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.

A / B / C / D / E / F / G / H / I / J / K / L / M / N / O / P / Q / R / S / T / U / V / W / Z


A Block
The Ty Crawshay building used to be known as ‘A Block’. New home of the Law School, Postgraduate Centre and Directorate.

Academic Appeals
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.

Advice Centres / Advice Shops
Now known as Advice Zones.

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.

Alfred Russel Wallace
One of the buildings on our Glyntaff campus.

People who graduated from the University.

Person who graduated from the University.

Aneurin Bevan
One of the buildings on our Glyntaff campus.

Accreditation of Prior Certificated Learning

Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning

Assessment Board
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.

Atlantic House
One of the buildings which form our Cardiff campus.

The name of the biggest building in our Cardiff campus.

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.

Awards congregation
Graduation ceremonies.


B Block
Brecon building.

Bachelor of Arts/Science

Also known as UniLearn. The University’s Virtual Learning Environment. For more information and guidance, visit Using Blackboard

Blended Learning
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.

Brecon building
Also known as B Block.

Business & Technician Education Council

British Universities and Colleges Sport


Cambrian Point
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

Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching

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.

Connect 2
The University’s online Media Loans Booking System.

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).

Course Leader
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 reps
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.

Continuing Professional Development

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.


D Block
Dyffryn building. Primarily used by the Faculty of Business and Society.

Data Protection
The Data Protection Policy determines how we use your personal information

Disability and Dyslexia Service

A department is a unit within a faculty which can be further divided into subjects for management and administrative purposes.

Double Module
Module which contains 40 credits

Disabled Student Allowance

Also known as D Block.


Old terminology. The Student Development and Study Skills Sevice 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.

Bibliographic Software.

Elaine Morgan
One of the buildings on our Glyntaff campus.

USW’s streaming media system

European Union

Extenuating Circumstances
Formerly known as “Mitigating Circumstances”, these are unexpected circumstances beyond a student’s control which have an effect on academic performance.


F Block
Ferndale building. Formerly known as Forest Hall.

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.

Faculty of Business and Society.

Discontinued: Financial Contingency Fund. Replaced by the Hardship Fund schemes.

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

Further Education

Ferndale building
Former student hall, now an administrative building of the FBS faculty and home to the Disability and Dyslexia Service (DDS) and The Wellbeing Service.

Online journals and learning resources.

First (Class)
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.

Full-time Equivalent


G Block
Glynneath building. Primarily used by the Faculty of Computing, Engineering and Science.

Gallery Restaurant
Now renamed Stilts. Main refectory / canteen / restaurant, located opposite G Block / Glynneath building.

George Knox
One of the buildings on our Glyntaff campus.

Glamorgan Conference Centre
– renamed USW Conference & Events Services. The Conference Centre is located above the Stilts Restaurant on the Treforest campus.

Glamorgan Court
Student halls complex in Treforest.

Glynneath building
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.


H Block
Hirwaun building. Home of the Business School.

Half Module
Module which contains 10 credits

Higher Education

Higher Education Academy

Higher Education Funding Councils

Higher Education Funding Council for Wales

Higher Education Institution

Hirwaun building
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.

The Immigration & International Student Advice Team.

Special introductory sessions to familiarise new students with a range of topics.

Inter-Library Loans
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


J Block
Johnstown building. Primarily used by the Faculty of Computing, Engineering and Science.

Johnstown building
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.

Joint programme
This is when the University teams up with another institution to deliver a university validated scheme, award, field or module


K Block
Kidwelly building. Mainly houses arts facilities and courses.

Knowledge Transfer Partnership


Lab Software Database – listing computer labs and the software available in each

Local Area Network

Local Education Authority

Learning Outcomes
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.

Meeting House
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.

Module Descriptor
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.

Module Instances
A module instance is created for each academic session in which the module is offered as part of the University’s portfolio.

Module Leader
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.

Mountain Halls
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 Student Survey

National Union of Students

National Vocational Qualifications


O Block
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.


Partner institution
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.

Personal Tutor
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.

Points-based system
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.

Professional Bodies
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.

Professor Bernhard Knight
One of the buildings on our Glyntaff campus.

An individual student’s pattern of modules leading to an award.

Programme Specification
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.

Reprographics centre, for photocopying and printing services. Rebranded USW Print & Design

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.

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.

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.

Student Loans Company

Cultural groups within the Students’ Union. Societies fall under the administration of Student Activities.

Special Needs

Self-Service Account Administration – an online tool for changing your password and administering your IT account.

Standard Module
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. Renamed “Academic Registry” from 2017 onwards.

Stilts Foodcourt
Main refectory / canteen / restaurant on Treforest campus, located opposite G Block / Glynneath building. Also includes a coffee outlet selling Starbucks products.

Student Charter
The Student Charter sets out your rights as a student and the quality of service the University expects to deliver to you.

Student Services
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.

Student Voice Reps are responsible for communication between Course Reps, the Faculty, other Committees and groups and the Students’ Union.


Teaching English as Foreign Language

Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages

The Street
Area in the main hall of the ATRiuM building in Cardiff.

Third (Class)
Degree classification. The fourth highest grade.

Triple Module
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.

Ty Crawshay
Also known as A Block. Home of the Law School and Postgraduate Centre.

University Outdoor Sports facility located just off Treforest Industrial Estate, also called USW Sport Park


Universities & Colleges Admissions Service

University and College Sport


UK Council for International Student Affairs. Formerly known as UKCOSA.

Union Council
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 South Wales Students’ Union

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

Victoria Hall
Privately run student hall in Cardiff.

Virtual Learning Environment


One of the buildings on our Treforest campus.

Welsh Institute for Health and Social Care


Food court on Glyntaff campus