Glossary and Abbreviations
If you are unsure about the meaning of a term or abbreviation related to higher education and/or the University, you can look it up in this A to Z. The glossary includes abbreviations.
Students may appeal against the decision of an assessment board, and/or against the decision and penalty imposed by the Assessment Infringements Committee or an assessment board for an academic offence. This process is referred to as Academic Appeals page.
The process by which the University gives wide authority to another institution to exercise powers and responsibility for academic provision.
Precursors to Advice Zones. As of 2016/17, these services are known as Advice Zones.
Your first port of call when there is any issue affecting your ability to study, and for any other queries related to student life.
AGM / Union Annual General Meeting
Students’ Union government meeting, open to all students.
Assembly Learning Grant – a scheme of student support unique to Wales which will be allocated to the individual by local authorities (means tested). This is now replaced by the Welsh Government Learning Grant.
People who graduated from the University.
Person who graduated from the University.
Accreditation of Prior Certificated Learning
Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning
Approval is the formal outcome of the process by which the University has judged that an award (or awards, or a new collaborative arrangement) meets the requirements of its regulations and nationally recognised standards.
The University has a two tier system of assessment boards: subject assessment boards where modules are assessed and award and progression assessment boards where students’ progression is considered and awards and classifications are agreed.
A qualification awarded by the University (e.g. a BSc or BA)
Award and Progression Assessment Board
Award and Progression Assessment Boards exist for every programme of study leading to an academic award of the University, in order to determine the students’ progression and completion of their awards.
Award External Examiner
An award external examiner is appointed primarily because of their experience of examination board functions in higher education. Their role is to ensure that the conduct of the award examination board is appropriate, the regulations of the University are adhered to and all decisions are properly made.
Bachelor of Arts/Science
Encompasses any activity from the simple use of e-mail and PowerPoint presentations delivered on campus, through to sophisticated multimedia simulations for use in stand-alone study at any location in the world.
Box of Broadcasts
Staff and students based at our Newport campuses can watch or record television and radio programmes using Box of Broadcasts.
Also known as B Block.
Business & Technician Education Council
British Universities and Colleges Sport
Privately run student hall in Cardiff, operated by Liberty Living.
Central Authentication System – the IT system allowing single sign on login to many different e-services and websites on campus.
Credit Accumulation & Transfer
Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme
Faculty of Computing, Engineering and Science
The last stage of the Admissions Cycle (the time of year when university applications are made). Universities aim to fill up any spare places on the courses they offer. Usually starts around the day students get their A-level results in the middle of August.
Sport organisations within the Students’ Union. Only BUCS recognised sports can form clubs. Clubs fall under the administration of Student Activities.
An approved arrangement to deliver an award, or other objectives, with another organisation/college.
Core modules are modules which were approved at validation as being essential for students to pass in order to achieve their award. Core modules are not eligible for compensation and may not be substituted.
A course is an academic programme which results in a qualification. Courses can take several years to complete, and may involve a variety of compulsory and/or optional modules. The most common courses are undergraduate (resulting in Bachelor or Diploma qualification) and postgraduate (resulting in Masters or Doctorate qualifications).
A course leader is a manager of an award. They are the lecturer in charge of a course and the lecturers who teach it.
Course representatives are elected volunteers who work with the University and the Students’ Union to represent student requests, experiences and comments and improve the student experience.
Café / food outlet in A Block / Ty Crawshay building.
A unit of academic ‘currency’ based on learning hours. Most undergraduate programmes require students to obtain 120 credits in each academic year.
The Data Protection Policy determines how we use your personal information
A department is a unit within a faculty which can be further divided into subjects for management and administrative purposes.
Where learning and teaching takes place primarily at a distance.
Module which contains 40 credits
Also known as D Block.
The Student Development and Study Skills Service’s precursor used to be known as ‘Education Drop-in Centre’.
European Economic Area.
English as a Foreign Language
On-line learning and teaching using software
The European Community action scheme for the mobility of university students.
USW’s streaming media system
Formerly known as “Mitigating Circumstances”, these are unexpected circumstances beyond a student’s control which have an effect on academic performance.
A faculty is a group of similar or subject-related teaching sections of the University, which is further divided into departments and subjects for management and administrative purposes. Each faculty is headed by a dean.
Discontinued: Financial Contingency Fund. Replaced by the Hardship Fund scheme.
Faculty of Creative Industries
Foundation Degree – a full or part-time course that allows students to gain the necessary skills and knowledge to move on to the first year of a degree or HND
Former student hall, now an administrative building of the FBS faculty and home to the Disability and Dyslexia Service (DDS) and The Wellbeing Service.
A collection of cognate modules located in and organised by one faculty. It is the locus for the academic development of the discipline(s) it contains.
Field/Subject Examination Board
Ratifies marks of student assessment, to decide candidates’ grades for modules and to ensure grades and recommendations are recorded accurately on University systems, to relay these grades to the appropriate award examination board, to record decisions and proceedings of the board including those cases of extenuating circumstances eligible to be considered by the board, to receive reports of disability and dyslexia including language matters relating to any candidate.
Field/Subject External Examiner
Subject external examiners are appointed because of their subject expertise. There may be only one examiner per subject or a team of examiners depending on the size of the subject. Examiners are responsible for a number of specified modules within a subject.
All subjects have subject leaders nominated by and responsible to the Head of Field to lead the academic development of the subject within the University. Subject leaders are managers in addition to academic lecturers.
Degree classification. The highest grade.
Freedom of Information
Franchise College/Partner Institution
Another institution which has been approved to offer a University validated programme, award or module. This includes those partnership arrangements deemed “validated” whereby the University acts as the awarding body and quality auditor for an award designed, managed and offered by another institution. A partnership between the University and another institution or organisation may also be for other objectives eg advanced standing, development of shared ownership awards, or research.
Glynneath building. Primarily used by the Faculty of Computing, Engineering and Science.
Now renamed Stilts. Main refectory / canteen / restaurant, located opposite G Block / Glynneath building.
Glamorgan Conference Centre
– renamed USW Conference & Events. The Conference Centre is located above the Stilts Restaurant on the Treforest campus.
Student halls complex in Treforest.
Also known as G Block.
University campus located at Glyntaff.
General National Vocational Qualification
A final year student who has passed their course and is about to graduate.
A person who has completed their university course and has graduated.
Hirwaun building. Home of the Business School.
Module which contains 10 credits
Higher Education Academy
Higher Education Funding Councils
Higher Education Funding Council for Wales
Higher Education Institution
H Block, home of the Business School
Higher National Certificate / Diploma
The Integrated Curriculum Information System is a database for module and programmes information.
Information and Communication Technology. The study of the technology used to handle information and aid communication.
Special introductory sessions to familiarise new students with a range of topics.
If you require items which are not available from our own library collections, you can access them via the Inter-library Loans Request Service (ILL) which is administered through the British Library.
The Immigration & International Student Advice Team used to be known as the ‘International Student Support Service’
Initial Teacher Training
Johnstown building. Primarily used by the Faculty of Computing, Engineering and Science.
Joint Academic Network
Joint Information Systems Committee
Also known as J Block. Primarily used by the Faculty of Computing, Engineering and Science.
The opportunity to study two subjects of your choosing in equal measure.
This is when the University teams up with another institution to deliver a university validated scheme, award, field or module
Knowledge Transfer Partnership
Lab Software Database – listing computer labs and the software available in each
Local Area Network
Local Education Authority
Statements that predict what learners should gain as a result of learning. They can be specific (eg detailing competencies) or general (eg a broad appreciation of a particular culture or working environment).
A university teacher.
An indicator of the relative demand, complexity, depth of study and autonomy of learning. A typical first degree has three levels, Level 4 (Certificate level), Level 5 (Intermediate level), Level 6 (Honours level).
Lesbian, Gay. Bisexual or Transgendered students. Sometimes, the acronym gets extended to LGBT+ or LGBTQ or even LGBTTQQIIAA to be inclusive of further minority sexual orientations.
Lower Second (Class)
Degree classification. The third highest grade.
Faculty of Life Sciences and Education
Major/minor honours degrees are for those who want to study two subject areas with a greater emphasis on one (the major) than the other (the minor).
food outlet in Alfred Russel Wallace Building on the Glyntaff campus.
Master of Business Administration
Media Loans Booking System
The University’s online Media Loans Booking System (Connect 2) has a variety of Media and AV equipment, most of which may be booked and borrowed for a period of 1 to 48 hours.
The Meeting House is the home of the Chaplaincy on the Treforest campus, and a social space for students to use.
Major/minor honours degrees are for those who want to study two subject areas with a greater emphasis on one (the major) than the other (the minor).
Mit Circs / Mitigating Circumstances
Renamed “Extenuating Circumstances” in 2012.
A module is a self-contained and coherent package of learning, with a general credit-rating, an assigned level, defined learning outcomes, and assessment strategies appropriate to its level and the outcomes.
A description of a module’s aims; synopsis of module content; teaching methods; learning outcomes; assessment requirements; concise indicative reading list; key skills delivered by this module; and validation details.
A module instance is created for each academic session in which the module is offered as part of the University’s portfolio.
Module leaders are normally based at the University and they have overall responsibility for the operation of the modules delivered both on-campus and in partner colleges.
An annual process used by the University to ensure that their schemes maintain the appropriate standards
Student halls complex in Treforest.
Master of Philosophy – a postgraduate qualification / research degree.
Master of Research – a postgraduate qualification / research degree.
Master of Science degree – a postgraduate qualification.
Volunteer / unpaid elected student representatives who look after specific issues / interest groups. Unlike Course Reps, Non-Sabbs are not representing a particular course.
National Vocational Qualifications
The Otley Arms pub is sometimes referred to informally as the ‘O Block’ by staff and students. Please note: It is not officially designated as such by the University.
Optional modules are modules which students may choose at their own discretion. Optional modules can be compensated and may also be substituted with another module which the Scheme /Award Board regard as appropriate.
Another institution which offers or wishes to offer a University validated scheme/award or module.
Personal Development Planning. A tool to develop your awareness of your strengths and weaknesses, reflect on your learning, performance and/or achievement, and plan for your personal, educational and career development.
A lecturer or professor assigned as contact point to a student for issues related to their academic life. This role is now described as Coach.
Postgraduate Certificate in Education
Plagiarism is passing off someone else’s work, whether intentionally or unintentionally, as your own.
An immigration system launched to ensure that only those with the right skills or the right contribution will be able to come to the United Kingdom to work and study.
Organisations which approve or recognise specific programmes in the context of professional qualifications eg the Law Society.
In the United Kingdom, the word “Professor” is a title conferred by a university denoting the highest academic rank. Not every lecturer is a professor.
An individual student’s pattern of modules leading to an award.
Programme specifications provide a description of one or more awards leading to a University qualification. This description, should include reference to the programme’s Educational Aims; Intended Learning Outcomes; Award Requirements and Delivery; Programme Structure; Support for Students and their Learning; Criteria for Admission; Methods for Evaluating and Improving the Quality and Standards of Teaching and Learning; Regulation for Assessment; Indicators of Quality and Standards and Validation Details.
The University’s student records system is called QuercusPlus. The student interface for the system is called QuercusLive and allows you to amend some details in your student record yourself.
Rhondda-Cynon-Taf County Borough Council
Academic work that needs to be redone / resubmitted / retaken to achieve a pass grade.
An individual assessment/examination or all the pieces of assessment have to be taken again. These will be capped at a maximum of 40 marks.
The process whereby the progress of an existing award is critically appraised by the University, at least every seven years (normally five years), to ensure that it continues to be valid and meets its requirements in accordance with regulations and nationally recognised standards. A review can be at the level of an award, or grouped awards, or even a review of the whole of a faculty’s provision.
Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama – part of the University of South Wales Group.
Also known as Trustees. Full-time employed, elected student representatives who form the executive arm of the Students’ Union.
An award (or collection of related awards) that is organised by a department. The head of that department is responsible for the scheme
The Schengen Agreement deals with the abolition of internal borders in many European countries. As a result, it included the introduction of the Schengen visa, which govern visits for foreign nationals from some countries outside the Schengen area.
Organisational entity within the hierarchy of the University, usually made up of several departments, but not at the same level as a faculty.
The Student Development and Study Skills Service.
The Student Money Advice Team used to be known as ‘Student Money Service’. This acronym could also refer to Short Messaging Service – text messages sent to mobile devices.
Cultural groups within the Students’ Union. Societies fall under the administration of Student Activities.
Module which contains 20 credits
Student Administration Services
Responsible for student records, exams information, graduation ceremonies, your results, timetable information, enrolment and your personal information.
Main refectory / canteen / restaurant on Treforest campus, located opposite G Block / Glynneath building. Also includes a coffee outlet selling Starbucks products.
The Student Charter sets out your rights as a student and the quality of service the University expects to deliver to you.
Support for students. Most of these fall within the remit of the Student Support and Library Services department.
Subject Assessment Board
Subject assessment boards agree the overall module grades of individual students for all modules belonging to that subject.
Teaching English as Foreign Language
Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
Area in the main hall of the ATRiuM building in Cardiff.
Degree classification. The fourth highest grade.
Module which contains 60 credits
Also known as Sabbaticals. Full-time employed, elected student representatives who form the central government of the Students’ Union.
Teacher Training Agency
System for assignment submissions and plagiarism prevention.
A tutor can be either a lecturer (teaching a particular module), or someone who assists with the provision of specific practicals or seminars.
Universities & Colleges Admissions Service
University and College Sport
UK Council for International Student Affairs. Formerly known as UKCOSA.
Students’ Union government entity, made up of volunteers. Union Council is the group which discusses and votes on Union policies. To join Union Council, a student needs to get themselves nominated by other students early in the first term.
University of Glamorgan. One of the two universities which merged to form the University of South Wales.
Upper Second (Class)
Degree classification. The second highest grade.
University of Wales, Newport. One of the two universities which merged to form the University of South Wales.
The process used by the University to judge if a proposed scheme, amendment to an existing scheme, or module meets its requirements in accordance with its regulations and nationally recognised standards
Privately run student hall in Cardiff.
Virtual Learning Environment
One of the buildings on our Treforest campus.
Welsh Institute for Health and Social Care
Large-windowed room that protrudes from the side of the ATRiuM building.
Food court on Glyntaff campus