You might sometimes feel that the university is a bit like an alien world, with a language all of its own! This glossary is intended to help you with definitions of some of the key terms used around the university.

You might sometimes feel that the university is a bit like an alien world, with a language all of its own!

This glossary is intended to help you with definitions of some of the key terms used around the university.

glossary n. an alphabetical list of terms peculiar to a field of knowledge with explanation

q.v. abbr. Latin quod vide (lit. which see): used after a term or phrase that can be looked up elsewhere in the glossary


Advice Service

The independent Students' Union Advice Service, available on all three campuses. For more information, visit SUUG for Greenwich and Avery Hill, and Greenwich & Kent Students' Unions Together (GK Unions) for Medway.


Graduates and other former students of the university.


Accreditation for Prior Learning. Accreditation is the formal recognition by a particular institution of your previous learning. By making an accreditation claim, you can gain credit for prior learning if it is considered relevant to the programme you want to study. This may mean that you can access a programme without meeting the formal entry requirements, or you could progress to a later stage of study. Accreditation can normally be given up to a maximum of 50 per cent of any award, subject to programme regulations. APL, sometimes called APCL (Accreditation for Prior Certified Learning) is for students claiming credit for learning which has been formally assessed by another institution. APEL (Accreditation for Prior Experiential Learning) is for students claiming credit for learning that has not been formally assessed.  See the university's student regulations for further information. (See Credits below)

App (Mobile)

A standalone programme designed to run on a mobile (telephone/tablet) device, which may take advantage of sensory hardware.


In particular circumstances students may have the right of appeal against the decision of a Progression and Award Board (PAB). Please refer to Appendix E of the university's Academic Regulations for Taught Awards for further information.

Applicant's portal

Once you have accepted your offer of a place at the university, you have access to the Applicant's Portal, which mimics the student portal and offers a range of information and other content to help you prepare for university. Once you have completed registration, you are automatically transferred to the student portal which you will use throughout your studies.

Aspire@Greenwich  Scheme for learning resources

This is a scheme where certain scholarships and funds are loaded on to an Aspire@Greenwich card which can then be spent on certain learning resources.


For each module you take you will complete various assessment tasks, e.g. essays, reports, coursework, exams, presentations.

  • Formative assessment
    takes place when the feedback you are given helps you learn and progress in your subject area and your skills. It is designed to help you take the comments forward and improve your work. You will probably not be given a grade for this work, but if you are, the grades are not part of your formal transcript or your end of year results.
  • Summative assessment
    takes place when the feedback you are given helps you to learn and progress and provides you with grades towards your module or programme.

Assessment offences / Assessment Offences Panel

Investigative Interviews and/or Assessment Offences Panels are convened for formal consideration of the evidence for alleged offences such as plagiarism or other forms of cheating in order to decide on appropriate penalty or other action. Please refer to Appendix D of the university's Academic Regulations for Taught Awards for further information.

ATAS (Academic Technology Approval Scheme)

Some international students need ATAS clearance for their programme of study. Students are notified when they are given their CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies) whether they need to apply for this certificate online via the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The programmes affected are mainly those in science and computing. ATAS must be in place before applying for a Tier 4 visa (See CAS, Tier 4 below)


The qualification which you are awarded, based on the achievement of the appropriate number of credits at a particular level, e.g. a BSc in Biochemistry or a Diploma in Higher Education in Midwifery.


This is the management information system used at the university to keep a record of student data (e.g. contact information, course schedules and assessment).


Web-based access to student information which is used by students, academic staff and others via the Portal. You will be able to check your programme of study, your schedule and your transcript on Banner: check your modules are shown correctly and that your contact information is up to date.


A list of sources - books, journals, articles, on-line material - on a particular topic or subject area; used to guide your study and reading for assignments, and in your own work as part of your referencing. See references below.

Care Leaver

Someone who has been in the Care of the Local Authority for a period of 13 weeks or more spanning their 16th birthday. Care leavers are entitled to after-care services until they are 24 if in full time higher education. The university offers one-to-one mentoring support to care leavers to provide support, advice, advocacy and a first point of contact for any questions about study or university life in general.


Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies.  A unique reference number provided to you if you are an international student, by the UK Border Agency when the university sends them confirmation of your programme of study. This reference number is required on international students' visa applications.

Central services (professional services)

Central services provide administrative, technical and welfare support for staff and/or students e.g. Student & Academic Services (SAS), Study Skills Centre, Information and Library Services (ILS).

Change agent (student)

Student change agents work with staff to develop/lead change within an institution. There are many different ways change agents can work, from leading their own change to supporting a defined project.

Cite / citation

Can mean quoting another person or source, but often in an academic context it also indicates use of references to give the sources of information and quotations.  "Citing" (referencing) sources is an important part of avoiding plagiarism.

Combined award/ combined degree

e.g. "Computing with Business" or "Education and French".

A degree programme in which you study modules from more than one Faculty or more than one programme area, giving you a chance to combine different interests. Your first-named subject area will always be designated your "Home Faculty". An "and" combination indicates that, you will be taking 50% of your modules from each subject. Both your subjects will be equally important and you can choose which is named first on your final degree certificate. If you are studying a "with" combination, you will be taking 75% from your first-named subject and 25% from the second.


The university operates a Higher Education credit based system. Credit indicates the amount and level of learning which is expected and/or achieved. Each credit is worth 10 hours of study, most modules are 15, 30 or 60 credits. A full time undergraduate student normally covers 120 credits in a year, a part time student normally takes 60. (see Programme below)


The integration of learning, teaching and assessment activities within a particular subject area, embodied in specific modules and forming a programme of study; curriculum sometimes refers more broadly to the learning experience.


– see Reassessment below.

Degree classification

The UK grading system for undergraduate degrees, based on students' achievement at Level 5 and 6, and according to the University's Academic Regulations for Taught Awards.  The possible classifications are First Class honours (1st); Second Class honours – upper (2:1); Second Class honours – lower (2:2); Third Class honours (3rd); Pass degree.


An academic subdivision within a Faculty for the teaching and organisation of linked subjects. Faculties have between five and eight departments each ( a total of 25 in the university) and your programme leader and other lecturers will report to their Head of Department.

Digital Literacy

Digital Literacy defines those who exhibit a critical understanding of and capability for living, learning and working in a digital society (adapted from Helen Beetham).

Direct Entrant

A student who has transferred from another university or who already has relevant qualifications and goes straight into the 2nd or 3rd year of their programme.

Disability named contacts

Provide support for students who are disabled or dyslexic. A member of staff in each Faculty takes responsibility for this role.

Educational Development Unit

The unit responsible for driving academic development, learning enhancement and academic strategy.

Employability and Careers Service (ECS)

ECS provide a range of services which could help you find longer term employment when you graduate. Support – e.g. careers advice, help  with CVs and interview practice – is provided for up to 2 years after you graduate.

Employability Passport

A process that uses a point system to recognise student extracurricular activity relating to employability.


An electronic portfolio that records your achievements and may be used to support learning activities. The one that is used at the university is called Pebblepad

Extenuating circumstances (EC)

Extenuating circumstances are normally defined as circumstances which are unexpected, significantly disruptive and beyond a student's control, and which may have affected his/her academic performance. Some staff may refer to these as "mitigating" circumstances.  Formally submitted and accepted ECs may be taken into account in the decisions of exam boards (PABs). Please refer to Appendix C of the university's Academic Regulations for Taught Awards for further information.


The university is formed of four Faculties - which are made up of between five and eight Departments -and Institutes, specialising in a range of disciplines. The four Faculties are: the Faculty of Business; the Faculty of Architecture, Computing and Humanities; the Faculty of Education and Health; the Faculty of Engineering and Science.  (See Department)


Comments and guidance to help students continuously learn and develop. Feedback may be informal (in a lecture or seminar) or formal (comments on an assignment).  Peer feedback involves students discussing and commenting on each other's work.  (See Assessment).

Foundation course

A Foundation course designed to prepare students for degree or diploma level study. A Foundation year is the first year of an extended four year degree programme sometimes referred to as Year 0.

Foundation degree

A Foundation degree is vocationally orientated and employment-related and consists of 240 credits, equivalent to the first two years of an honours degree.


Someone new to university is called a 'Fresher'. The Students' Unions organise Freshers' Fairs or events in September and January, and a Freshers Week/Fortnight activities of social activities, clubs and societies in September.


An online marking system within Turnitin, which allows your lecturers to grade your work online and give you feedback including in-text comments, longer general comment and audio feedback.


The conferment of the academic award which a student has achieved; the ceremony at which this takes place.

Greenwich Gateway Card

The university ID card issued to you when you register. You can top up this card and use it for photocopying, printing and scanning in the university libraries and labs.  You will need the card to access the Stockwell Street building and other university buildings.  Also you will need this card to sit examinations

Greenwich Graduate

A university initiative which specifies the Greenwich Graduate Attributes, which are developed in consultation with employers and students and which are the university's vision for our graduates.

Greenwich & Kent Students' Unions Together (GK Unions)

The Students' Union for students based at Medway.

Greenwich Students' Union

The Students' Union / Association is a democratic organisation run by students to represent student views to the university at all levels and to provide activities and support services for its members. For more information, visit GSU for Greenwich and Avery Hill.

For Medway also visit Greenwich & Kent Students' Unions Together (GK Unions).


University Halls of Residence are university-owned accommodation for students. They are often simply referred to as "halls".

Header Sheet

Coursework and assignments are submitted with a header sheet which includes details of the course and assignment and your name and ID number. This system enables your lecturers to track when coursework is submitted by each student.

HEAR - Higher Education Achievement Report

HEAR is an electronic report developed throughout a your studies, to provide a comprehensive record and detailed information about your achievement. It is designed to recognise the full range of achievement, curricular and extra/co-curricular, and to supplement academic awards and transcripts. HEAR is a national UK initiative from 2010.

Higher Education

Education usually above the Level of GCE A-Levels or NVQ Level 3, including degree courses, postgraduate courses and Higher National Diplomas (HNDs), usually in universities and higher education colleges.


e.g. QF (qualifications not seen)

An administrative tool used by the university to indicate certain actions or information related to your student record, for example in relation to financial status. Banner records normally include a key of terms. A hold on your account can affect your ability to access university resources, e.g. the library.

Home Faculty

If you are taking a combined degree programme, your home Faculty is the Faculty where your first-named subject is based. This is the Faculty which has administrative responsibility for you and where you will be allocated to a personal tutor.

Home student

Students from the UK and EU generally have "home student" status which is linked to fee status, and eligibility for loans for study.

ID - University, Student or Banner ID

e.g. 000123789-4

Your student ID number might also be called your university ID or your Banner number. Each student has their unique 10 digit number which always begins '000'. This number appears on your student ID card. You will be asked for your Student ID or Banner number whenever you make an enquiry of university staff. Usually only 9 digits are needed, but you will need all 10 digits for use in the library.

ID card

This is your Greenwich Gateway Card (See Greenwich Gateway Card)


Information and Library Services including Library and web-based learning services, the Portal and Moodle.


In addition to Departments, the university has two research institutes, the Greenwich Maritime Institute (in the Faculty of Architecture, Computing and Humanities) and the Natural Resources Institute (in the Faculty of Engineering and Science). (See Faculty).

Intermediate Standing

The decision of a PAB to allow a student to proceed to the next stage and/or level of study whilst carrying a failing course from the previous level/stage. The failing course must be retrieved in the forthcoming academic session and students are only sometimes permitted to do this as an exception, not as the norm.

International students

Students from outside the UK and the European Union who have a different fee status from home students, and who are usually governed by the Tier 4 student immigration regulations. See Home Students, CAS, Tier 4.

Interruption of Studies

Interruption of studies means that you are considering or intending to interrupt or suspend your study for a whole term, semester or year(s) but that you intend to resume studies with the university at a future date. Before making your mind up, the first thing you should do is to speak to your personal tutor to discuss the situation with him/her. Please refer to Appendix B of the university's Academic Regulations for Taught Awards for further information.


A collection of learning resources aimed at helping you use information effectively and ethically in your academic work. Completion of the iPROGRESS courses can help enhance employability skills. Students who complete all the courses can request a Certificate of Achievement which recognises completion of the courses stated. It does not bear any credit.

International Compliance and Advice Service

International Student Advice Service


A Moodle course that aims to provide you with easy access to the information about library and computing resources and services which you need to be aware of when starting your studies with the University of Greenwich. It includes sections on finding information in the library and online; sections for partner college students, distance learners and international students as well as details of other libraries you are able to access, together with information about referencing and copyright.

Lab or Computer Lab

e.g. KW116

This is a room or space where there is equipment that you can use for practical elements of your programme of study. Some teaching/lecturing and some skills workshops take place in the labs, and some lab and other IT space is available for independent study.

Learning outcomes

Statements of learning achievement expressed in terms of what you will know, understand and/or be able to do, on successful completion of a course, level of study or qualification.


Talk delivered to large groups of students.


A university teacher.

Listening Ear

A member of university staff, in your own School or elsewhere, who is available for you to talk to confidentially about any issue.


Guide; advisor. If you have a mentor, they could be a peer mentor (a fellow student probably at a different level), a member of university staff or an external mentor from a profession related to your study.

Mobile learning

Refers to the ability to engage with learning technology whilst not being confined by the physical infrastructure.


Mode of study i.e. part-time or full time. M01 indicates full time, M05 part time, M09 evenings only.


The university's online learning environment (also known as the VLE), provides web-based resources, communication tools and assessment opportunities for each of your courses, and depending on your mode of study (full time or part-time /flexible)may either be the main or an additional means of interaction between peers and tutors.  You can access your course Moodle sites through the portal. (see Portal, VLE)


You will be enrolled on a number of modules which relate in different ways to your named Programme. These distinct modules together form the programme of study leading to your Award. Each module has a code made up of letters and numbers and a title describing the module, and it will carry a particular  number of credits. (see Programme, Credits below)

  • Core modules
    are compulsory components of a named programme.
  • Optional modules
    are those which may be chosen from within a prescribed range of modules which are specific to a named programme.
  • Electives
    are modules that students can choose, with tutorial guidance and approval, from anywhere within the university subject to timetable and resource constraints.

Module code

The permanent 8 character alphanumeric module code which indicates the subject area or department where the module is located e.g. POLI1018 = Politics.

Module coordinator

Member of staff in charge of a module and normally an academic who is one of the staff teaching that module.


National Vocational Qualification normally delivered at Further Education (FE) institutions.

Online learning environment (or VLE)

Web-based learning and interaction with tutors and course materials. (See VLE)


Off-Campus Services Contact and Remote Support - a system developed by ILS for students studying off-campus.

Oyster Card

A travel-card produced by Transport for London (TfL) which can be topped up with cash for use (sometimes at reduced rates) on buses, tube trains, DLR and some overground trains in the London area. Full-time students can apply for a student discount Oyster card. This includes students studying on the Medway campus. More travel information.

PAB - Progression and Awards Board

Within each School, this Board examines the individual assessment profiles of each student to determine their award and progression. This may also include stipulating reassessment in the light of overall performance and the consideration of personal extenuating circumstances. Please see the university's Academic Regulations for Taught Awards for further information.


Your password is a mixture of letters and numbers sent to you with your username prior to registration - you will need this for online registration and once you have registered you can change the password. You will need your username and password for logging in to all university facilities. You should not disclose your password to anyone else.


Personal Development Planning / Personal and Professional Development.

A structured process with tutorial support where you will reflect upon your own learning, performance and/or achievement and plan for your personal, educational and career development; PDP may be portfolio ore-portfolio-based and may, in some Schools, be built into credit-bearing courses.


The electronic portfolio used in the university that records your achievements and may be used to support learning activities. (See e-portfolio)

Peer Assessment

Evaluation of students' work by fellow students.

Personal Tutor

An academic member of staff particularly responsible for getting to know you and supporting and monitoring your progress. Personal Tutors are available for advice on a wide range of issues beyond those related to course/s or programme/s; they will meet with you in timetabled Personal Tutor meetings and for one-to-one meetings by mutual arrangement.

Personal Tutor Group

Timetabled meetings which are usually timetabled alongside teaching, for first year undergraduate students.


Plagiarism is the inappropriate use of someone else's work, e.g. copying or close paraphrasing from a book, website or another student where your use of this work is too substantial, too close and/or insufficiently referenced. Make sure you talk to your tutor/s about this if you are uncertain about how to use and reference your sources - this is extremely important. Please refer to Appendix D of the university's Academic Regulations for Taught Awards for further information. See also Progression in Information Skills.


The university website that is personalised for staff and students' use, providing links to information and other websites. It is important that you learn your way around the Portal where you can find a lot of useful information and resources; links to the whole range of university services; news about current and special events and specific course materials on Moodle .

Find out more about the portal.


A student's individual record, held on Banner. This contains personal contact information and academic information including the courses you are currently studying and your grades.


e.g. BSc Software Engineering, BA Journalism and PR, DipHE Midwifery

Your programme of study consists of a structured group of credit-bearing courses that make up an award : 180 credits for a Masters degree, 360 credits for a BA or BSc, 240 credits for a Foundation degree, 240 credits for a Diploma of Higher Education, 60 credits for a certificate (PGCE).

By contrast, a "programme of study" is the approved curriculum followed by an individual student; it may meet the requirements of a named programme (see above) or be unique to a student registered on an unnamed or "open" programme. The programme of study should satisfy the requirements set out in the university's Academic Framework and programme regulations.

Programme leader / director / coordinator / administrator

The member of staff with responsibility for a programme; in some Schools the programme coordinator/administrator is a member of administrative staff whilst the programme leader is an academic staff member.

Programme representative

Students appointed or elected by your cohort, who are trained by the Students' Union University of Greenwich (Greenwich and Avery Hill campuses) and GK Unions (Medway). They represent students at programme level and elect four of their number in each faculty to act as Officers who represent students at faculty level.

Progression in Information Skills

The Progression in Information Skills course consists of eight information skills courses designed to help you use information effectively and ethically in your academic work. It includes courses on Plagiarism and Bibliographic Citation or referencing.   Access to Progression in Information Skills for University of Greenwich students is via the university portal. You will see the link to the course in the Information Skills channel on the My Learning tab.


Resident Assistants perform "on call" duties as part of a team within a particular hall of residence, in return receiving accommodation in that hall free of charge.

Reading Lists

Your lecturers will give you reading lists/bibliographies for your courses to guide your background reading and your work for assessment tasks. Reading lists can also be seen and searched on the library catalogue.

Indicative reading list

A briefer, selective list, giving some examples of the kinds of sources needed or some of the key required sources. This list is not exhaustive, you should also try and find your own related sources.


where the Progression and Award Board stipulates that some or all of the assessment requirements for a course(s) must be attempted again. Reassessment may take the form of:

  • Deferral - when the student's performance on a course(s) has been impaired by illness or other valid circumstances. This does not constitute a failure. The student will undertake some or all of the assessment requirements for a course(s) in a manner determined by the Progression and Award Board, as if for the first time. This decision can be made following the submission and acceptance of Extenuating Circumstances (with supportive evidence). ( See Extenuating circumstances)
  • Resits - the earliest opportunity to retrieve failure, taking place prior to the commencement of the next stage.
  • Repeat - when the student is required to re-register for the failed course(s) and undertake re-assessment in a subsequent session. This means repeating the whole year and paying for it.

Please see the university's Academic Regulations for Taught Awards for further information.

References / referencing

A method used in coursework for acknowledging the sources you have used and where you found them. The usual methods of referencing are the Harvard System, footnotes or endnotes, together with a bibliography. (See cite, plagiarism).


Formal registration after you have accepted your offer of a university place activates your student record and enables you to be included on class lists and to use the university's facilities including the portal and Moodle. . Registration consists of Part One: Online Registration and Part Two: Registration Checks, which is done in person and includes checking of ID (and Tier 4 visa for international students) and of qualifications (you need to show your passport or British birth certificate and originals of all your required qualifications). All students must re-register every new academic year whilst studying at the university, including those who arrived and first registered in January. Re-registration only involves the online element of the process. More information on registration.

SAP Subject Assessment Panel

(sometimes referred to as Departmental Assessment Panel)

This group reviews the nature of assessments and examinations for a group of courses within the Panel's subject area and receives comments from external examiners and course co-ordinators on performance on individual courses.


Your schedule is your set of courses for a particular academic year.


A study group - smaller than a lecture and part of a specific course. For some courses you will attend both a lecture and a seminar every week. Seminars give much more opportunity for questions, discussion and group-work.

Session or "academic" session

An academic year, normally from September one year to September the following year: some programmes begin in January or at other times during the session.


e.g. Stage One

Programmes are divided into stages of study. These generally equate to a year of study (i.e. Stage One = first year), however a stage may take more than one year of study (e.g. for a part time student where Stage One may = two years). Each stage must be completed successfully before you proceed to the next stage, or are given your award. For an undergraduate student there are normally three stages of study, each stage = 120 credits at a particular level. For a postgraduate student there may be one or two stages of study = 180 credits in total.

Student & Academic Services (SAS)

The department responsible for the Student Centres and a range of other services within the university, including (but not limited to) awards ceremonies, student records, student wellbeing and student finance.

Student Centre/Student Services

The Student Centres provide a broad advice and information service as well as administrative tasks such as registration and student ID (Greenwich Gateway) cards; help with your student records queries; letters and transcript requests, and a checking-in service for interview. They also provide access to specialist services such as Finance, Disability/Dyslexia, Guidance & Employability, International Student Advice Service and Student Wellbeing & Counselling.

Student Representative

See Programme representatives

Students' Union

The Students' Union / Association is a democratic organisation run by students to represent student views to the university at all levels and to provide activities and support services for its members. For more information, visit GSU for Greenwich and Avery Hill, and Greenwich & Kent Students' Unions Together (GK Unions) for Medway.

Support staff

Support staff in the university work in administration and welfare services designed to support your studies. These include the staff in the Student Centre and administrative staff in Schools, IT computing and library services and those involved in developing and maintaining the web, Banner and the Portal. (See Central services, Student Centre)


Academic session. There are three terms for studying. Term dates.

Tier 4

The system for applications for international student visas regulated by UK Visas and Immigration.


Formal details of the programme studied by an individual student and the results achieved for each course are given in a transcript. You can see your transcript on Banner and print it off. You may need this if you apply for further study or for a job. (See Banner)


A way of using credit gained in one university or college to transfer to another, or from one programme of study to another within the same university. (See Credit)


System for electronic submission of coursework. Turnitin is software used in the detection of plagiarism. It compares the content of student assignments against a large resource of existing materials and highlights where there is overlap. (See Plagiarism)


Your Personal Tutor has particular responsibility for supporting and monitoring your progress. Some Faculties also have a Year Tutor, with overall responsibility for the welfare and academic progress of students in a particular year on a particular programme of studies;  they may also have a Senior Tutor, responsible for coordinating all personal tutoring activities and responsible for dealing with serious student problems that cannot be solved anywhere else. (See Personal Tutor)


A meeting with a personal tutor, one-to-one, or a group tutorial with members of a personal tutor group, usually up to about 25 students. Personal tutorials might focus on your courses or academic issues, or on wider concerns. Academic seminars may sometimes also be referred to as tutorials; these are focussed on particular courses within your programme.

Username / userID


Made up of your initials in reverse and 2 or 3 digits, your username is sent to you with your password prior to registration and allows you to access online registration once you are accepted on a programme of study. After registration your username is part of your university email address throughout your time at university.


The Vice-Chancellor is the chief executive of the university.


Visiting Lecturer - part-time and hourly paid academic staff.


Virtual Learning Environment (Moodle). It provides web-based resources and is one means of interaction between students and tutors. (See Moodle)

Web 2.0

A collaborative approach to the internet

Welcome Week

There are Welcome Weeks in September, January and May for new students starting their studies at that time. A week of academic, orientation and social activities is arranged, including Students' Unions Freshers activities,  to welcome new students and help them settle into university.  Activities  in the Welcome Week include:

  • Meeting staff and fellow students
  • Academic activities  + confirming your courses and timetable
  • Guidance on using the libraries and computing labs
  • Guidance on where to go for help and advice, should you need it
  • Orientation activities to help you explore the campus and local area
  • Social activities

Withdrawal/Interruption of Studies

Withdrawal is a discontinuation of study, with no intention of returning to continue. More information.

Further information

Student regulations, policies and procedures

Regulations, policies and procedures affecting both your academic experience and wider university life.