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University jargon buster

There’s a lot of terms used in higher education that can take some unravelling. We’ve put together this jargon buster to help make sense of it all.

Academic schools

At NTU we have eight academic schools which encompass our departments and subject areas. These are:

  • Nottingham Business School
  • Nottingham Law School
  • Nottingham School of Art & Design
  • School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences
  • School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment
  • School of Arts and Humanities
  • School of Social Sciences
  • School of Science and Technology

Find out more about our academic schools here.


The Admissions team process applications and make course offers.


A student who has graduated becomes an alumni of the university they studied at. Check out our alumni community for more information.

Bachelor of Arts (BA) / Bachelor of Science (BSc) / Bachelor of Engineering (BEng)

This is the degree title the student will be working towards at undergraduate level.


If your young person doesn’t secure a place on a course, whether that’s because they decline their offers or don’t meet the grade requirement for them, Clearing will allow them to apply for courses that still have vacancies.

Conditional offer

This is an offer of a place on a course with conditions that need to be met to secure it. These are usually related to academic qualifications the applicant is taking and meeting certain grades.

DBS and FTP checks

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) and Fit to Practice (FTP) checks take place before enrolment on some courses including but not limited to teaching and social work. Your young person will be emailed instructions on how to complete these checks.


If an applicant wishes to take a year out between applying for their course and starting on it, they can choose to defer.


This is when your young person formally completes the administrative requirements to become a student at NTU. They need to enrol at the start of each academic year.

Firm choice

If an applicant accepts an offer of a place on a course from a university as their first choice, this becomes their firm choice.

Foundation year

Foundation years are a stepping stone into university courses via a 'year zero', which provides academic support and builds the knowledge required to move onto the first year of the student's chosen course.

Further Education (FE)

Further Education. This refers to any course of study between secondary level and higher education, such as A-levels and college courses.


A form of financial aid that does not need to be paid back. There are government grants available for students who meet the right criteria.

Higher Education (HE)

This refers to any university-level course of study.

Home student

A home student is someone studying in their home country.

Insurance choice

If an applicant accepts an offer of a place on a course from a university as their second choice, this becomes their insurance choice in case they don’t meet the conditions of their firm choice.

Joint honours

A joint honours course enables a student to study two courses as one full course. This will usually mean studying half of the modules from both courses, offering a unique degree title that can stand out on a CV and provide a wider breadth of knowledge. Find out more about NTU's joint honours courses in Arts and Humanities subjects.


An NTU ID is a student's unique NTU student number. It is on the email we send when their place at NTU is confirmed and looks like this: N0123456. This will be needed to book NTU-run student accommodation.

Open day

Events that provide the opportunity to visit a university, tour its facilities and campuses, and find out more about studying there. Find out more about open days.

Offer holder day

NTU's offer holder days are an exclusive chance for students who have received an offer to get a feel for their new campus in person and to get a taste for the quality of teaching on their course.

Personal statement

This is a statement needed alongside the university application explaining why the applicant is applying and why they would be a great student. It’s the chance for the applicant to sell themselves, so they should make it count. See our advice on writing a personal statement.


You can undertake postgraduate study after you have successfully completed an undergraduate bachelor’s degree, or if you have equivalent work experience. Postgraduate qualifications include Masters degrees, Postgraduate Certificates and Diplomas, PhDs and professional qualifications.


The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). This is the organisation that handles and processes nearly all university applications. You can find out more about UCAS and check the progress of an application once it has been submitted on their website.

UCAS Extra

UCAS Extra is a service that allows applicants to add another university choice if they have declined their offers from all five of their original choice or have not received an offer from them.

Unconditional offer

This is an offer of a place on a course with no conditions that need to be met. The place will be theirs if they wish to accept it.