Glossary of terms
Below you will find a collection of terms you may come across when studying at the University. The list will be expanded further over the coming months. If you would like us to add any other term to the list below, please contact us by email
Academic Services Division (now called Student Services)
Student Services is a division of the Registrar's Department responsible for many of the student administrative functions of the University; this includes all stages of the student lifecycle from application, registration through module enrolment, examinations, appeals until graduation. See the Student Services webpages.
This specialist service team provides a personal and practical approach to academic study for all students and specialist study support for students with dyslexia, dyspraxia and other specific learning difficulties. See Disability Support Services.
Runs from September to June and is divided into two semesters of teaching (autumn and spring), with vacations at Christmas and Easter. See Key University dates.
Accommodation fees cover the cost of providing a student with university accommodation. The fees vary depending on location and the type of accommodation allocated. Hall fees usually include utility bills and in some cases meals. See Accommodation.
Additional period of study
An extension to a doctoral student’s registered period of study. The additional period of registered time will reduce the ‘thesis pending period’ by the same amount. The maximum period a doctoral student can be registered for is four years.
This office is responsible for managing and maintaining the University’s central admissions systems, policies and procedures. See Admissions Office.
University of Nottingham award scheme for students focusing on student skills, employability and personal and academic development. See Nottingham Advantage Award pages for information on how to apply.
Alternative exam arrangements
Adjustments made to examinations for either a long term medical/academic condition or for an accident/short term illness. These adjustments may be in the form of additional time, additional rest breaks, taking your exams in a separate room or the use of a computer. See Adjustments to examination arrangements.
Assessment refers to a variety of methods the University uses to evaluate, measure, and document the academic readiness, learning progress and skill acquisition of students. Assessments usually take the form of exams and coursework.
ATAS (Academic Technology Approval Scheme certificate)
ATAS is required to study on postgraduate courses in certain sensitive subjects: e.g. Biological Sciences, Engineering, Computer Sciences or Technologies or on some undergraduate courses leading to postgraduate qualifications in Physics or Engineering. When applying to study on one of these courses or when requesting a course transfer, you will be required to apply for ATAS clearance. For more information see the UK Government's ATAS webpages.
Award certificate/duplicate award certificate
A document confirming the student’s award, the date of conferral and the degree classification (if applicable) issued to students when they have graduated. Duplicates of the original document can be requested via the University of Nottingham Online Store.
A document provided to current students who wish to open a student bank account. Bank letter confirms that they are registered students at the University of Nottingham, their address and course details. This document can be requested via the University of Nottingham Online Store.
Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)
A document issued by the Home Office to students (and their partners and children) as evidence of their immigration permission also known as leave to enter or remain. BRP cards have replaced Tier 4 visa stickers in students' passports and can be collected from the post office (or the University office if appropriate) indicated on the visa application form.
A website through which students receive assessment results, progression and award information electronically (unless a School/Department has advised of other arrangements). On a relevant release date, majority of students will receive a transcript of marks or progression decision via University email account (except September results). The email will also provide a link to the Blue Castle website. To access Blue Castle students will need their University username and password.
A bursary is an amount of money granted to a student in financial need to help with their living costs. They do not have to be repaid. See Financial Support webpages for further details.
Confirmation of award letter
A document provided to graduates confirming the date they began and completed their studies, the degree awarded and the graduation date. This document can be requested via the University of Nottingham Online Store.
Confirmation of student status letter
A document provided to current students confirming the following details: a student ID number, course details and a start date, term dates, an expected completion date and an expected graduation date. This document can be requested via the University of Nottingham Online Store.
A student who has already commenced their course and is continuing with their studies into a second, or subsequent year.
Council Tax exemption certificate
A document provided free of charge to eligible students. Only full time current students are eligible and can apply for one document per academic year. This document can be requested via the University of Nottingham Online Store.
Confidential, professional advice and support with any personal, emotional or mental health problems that students may have whilst at The University of Nottingham. The University Counselling Service is located in The Orchards Building (situated behind Law & Social Sciences Building car park, next to the Millennium Garden on University Park) and it is free for all students and staff at the University of Nottingham. See University Counselling Service.
Cripps (Cripps Health Centre)
The University of Nottingham Health Service is situated in Cripps Health Centre on University Park Campus. See Cripps.
Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA)
An Act of Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland which defines UK law on the processing of data on identifiable living people. It is the main piece of legislation that governs the protection of personal data in the UK. See UoN Data Protection Policy.
A transcript of marks with a description of the nature, level, context, content and status of the studies that were pursued and successfully completed by the student issued along with the graduation certificate at the time of graduating and provided to applicants who graduated from 2005 onwards (with some exceptions). Additional copies can be requested via the University of Nottingham Online Store.
A written account of several thousand words on a specific subject related to a module, usually completed in the final year of study.
Distance learning courses allow you to learn at any time, any place – through self-study, using web-based resources, printed materials, etc.
EEA (European Economic Area) vs EU (European Union)
The European Economic Area (EEA) provides for the free movement of persons, goods, services and capital within the internal market of the European Union (EU) through its 28 member states, as well as three of the four member states of the European Free Trade Association. The EU is just the 28 member states.
The Erasmus Programme is a European-wide initiative based on subject-specific exchange agreements between Schools and Departments at Nottingham and academic counterparts at partner Universities across Europe. See The Erasmus Programme webpage.
The School Examination Board is the mechanism whereby a School makes decisions regarding progression and awards of students. The Head of the School or their nominee chairs the Exam Board which includes module convenors or tutors as well as external examiners.
Examiners – internal and external
Normally each research submission will be examined by one Internal Examiner who is a member of staff of the academic School at Nottingham to which the student belongs (or, if appropriate, a member of staff of another academic School), and one External Examiner who is a member of staff of another academic institution. External examiners are also appointed for taught courses.
Extension to Thesis Pending Period
Extension of period of time spent on writing your thesis. You may apply for an extension under the Extension to Thesis Pending policy if you require further time to write up and have extenuating circumstances. See Thesis Pending Period.
Extension to coursework
Additional time to work on the coursework granted to students on the basis of a successful extenuating circumstances claim.
The University of Nottingham comprises five faculties; Arts, Engineering, Medicine and Health Sciences, Science and Social Sciences. Each faculty is made up of several schools, departments, divisions and/or institutes. See Academic Departments by Faculty.
Based within Student Services, Cherrytree Lodge, University Park, the Financial Support team provides information and advice on all aspects of student finance to both current and prospective students. See Financial Support.
First sit (as an external candidate or with attendance)
An opportunity to take the specified module(s) as if for the first time. The student may be permitted to take first sits with attendance, i.e. to repeat their enrollment in modules and attend all scheduled classes and submit all coursework or take first sits as an external candidate – without attending classes and not required to register.
First-year students in their first few weeks at university.
First week of the first term of the first year of a university course. It is packed with events and entertainments designed to help students settle in, make friends, and to tell them everything they need to know about how the university and Students' Union work. Freshers are invited to attend the Freshers’ Festival to find out about all Students’ Union’s sports clubs, societies, student services or representation.
Funding application through SLC
Student’s application for tuition fee and maintenance funding for their studies at university. This is mainly used by home & EU undergraduate students but students of some postgraduate courses (eg. PGCE) can apply for this too. SLC funding is not available to international students (outside the EU).
Graduate in absentia
This form of graduation applies to graduands who registered for a graduation ceremony, but prefer to have their degree conferred upon them without their attendance at a graduation ceremony. It also applies to graduands who are scheduled to graduate but have not advised the graduation team if they wish to graduate in person or without attendance. Graduands having their awards conferred in absentia don’t attend a graduation ceremony.
A transcript of marks that a former student can request via the University of Nottingham Online Store. This document will confirm the title and level of the final qualification and the date of graduation. Graduate transcript for students who graduated from 1988 onwards will include the marks and modules obtained by the student while at the Univeristy of Nottingham. Those who graduated after 2002 will also see their final degree classification on the document.
Ceremony where an award is conferred upon a student. Students can graduate in summer or winter ceremonies, they can also have their award conferred through the inter-ceremony in March or October. See Graduation.
Student unable to attend their scheduled award ceremony may apply to defer graduation. A deferral procedure is permitted only in exceptional circumstances and applications along with a supporting documentation should be made directly to a relevant office and by the published deadline.
Graduand vs Graduate
Graduand is a student who has completed their course and is awaiting conferral of their award. Graduate has successfully completed a degree course and has already been awarded their degree.
Halls of Residence
Student accommodation blocks which may provide catered meals (catered halls), cleaning services and a variety of amenities such as common rooms and TV lounges. There are various accommodation options available to students at the University of Nottingham. See Accommodation.
HESA (Higher Education Statistics Agency)
HESA collects and is responsible for the analysis and dissemination of statistical information about higher education in the United Kingdom.
One of ministerial departments responsible for the maintenance of law and order, immigration control, security and other domestic affairs not specifically assigned to another department. One of the divisions of the Home Office is UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) which is responsible for the UK visa system. It manages applications from foreign citizens wishing to enter the UK to visit, work or study here.
Free bus service that runs from University Park Campus to Jubilee Campus, Sutton Bonington Campus and King's Meadow Campus (KMC). See Bus Services.
The University of Nottingham’s official student magazine. See Impact.
A conferral of University awards made in absentia in March or October. Graduands choosing to follow the 'inter-ceremony' graduation route will receive their degree certificates and diploma supplements after the inter-ceremony process is complete. They will not be able to attend any future ceremonies.
IS (Information Services)
IS is responsible for IT services and support at the University of Nottingham. See IT Services.
IT Service Desk
The first point of call for student and staff IT help and support at the University of Nottingham. See IT Services for contact details.
Lakeside (Nottingham Lakeside Arts)
The University's own public arts complex, located at the South Entrance of University Park campus offering an exciting programme of exhibitions, music, drama, dance, special collections, archaeology, participatory and family events for everyone. See Lakeside.
Provides a broad range of language classes and additional language services to students and staff at The University of Nottingham. See Language Centre.
A transcript of marks available to students who did not complete an award at the University of Nottingham. It will confirm the marks and modules obtained by the former student while at the University of Nottingham. It can be requested via the University of Nottingham Online Store.
Libraries, Research and Learning Resources (LRLR)
Unit offering learning environments, extensive print and electronic collections, helpful staff to support learning, teaching and research across the University. See Libraries.
Everyday costs that include: accommodation, insurance, food, clothes, books, stationery, special equipment (sports kit, lab coat), travel expenses, entertainment, TV license. See Financial Support for advice and support on budgeting.
Outcome of assessment
Outcome of assessment is the communication sent to student informing them of the results of the assessment they undertook during the current/previous academic session. See Blue Castle above.
Students who are unsuccessful at the end of their Honours course may be permitted to take reassessments to attempt to achieve a Pass at Honours level. They will then be awarded a Pass degree.
Professional Experience & Development Quarterly Record Sheet. Architecture students undertaking a year out in industry are required to maintain PEDR sheets recording their practice experience by registering on the RIBA Professional Education and Development website. Students have to submit two PEDRs whist on their year out to be eligible to progress to the next stage of the course.
Plagiarism is passing off someone else’s work, whether intentionally or unintentionally, as your own for your own benefit.
The Portal is a one-stop-shop for the most frequent tasks students need to do while at the University. You will find links to Moodle and your email, you will be able to complete registration online, access the modules you have enrolled on or find who to talk to about everything from finance to housing to health.
A transcript of marks issued to current students showing the results they have obtained so far. It can be requested via the University of Nottingham Online Store. Provisional transcripts are also available in Blue Castle.
The Quality Manual is a valuable source of information for staff and for students. It is the University's regulatory framework based on the Quality Assurance Agency Code of Practice governing teaching and learning at The University of Nottingham and its provisions have regulatory force. See Quality Manual.
QSC (Quality & Standards Committee)
The Committee is comprised of academic members from each Faculty for both undergraduate and postgraduate level. The Committee has many responsibilities including: providing interpretation and agreeing minor amendments to the Quality Manual; scrutinising and making recommendations with respect to new courses specifications; making recommendations with respect to withdrawal of courses; approving decisions that fall outside the stipulations of the Quality Manual. See Quality and Standards Committee.
The fee you pay for taking reassessments before you are permitted to undertake further study. The University tuition fees for a given academic year include the fees for initial examination in that year so if you have been granted a first sit opportunity, no reassessment fee will be charged to you. For exams taken outside the UK, an additional re-examination fee must be paid. See Section B1 of Regulations for fees.
Recommendations (Exam Board's decisions)
Each registered undergraduate and postgraduate student will receive their School’s recommendation at each stage/progression point of the academic year. Students who are not able to progress may be terminated from a course as agreed by a School exam board.
Registration during Thesis Pending Period
Registration in Thesis Pending is only available to full-time research students who have a Thesis Pending stage in their studies. Registering in Thesis Pending may allow you to be exempt from Council Tax. All students in their Thesis Pending Period regardless of whether they are registered or not are entitled to the use of library facilities and University computing facilities but not to facilities for primary research. See Research student information to download the form.
Registration with the University
Before students begin their studies, and again at the start of each new academic year, they must register with The University of Nottingham to confirm their personal and course details. They also confirm that they agree to pay the fees and observe the University’s regulations while being a student at Nottingham. Returning (continuing) continuing students complete registration online whilst new students are required to register online and confirm their attendance in person.
Religious Observance Form
A form for students who wish to apply for alternative exam arrangements for reasons of religious observance (e.g. Sabbath, Friday Prayers). See Religious observance to download the form.
To take the specified semester or the whole stage (course year) as if for the first time with attendance in light of documented extenuating circumstances. A student who is repeating a stage is required to complete registration with the University and pay relevant tuition fees.
SSC (Student Services Centre)
Student Service Centres offer support, guidance and information, access to online services through the availability of workstations and signposting to other specialist services like counselling, finance, visas and immigration, careers and more, to help you make the most of your time at the University of Nottingham. Specialist Advisers in Accessibility, Funding, Immigration and Sponsor Relations also offer face to face ‘drop in’ sessions and appointments in Service Centres. See Student Services.
Student Hardship Fund
This fund provides discretionary financial assistance for students. You can apply at any point in the academic year and, in some circumstances, during the summer vacation. Awards are grants, and therefore are non-repayable. See Support funds.
Students who wish to spend some time of their university course in a different country are offered a range of opportunities, including the Erasmus programme, inter-campus exchanges or participation in University-wide exchange programmes. See Study Abroad.
SU (Students' Union)
An organization run by students for students. It is an independent charity, representing over 35,000 students from over 140 different countries across all Nottingham campuses in the UK, Malaysia and China. The Union supports more than 200 societies and 76 sports clubs as well as the Impact magazine, URN radio station, and NUTS TV station. See Students’ Union.
Submission Pack for research students
This pack provides guidance notes on: the procedures leading up to submission of thesis; the preparation of the soft bound thesis; information relating to the examination process and graduation arrangements. Download Submission Pack.
Termination of course
This Exam Board’s decision means that the student cannot progress to the next stage of their course after reassessment and they cannot continue on the current course. Students whose course has been terminated on academic grounds may be eligible for a lower award.
Termination of course and transfer with reassessments
This Exam Board’s decision means that the student cannot progress to the next stage of their current course and must take reassessments which, if successfully completed, allow transfer onto an alternative course.
Thesis Pending Period
Majority of students who have completed their registered study are expected to go into the Thesis Pending Period. This is also known as ‘writing up’ period. The Thesis Pending Period is of one year duration for full-time students and two years for part-time students. See Thesis Pending.
Terms vs semesters
University academic year divides into two semesters – Autumn and Spring – which usually start late September and end late June. The University also has three terms – Autumn (usually late September to December), Spring (January to Easter) and Summer (April to late June). Postgraduate students are usually required to attend during the summer vacation.
Someone who may be indirectly involved but is not a principal party to an arrangement, contract or transaction. Someone who acts on behalf on another.
Amount students pay each year for their tuition. This amount depends on whether they study full- or part-time and are classed as an international (overseas) or UK/EU student for the purpose of fees. Fees can be paid directly by you or by the Student Loans Company if you have applied for a tuition fee loan. See Fees.
Tuition fee receipt
An official receipt for a tuition fee payment made to the University of Nottingham. This document will confirm the details of the payment, applicant’s course title and academic year. It can be requested via the University of Nottingham Online Store.
A multi-function plastic card issued to all students and staff. This card is specific to the University of Nottingham and contains key information (e.ge cardholder’s name, photo, group type, library category, library card number and student number) that is utilized by a number of systems around the University. The University card can be used to gain access to the libraries' services and certain buildings, on the bus, and the sports centre (subject to membership). It is also used for student discounts from certain retailers and to authorise photocopying on campus. See University Card.
Transfer of registration to another degree. Students may be recommended to transfer from MPhil to PhD as a result of annual review. See Annual Review of Research Students.
Viva Voce examination
All doctoral students will attend a viva voce examination which will normally take place within 3 months of submitting their soft bound thesis to Academic Services Division. Vivas can also be recommended for research masters courses. See Viva Voce Examinations.
Voluntary Interruption of Study
Students may, for a variety of reasons, want to interrupt their studies. Students should make their request to their School, and it is for the School to decide whether or not to recommend the interruption. See Voluntary Interruption of Study.