life can be discussed in a friendly, informal environment with peers and trained student facilitators. See the PASS website for more information on how to access PASS sessions or become a PASS leader.

Peer review

This is the process whereby journal articles or books detailing research findings are read, edited and discussed by other academic experts, before they are allowed to be published.

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

This is a postgraduate degree which normally involves three years of in-depth, original research in a specialised area. A person with a Ph.D. degree uses the title ‘Dr’.


This involves a student undertaking work experience in industry, usually as part of their undergraduate course. Placements can last from a few weeks to a year and have specific aims and objectives in terms of what a student will learn and gain from the placement. See the Careers Service for more information.


Plagiarism is the word given to a particular kind of academic dishonesty – passing off someone else’s work, ideas or words as your own.  The University of Brighton’s Avoiding Plagiarism page provides details of how to avoid plagiarism.


This is a student who has normally completed an undergraduate degree and is studying either full or part-time for a higher degree. This can either be a Master’s degree (e.g. MSc, MA) or a Research degree (e.g. PhD).


This is the term awarded to senior members of academic staff who are specialists in their research and teaching.

Reference List

A list at the end of your written assignment or presentation that gives full details for each of the sources you have cited/referenced in your work. For more information on referencing, see the Academic Study Kit.


This involves collecting information about a specific subject from a variety of sources including books, journals and the Internet or through conducting and analysing data e.g. using experiments, interviews etc.

Sandwich Course

A course or degree that includes a year of practical experience or work placement. See the Careers Service for more information on placements.


At the University of Brighton this term refers to university departments within faculties. There at fifteen schools at the university, including the schools of Architecture and Design; Arts and Media; Humanities; Chelsea School; Education; Service Management; Applied Social Science; Health Professions; Nursing and Midwifery; Brighton Business School; Computing, Engineering and Mathematics; Environment and Technology; Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences, Brighton and Sussex Medical School; and the Institute of Postgraduate Medicine. Click here for more information on Schools and Faculties at the University of Brighton.


This refers to half an academic year. The University of Brighton has two semesters where teaching takes place – normally September to February and February to June.


This is a smaller, more informal group arranged to give students a chance to digest the material discussed in the lecture and any further reading they have done. Students are expected to participate actively in the discussion and seminars normally last for around one or two hours.

Student Central

This is a student intranet for the University of Brighton. It contains information such as course handbooks, timetables, course announcements, course material and reading lists.

Student Representative (Student Rep)

This is a student from your course who is elected to represent the interests of fellow students by attending meetings and raising concerns with academic staff.  Becoming a student representative can be a great addition to your CV


This refers to assessment that counts towards the final mark for a module or course of study (remember the word ‘sum’ as in ‘counting’ to help you remember). Often this work must be completed and passed in order to progress to the next level of the programme of study.


An academic member of staff responsible for supporting a student undertaking independent research e.g. an undergraduate or Master’s dissertation or a PhD thesis.


A university’s academic year is divided into terms. The University of Brighton has three terms, Autumn (September to Christmas) Spring (January to Easter) and Summer (Easter till September).  Up-to-date term dates can be found here.


In some courses this may be an alternative term for seminar, but usually implies a one to one (or a very small group) meeting with course tutor or personal tutor.


This is a student who is studying either full or part time for a first degree including Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Science (BSc), Bachelor of Education (BEd), LLB (Law) etc.

Virtual Learning Environment

An internal system designed to support teaching and learning. At the University of Brighton, our VLE is studentcentral.