If you are considering embarking on a new course of study here are some course types you may come across and an explanation of the terms to help you understand the types, levels of courses and options available to you.
Courses designed to help adults with few or no formal qualifications get back into education and move on to higher level studies.
Usually qualifications in specific vocational areas, which may give exemption from parts of higher level qualifications.
APL (Accreditation of Prior Learning)
It may be possible to count previous relevant study against the credit required for a new programme. Please ask for details.
APEL (Accreditation of Prior Experience and Learning)
It may be possible to count previous relevant study or experience against the credit required for a new programme. Please ask for details.
AS and A Levels
AS (Advanced Subsidiary) and A Levels are taken after GCSEs and offer a chance to specialise in a chosen area of study. AS Levels are taken before A levels. A2 is the part of the qualification to continue an AS level into A Level.
The method of grading work undertaken on a course. Can include exams, coursework and presentations.
Advanced Vocational Certificate in Education (Vocational A Level).
An A level equivalent qualification, usually the equivalent of two A level courses often based in a practical field such as Childcare.
Council for Awards in Children's Health and Education - The awarding body for Child Care
qualifications. CampusRefers to the buildings and grounds where a University or college is based.
An offer made by the admissions team which is dependant on students reaching certain targets (e.g.280 tariff points).
A full-time course usually lasting three years. However, there are also opportunities to study for degrees on a part-time basis. You will then be eligible for postgraduate study.
The required grades or qualifications a student needs to gain entrance to a university. Normally this is measured in Tariff Points.
A one-year course studied full-time that equips you with the knowledge and skills to progress on guarantee progression onto a degree programme.
Foundation Degree (FD, FdSc)
Foundation degrees are a Government initiative to help meet the skills needed in the 21st century, preparing learners for employment in areas of the economy where there is a demand for higher technical and professional expertise. This is a higher education qualification that sits just below the honours degree, though it is possible to 'top-up' your foundation degree to an honours degree through a period of further study. You can also use it to progress to professional qualifications.
General Certificate of Secondary Education.
General National Vocational Qualification.
A competence and skills-based course, which requires evidence from activities at work, simulation or prior achievements. You can study full or part-time and courses usually last one year.
HNC (Higher National Certificate)
A two-year, part-time course at a similar level to the HND but with fewer modules to complete. It may be possible to upgrade your HNC to an HND by completing the outstanding modules.
HND (Higher National Diploma)
Usually a full-time course lasting two years. Successfully completed HNDs allow you to progress on to degree level studies. In some circumstances you may be able to top-up to a degree in a related subject over one or two years.
International Baccalaureate. A qualification taken in some European countries which is roughly equivalent to A Levels.
An English Language qualification which overseas students may need to complete before starting a degree course in the UK.
Level 3 Qualifications
This refers to the level of study (also referred to as Advanced). Level 3 qualifications include A Levels, BTECs, NVQ Level 3 etc.
Advanced (Level 3) courses, which are vocational in nature.
NVQs (National Vocational Qualifications)
These are Vocational qualifications that demonstrate ability in a specific area of work. Usually taken while employed in a similar industry and undertaking relevant tasks in the workplace. NVQ 4 is seen as undergraduate level, NVQ 5 as postgraduate level.
Offers are made to students who apply for a place at University. They are made by the admissions team and are often conditional, i.e. dependent on students achieving certain grades in their exams.
Open days are a great opportunity for students (and their parents) to look around a University and speak to staff and students. They are usually offered in relation to a certain course i.e. Business and Management Open Day.
Plagarism is when someone uses someone else's writing or ideas and pretends that they are their own.
Many professional bodies offer their own courses and qualifications specific to that field of work. These are often seen as 'benchmark' qualifications and lead up to postgraduate level.
A prospectus is a booklet which gives the details of courses, activities and student life at a university or college
Some universities divide the academic year into two semesters, or blocks of study. See also Terms.
Student Loans Company
The company that provides financial assistance in the form of loans to students. Loans are not paid back unitl after the course has been completed, and graduates are earning a salary above a certain level.
Every University has a Students' Union (which will probably be part of the National Union of Students). The Union represents the interests of students across a whole range of issues.
A points sytem for entry into Higher Education. Higher Education institutions express their offer of a place at university in terms of a tariff points score rather than as grades (e.g. 300 tariff points rather
than three grade B 'A' Levels)
Some universities teach three terms in a year, similar to school terms. See also Semesters.
Designed to top-up an HND to degree level in either one year (full-time) or 2.5 years (part-time).
Students will have to pay tuition fees for their course, but may be eligible for a tuition fee loan.
University and Colleges Application System.
An offer made by the admissions team which is not dependent on students reaching certain targets. This is often used when a student has already taken their exams and acheived the required grades.